The last time I traveled to Ecuador in 2006 I remembered Quito as being colder than I expected. I expected it this time and was prepared with a fleece hat and jacket to ward off the morning cold. We traveled far far into the mountains on a winding two lane road. It took a couple hours before we finally arrived at Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge. The staff welcomed us and gave a tour of the main lodge and then showed us to our room. Again I was surprised at the cold up in the cloud forest and there was no heat in our rooms. However, the beds were laid with several wool blankets to keep us warm and we slept very well that night.
The next day we ventured out on a hike after breakfast. We chose a more vigorous hike and found that the trails splintered and merged all over the mountain. Eventually you could always find your way back to the main road and down the hill to the lodge. It was so peaceful in the cloud forest. The hiking was muddy on the way up through a series of trails that we took. On the way back we chose to take the road to avoid slipping in the mud. At times we would stop and see the clouds part momentarily to show the deep valley below with small homes and local farms way in the distance.
That afternoon we relaxed and enjoyed the low-key atmosphere at Bellavista. We grabbed a couple beers from the bar and tallied them on our tab. They have an honor system where you help yourself and then pay at the end of your stay. The main lodge was full of magazines and books about the wildlife and plants in the cloud forest. During the meals we noticed people from all over the world had come to stay. I listened at one meal and could clearly make out German, French, Japanese, and Spanish in the tables around us.
The hummingbirds where one of the most amazing animals to watch at Bellavista. There were so many different types to pick out as we just sat for an hour at the main lodge. We were followed by a group of Chinese tourists and their cameras with lenses about two feet long. They sat for hours taking thousands of photos as the hummingbirds came to feed. We hated to leave the peaceful setting but our driver had arrived to take us back to Quito.
In Quito, we stayed at Mansion de Angel and the pampering continued. By this time of our trip we were a bit tired and really enjoyed spending a day just exploring the Quito neighborhood ourselves. In the evening, we had a luxurious dinner back at Mansion with dessert to follow.
The rooms at the Mansion made you feel like you were staying in your own private mansion. Ours had a entryway room, a sitting room, and living room, a huge bathroom, and a giant bedroom complete with a study desk nook at the end. We enjoyed the morning at the hotel, drank coffee, and relaxed.
That afternoon we again explored a bit around Quito and spent more time to complete our souvenir shopping at the local markets in the park. Back at the hotel we said goodbye to the staff (who had been absolutely exceptional during our stay) and walked around the courtyard one last time before heading off to the airport. All in all our Galapagos Multisport and Ecuador Adventures had been a trip packed with excitement and lots of activity, ending with rest and relaxation before returning to the real world back at home. Thank you Ecuador for sharing your beautiful wildlife, terrain, and people with us.