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You are here:4.2.4 Guango Lodge and Cuyuja Alder forest

4.2.4 Guango Lodge and Cuyuja Alder forest

The Guango Lodge forest and the Cuyuja Alder forest are located in the Napo province. The sites are privately own. The Cuyuja forest is formed by several plots of land owned by various farmers near the small town of Cuyuja at 2450 m.  The Guango Lodge is owned and protected by the Bustamante Family and is located at 2700 m.   Guango and the Cuyuja forest are easily accessed by the E28 highway.  The surrounding forest from Guango and Cuyuja has over 130 recorded species.



Upper Montane Forest.



Guango Lodge and Cuyuja Alder forest.

You can visit the Guango Lodge forest and the Cuyuja Alder forest after visiting the Papallacta Lake and Termas de Papallacta.  There is plenty of bus transportation running along the E28, or Interoceánica highway.  You can catch a bus at the Cumandá Bus Terminal.  Ask for bus lines heading to Lago Agrio or Coca and Baeza.   You can also jump on one of these buses after having visited PapallactaLake and the Termas de Papallacta.  The birding in the Guango and Cuyuja forest is performed only on foot.  Once you get to entrance to the sites, there is no need for any kind of transportation.  To visit the Cuyuja alder forest there is no need to make prior arrangements.

Guango lodge also takes day visitors.  The daily fee is $5 US per person which allows you to visit the Hummingbird feeders and various trails.   Guango Lodge is a great place to stay as it is surrounded by forest, and there is always great bird activity near the main lodge.    Information about Guango Lodge can be obtained at: or writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling to (2) 2547 403 in working hours from Monday to Friday.



Guango Lodge and Cuyuja Alder forest.

If you are continuing from your visit to Papallacta Lake and Termas de Papallacta, you can obtain instructions as to how to continue to this site from the chapter on Papallacta Lake and Termas de Papallacta.  Directions to the Guango Lodge and Cuyuja Alder Forest begin at the entrance road to Termas de Papallacta, here called 0.0 km.

From the Termas de Papallacta entrance road 0.0 km drive down the road toward and through the town of Papallacta.  After driving through the small Papallacta town for only 1.6 km you will be joining the E28 highway one more time.  Continue down the highway for another 6.9 km or 8.5 km from the Termas de Papallacta entrance road, and you will cross over the Chalpi Grande River Bridge.   Park in the open area on the right side after crossing the bridge.  Go onto the bridge and scan the stream for Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper.  Once you enter the forest trail, continue looking for these water birds at any spot where you can see the stream. 

Opposite the parking spot there is a trail going into forest and running parallel upstream along the ChalpiGrandeRiver.  You can follow this main Chalpi trail for almost 3 km or more.  Always stay following the main trail running parallel to the ChalpiGrandeRiver.  The trail is usually muddy and rubber boots are necessary.  Many of the birds seen along this trail also occur along the trails in Guango Lodge. 

Look for Masked Trogon, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Rufous Spinetail, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Pearled Treerunner, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Chestnut-naped Antpitta, Rufous Antpitta, Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Torrent Tyrannulet, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant, Barred Becard, Turquoise Jay, Rufous Wren, Plain-tailed Wren, Citrine Warbler, Capped Conebill, Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager, Black-capped Hemispingus, Stripe-headed Brush-Finch, and Northern Mountain-Cacique.   The deepest forest spots along the trail are good places to look for Black-headed Hemispingus

The Guango Lodge entrance will be only another 1.8 km along the highway or 10.3 km from the Termas de Papallacta entrance road.  The feeders at the lodge are visited by swarms of hummingbirds.   Especially worth mentioning are: Speckled Hummingbird, Mountain Velvetbreast, Collared Inca, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Buff-tailed Coronet, Chestnut-breasted CoronetTourmaline Sunangel, Glowing Puffleg, Tyrian Metaltail, Mountain Avocetbill, Long-tailed Sylph, White-bellied Woodstar and Gorgeted Woodstar.   Just at the main gate, the Guango staff has trained a Chestnut-crowned Antpitta to come to a convenient spot just by the forest edge.  This show normally takes place in the early morning or late afternoon.

(Click here to download Map. Guango Lodge English).

There are several trails to survey once in the Guango Lodge grounds.  One of the best to follow is the trail known as the Pipeline Trail.  This is nice wide path with forest on both sides that provides a great opportunity to view mixed species flocks. 

Look for most of the species mentioned for the Chalpi Grande River trail, as well as: Andean Guan, Purple-backed Thornbill, Crested Quetzal, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Powerful Woodpecker, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Smoky Bush-Tyrant, Red-crested Cotinga, Dusky Piha, Capped Conebill, Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager, Red-hooded TanagerBlack-eared Hemispingus, Plushcap, Pale-naped Brush-Finch and Slaty Brush-Finch.  Listen for the White-throated Screech-Owl at night.

The Cuyuja Alder forest is much more disturbed than the forest at Guango and ChalpiGrandeRiver, but a handful of worthwhile species still remain in the site.  This site could be considered in the event that you were unable to bird the better forests of Guango or Chalpi.  To visit the Alder forest, drive down the E28 for 4.8 km starting at the Guango Lodge main entrance.  Here there are a series of small houses along the road with a broad path heading down for roughly 1 km to the main river.


Birds to look for

Guango Lodge and Cuyuja Alder forest.

SecondGrowthForest (2GF), Forest (F), Rivers (R), Hummingbird feeders (hf)

Common: Tyrian   Metaltail (hf), Sparkling Violetear (hf), Speckled Hummingbird   (hf), Collared Inca (hf), Tourmaline Sunangel  (hf), Chestnut-breasted Coronet (hf),   Long-tailed Sylph  (hf),    White-bellied Woodstar    (hf),  Masked Trogon (F), Pearled   Treerunner (2GF,F), Strong-billed Woodcreeper (F), Montane Woodcreeper (2GF,F), Chestnut-crowned   Antpitta (2GF), White-banded   Tyrannulet (2GF,F), Rufous-breasted Flycatcher (2GF,F), Cinnamon Flycatcher (2GF,F), Barred Becard (2GF,F), Turquoise Jay (2GF,F), Brown-capped   Vireo (2GF,F), Black-crested   Warbler (2GF), Spectacled   Whitestart (2GF,F), Rufous Wren (2GF,F), Mountain Wren (2GF,F), Blue-backed   Conebill (2GF,F), Masked Flowerpiercer (2GF,F), White-sided   Flower-piercer (2GF),   Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager (2GF,F), Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager (2GF,F), Black-capped   Hemispingus (2GF,F), Black-eared Hemispingus (2GF,F), Northern   Mountain-Cacique (2GF,F).

Uncommon: Andean Guan (F), Black-and-chestnut Eagle (F), White-capped   Parrot (2GF,F), White-throated Screech-Owl (F),  Shining Sunbeam (hf), Mountain   Velvetbreast (hf), Buff-winged   Starfrontlet (hf), Sword-billed   Hummingbird (hf), Buff-tailed Coronet (hf), Glowing Puffleg (hf), Mountain Avocetbill (hf),  Gorgeted Woodstar (hf), Gray-breasted   Mountain-Toucan (F),  Powerful   Woodpecker (F),  Bar-bellied Woodpecker (F), Rufous Spinetail (2GF,F), Streaked Tuftedcheek (2GF,F), Tyrannine Woodcreeper (F), Rufous Antpitta (F), Tawny-rumped   Tyrannulet (2GF,F),   Slaty-backed   Chat-Tyrant (2GF,F),   Smoky Bush-Tyrant   (2GF,F), Red-crested   Cotinga (2GF,F),   Dusky Piha (F), Mountain Wren (2GF,F),    White-capped Dipper (R),   Citrine Warbler (2GF,F),   Black-capped Hemispingus (2GF,F),   Blue-backed Conebill (2GF,F),   Capped   Conebill  (2GF,F), Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager (2GF,F),   Blue-and-black Tanager (2GF,F),    Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager (2GF,F), Hooded   Mountain-Tanager (2GF,F),   Plushcap (2GF,F),   Pale-naped Brush-Finch (2GF,F), Slaty Brush-Finch (2GF,F).   

Rare: Purple-backed   Thornbill (2GF,F), GreenVioletear (hf), Red-hooded Tanager (F), Black-headed Hemispingus (2GF,F), Páramo Seedeater (2GF,F), Slaty Finch (2GF,F).

For further information on the Guango Lodge Bird List go to


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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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