Now, Tipsy Cat isn’t one of those cats who likes eating birds and cat food (she dines on delicious treats like chocolate and champagne), but she does like watching birds and generally enjoying nature. With this in mind, our first main stop in Ecuador was the Bellavista Cloud Forest – nestled above the capital of Quito and just under two hours’ drive away.
The eco-resort is set in the gorgeous, tranquil setting of the Andean sub-tropical Cloud Forest, and is perfect for those who enjoy bird-watching and trekking. The wooden huts are compact – think eco, not glamping, (and as they are eco-friendly, there are signs up in the bathroom requesting guests not to dispose of toilet tissue down the loo – something to bear in mind if this sort of thing would worry you, and if you are planning to stay over).
The most amazing thing about this forest, is the abundance of humming birds, who flock to the feeders placed around the resort. They really are incredible creatures, with beautiful, fluorescent feathers, and amazing wing speed. There is a hide, where you can watch them, but they seem to be quite used to humans, and buzz past you in a whirr in their haste to get to the next bit of nectar (we now know how it must feel like to nearly get hit by a snitch!).
A knowledgable guide takes you on a guided hike -really interesting – and while the trek isn’t incredibly strenuous, we had to shorten our trip as Tipsy’s Little Pet had recently had an ankle injury which decided to play up and prevent lengthy walking. The staff were great, and changed the booking from an overnight one to a day trip without any fuss, phoning our hotel in Quito to make arrangements for us, and even let us stay for the whole day at the resort and into the evening for a special treat.
Following the daily downpour – amazing to watch from your shelter – it is a cloud forest after all, and a traditional meal, we were then taken into the rooftop lodge for a special introduction.
Tipsy had already made friends with lots of humming birds, but the rest of the guests and her were now introduced to Mr “Oli” Olinguito – a brand new species who had only recently been discovered. He came to the lodge to dine in the evenings – was especially partial to bananas – and it was great fun to watch him climb the tree and to take photos of him (no flash, of course), in hushed excitement, knowing, that being so new, not many people had had the pleasure of meeting him before.
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