Andean Chocó in Ecuador

The Andean Chocó was declared as a biosphere reserve. Due to its role of conserving biodiversity and human activity through sustainability in the use of natural resources. In addition, its extension is from the North of Panama to the Northwest of Colombia, passing through Ecuador.

What does the Andean Chocó encompass in Ecuador?

It has an area of 286 thousand hectares (706 thousand acres), comprising three cantons: Quito, Pedro Vicente Maldonado, and San Miguel de los Bancos. Therefore, the Chocó Forest is an area of diversity. In addition, we can find spectacled bears, large-breasted grebe, cock of the rock, parrots, tangaras, olingos, tigrillos, insects, amphibians, reptiles and variety of fauna species. The outstanding flora of the place consists mainly of orchids and bromeliads. In the region there are mangrove trees of great height, reaching 40 meters (131 feet), making them the highest in the world.

Pichincha’s Natural Paradises

Yanacocha Reserve

It is made up of pajonales, Andean Forest and Polylepis. If the place is clear, you can see the hummingbirds flying and the volcano Pichincha. In the same way, the walk that is carried out by the different paths of the sector, has a duration of 3 hours. Above all, there are tunnels that are part of this natural attraction, where you can walk the mountain inside.

The entrance to the Reserve has a cost of: For domestic and foreign adults $ 5 and for children $ 2.50.

How to get to the Yanacocha Reserve?

  • By private transport or own vehicle.

It goes towards the slope between Machala Street and Mariscal Sucre Avenue, towards the Mena del Hierro neighborhood. Follow the route to Nono until you find the detour that leads to the reserve. Follow the road for 8 kilometers, passing by the Drinking Water Company (EPMAPS), they travel 2 kilometers until finally arriving at the place.

  • By public transportation.

From the Cotocollao plaza, take buses to Nono. You should get off at the turnoff to the site, you can go on foot or by bicycle.

Yunguilla – Andean Chocó

Located one hour north of Quito, in a cloud forest at 2650 meters above sea level. In addition, in 1995, the approximately 200 inhabitants began to organize themselves through a nature conservation project. Therefore, with the support of several NGOs, the first activities were developed. For example, such as the cultivation of organic vegetables, handicrafts, tree nurseries, a cheese factory and the production of jams.

Community tourism in Yunguilla

The community has organized itself to serve domestic and foreign tourists. To experience the cloud forest, nature and the goodness that the land gives.

In the experience as such, they offer an added value to the trip. Too to leisure, it offers tourists learning, satisfaction and environmental protection.

Also, you can learn how to milk a cow and preparing handmade cheeses. You can also work in an organic garden, or enjoying the production of a handmade jam.

Nono – Andean Chocó

It is a hidden village on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano. It is a paradise for ecological tourism. Although you can also do adventure sports or cultural tourism.

What to visit in Nono?

The Guagrapamba Waterfall is a huge waterfall. It descends from the Pichincha Volcano (4794 meters above sea level). Although the weather in the area is very cold, travelers can choose to take a relaxing bath in the waterfall.

There is also a cave where nocturnal birds of prey live. Although by the color of their feathers they are confused with the vegetation. Above all, if you pay enough attention you will be able to see these animals flying or standing.

The entrance fee to this place is USD 2.

Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve – Andean Chocó

It is an isolated and quiet area near the city of Quito. Due to previous volcanic activity. The soil is very fertile so the population lives from agriculture. Too, it has a wide variety of endemic fauna, as a result of this, it became a geobotanical reserve.

The entrance fee is 1 USD for nationals and 5 USD for foreigners.

Main atractions of the reserve

  • Crater and caldera of Pululahua:

A good view of the whole complex can be had from the Ventanillas viewpoint. And the Moraspungo recreation area. Inside there are three hills: Pondoña, El Chivo and Pan de Azúcar.

  • Moraspungo trail and recreation area:

Given the proximity to Quito, the facilities that exist in this site make it ideal for a walk with the family.

  • Pululahua Community:

Located in the agricultural area of the caldera. Several recreational activities can be carried out there.

  • Ventanillas Viewpoint:

It is the closest and easily accessible place to observe the landscape of the reserve.

  • Lime kilns:

These are old installations located in the El Bucal sector.

Maquipucuna – Andean Chocó

It is the perfect place to learn, discover and reconnect with nature. Where you can observe birds, different species of flora as well as a great variety of fauna.

Maquipucuna has been dedicated to the research. And protection of one of the 5 main biodiversity hotspots worldwide. Including endangered species such as the Andean bear.

The entrance fee to the Reserve is USD 5 for nationals and USD 10 for foreigners.

Mashpi

It is a private reserve where you can observe a great variety of forests. Due to the climate of the forests in the place. You can observe many species of amphibians, toucans, butterflies, snakes, among other animals. The hikes through the different trails are done with guides from Mashpi Lodge. You must make a reservation at Mashpi Lodge to enter the reserve.

Prices at Mashpi Lodge depend on the season and the number of people included in the reservation.

Activities that can be carried out at Mashpi

  • Wildlife watching at sunrise.
  • Life Center.
  • Dragonfly.
  • Spa and Wellness Center.
  • Hummingbird Garden.
  • Research Laboratory.
  • Observation Tower.

Saguangal – Andean Chocó

In this community you can see fruit production. The trails pass by different waterfalls and you can see beautiful landscapes. It is part of the protected area Mashpi – Guaycuyacu – Pachijal. An important reserve for the conservation of birds.

Lodging in Saguangal

Lodging at the site costs between USD 25 and USD 35. It includes food and hiking along the trails.  Also, bird watching, walks along the waterfalls, among other activities.

Pachijal Reserve

A water reserve with no pollution, a crystal clear river, a variety of birds and butterflies. Following the trail, you reach the river where you can swim and enjoy nature.

There is no admission fee.

Activities that can be carried out in the Pachijal Reserve

  • Bird watching.
  • Free and guided hikes.
  • Visit to gallo de la Peña.

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