Papallacta Pass - Cayambe Coca National Park & Guango Cloud Forest Reserve

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From $210.00

7 reviews   (4.86)

Price varies by group size

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Pricing Info: Per Person


Departs: Quito, Quito

Ticket Type: Mobile or paper ticket accepted

Free cancellation

Up to 24 hours in advance.

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Take a day to awaken your senses in deep contact with nature. Papallacta is located 65 km (41 miles) east of Quito; it has a tundra-like habitat known as paramo in its upper part and montane humid forest below. Due to its location, on clear days it allows for breath-taking views of the Andean landscape. On the way, you'll stop at the Papallacta pass, one of the best spots for landscape photography and birdwatching in the area. Then you'll continue to Guango Cloud Forest Reserve where hummingbirds will take your full attention. The cloud forest concentrates the highest diversity of these winged jewels in the Americas. Today you'll experience different types of habitats from paramo grasslands to exuberant lush green vegetation all deep in the Andean subtropical zone.
**Available optional add-on: Finish your day with a soak in the therapeutic waters of the best thermal water complex in Ecuador: Papallacta Hot Springs

What's Included

All activities

Certified bilingual naturalist, birding, photography guide

Coffee and tea at Guango

Hotel pick-up and drop-off

Private transportation

What's Not Included


Local Taxes (Only for Ecuadorians)


Personal expenses

Traveler Information

  • ADULT: Age: 12 - 80

Additional Info

  • Copy of passport of one of the group members is require for billing purposes (local tax exemption)
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitised between use
  • Hand sanitiser available to travellers and staff
  • Please advise any specific dietary requirements at time of booking
  • Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas
  • Suitable for all physical fitness levels
  • Vegetarian option is available, please advise at time of booking if required
  • A small amount of walking is involved along trails with irregular terrain although if participants require longer hiking trails are available.
  • Ecuador received the WTTC Safe Travels Stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council. Private tours guarantee that you will share your time and space with your group only, making your experience safe while enyoing the unmatched biodiversity of our forests
  • Face masks required for travellers in public areas
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
  • Regular temperature checks for staff
  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitised

Cancellation Policy

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours before the scheduled departure time.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.

What To Expect

After an early departure from Quito at 7:30 am from your hotel, you'll drive some 65 km (41 miles) east of Quito the road brings you into the high elevation paramo at the Papallacta pass, a very tundra-like habitat. On clear days the views of the surroundings and various volcanoes are breathtaking; a stop right up at the pass is one of the best spots to photograph the snow-capped Antisana Volcano as it towers over the mountains below.

If the weather allows, from this point on we should start scanning the sky from time to time for the Andean Condor, Variable Hawk, Carunculated Caracara, and Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, which may soar overhead.
At the highest elevations, you’ll seek out the secretive and cryptic Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe and other unique wildlife of this region.
Andean Bears can be found in this paramo, special natural feeding sites where the presence of bears is frequent all year round. sometimes close enough to have wonderful views and photographs.

4 hours • Admission Ticket Included


High elevation birds of Papallacta Pass
TimF2157, 15-02-2022
I visited several places around Papallacta Pass to look for a large list of target birds with Santiago Salazar. Santiago was extremely knowledgeable of the area and knew exactly where to go to search for all of the special birds of the area. He was able to organize the trip extremely last minute (including getting us access to Cayambe-Coca National Park on a day it is normally closed to tourists). He knows the birds and natural history of the area extremely well. Anyone looking to visit this great area should definitely contact Santiago and Neotropical Nature & Birding Trips.
Best trip of the vacation
O9870HLkyleh, 06-02-2022
This was our last full day in Ecuador for this trip.

Santiago is an excellent guide. I was hoping to find many birds on this trip and was not disappointed. But we also learned many things about plants, animals, and the area in general.

Santiago picked us up nice and early to take us up to Papallacta, where he spent a great deal of effort looking for bears. And while we were ultimately unable to see them, we saw many great birds. I especially appreciate the effort Santiago put forth to find us the rarer key birds for this area. Our glimpse of the seed snipe was definitely a highlight of the trip.

Our afternoon was spent in the Guango Lodge area. The meal served was excellent. The feeders were excellent. The birds were excellent. Everything was excellent.

Santiago's enthusiastic about birds and nature, and that shows through. My wife and I were both caught up in it.

I will be looking to Neotropical for future tours in the area. I cannot recommend them enough.
The search for my top bird!
Spudwell, 18-01-2022
We enjoyed the extra effort of Santiago to find us a rainbow bearded thornbill. While I didn’t get my dream shot, Neotropical did everything they could to find one for us. It was also fun to see the Torrent duck family at Guango.
BJandAT, 18-04-2020
This was our second day of a private tour with Santiago. Again we had a great trip. Santiago is a very enthusiastic guide, and an extremely well trained birder. He told us lots of interesting things about nature and culture in Ecuador. And, again, showed us lots of nice birds. It is a bit frustrating that he sees so many birds and we have to struggle to see them as well! But Santiago is very patient and puts on his telescope wherever he can, to give us a better view. The afternoon we spend in Guanco, in a hummingbird paradise. We also had a wonderful lunch. At the end of this excellent day, Santiago dropped us at our hostel in Quito. We can recommend travelling with a private guide. It is very relaxed, we saw a lot, could stop whenever we liked, and it is so nice to hear Santiago tell about Ecuador and his love for nature.
Beautiful scenery and birds with great guide
julie_t, 28-09-2022
Sebastian persevered to make sure we found a wide variety of birds and was very knowledgeable about the birds and their habitats. He knew where to find them. Although it was a hot day so many birds were hunkered down, he did not give up. His enthusiasm was contagious.

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