Guango Lodge

Guango Lodge, located near the paramo and hot springs of Papallacta, is a paradise for hummingbird lovers and photographers. Seeing 14 species of hummingbirds within an hour is not uncommon, and the Sword-billed hummingbird with it’s unique, long bill is sure to amaze you. Our scenic vistas and a variety of trails offer the visitor great opportunities to hike in a beautiful setting surrounded by forest-covered mountains. This small, cozy lodge is right in the middle of it all.

Itinerary

Day1

We will leave from Quito at 8:00 A.M. to the Amazon watershed, with scenic and biodiverse cloud forests in our sights. Our first stop en route will be at a rose plantation where you will have the opportunity to ogle at many of the most popular and spectacular varieties that Ecuador produces. After this it will be time to move up in elevation to the majestic, windswept paramos of Papallacta – a very tundra-like habitat. On clear days here the views of the surroundings and various volcanoes are breath-taking; a stop right up at the continental divide is one of the best spots from which to photograph the snow-capped volcano, Antisana, as it towers over the mountains below.

After what will have probably been a chilly morning (at best!) we will get to Guango Lodge in time to enjoy a delicious and hot, sit-down lunch, traditional Ecuadorian style. In the afternoon we will embark on a hike along the trails that fan out around the lodge to get a taste of the beautiful Andean temperate forests and the birds that often adorn their branches; colorful mountain-toucans and tanagers would be a hit! Before dinner we will be officially welcomed by the lit fireplace and have our first taste of Ecuador’s best known hot toddy, a delicious drink – called “Canelazo” – made from water boiled with real cinnamon, fruit juice and a dash of cane alcohol, that is sure to help warm us up. Night at Guango.

Day2

Ecuador has an impressive National Park system, with new parks having been instated only recently. Cayambe-Coca – nestled in the mountains not far from Guango – is one of them, and from its high paramos all the way down to its tropical forests at the lower end, it is among the most biologically diverse areas on earth; of many of the places visited in Ecuador, this is one spot where Culpeo Fox, Spectacled Bear and Mountain Tapir are most often seen… but one does need some luck as they are shy! After a hot breakfast, we will visit the high grassy slopes and elfin woodlands of this beautiful park, where we will have our best chances at seeing a soaring Andean Condor.

After taking time out for a packed lunch in this scenic area, we will enjoy a relaxing and therapeutic dip in the natural hot springs of Papallacta… what better way to warm our bones after what could be a cold and windy day? We’ll return to Guango for dinner, where we will spend our second night.

Day 3

Once we have had a hot buffet style breakfast with plenty of exotic fruits, we will head down to the nearby river and give our hand a try at trout fishing… fresh trout for lunch, anyone? Depending on our luck and patience, we will still leave time to enjoy the fabulous hummingbirds at the feeders (great for photography) – birders and non-birders alike always seem to marvel at their first looks at a Sword-billed Hummingbird (!) – and even a hike along a different trail near the lodge. For those interested in seeing some blooming, gaudy orchids, the orchid garden is always right there off of the front steps.

After lunch, and loading bags, we will make our way back west, up and over the high pass, making a stop or two – assuming the weather allows it – to hike through an ancient Polylepis forest (the highest occurring tree in the world), or even hike up to a high elevation lake. We plan to make it back to your hotels in Quito in the late afternoon.

On Our way we will pass the village of Puerto Bolívar who´s solely inhabitants are the Sionas. Following Puerto Bolívar we will continue to an small community where we will have the opportunity to visit and meet Thomas the local Shaman who belongs to the Cofan ethnic group. Thomas spends most of this time curing and treating the local inhabitants with his vast knowledge of medicinal plants.

At Thomase´s backyard. At our arrival we will take a break to enjoy a tasty box lunc. After lunch Thomas will share with us his experience in the rainforest as well as the processes for healing people. For those interested in taking part of a healing ceremony the options is there and it should last about 40 minutes. Handicrafts are available for purchase, all of them crafted out of materials provided by and obtained in the rainforest.

At around 15 hours we will navigate back to Puerto Bolívar where we will be greeted by the local Siona family. There will observe how the Cassava Bread is prepared. The Yuca (Cassava) Root ( Manihot Esculenta) has always been an essential food supply and perhaps the main source of carbohydrates for the indigenous communities of the rainforest Once the Yuca (Cassava) has been collected it will be peeled and grinded into a paste; this “paste” is then pressed to eliminate the water and the starch. The remaining dried product will be toasted in a pan for few minutes and the result will be a “pancake” like bread of neutral taste which we will be able to taste. We will then head back to the Tapir, there we will take a dinner and spend the night. After the dinner the staff will introduced to the guests that worked in that days then they will share and enjoy of a typical cocktail of passion fruit.

SERVICES INCLUDED

lodging for two nights, meals (from lunch on the first day, to lunch on the third day), entrance fees for one visit to the rose plantation, Papallacta hot springs and Cayambe-Coca National Park, bilingual naturalist guide (or Spanish-speaking, local birding guide) for three days limited to eight participants, group transportation Quito-Guango-Quito, free fresh coffee, hot chocolate and variety of teas, including the famous “coca tea” and all taxes.

SERVICES NOT INCLUDED

Extra drinks (sodas, beers, wines, etc.), private guide or transportation services, and other personal expenses (telephone calls, laundry, etc.).