"The Yanacocha Reserve" Ecuador Off The Beaten Path Tip by traveldave

Ecuador Off The Beaten Path: 75 reviews and 94 photos


The Yanacocha Reserve was established in 2001 to protect the entire known range of the critically endangered black-breasted puffleg, a species of hummingbird. In addition to the puffleg, other endangered species found within the reserve include spectacled bear and mountain lion. The reserve was bought from the local community with funds provided in part by the Jocotoco Foundation, an Ecuadorian environmental organization that arranges the puchase of land containing endangered habitats and/or species. Organizations and individuals from Ecuador, the United States, and the United Kingdom also contributed funds.

The 3,300-acre (1,335-hectare) Yanacocha Reserve covers the lower slopes of Pinchincha Volcano, at an elevation of about 11,566 feet (3,525 meters). The main habitat is characterized by Polylepsis forest, which is becoming increasingly scarce in the Andean region due to clearing for agriculture and charcoal.

Visitors can hike along the reserve's main trail and observe hummingbirds attracted to hummingbird feeders placed along the way. Although it is unlikely anyone will see the black-breasted puffleg, there are two additional species of pufflegs and several species of other hummingbirds, such as the sword-billed hummingbird, the bird with the world's longest bill in relation to its body length. (Its bill is twice the length of its body). Visitors can also get spectacular views of Pinchincha Volcano, which looms over the reserve.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Oct 30, 2009
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