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Northwestern Andean


The Northwestern Andean montane forests form a part of an ecoregion on the Andes mountains. It is located in the west of Colombia and Ecuador. Both flora and fauna are exceptionally different as a result of the impact of ice ages due to the warmer weather zones move apart and cooler zones unite and the reverse phenomenon happens during interglacial intervals. Since the environment is hospitable to people, the habitat has been radically changed by farming and grazing since Pre-Columbian age.


Location: Ecuador

Area: 81,325 sq.km (31,400 sq mi)

Famous for: Scenery and Starry Skies

Months Open: All year

Best time to visit: June to September


Native animals and plants



The Northwestern Andean montane forests ecoregion extends across the Cordillera Occidental (Western Range) of the Andes in Colombia and the Cordillera Occidental of Ecuador. It covers a region of 8,132,562 hectares (20,096,000 yards).

In the north, the ecoregion combines with the Magdalena-Urabá moist forests ecoregion. Throughout the majority of its length in Colombia, it changes on the west into the Chocó-Darién moist forests and about the east into the Cauca Valley montane forests. In its southern segment that the ecoregion changes in the moist forests into the west and in the east it changes into the Eastern Cordillera Real montane woods.


The ecoregion covers the wide area of elevation of the western range of the Andes that includes massifs and isolated peaks at the top.


In a sample place at Orientation 2.25°N 77.75°W that the Köppen climate classification is Af: equatorial, entirely humid. [4] Mean temperatures vary from 25.8 °C (78.4 °F) in November to 26.4 °C (79.5 °F) in March. Total yearly rainfall is roughly three thousand three hundred millimeters (130 in). Monthly rainfall varies from 179.8 millimeters (7.08 in) in August to 332.3 millimeters (13.08 in) in June.

What to see

  • Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve (Laguna Banos)Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve is a national park situated along the equator and 38 km away from Quito in Ecuador. The Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve is one of the most beautiful National Parks in Ecuador. Ferns, lycopods, and bunchgrasses are mainly found in this reserve. The reserve has nearly 100 species of endemic plants. You can also see large birds like hawks and Andean condors flying in the sky. Apart from large birds, you can spot wild animals like foxes, deer, spectacled bears, and rabbits. This national park is a home for 106 species of mammals, 395 species of birds, 116 species of amphibians and 70 species of reptiles.

  • Quilotoa EcuadorQuilotoa is the most western volcano of Ecuadorian Andes and it is a water-filled caldera. On bright days, it is easy to enjoy the panoramic view of Quilotoa village. One can reach this place via bus or taxi. It is a 30 minutes hike from the viewpoint to the base of the crater. There is a bowl-shaped lake at the bottom of this crater and camping is allowed over here but one has to carry basic necessities like drinking water, food, and bedding. The lake surface is situated at an altitude of 3500 meters and the total volume of water stored in this lake is 0.35 km3 .

  • Ingapirca EcuadorIngapirca town is situated in the Canar Province of Ecuador. It is famous for Inca ruins, archeological sites, and the Sun temple known for its spectacular elliptical-shaped building.

  • Cuenca EcuadorCuenca city is situated in the southern Ecuador Andes mountains. It is famous for the Tomebamba river, handicrafts, Parque Calderon, blue-domed Catedral Nueva, and 16th century Catedral Vieja. The center of the city is one of the UNESCO world’s heritage sites for having historical buildings.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Night at Puerto.

Day 2: Leave early morning for Yanacocha Reserve on the Pichincha Volcano. Situated in waters woods, Yanacocha is home to a range of species that is intriguing. Descend through subtropical and temperate woods that are untouched in the city of Nono.

Days 3-7: Spend five days to explore the birding locations.

Day 8: Drive straight back toward Quito.

How to reach

Via Flight

Take a flight to reach Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito Ecuador. There are daily flights for Amsterdam, Atlanta, Houston, Madrid, Miami, New York, Buenos Aires, Bonaire, Caracas, Bogotá, Lima, Medellín, Cali, Panama City, Punta Cana, Santiago de Chile, and San Jose.

By bus

Terminal Quitumbe (situated in the far south of Quito), provides bus services to for south of Quito, coastal states, Amazonian states, mountain area (Sierra) states except two: Carchi and Imbabura

By train

The railroad station is at the end of this town, near the El Trole route. Consult the Visitors' Bureau to get information about the train time table.

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