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You are here:3.7 Guandera Natural Reserve

3.7 Guandera Natural Reserve

The 1,000 hectare Guandera reserve is owned and protected by Jatun Sacha Fundation.  It is located in the Carchi province, and it shares many of the habitats and species found at Cerro Mongus.  The Guandera Reserve upper montane forest is dominated by the “Guandera” tree Clusia flaviflora, which gives the reserve its name.  The upper grassland Páramo also presents the “Frailejones”, Espeletia pynochephala. The area is located between 3000 m to 4100 m.



Páramo Grassland, Elfin Forest, Temperate Forest.



Guandera Natural Reserve

You can go to this site after your visit to Cerro Mongus or El Angel Ecological Reserve. The Guandera Reserve administration can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..%20You">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You have to prearrange your visit beforehand. The prices are US $ 20 per day for Ecuadorian citizens and US $ 33 per day for foreigners.

For further information you can call the Jatun Sacha office in Quito phones: (2) 2432 240, (2) 2432 173, (2) 3317 163 or (2) 3318 191.  The Guandera Reserve Field Station has two huts with 3 rooms each.  Each hut holds two persons in bunk beds, and the bathrooms are shared among the visitors.  Accommodations include all meals.  There is hot water in the showers and that is a treat.

It is not necessary to have a four wheel drive vehicle to visit the preserve.  There is public transportation from the Pan American Highway to the small town of Mariscal Sucre.  It is also possible to take a bus from Ibarra to Tulcan and get off in San Jose de Huaca.

Here in Huaca you can hire a pickup truck or a taxi to take you to the small town of Mariscal Sucre, and on beyond to where the trailhead to the Guandera reserve begins.



Guandera Natural Reserve

If you are continuing from your visit to Cerro Mongus or El Angel Biological Reserve, please see the birding instructions in those subchapters that tell how to get to those sites.   From the Oasis Hosteria in Imbaquí, drive for 7.0 km toward north to Piquiucho.   Here after crossing the bridge over the Rio El Chota, Piquiucho will be on your right.   From this point drive another 52.6 km, or 57.6 km from Oasis Hosteria, to a virgin shrine along the road.  Beyond this shrine about 0.3 km more, or 57.9 km from Oasis Hosteria, there will be a turn of off to El Angel on your left.  This turn off we will call point 0.0 km for future reference. 

If you are in El Angel and want to visit Guandera, return to where the road heading to El Angel starts along the Pan American highway. We will call this point 0.0 km for future references. From this point keep driving toward San   Gabriel and beyond toward Tulcan for 26.7 km.   At this point you will see a bus stop with a roof on your right and a dirt road adjacent to it. Take this side road and call it point 0.0 toward Guandera.

When coming from the north along the Pan American highway before getting to the side road heading to Guanderas, you have to go through Huaca.  From Huaca town, drive along the highway for 1.1 km until reaching a gas station.   From this gas station drive another 2.7 km or 3.8 km from Huaca, and after a slight curve to the right, you will see a bus stop with a roof on the left.   Right before the bus stop, there is the dirt road heading to Guandera. Reset your odometer to 0.0 km for future references.

(Click here to download Map. Guandera Reserve).   

Once you leave the Pan American Highway 0.0 km, drive for 0.2 km until you find a fork. Take the road to your right. Drive for further 0.1 km. Here you come to yet another fork at 0.3 km from the Pan American highway. At this point take the road on your left descending along the hill and drive for further 3.4 km or 3.7 km from the Pan American Highway.  At this point you will come to another fork. Take the left road toward the small town of Mariscal Sucre and drive for 0.4 km more. Here you will find a bus stop right before entering Mariscal Sucre at 4.1 km from the Pan American highway.   Drive into town until reaching the main plaza. Turn right on the main plaza and drive out of town. You will come to a yet another fork, here turn left driving along the soccer field until you reach a fork. This point is at 6.5 km from the Pan American highway.  Take the road to the right and drive for further 1.7 km or 8.2 km from the Pan American highway.  At this point there will be a fork on the road.  Take the road on the right, and drive for further 0.2 km, or 8.4 km from the Pan American highway. Here you will find another fork.  Take a left turn and drive for further 0.5 km or 8.9 km from the Pan American highway.  At this point you will come to a yet another fork. Take the left road and drive for further 2.2 km or 11.1 km from the Pan American highway. At this point there will be a crossroad, stay on the main road and drive for further 0.4 km more or 11.5 km from the Pan American highway. Here you will come to another fork. Take the left road and drive 1.4 km or 12.9 km from the Pan American highway.  Here you will see a house on your left.   Depending on the road condition you might not be able to drive any further. Being that the case, park here and ask the land owner to guard your vehicle.  If road condition allow, take the left road and drive up the hill for further 0.5 km or 13.4 km from the Pan American highway.   This is the end of the road and the beginning of trail heading to Guanderas Research Station.  The first section of the 0.8 km trail is downhill, but most of the trail is level and easy walking.

From the research station there are several trails heading to different directions. The most interesting trail is the loop trail heading to Páramo. This is a self guided trail and the lower area a good place to look for the Crescent-faced Antpitta. At the point where the trail reaches the Elfin Forest you look for the rare Chestnut-bellied Cotinga.   On the way up to the Páramo listen for the piping song of the Crescent-faced Antpitta.   Other difficult species here include Black-thighed Puffleg, Undulated Antpitta and Ocellated Tapaculo.


Birds to look for

Guandera Natural Reserve

Grasslands   (G), Second-growth (2G), Forest (F), Stunted Forest (SF).

Common: Plain.breasted Hawk (G,2G,F, SF),  Carunculated Caracara (G,2G,F, SF), Andean   Guan (2G, F), Band-tailed Pigeon (G,2G,F, SF), White-capped Parrot (F), Mountain   Velvetbreast (2G, F),  Great   Sapphirewing (2G, F), Buff-winged Starfrontlet (2G, F), Golden-breasted   Puffleg (2G, F), Black-thighed Puffleg (2G, F), Purple-backed Thornbill (2G,   F), Tyrian Metaltail(G,2G,F, SF), Rainbow-bearded Thornbill (2G, F), Gray-breasted   Mountain-Toucan (F,2G), White-throated Tyrannulet (2G, F), White-banded   Tyrannulet (2G, F), Agile Tit-Tyrant(2G, F), Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant (SF,G),   Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant (G,2G,F, SF), Red-crested Cotinga (2G, F),   Mountain Wren (2G, F),  Rufous Wren (2G,   F), Pale-footed Swallow (2G,F, SF), Brown-bellied Swallow (G,2G,F, SF),   Spectacled Whitestart (2G,F, SF), Citrine Warbler (2G,F, SF), Black-crested   Warbler (2G,F, SF), Hooded Mountain-Tanager (2G,F, SF), Black-chested   Mountain-Tanager (F), Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager (2G, F), Lacrimose   Mountain-Tanager (F), Black-headed Hemispingus (2G,F), Superciliaried Hemispingus   (2G, F), Pale-naped Brush-Finch (2G, F), Slaty Brush-Finch (2G, F), Stripe-headed   Brush-Finch (2G, F), Andean Siskin (2G, F).

Uncommon: White-throated Hawk (Seasonal G,2G,F, SF)  Plain-breasted Hawk (2G, F), Noble Snipe (G),   Andean Snipe (G), Andean Pygmy-Owl (2G, F), Rufous-banded Owl (F,2G), Rufous-bellied   Nighthawk (F), Swallow-tailed Nighjar (2G), Shining Sunbeam (2G, F), Sapphire-vented   Puffleg (2G, F), Masked Trogon (2G, F),  Bar-bellied Woodpecker (F), White-browed   Spinetail (2G, F),  White-chinned   Thistletail (2G, F), Rufous Antpitta (2G, F), Tawny Antpitta (G), Páramo   Tapaculo (2G, F),Ocellated Tapaculo (F), Black-capped Tyrannulet (2G, F),   Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant (F), Crowned Chat-Tyrant (2G,F), Barred Fruiteater   (F), Turquoise Jay (2G, F), White-capped Dipper (2G, F),  Páramo Pipit (G), Golden-crowned Tanager (2G,   F), Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager (2G,F), Black-backed Bush-Tanager(F), Black-capped   Hemispingus (F), Páramo Seedeater (2G,F).

Rare: Curve-billed Tinamou (G), Aplomado Falcon (G), White-throated   Screech-Owl (F), Short-eared Owl (G), Glowing Puffleg (2G), Green-tailed   Trainbearer (2G), Blle-mantled Thornbill (2G, F), Rufous Spinetail (2G, F), Undulated   Antpitta (F), Crescent-faced Antpitta (F), Ocellated Tapaculo (F), Red-rumped   Bush-Tyrant (G), Chestnut-bellied Cotinga (SF), White-capped Tanager (2G,F),Masked   Mountain-Tanager (F), Slaty Finch (2G, F).

Copyright © 2010 by Lelis Navarrete

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Meet the Author

Lelis Navarrete – Birding tour leader. Lelis has 19 years of experience as a birding guide and naturalist in the field. He has led groups of birders throughout most of Latin America, guiding frequently in countries like his native country of Ecuador and in the Galapagos Islands, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Panama. A Biology B.Sc. graduate from Universidad Católica in Quito, Lelis has supported Jocotoco Foundation since its founding in 1998 and was an active Board Member until 2010 supporting Ecuadorian bird and wildlife conservation. Lelis divides his time between his two great passions in life: birding and spending time with his wife Solange and son Fabian with whom he lives in Quito.


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