Yunguilla: the Cloud Forest’s final frontier

45 minutes from Quito, beyond parallel 0º and 3,000 meters above sea level, set deep in the lush mountains of the cloud forest, northwest of the Metropolitan District of Quito: Yunguilla.

A picturesque town bordered by the Pululahua towards the Andes and by the Maquipucuna and Pahuma reserves towards the coast. It is more than a community of coal workers who reconverted their source of work; they developed a sustainable ecological and conservationist option, generating a very positive impact for its inhabitants and becoming one of the few communities that develop sustainable community based tourism in Ecuador.

Sustainable community based tourism

Over the last few years, and as one of the most sought after requirements within the tourist industry, customer satisfaction is being promoted in connection with conservation and sustainability, not the exploitation of resources. This by no means diminishes the travel experience itself, but rather creates added value beyond leisure, including a learning experience, satisfaction, and participation in environmental protection for tourists.

As such, this project includes important aspects like offering time to relax with the necessary resources and getting to know the community and its activities in depth. Tourists actively participate in the day-to-day chores of the community while still enjoying the amazing scenery of the cloud forest. A few of the highlights in terms of activities within this important transition space between the Ecuadorian highlands and coast are: bird watching, adventure tourism, hikes in the cloud forest, and marveling at the area’s endemic and varied plant and wildlife.

After enjoying a different and gratifying experience such as this, we ask ourselves, why go to Yunguilla?

It’s an easily answered question, which covers everything you’ll find when visiting this community based tourism project:

To discover and enjoy different natural sceneries and spaces just a few kilometers from the city’s urban center.
If you’re a nature lover and enjoy getting to know places like the Andean cloud forest where you’ll find hummingbirds, the spectacled bear, toucans and more, this is the place for you!
To understand and learn about the community, to get to know the day-to-day life of its people; for example, how to milk a cow, how to prepare traditional cheese, how to work in an ecological vegetable garden or enjoy making artisanal jams with local fruits, and enjoy all the other activities offered by this project.

To participate in the conservation of the environment by getting to know natural and unique trails in the area and learning about its varied plant-life.

If you’re visiting Quito and enjoy new experiences like those offered by community based tourism, all the above reasons make Yunguilla the perfect place for you to visit.

Additional information is available at:

Written by: Erick Játiva e Isabel Oñate / Picture: Erick Játiva - Quito Turismo

To See
Bird watching of endemic species, and, if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of the spectacled bear
The dawn, surrounded by mountains and valleys that enclose this place: the natural border of two massive climatic zones (highlands and coast).

To Feel
Join in the community’s picking of fruit from the orchard, the milking of cows, and the making of artisanal cheese and jams.

To Hear
The whisper of the wind and rain as they bathe this natural valley. Enjoy the long misty nights typical to this area.

To Taste
The “Chiguacan” a delicious fruit, endemic to the area.

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