Home > Wildlife News > Birding > Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve: Ecuador’s SNAP First Private Reserve

Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve has become the first private reserve to become part of SNAP. SNAP is Ecuador’s National System of Protected Areas (Sistema Nacional de Areas Protegidas) and means that under law, the reserve will be protected and preserved. Not only is this good news for the incredible and unique wildlife that calls the Ecuador Cloud Forest home, but good news for visitors as well, who will continue to experience the rich and thriving ecosystem.

What is SNAP and What does it mean for the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve?

Bellavista Lodge and ReservePhoto credit: Favio Fernandez, Bellavista Cloud Forest

SNAP provides legally-backed protection for the reserve, meaning that there can be no hunting, mining or deforestation. This will no doubt have a significant impact on the area’s flora and fauna, and make the lodge an even more incredible location to experience.

This recognition from SNAP has been the culmination of long legal processes and procedures, not only passionately pursued by the owners of the lodge but the Ministry of the Environment itself, demonstrating how important the Ecuador cloud forest and the many species within it is to environmental authorities and locals alike. They have long strived for a seal of protection for the Tandayapa cloud forest. Becoming part of SNAP will ensure the protection and conservation of such a special place. Now we have the peace of mind that long into the future, people will be able to enjoy the serene tranquillity of the cloud forest and the unique flora and fauna sightings made possible there. Long live the Bellavista!

The Unique Ecuador Cloud Forest

Ecuador cloud forestPhoto credit: Favio Fernandez, Bellavista Cloud Forest

The Ecuador cloud forest is one of the world’s most unique, vibrant and diverse ecosystems. It sits amongst the spectacular and dramatic mountain vistas of the Andes, spanning across the luscious green slopes. So, what exactly is a cloud forest? Well, it has characteristics like the rainforest and can often be mistaken for one. But, the cloud forest sits on a slope rather than the flat, allowing sun rays to penetrate the forest deeply and encourage new life forms to flourish. This has given rise to a diverse and intricate ecosystem that includes one of the greatest varieties of birds and plants in the world.

Why visit Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge and Reserve?

Bellavista Cloud Forest OlinguitoPhoto credit: Favio Fernandez, Bellavista Cloud Forest

The Ecuadorian cloud forest attracts huge amounts of travellers year after year, as they hope to catch a glimpse of some of the rare wildlife that calls it home. Lodges located in the cloud forest, such as the Bellavista Lodge, Ecuador, are a fantastic base from which to experience the immense tranquillity of the forest and explore the unique surroundings. Travellers often find that they can even catch a glimpse of some of the region’s spectacular wildlife right from their window! The Bellavista cloud forest offers a large area of land for flora and fauna to thrive and plenty for travellers to explore. From deep green canopies to dramatic mountain vistas, to all the unique birds, plants and animals in their natural habitats – the Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge and Reserve, Ecuador, offers endless adventure.

Hikes and Excursions in the Cloud Forest, Ecuador

Photo credit: Bellavista Cloud Forest

A trip to the cloud forest is sure to be an adventure of a lifetime. There is no better way to experience it than through the various hikes and excursions on offer there. There is a wide range of tours and excursions that are organised and led by experts in the area, allowing tourists a chance to go a little more off the beaten track and experience a taste of life in the wild. From forest hikes to horse-back treks, there are plenty of options to choose from to see the fantastic cloud forest. Not only do these excursions offer views of the highlands, jungles and volcanoes, but all the rare fruits and vegetables that thrive in the cloud forest too. Some tour guides will even allow you to taste the different fruits that grow there – although lone hikers should never try this without the help of an educated expert. The guides are friendly and enthusiastic, offering you the perfect welcome to Ecuador.

Home to some of the World’s Most Unique Mammals and Birds

Collared Inca in Ecuador Cloud ForestPhoto credit: Favio Fernandez, Bellavista Cloud Forest

The Ecuador cloud forest is known for attracting nature enthusiasts from all over the world. The cloud forest is home to over 20% of the world’s bird species, with over 500 species of bird! There are few better place to bird watch, and if you do, look out for the Plate-Billed Mountain-Toucan, Golden-Headed Quetzal, and the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. There are also 35 species of hummingbirds alone, making it one of the best destinations in South America to see hummingbirds. Many spectacled bear cubs have also been spotted in the Ecuadorian cloud forest reserves. These bears are the only bear species that can be found in South America, known for their distinctive spectacle-like facial markings. Unfortunately, the spectacled bear populations have been decreasing due to the destruction of their habitat. As the Bellavista reserve is now protected under SNAP, we hope that the ban on hunting and deforestation will help protect these bear populations.

As Bellavista Lodge and Reserve becomes the first private reserve to be protected by SNAP, it can only become an even more tranquil and vibrant place to visit from the wide range of natural formations and landmarks within the forest to the expansive wildlife that calls it home. The Bellavista Lodge and the range of hikes and excursions on offer there are a magnificent way to experience this rich ecosystem and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime.

Are you interested in visiting Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve?

For more information on visiting Ecuador and Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve, contact Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge.

Originally Published: 12 Jan 2020

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