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About Us

Las Tangaras is a 50-hectare ecological reserve managed by Life Net Nature (, a non-profit conservation organization. Set in spectacular cloud forest near Mindo (100 km west of Quito, Ecuador), the protected area provides habitat for native plants and animals associated with tropical montane forest.  As a buffer property for the Mindo-Nambillo Bosque Protector, Las Tangaras provides wildlife with additional habitat at elevations typically deforested for pasture and agriculture.

Along with protecting native species, we host visitors who seek peaceful times in tropical nature, and we maintain a small facility for students and scientists wishing to pursue research of tropical montane forest ecosystems. We invite “ecologically minded” visitors – birdwatchers, photographers, and students of wildlife conservation.

For more information or reservations please contact us. Email  In Ecuador call or WhatsApp 099-058-7084. Internationally, WhatsApp +593-99-058-7084.

We offer:

  • Guided visits to an Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek, with up to 18 cocks displaying at any one time (please note that the number of males displaying varies by season).
  • A network of trails, camping areas, and river and waterfall swimming holes easily reached from the reserve lodge.
  • A large diversity of birdlife, including 15 species of hummingbird at feeders, and many Choco endemics.
  • A stay at a beautiful and comfortable lodge with hot showers, flush toilet, library, etc., and the option of delicious homemade meals.

Volunteering as a Reserve Assistant:

Join us at the Reserve for an incredible experience living in, learning about, and exploring the cloud forest. Volunteers assist with ongoing biological monitoring of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, hummingbirds, and avian diversity. Potential management activities include: reforestation with native trees, creation of signs and educational materials for visitors, helping with tree nursery, orchard and garden, trail and reserve maintenance, and anything else we need to accomplish at the reserve! If you have experience in a certain area we can certainly use your help and appreciate new ideas. We include free time during the day and weekends for you to explore and relax, but expect a contribution of at least 20 hrs per week.

A volunteer may stay for 1-4 weeks ($10/day). This donation only covers lodge accommodation. Food is agreed upon with the current managers, but typically is about $5/ day. A stay of at least one week ensures that you get the most out of your experience! We would be excited to have you volunteer at the reserve and we thank you in advance!

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us by email at or by WhatsApp for more information.

Please check the website ( and facebook page ( for other volunteering and other opportunities for engaging with the reserve.  You may also sign up for the Life Net Nature newsletter HERE.

Staying at the reserve:

Las Tangaras Reserve is a remote location with limited solar power and basic but comfortable sleeping arrangements. Overnight visitors enjoy the lovely varnished floor in the spacious loft of the research cabin.  Single bed mattresses, sheets, blankets and mosquito nets are provided.

Reservations in advance are much appreciated by the reserve managers and will ensure that we meet you upon arrival and are ready to host you.

Arriving from Mindo:

It is possible to walk (1hr) or to take a taxi (15min) from Mindo to the reserve trailhead, which is about 3km outside of town. A taxi generally costs $5 and can easily be found at the taxi stand in town. Walking to the reserve entrance from Mindo takes approximately an hour or more depending on how often you stop to look at scenery or amazing birds! The trailhead is located on the same road as the canopy tours, Tarabita, and Cascada Nambillo. The entrance is found on the right-hand side of the road (coming from Mindo) about 150 meters before reaching the Tarabita.

From the trailhead on the road, access to the lodge is along a rugged mountain trail. It takes about 45 minutes to hike from the trailhead at the road to the lodge following the signs and arrows directing you to the reserve.  You will reach a gate that seems locked (but is not), and then on to the reserve bridge crossing the Nambillo River. Cross the bridge and follow signs up to the lodge. The entrance trail and reserve trails are often muddy, so rubber boots or hiking boots are strongly recommended.

There is also a long driveway through the large yellow gate uphill from the foot path.  Our neighbor permits taxis and personal vehicles to access Reserva las Tangaras using the road, but you must arrange this by contacting us ahead of time.  It is only 5 minutes to a parking area at the bottom of that road. In the rainy season (January – April) you will need 4-wheel drive vehicle as the road can be quite muddy and slippery on steep parts.

Las Tangaras is an exciting back-country/wilderness experience, so plan accordingly.  The cabin is quite comfortable and spacious once reached, but getting there and back requires on foot requires skill with hiking on rugged mountain trails.

Good items to bring:

  • Flashlight or headlamp – the reserve also has a few to lend
  • Rain coat and other rain gear
  • Bug spray/insect repellent
  • Rubber boots – There are boots available to rent for $1 a day at the lodge (there is a selection of mid-range adult sizes).
  • Cash – We have no means of processing credit cards.
  • Camera for photographing all the amazing birds, plants, and wildlife – charged batteries and extra memory cards recommended
  • A sense of adventure

Email or Call/WhatsApp us at 099-058-7084 for more information and reservations.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2013 11:49 pm

    Is there another way to arrive at reserve without crossing that open bridge( by foot around it)?


    • November 28, 2013 10:00 am

      Well the bridge is fixed now and completely safe. However, if you would like to reach the reserve without using it it would require crossing the river on foot. It is only a few feet deep and can be crossed with a backpack, but the bridge is the easiest way


      • May 29, 2014 5:24 pm

        Now in rainy season is possible to cross the river?


  2. david droit permalink
    April 9, 2014 9:03 pm

    The ATM in Mindo does not work with some cards, so bring cash. There is a hostal in Mindo for $7, Sacha, for those coming in too late to make it to the reserve same day.


  3. July 15, 2014 2:59 pm

    I spent one night in Las Tangaras this year and was observing Cock of the rocks in the morning. Unfortunately I didn’t succeed in making interesting photos of them but I made a few photos of humming-birds in the hut area. I am not able to identify them. May I sent you a few of them by e-mail or somehow to give them a proper name?


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