The Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve is a private reserve in the Andes Mountains within the Pichincha Province of northwestern Ecuador. It is renowned for its lush cloud forests and stunning biodiversity and is a popular destination for ecotourism.
Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve
The Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve is a private reserve and certified conservation area in the Ecuadorian Andes, within the Pichincha Province of northwestern Ecuador; it is renowned for its lush cloud forests and stunning biodiversity and is a popular destination for ecotourism.
The reserve is situated in the Tandayapa Valley, approximately 52 km northwest of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. It is located at an altitude of 2,000 m (6,500 ft) and is characterized by its cool, moist climate and dense vegetation.
A biologist and nature enthusiast, Richard Parsons first visited Ecuador in the early 1990s. Struck by the incredible biodiversity and natural beauty of the region, particularly the cloud forests in the Tandayapa Valley, he felt a deep connection to the area.
Driven by a commitment to preserving this unique environment, Richard and his wife Barbara, purchased a large tract of land in the Tandayapa Valley in 1991. This land would become the core of the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve.
As a functioning lodge, the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve has been officially certified through Rainforest Alliance and Smart Voyager as an Eco-lodge. The Bellavista Reserve is also a founding member of the Network of Private Protected Forests of Ecuador.
The Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve is part of the Chocó-Andean cloud forest region and is situated within the Chocó Andino de Pichincha Biosphere Reserve, a hotspot for biodiversity. It is characterized by its high-altitude cloud forests, often shrouded in mist and clouds.
This unique microclimate supports a rich plant and animal life diversity. The reserve's lush vegetation includes a variety of ferns, orchids, and bromeliads; the towering trees are covered in moss and epiphytes.
The reserve is home to various mammals, including monkeys, sloths, deer, and tapirs. It is also home to various reptiles, amphibians, and several endemic bird species.
The Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve plays a crucial role in scientific research and conservation efforts, particularly for the critically endangered Tandayapa Andean toad (Rhaebo olallai) found in the area.
The reserve also offers some guided tours, which allow visitors to learn more about the reserve's unique ecology and wildlife.
Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve is a popular destination for birdwatchers, with an extensive list of bird species that can be spotted. Birdwatching tours, led by experienced guides, are a highlight for many visitors. The famous plate-billed mountain toucan is among the sought-after species.
Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge offers comfortable and eco-friendly accommodations, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the natural surroundings. The lodge provides cozy cabins and a dining area with panoramic cloud forest views.