Southern Ecuador: this lodge was created by the Jocotoco Foundation (a conservation body devoted to protecting Ecuador’s natural spaces through buying land) in Tapichalaca, a must-stop for birders due to the quantity and variety of birds, including endemics. This is the best place in the world to see Jocotoco Antpitta.
If you are travelling to Ecuador, you must visit Tapichalaca Reserve, where you can see more than 300 species, among the easiest being Mountain Tinamou, Andean Potoo, Ocellated Tapaculo and various species Of Antpitta. The tsar is of course the Jocotoco Antpitta, discovered in 1992 and endemic to this area of Ecuador, although recently small populations have been discovered in Colombia and Peru. A tame pair come to feed on worms at a feeding station. It’s amazing to see this spectacular species so close.
Other globally threatened species in the area are Golden-plumed Parakeet, White-breasted Parakeet, Bearded Guan, Coppery-chested Jacamar and Masked Mountain-tanager.
You can also encounter mammals like Mountain Tapir, Puma, Andean Coati and Spectacled Bear although they are not easy to see. However, if yopu ask the workers at the lodge they will tell you what time they will put a little corn near the kitchens where Mountain Paca Cuniculus taczanowskii will come to eat and are easily observed. There is also an observatory looking onto the lodge’s compost heap, where antpittas, tapaculos and other birds come looking for worms. Andean White-eared Opossum Didelphus pernigra and other mammals go there at night.
A 3-night stay here is highly recommended, despite the price. It is well worth it, especially when you know your money is going to a good cause.
You can also get access to trails for 15US$ and the Jocotoco Antpitta feeding station with a guide (30US$).
This establishment has been awarded a 5 feather Lonely Birder Approved rating.