The Amazing Cloud Forest in Ecuador

Birdwatching in the Cloud Forest

What makes the cloud forest in Ecuador so cool?

The cloud forest in Ecuador is quite special. Firstly, it benefits from being located on steep hills which have made it close to impossible for people to settle or for farmlands to be located there. Secondly, not much was known about the cloud forest prior to the late 1990s so it has remained untouched. Thirdly, new protected areas have been created around the cloud forest where you can find some great lodges and where logging is prohibited.

What is a cloud forest?

A cloud forest (also called a water forest and primas forest) is a tropical or subtropical forest. Furthermore, its characterized by a constant low-level cloud cover at the canopy level.

What conditions allow for a cloud forest to exist?

Cloud forests depend on the local climate affected by the distance to the ocean, the latitude (range 23°N to 25°S) and altitude (500 meters – 4000 meters above sea level). There usually is a block of altitude where the environment is just right for cloud forests to exist.

Why are cloud forests so special?

Only 1% of forests in the world are cloud forests. Moreover, cloud forests can only be found in Central and South America, East and Central Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philipines, Papua New Guinea, and the Caribbean.

My first experience in the cloud forest…

Back in the day (the early 90s) I ventured to Mindo with my middle school camping club. I recall Mindo being magical and completely deserted. We stayed at a refuge and went birdwatching and enjoyed some time on the river. The town of Mindo was minuscule at this time. Nevertheless, I still recall the statue of a backpacker/hippie located in the Mindo central park.

Nowadays, Mindo is booming and receives many local and foreign tourists on a daily basis. You will be able to find many lodging options and tons of things to do.

How to visit the Cloud Forest in Ecuador

Galapagos Connoisseur provides many options to venture to the cloud forest.

Take a day tour (shared or private) and be back in Quito the same day. The downside of this option is that you will not be able to truly go birdwatching since that activity requires an early start (5:30 am- 10 am).

Go on a biking tour from Nono at the top of the Pichincha mountain and downhill on a beautiful. bike route passing by Bellavista and Tandayapa and finally arriving at the town of Mindo. Check it out on my blog.

Overnight in Mindo at a beautiful hotel which features a butterfly and orchid farm and a frog concert every night from its own lagoon.

Or stay at one of the all-inclusive lodges located all around the cloud forest area.

Whatever your choice, you will have a blast in Mindo and the Ecuadorian cloud forest!