Tapichalaca Reserve


The small Tapichalaca Reserve, 75km south of Vilcabamba, protects one of Ecuador’s most rare and endangered birds, the jocotoco antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi), which has fewer than 20 known breeding pairs. Some of the birds have been habituated to eating grubs put out by the caretaker, however, so a sighting is likely. The rest of the reserve is an oasis of cloud forest in a region of heavy deforestation, and the hummingbird feeders are abuzz all day. To get there in time for the antpittas’ breakfast, catch the 5am bus from Loja or spend the night at the reserve’s beautiful lodge.

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