"Santa Lucia - Cloud Forest Reserve" Nanegal by MattTB
Nanegal Travel Guide: 23 reviews and 136 photos
Well, this was my main reason for visiting Ecuador... originally I had wanted to visit the rain forest, but in the end I settled on visiting the cloud forest as I felt I could help support the local community of Santa Lucia.
We spent 5 days at Santa Lucia and feel enriched from the experience! It is a truly beautiful place and I am glad that so much effort has been made to protect it. I have visited several areas before where 'Eco-tourism and the local community' has been championed, but none have impressed me as much as here! The people of Santa Lucia are incredibly friendly, welcoming and committed to the project. We had some great food, played some fun card games and a football match up in the cloud forest.
I tried to make the most of my time there and visited the lek of the Cock of the Rock at dawn and then trekked deep into the forest up to the birding hut. The walk before dawn was exciting... we came across a large mammal moving in the undergrowth, despite not seeing it at the time I later returned with the guide during daylight and we found tracks of the Andean Spectacled bear! The wealth of vegetation is just amazing!! On every trek we came across orkids every 10 meters, many of which were new species! There is so much to learn from the plantlife! I was particularly interested in the 'Dragon's Blood' tree, whose red sap 'bleeds' from a carefully positioned cut in the bark and then turns in to a white cream when rubbed on to the skin for treating cuts and wounds! We also assisted with some sapling planting on one morning and had a look around the tree nursery. Then there is the fantastic amount of birdlife in the area..... the list goes on!
I first learnt of Santa Lucia from one of the charities I support Rainforest Concern http://www.rainforestconcern.org/ who, I must say if Santa Lucia is anything to go on, are doing some really worthwhile work in biodiversity hotspots around the world!
Santa Lucía is a community-based organisation formed by local campesino families who manage their own resources. They have three basic aims:
1. To conserve and protect the cloud forest belonging to member families.
2. To develop sustainable sources of income for the members of Santa Lucía.
3. To benefit directly or indirectly the residents in neighboring areas.
The Santa Lucia Cloudforest reserve is located about 80 km north west of Quito, in the province of Pichincha. Rainforest Concern works with the Santa Lucia co-operative, a community-based conservation organisation dedicated to conservation and to sustainable development so that they can make a modest living whilst conserving their remaining cloud forest. The community owns 650 hectares (over 1300 acres) of montane cloud forest, of which about 80% is still in its prime, virgin state and the area has now been declared part of a Bosque Protector (Protected Forest).
To get there you can either take a bus from Quito to Nanegal, from where you are picked up and taken as far as the 4x4 can go. Or you can arrange for Sant Lucia to pick you up from your hotel in Quito. We chose the second option. After this you must hike (strenuous) for 2 hours high up into the cloud forest until you reach the lodge. A mule will carry your baggage.
The forest is an amazing check out Santa Lucia's homepage for more details too.... http://www.santaluciaecuador.com
- Pros:Great forest and wildlife. Great local people and food!
- In a nutshell:For those who want to visit pristine cloud forest!
And here it is! Staffed by the most friendly of people! Great food, hammocks and beer! Great spot on top of the... more travel advice
This is a very strenuous trek of about 6 hours just about continuously uphill! It takes you to the very edge of the... more travel advice
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