Cloud forests, correctly termed pre-montane/subtropical rain forests, cloak the steep slopes of the Andes from about 900 meters to about 2500 meters. They are forests of high biodiversity, with a profusion of little-studied wildlife and plants.
Bellavista is at the southern edge of the Choco/Andean hotspots of biodiversity - that stretches from south western Colombia to northwestern Ecuador. And equally important, Bellavista is part of the Mindo Area of International Importance for Birds, the first area so designated in South America, by Birdlife International in 1997.
The New York Botanical Gardens wrote that the diversity of epiphytes ("air plants" that grow on other plants) is higher in the cloud forests of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru than anywhere else on the planet.
Within this enchanting green kingdom a profusion of life awaits your discovery, including botanical treasures such as bromeliads and orchids, as well as the fascinating families of Gesneriaceae and Melastomataceae. Since Bellavista is located on the equator, flowers are in bloom year round.
The Reserve's goal is to educate the public about the significance of biodiversity in tropical cloud forests and the ever increasing importance of protecting these unique ecosystems. Bellavista and the Tandayapa Valley boasts over 330 recorded species of birds... and the list continues to grow! The Tanager-finch, Giant Antpitta, Swallow-tailed Nightjar, Plush-capped Finch, Beautiful Jay, and White-faced Nunbird are all found here.
Birders and nature lovers alike thrill to the sight of brightly colored tanagers and the Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, and everybody loves to simply sit in our four-story dome and admire the multitude of hummingbirds hovering around our feeders.
Bellavista's resident mammals include the endangered Spectacled Bear, (recently captured by one of our "Camera Traps"), as well as the puma, Andean coati and tayra, and of course the newly discovered Olinguito! to name a few.
Bellavista Reserve, a founding member of the Network of Private Protected Forests of Ecuador, collaborates with local conservation organizations, working to preserve the cloud forest of Northwestern Ecuador for the unique and fascinating species that live there, and for educational, recreational and scientific purposes. The wonderful news is that many Ecuadorians are becoming more aware of the importance of their unique natural heritage and are increasingly concerned about its conservation.