Las Gralarias Guest House is one of Ecuador´s finest birding and nature lodges. It is situated just south of the equator at an elevation of 6200 feet (2068 meters) and just two hours from Quito. This small lodge is located in the middle of the famous birding site Reserva Las Gralarias and provides first-class comfort and service while serving as a model for conservation and restoration of the western Andean Chocó cloud forest habitat. Conveniently situated just 2 miles (3.5 kilometers) from the main highway, the lodge is easily accessible. It was designed for the comfort of our clients - in fact, you can drive right up to the front door.
The climate is very pleasant with comfortable temperatures (50-80°F/10-28°C). Often in the early mornings the sun rises from clear blue skies dominated by stunning views of the distant Pichincha Volcano and nearby bird-filled forested hills. By late afternoon spectacular formations of cumulus clouds may occur, and sometimes there are days with overcast. Generally there is only some rain in the afternoon, often followed by amazing celestial palettes of color as the sun sets over the western Andes. The main rainy season is normally short, from March to May. At this altitude and climate few bothersome insects are ever noticed, and tropical diseases have never been reported in this area.
From the lodge you have access to over 7 miles (12 kilometers) of birdy, uncrowded, well-marked trails. We maintain three feeding stations for hummingbirds and frugivorous species such as tanagers and toucans. More than half of all the bird species found in the wider Mindo-Tandayapa-Milpe area have been recorded at Reserva Las Gralarias. We currently have a bird checklist of close to 300 species many of which are endemic to the Chocó Biogeographic Region of the Andes West Slope, and 12 species are considered to be at risk (p.65-66, Birds of Ecuador).
Specialties of the reserve include: Wattled Guan, Crested Guan, Hoary Puffleg, Dark-backed Wood-Quail, Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl, Golden-headed Quetzal, Crested Quetzal, Beautiful Jay, White-faced Nunbird, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Giant Antpitta, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Moustached Antpitta,Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Scaled Fruiteater, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Club-winged Manakin, Golden-winged Manakin, Olivaceous Piha, Powerful Woodpecker, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Yellow-vented Woodpecker, 7 species of parrots, 15 species of ovenbirds, 27 species of tanagers, mountain-tanagers and flower-piercers, 25 species of flycatchers, 26 species of hummingbirds and much more!
Our goal is to provide top quality birding and nature enjoyment in a comfortable setting while conserving the habitat and its avifauna. We sponsor local outreach environmental education programs, including a local birdwatching club for schoolchildren, as well as on-site research and are happy to hear from anyone interesting in volunteering to work at the reserve. The reserve encourages ongoing conservation-oriented biological research, not limited to avian fauna but including all aspects of tropical montane and cloud forest ecology.
We manage the reserve for the benefit of native flora and fauna and allow human visitors to enjoy the reserve in areas and ways that do not disturb the ecosystem. No trees were cut to build our buildings. Our constructions are 100% ecological, made with long-lasting non-toxic materials that require little maintenance. All buildings were constructed in previously pastured areas and the surrounding sites are now being replanted with bird-friendly plants and native trees. Our water system is rainfall, collected in roof-tubes and cisterns and filtered through a pumping system. Used water is collected in septic tanks and gray water is filtered through a drainage field.
Our human footprint at Las Gralarias is minimal and blends harmoniously with our beautiful and tranquil surroundings.
This lodge and reserve cater to birds, birders and nature-enthusiasts!
So, if you want top class birding and nature hikes without the crowds, this is the place for you!
We can provide transportation, complete accommodations and an on-site guide as well as full birding tours in this area and anywhere else in Ecuador.
17 April 2015: “So, I’ve been waiting to see your Ecuadorian home since 1996 and the giant earthworm since the party at Jean and Bob’s – 2005ish! !Por fin! And it was even more than I imagined. Segundo was superb – a perfect guide for all of us bio-nerd bird-loving fungus-finding friends! Of course 4 days wasn’t nearly enough! Thank you and good job!” SS, Glen Rose, TX, USA
7 April 2015: “One of the best wildlife experiences of my life! Birds, tayra, giant earthworms and so much more! You have done some wonderful things here. The staff obviously love the forest and are so well trained. Rooms very comfortable. I hope to come back to see bears!” SH & TT, Tarzali, Australia
9 February 2015: “What a superb place to visit and get to know the birds of the cloud forest. Thanks for all your efforts…Fabulous guides (Dusan & Mauricio), drivers (Rolando & Carlos), birds, company & food.” P&SR, Ontario, Canada.
1 February 2015: “Wow, we’re on overload after 286 life birds in 11 days! Thank you for all you’ve done to make this place for a “taste of pure jungle” for us Montanans. Your lodge was homey & relaxing – food delicious. Thanks for arranging all of our birding rides, guides, etc – great job.” G&LS, Montana, USA
1 February 2015: “A very wonderful place to start our exploring of birding available in South America. Thanx to the guides and all the staff at Las Gralarias. You have done a wonderful job not just for birding and the lodge but also conservation of habitat. Thank you very much.” R&BJ, Helena, Montana, USA
31 January -14 February 2015: “We’ve been so busy since getting home and I meant to get in touch much sooner to say thank you for our great stay with you. Everything was wonderful and it was great to meet you and see your lodge and reserve, and everything you have achieved. Mauricio and Carlos made a great team and we had lots of laughs as well as lots of great sightings. And please do thank Rose again for us – the food was excellent and made our stay even better. After we left we had an interesting drive across the Andes and through the roadworks! San Isidro lodge was lovely and thanks for booking Pablo for us – we had a great day with him and he’s an excellent guide. Rolando was excellent and made our last day a very memorable one…his endless energy and enthusiasm meant that we saw the seed snipe near Papallacta, and he also took us to see the condors at Antisana before dropping us off at the airport. A tiring day but worth it! I hope we thanked him enough for his efforts – do please let him know how grateful we are if you are in touch with him soon. Thanks again for organising our trip and for your hospitality. We’re very much hoping that we’ll be able to visit you again one day.” L&AV, UK
10 January 2015: “Richard y yo hemos pasado una semana inolvidable, las instalaciones son muy agradables, impecablemente mantenidas, y la comida una de las mejores tanta en calidad como en creatividad, que hemos tenido en nuestros viajes viendo aves. Se nota el gran esfuerzo que has hecho para tener este lugar tan exclusivo. Respecto a la naturaleza aparte de hermosa, Richard disfrutó mucho, los días que pasó buscando las aves, la dificultad de algunas de ellas para verse aumentó su placer en este viaje. Te deseamos un año lleno de éxitos y de terminación de las metas como la adquisición de ese espacio para unir los dos terrenos. ˇUn éxito en conservación!” E&RW, Mexico, DF, Mexico
23 November – 3 December 2014: “A wonderful experience! Dusan was a fountain of knowledge, especially his skill at bird calls. The food and lodge were even better than I expected. The drivers were outstanding also. It was a trip I’ll never forget. Thanks for the raptors, Dusan.” MM, Albuquerque, NM, USA
23-30 November 2014: “Thank you for taking care of us while we were here and thanks to Dusan for finding all these incredible birds. We will be back.” V&GW, Parma, OH, USA
26 November – 1 December 2014: “Thank you so much for an incredible experience on my first trip to Ecuador! You have a lovely reserve and I’m sure nobody leaves here disappointed. From the birds to the food to the nice oversized towels, everything was spot on. And most importantly the generosity from you and the staff made this visit unforgettable.” KK, Houston, TX, USA
28-30 Nov: “Thanks for a wonderful birding experience. This was my first birding trip and I’m hooked for life. Segundo was amazing. It was incredible the way he could spot the tiniest birds.” SP, New Haven, CT, USA
23 -30 Nov 2014: “What a great time birding and enjoying the sites. Very pleased with the tour that was great.” AT, Perth, W. Australia
23 Nov – 3 Dec 2014: “A wonderful experience! Dusan was a fountain of knowledge, especially his skill at bird calls. The food and lodge were even better than I expected. The drivers were outstanding also. It was a trip I’ll never forget. Thanks for the raptors, Dusan.” MM, Albuquerque, NM, USA
23-30 Nov 2014: “Thank you for taking care of us while we were here and thanks to Dusan for finding all these incredible birds. We will be back.” V&GW, Parma, OH, USA
26 Nov – 1 Dec 2014: “Thank you so much for an incredible experience on my first trip to Ecuador! You have a lovely reserve and I’m sure nobody leaves here disappointed. From the birds to the food to the nice oversized towels, everything was spot on. And most importantly the generosity from you and the staff made this visit unforgettable.” KK, Houston, TX, USA
17-24 October 2014: “We spent great nights and days at Las Gralarias. The best food in the whole 1 month trip throughout Ecuador. Great staff and trails we took every day. Happy to cme back again.” PB, sulasula.com, Czech Republic.
17-24 October 2014: “Thank you for your great hospitality. Everything was wonderful…amazing trails, I saw birds I have never seen J Thanks to Segundo or the glass frog !! and special thanks for amazing food!!” DN, Prague, Czech Republic.
19 October – 1 November 2014: “Exceeded expectation, both in terms of birds seen and hospitality received. Dusan is a superb bird guide. Food wonderful. Very restful. Hope to be back.” RL, E. Lothian, UK
19 October – 1 November 2014: “Many thanks for the excellent food, hospitality and birding. It was great to feel so well looked after, in such a special corner of the world.” MH, Dorset, UK
6-13 September 2014: “We had an unbelievable stay at Las Gralarias. The staff looked after us very well, clean house, friendly and quiet. Many birds in the park and we made many pictures. Mauricio found them and we photographed. Also our tours out of the reserve were fantastic. A truly good stay. We can recommend to any bird lover.” A&TH, Netherlands
12 August 2014: “This has been the most amazing and wonderful ten days. Las Gralarias is a fabulous place to stay and bird and our guide Dusan is a marvel. We can’t wait to come back!” TD&AB, Los Angeles, CA, USA
26 July - 1 August 2014 “Thank you for a brilliant bird-watching experience. And magnificent hospitality. As well as an unsurpassable guiding experience from Gabriel. The food was superb and room very comfortable. It is the best bird-watching holiday we have ever had. Can’t wait to come back!” JC&DC, London, UK
24 May 2014: "Took an amazing night hike to see the glass frogs! Unforgettable!! Had fun with all the hummingbirds and all the other wildlife." KO, Dallas, TX, USA.
24 May 2014: "Unbelievable time at RLG - never dreamed of seeing so many birds, animals and plants in one week. Enjoyed eating also - probably too much!" KH, Miss., USA
23 February 2014: "Thanks for hosting a wonderful stay at Las Gralarias. It left us with a taste for returning for a longer time. You have assembled a friendly and competent team who genuinely enjoy what they are doing and do it well. Javier's meals were very tasty, especially the squash soup. Rosie was always helpful and efficient. Your input was also positive. We enjoyed the "introductory tour" and the morning on the roof listening to the Toucan Barbet duet will long be remembered. Be sure that I will recommend your reserve to birder friends here in Mexico and the US." T&NJ, Mexico City, Mexico.
12-17 January 2014: "For an 'old-worlder' this could not have been a more exciting, enticing and rewarding experience of and introduction to the 'new' world of South America. Your lodge is an example of what low-intensity tourism should be - all necessary comforts, expertly well-run, welcoming, in harmony with its environment, and with the most helpful, friendly, efficient staff imaginable. Thank you all for your thoughtful contributions to a happy visit. I am enthralled also by your forest - truly magical - and in awe of the efforts that you must have put into its creation. And of course the birds - the beautiful, diverse, accommodating, exuberant birds. I got so much out of the experience - as a rank amateur - and am totally hooked. Thank you to Dusan and Rolando for their vision and their knowledge. And to Ecuador with its depth and breadth of nature, beauty, wonderful people, and the efforts people are making to sustain nature and wildlife. Hasta la vista." JP, London, UK.
12-17 January 2014: "This is a most 'feliz reencuentro'. What a wonderful way to use your marvelous talents. So happy to see some of our Panama birds in their Ecuadorian home but especially to see Chocó and Tumbesian endemics. So much to discover! The lovely people you surround yourself with in this magical place made this a lovely memorable experience. Thank you!" CE, Panama.
30 December 2013: "Wanted to say thank you for all your help at Reserva Las Gralarias and elsewhere - that was a huge bonus for me and I really appreciate it. I have attached two low-res photos of the Colombian Screech-Owl. I will sort a few more and send in due course...It was an amazing trip and in the end I saw 656 species. Thanx again!" CA, Manitoba, Canada.
30 January 2013: "We had such a great time on the birding tour recently!You are a wonderful hostess making all feel right at home! Anyone who can put me at ease having just spied a tarantula in the bathroom minutes after arriving must know plenty about making people feel comfortable!Dusan was a delightful guide, the staff were helpful, the accommodations beautiful, and the food delicious! We are forever grateful for the time to absorb the gifts Ecuador and her people extended to us. A favorite author of mine, Jan Phillips , wrote... I am steeped in the mystery of holy communion, of known and unknown, energy and mass, heaven and earth.Certainly, I felt this to be true of the places and people visited. So glad we found your tour. Thanks for your graciousness." PL, Nebraska USA
30 November 2012:“Fantastic place.Thanks so much for the great hospitality!Good luck with your efforts to save more of this beautiful country.”RP, Houston, TX, USA
23 November 2012:“Thanks so much for making our stay here so wonderful – we very much enjoyed our Ecuador birding adventure and seeing the great conservation work that you are doing here to preserve this wonderful place.We hope to return soon.Best wishes for your work here.”L&RA-M, Reno, NV, USA
23 November 2012:“What a magical place, and special people too.Wonderful food and sauces and desserts.Many thanks.I hope to return one day. “ JR, Salem, OR, USA
19 October 2012:“We had such a wonderful time.Las Gralarias is beautiful and the birding fantastic!Everyone was lovely and the food and accommodations wonderful.Our compliments to the chef!The guide has been sensational – so enthusiastic and caring and fun.The driver is a wonderful driver and a good spotter.Thank you so much.We hope to do another trip with you.You certainly have a piece of paradise.” C&DC, New York City, NY, USA
26 September 2012:“The long journey here was (as we thought it would be) immensely well worth it.We have much enjoyed all the birds and the company and efficiency of you all, and would recommend to anybody who wants to see this lovely part of Ecuador to visit you.Muchas gracias!!” A&PB, Australia
5 September 2012:“Thanks very much to Jane and all the staff for your hospitality and putting up with me for 2 months.I had some of my best birding days here and will certainly be back, mainly to see Olive Finch!” ML, London, UK
8 August 2012:“Thank you to everyone for giving us a really great time!Fantastic birding!I really hope that we can come back sometime.” J&ID, Australia
26 October 2011: “Wonderful stay, wonderful birds, great people! We hope you can keep buying more land and preserve more of this amazing habitat.” DQ, St. Louis, MO, USA.
26 October 2011: “The reserve is beautiful and especially nice when Tim reveals the birds and butterflies, Jane shares the history and Vicki´s quiet grace makes everything function well. This is a slow birder´s paradise. http://slowbirding.wordpress.com.” JS, St. Louis, MO, USA.
28 September 2011: “Karen and I really enjoyed both the forest and your hospitality and we shall return.” TM & KW, Dallas, TX, .USA
13 September 2011: “Many thanks Jane. It is always a pleasure to visit you here in Paradise. I enjoyed the trails. I hope to return soon.” JA, Brownsville, TX, USA.
11 September 2011: “Fantastic trekking around the ridges and valleys with fantastic birdlife. The jays were special. Thank you for your hospitality.” AB, Wiltshire, UK.
August 2011: “It was really special getting to stay here. Thanks for all the fabulous conservation work. Hope to see you again soon!!” CJ, West Columbia, TX.
August 2011: “Really enjoyed our stay and the wonderful conservation action here at LG! Thanks for everything.” CR & MG, Lake Jackson, TX, USA.
August 2011: “It is a beautiful & remarkable place with wonderful birds and habitat. Thank you all for your dedication to conservation. Buena suerte to you all.” J&SH, Port Aransas, TX, USA.
21 August 2011: “This place is just fantastic!” DA, Toronto, Canada.
22-24 April 2011: “Wonderful, really enjoyed and looking forward, hopefully, to returning one day in the not too distant future when I´ll look forward to seeing good birds again and gaining weight from the delicious, large helpings of food.”, CS, Luton, UK
19-21 March, 2011: “We had a great time in this lovely place and enjoyed wonderful birdlife in our stay. This place is very comfortable and hummingbirds very special. Thanks. ” Kari Haataja, Erkki Virolainen, Marcus Wickman. Jussi Vakkala, Markku Vakiala, Jarkko Pajunen, Timo Tallgren, Tuomas Seimola, Finland
17 January 2011: “Just a note to tell you how much I appreciated my stay at the Reserve last week. Everything went fantastically well, and I was honored to have met you and Dusan. The birding was spectacular, and the company was second to none. You do good work there, and I hope to come down again to explore some of the other locales in your area. Thanks again for everything. (Got snowed in at Miami upon my return-all NY airports were closed; although staying overnight in Miami during a New York blizzard wasn't the worst thing in the world). “ BF, NYC, USA
2 January 2011: “This was an incredible way to end 2010 and begin 2011 – awesomeness on both ends! Your cook outdid herself on our New Year´s Eve dinner, which is saying something given all the excellent meals we have had every day…To say our birding experience has been mind-blowing is just to repeat what everyone else says but we all say it because it´s true. Thank you for all you´re doing to retain and restore this environment and to have constructed a space that allows visitors to come and enjoy it. Mil gracias!” FB&BB, Arkansas, USA
26 November 2010: “Thanks for a wonderful week – warm hospitality, exciting “new” interesting birds, beautiful lodge & surroundings! Hope to come back again.” AM, Lafayette Hill, PA,USA
26 November 2010: “ With much appreciation we had an excellent time in Ecuador. Thanks for making our stay comfortable and delicious. We´ve added hundreds of birds to our life list. ´Til next time!” JD´A & KH, San Mateo, CA, USA
8 November 2010: “Somewhere in the universe of space, must exist a very similar place, with its Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owls, and idyllic pastures without cows, But surely there cannot be, a more gracious host than thee!!! Thanks Jane!! Fabulous place…cannot believe we haven´t been here before. We´ll be back!” M&RF, Austin, TX, USA
25-31 October 2010: "Just wanted to again thank you from both Marcia and I for arranging such a wonderful tour of Northwestern Ecuador - Dusan was a wonderful and knowledgeable bird guide - his expertise allowed us to identify approximately 350 birds during our week trip. Las Gralarias Guest House was very comfortable and the meals were great. We enjoyed all the different reserves and areas of birdings that were included in the tour. We will have many enjoyable memories of our stay and experiences during the week. We hope to be able to join another bird tour next year in Ecuador and will contact you to make those arrangements. In the mean time - Happy Birding - keep the bears away -." NR, New York City, NY, USA.
20 April 2010: “Thank you so much for all the great food, great laughs and wonderful nature! It has been quite a pleasure.” AS, Austin, TX, USA
20 April 2010: “An incredible and enchanting place. Plus such fantastic food! Would love to visit in every season. Thanks for a wonderful time – so relaxing!” AS, Austin, TX, USA
20 April 2010: “Thank you for such a lovely experience, amazing & incredible. We want to bring all our friends … and the rest of our family!” RB & SS, Austin, TX, USA
19 February 2010: “Great place and friendly people –love to come back.” WC, Canada
19 February 2010: “I had a wonderful time seeing all the great birds and the beautiful country. Everyone was super nice! Thanks for the memorable week.” RD, Science Hill, KY, USA
19 February 2010: “Good birds, good food & good dancing! Thank you for the memories.” HC, Murray, KY, USA
19 February 2010: “Jane, you are to be lauded for the time and money you have put in to making this place heaven for birds and birders. Your goals are being met. The good Lord is smiling down on you. Peace.” ME, Murray, KY, USA
19 February 2010: “Thank you Jane and Dusan for a wonderful time, great food, and fantastic birds”. PH, Salem, Ark, USA
19 February 2010: “What a wonderful oasis. Thank you. (BTW, Dusan is a “keeper”.)” L&LW, Fairfax, VA, USA
27 January 2010: “Thanks Jane and Dusan for fabulous food, birds and stories. We look forward to our return.” NH & SS, West Hartford, CT, USA
17 January 2010: "Thanks Jane for a wonderful stay at your great facility. This was my first visit to the countryside of Ecuador and it will certainly not be my last - thanks in part to your hospitality & the great birding in Ecuador!!" BM, Helena, Montana, USA
17 January 2010: "Thanks for a very nice stay. The Colombia Screech-Owl and Hoary Puffleg put on nice shows." RA, Quito, Ecuador
17 January 2010: "Thank you Jane, Cristina and staff. What a lovely place, fine accommodations, great hospitality & cuisine, not to mention the all too wonderful birds. We have had a fabulous adventure." C&JP, Maui, Hawaii, USA
11 January 2010: "It´s been a wonderful five days - not nearly long enough. Your hospitality is the best and is greatly appreciated. Never have we felt so welcome and comfortable - all in addition to superb birds. A great team - providing delicious food and an excellent trail system. Thanks so much for making our stay so special." R&SR, Tucson, Arizona, USA
29 November 2009: "Some great birds - 4 antpitta sp in one day at Paz de las Aves and ending up with Cloud-Forest Pygmy-Owl at Las Gralarias. We enjoyed the Oilbirds too. Not enough time to see Las Gralarias properly, so have to come back...A very comfortable stay and Dusan was a great guide!" RS & WP, Toronto, Canada
Copyright 2016. Reserva Las Gralarias. All rights reserved.