It's worth spending a night or two at this 700-hectare reserve, if only for the jaw-dropping panoramic views from its wooden geodesic dome lodge. There’s a library/restaurant/bar on the ground floor, over which are five small rooms topped by a two-story dormitory area with a shared bathroom, restaurant and balcony. If you prefer privacy, larger private cabins are nearby.
About a kilometer away is a research station with a kitchen for self-catering and a 12-bed dormitory for travelers on a budget.
This reserve is on the western Andean slopes at about 2000m above sea level. About 25% of it is primary forest, and the rest has been selectively or completely logged but is regenerating. It was one of the very first ecotourism projects in the area, and various conservation projects are always underway. There are 8km of well-marked trails, and the area is highly recommended by bird-watchers (320 species of birds have been recorded). Guests pay $8 to use the trails, guides cost $18/day, and a taxi from Mindo costs $50; from Quito, $70.
The first recorded olinguito, a racoon-like mammal new to science, was recorded here in 2013. It was the first new mammal 'discovered' in 35 years.