Our first Ecuadorian experience was a weekend at Bellavista a cloud forest retreat about 2 hrs north of Quito. They met us at the airport and transferred us up to the lodge just in time for dinner (our 4th of the day…)
Bellavista is a small retreat set up by a British couple 20 years ago, and is a reserve of 700 hectares, at the top of the famed Tandayapa Valley, near Mindo. The accomodation is little cottages with rooms, and a round glazed dining room overlooking the valley.
For those of you who know Wayne, I can confirm that he did get up a 6am both days to go on a long hike before breakfast, followed by a long hike before lunch and then another hike after lunch. Yes, Wayne… unbelievable I know.
The lodge has sugar syrup feeders around the rooms and tiny humming birds zoom around like mini fighter pilots. They have make the choice of food over fear and have no problem with you sitting right next to them, and even fed from the feeder I put on my knee.
The best hike was on the second day, when we walked with Tanis and Laurence on route “S” to the waterfall. This involved hiking down to the river then walking along the river bed to a waterfall, scrambling over rocks and fallen trees and at one point climbing up a mini waterfall using ladders and ropes.
An amazing start to our trip!