Luxury Travel to the Cloud Forests
Encountered where the Andean highlands run down to the Pacific coastline, set amid tumbling hills blanketed in exuberant rainforest and home to diverse and abundant wildlife, hidden here are some of Ecuador’s most stunning and delicate cloud forests. The area of Chocó (Tumbez-Choco-Darien) is a particularly rewarding location, stretching all the way from Panama and through Colombia and Ecuador, this bioregion is home to thriving ecosystems which are relied upon by thousands of species.
For many, Ecuador is not a country at the forefront when it comes to exploring and discovering cloud forests, ensuring that experiences here can feel very unique and delightfully exclusive. Set a few hours to the north west of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, visitors can swap hustle, bustle and history for the mesmerising flora and fauna of one of the country’s most biodiverse regions. Home to over 500 species of bird, thousands of species of orchid, numerous mammals and many colourful reptiles, this is a nature lover’s haven, best explored during day and night walking trails.
Beyond the obvious lure of the fascinating nature that resides amid Ecuador’s cloud forests, the landscapes here also promise rewarding adventure opportunities. From climbing observation towers and swimming beneath waterfalls, to riding canopy zip lines and darting along mountain bike trails, there are countless ways to discover and absorb these breathtaking surroundings.
When to go
All year round is fine, and temperatures remain constant around 20°c (68°f).
What to do
- Wildlife expeditions
- Nature excursions
- Swimming in waterfalls and rivers
Accommodation in The Cloud Forests
Here are some of our travel designers' favourite options
Mashpi LodgeSet into one of the planet’s most important bio-regions, the futuristic Mashpi Lodge powered with 100% hydroelectricity really is a ‘contemporary cocoon in the clouds’. Praised for its ecological and contemporary design by being nominated for the likes of Wallpaper’s Design Awards, Mashpi’s steel and glass creation sits amongst 3,200 acres of pristine rainforest on a bluff that commands stunning views over the lush valleys, cloud forests and hills of the Tumbez-Choco-Darien bio-region (otherwise known as the Chocó) in Ecuador. The 20 rooms and three suites are spacious and simply modern in decoration, with floor to ceiling windows that keep your attention on what’s outside rather than what’s in. The restaurant has been thoughtfully constructed with two-storey high ceilings and windows for walls so again you feel constantly in touch with the forest, whilst dining on local produce from exotic fruits blended with more savoury dishes and organic ingredients to home made chocolate. There is also a terrace with pergola roof for incredible views over the jungle canopy, perhaps spotting one or two of its creatures. Daily wildlife expeditions and nature excursions are led by the lodge’s team of Ecuadorian biologists and things like wellington boots and rain ponchos are provided. The aerial tram from the lodge allow for deeper daily explorations into the forest, and comes with an observation tower and Life Centre which has butterfly farms and terrariums for a really close up look to these species. Hikes, bathing in waterfalls and rivers are very much part of the Mashpi experience too.