From the cold and high altitude to the heat of the cloud forest. Northwest of Quito lie several reserves ideal for watching endemic and rare birds. These conservation sites rank among the internationally recognized IBAs
(Important Bird Areas). Visit in August to see the spectacled bear, the only bear of the Andes.
At the misty Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve, you can walk amid the trilling of frogs, the calls
of howler monkeys, and the songs of many bird species. Visit the 1,500-acre El Pahuma Orchid Reserve, home to orchids, epiphytes, bromeliads, mosses, and ferns. The lush vegetation of the Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve’s 48,000 acres includes an abundance of plant and animal species. You can experience its
beauty on foot, mountain bike, or inner tube. At the Maquipucuna Reserve, you might see toucans, hummingbirds, and other exotic birds. For an inside look at local life, visit the Yunguilla community
and sample their jams and cheeses.