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Quito & Environs
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The Mindo-Nambillo Protected Cloud Forest encompasses 19,200 hectares in size and is known around the world for its biological mega-diversity.

The cloud forest is located 70 kilometers northwest from Quito on the western slopes of Mt. Pichincha. The park is labeled by naturalists (such as the distinguished American scientist E.O. Wilson) an ecological "hot zone" for its uniqueness, biodiversity and for the threats to its continued existence.

The virgin cloud forest is rich in bird species like hummingbirds and the Cock of the Rock; has an incredible variety of butterflies; is covered with abundant plant life including many species of orchids; and, finally, is blessed with a plethora of waterfalls, rivers and swimming holes.

The town of Mindo is the central area from which to explore the cloud forest. Like many small towns between the Mountains and the Coast, Mindo has a colorful and varied atmosphere (similar to the town of Macundo in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude"). The annual temperatures are between 18 and 24° C, and the rainfall, like in most of the region between the coast and the mountains, is abundant.

Maquipucuna Reserve
This enchanting private reserve consists of 4,500 hectares of cloud forest along the Choco-Andino Corridor and is surrounded by 14,000 hectares of protected forest. 80% of Maquipucuna consists of virgin cloud forest.

It covers four different life zones ranging from 1,200 m up to 2,800 m in altitude, housing a tremendous diversity of flora and fauna. Archeological studies indicate that the area of Maquipucuna was home to pre-Incan tribes known as the Yumbos.

Currently, the people living in the area are farmers dedicated to producing agricultural products, raising cattle and working with the Maquipucuna Foundation on sustainable development projects.

Papallacta Hotsprings
Located an hour east of Quito, en route to the jungle, are the Papallacta Hotsprings. A great day trip for Quiteños who are yearning to relax in a steamy natural hot spring amid spectacular mountain scenery. Hotels and restaurants are available.

Where to Stay
Please visit the following pages for Quito hotels and reservations:
Quito Luxury Hotels
Quito First Class Hotels
Quito Hostels
Quito Haciendas & Country Inns
Mindo Hotels & Cloudforest lodges

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