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We are here and ready for visitors!

August 10, 2020

We are finally here at Las Tangaras! We applied for the position of reserve stewards almost a year ago and getting here to start work has been no easy task. Understandably Ecuador is enforcing strict security measures to control the spread of covid-19. For us this meant arriving into Quito from the UK with negative corona tests, carrying all the paperwork to prove we would be working at Las Tangaras and an address in Quito where we would quarantine.

We spent our quarantine at a guesthouse in Quito called Casa Bellavista. Despite not being able to venture outside we were made to feel very comfortable and welcome. The guesthouse kindly organised food for us and put so much effort into every meal. As a result, we are desperate to try cooking some Ecuadorian dishes ourselves and they will go on the guest menu at Las Tangaras once we are happy with them.

Once our quarantine was completed, we set off for Mindo. The two hour drive is stunning and offers beautiful views of the dry forests of Quito which then give way to cloud forest of Mindo as the altitude decreases. The winding roads of the journey are enough to make even the most hardened traveller feel a bit queasy. As I demonstrated. Twice. Giving me another reason to be thrilled to arrive in Mindo.

Mindo is a pretty tourist town full of small hostels and restaurants with almost every wall covered by murals of the local bird life. There is a huge variety of fruits and vegetables in the towns shops, including fruits we’d never heard of like naranjilla and tree tomato. The famous bird life also starts appearing in the town. Black vultures circle the roads, parrots fly in flocks overhead and hummingbirds feed from flowerpots. Getting to Las Tangaras from Mindo was a short taxi ride and then a hike with our backpacks down the valley to the reserve cabin. We were welcomed to the reserve by our first toucan sighting and quickly spotted one of the famous Andean cock-of-the-rock’s just outside the cabin.

Toucan Reserva Las Tangaras

Our first glimpse of a toucan.

If you love nature, Las Tangaras is the place to be. Just sitting on the veranda, you can watch hummingbirds feeding, hear the Nambillo river rushing past and watch the clouds roll down the valley. Still, we have work to do. Since the reserve hasn’t been manned for a few months all the trails are overgrown and there are kilometres of it to clear. Usually a machete each is enough to allow us to clear the majority of growth but large trees have fallen since the trails were last cleared so we bring a saw and an axe along as well. It’s physically demanding work but we are getting there. On the plus side the fresh air, fresh food and intense daily exercise is toning us up. In other words, we look gorgeous. Actually I look gorgeous. The mosquitos here apparently love Phil so he’s got a more “handsome but possibly contagious” aesthetic.

Other than maintenance and clearing trails, our days are spent focusing on the birdlife. We survey the hummingbirds each day and are getting to grips with recognising individuals in the nearby Andean cock-of-the-rock lek. It is amazing to have a whole nature reserve to ourselves for a while and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors so they can enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest. The trails are now up to scratch so come and visit us!

Philip Guy Sophie Collier Las Tangaras Nature Reserve

Phil and Sophie (us!)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Marc Kramer permalink
    August 10, 2020 1:30 pm

    Have fun, stay safe, and say hi to the hummingbirds for us! -Marc & Eliana (Managers ’14)


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