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You are here:4.2.8 Orchid’s Paradise Lodge and El Para Reserve

4.2.8 Orchid’s Paradise Lodge and El Para Reserve

The Orchid’s Paradise Lodge is a comfortable resort with 28 hectare of grounds located near the small town of Archidona.  The site is at 600 m of elevation.  The grounds of the resort have second-growth, and the tall trees in the gardens are an excellent place to look for birds.  The Orchid’s Paradise Lodge also owns a 600 hectare private reserve located at 750 m of elevation.  This site is called the San Martín de El Para Ecological Reserve and is located on a dirt road heading north of the town of Archidona.  These birding areas are located in the NapoProvince.



Amazonian Foothill forest



Orchid’s  Paradise Lodge and El Para Reserve.

There is plenty of bus transportation running along the E28, or Interoceánica Highway, and connecting to Archidona and Tena along the E45 highway.  You can get a bus from Quito heading to Archidona and Tena from Quitumbe Bus Terminal.

Alternately, you can also get on one of these buses after your visit to Cabañas San Isidro Lodge or The Guacamayos Ridge, Here you just need make sure the bus is heading to Archidona and Tena.

A vehicle is not necessary to bird the Orchid’s Paradise Lodge, but you will need one to visit the El Para Reserve.  The staff of Orchid’s Paradise can help you organize transportation needed to visit El Para Reserve.  You can also hire a pickup truck from Archidona to take you to El Para. 

The Orchid’s Paradise Lodge office can help you organize any kind of transportation. 

More information regarding the Orchid’s Paradise Lodge and San Martin de El Para Reserve can be obtained at www. . Unfortunately, this web site as of July, 2009, is only available in Spanish.  You can also email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (06) 288 9232 at the lodge.   The mobile telephone is 09 609 7638 for the lodge, or the office telephone in Quito at; (02) 328 2606.

In order to visit El Para, you either have to be a guest at the Orchid’s  Paradise Lodge or ask permission to enter from the staff at the lodge.  If you are not a guest at the lodge there will be a charge of $5US per person entrance fee.



Orchid’s  Paradise Lodge and El Para Reserve.

You can visit this lodge and reserve after visiting Guacamayos Ridge site. To get instructions as for how to get into these sites, please see the birding instructions on the respective chapter on how to get there.

Start from the Guacamayos Ridge parking lot at the summit of highway E45, before beginning on the road down to the lowlands to Archidona. From this outlook and shrine, 0.0 km, drive down toward the lowlands and after 8.8 km you will have left the Antisana and WildSumacoNational forest preserves.  From this point most of the road side habitat is quite disturbed, and the birding is restricted to common species present in open degraded country.  Continue another 14.3 km down to a crossroad.  The left road is the beginning of the famous Loreto Road.

Here, reset your odometer to 0.0 km for future references. Continue straight ahead along the E45 highway and drive another 23.2 km and you will see the entrance gate to the Orchid’s Paradise Lodge.  If you drive on just 1.2 km, or 24.4 km from the start of the Loreto road, you will arrive at the small town of Archidona.

(Click here to download Map. Orchide's Paradise Lodge and El Para Reserve).

The gardens and grounds of the Orchid’s Paradise Lodge are good places to look for species of second-growth and open country.  You won’t have the problems of dust or vehicle noise, and it is also safe.   In the second growth around the lodge look for White-eyed Parakeet, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Blue-headed Parrot, Tropical Screech-Owl, Chestnut-collared Swift, Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, Pale-tailed Barbthroat, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Glittering-throated Emerald, Lineated Woodpecker, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Little Woodpecker, Lined Antshrike, Stripe-chested Antwren, White-browed Antbird, Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Olive-chested Flycatcher, White-winged Becard, Violaceous Jay, Black-billed Thrush, Coraya Wren, Southern Nightingale-Wren, Lesser Seed-Finch, Black-and-white Seedeater, Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, Orange-billed Sparrow and Yellow-browed Sparrow.

The tall trees in the gardens and grounds are good for Orange-fronted Plushcrown, the birds have been seen nesting here.  Look also for Moustached Antwren, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Olive-faced Flatbill, BlackpollWarbler, Blue Dacnis, Black-faced Dacnis, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Blue-necked Tanager, Masked Tanager, Turquoise Tanager, Green-and-gold Tanager, Yellow-bellied Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, Silver-beaked Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Grayish Saltator and Olivaceous Siskin.


The open grassland habitats near the Orchid’s Paradise Lodge, along E45 highway on the way toward the Loreto road, look for Blackish Rail, Rufous-sided Crake, Mouse-colored Tyrannulet, and Black-billed Seed-Finch.

To visit El Para, drive to Archidona’s main plaza.  From the Archidona main plaza and while facing the church; look for the road leaving town toward east of the main square at the right side corner of the church.  At this point set your odometer to 0.0 km, and drive for only 0.9 km.   Even though this habitat is quite disturbed, look for the Red-billed Tyrannulet in the tall trees, mainly on the right hand side of the road. 

Continue for another 4.7 km, or 5.6 km from Archidona, through a small village.  Go on ahead for 3.0 km or 8.6 km from Archidona.  Here, near a small village, you will find a fork in the road.  The left side road should be signed toward Monteverde.  Stay on the right hand road and proceed for another 2.1 km, or 10.7 km from Archidona.  Here you will cross over a long bridge over the Hollín River.  Survey the river for Fasciated Tiger-Heron on the rocky beds or riverbanks.

Before getting to the El Para Reserve, watch for groups of swifts flying overhead.  In this area of the road you might see White-collared Swift, Chestnut-collared Swift and even the rare White-chested Swift.


Continue on for 2.9 km or 13.6 km from Archidona.  At this point you will come to a fork. The right hand side road may be signed to “Sacha Huagra La Selva del Tapir”.  Proceed to the left, and after just 2.1 km, or 15.7 km from Archidona, you will arrive to a gated driveway on the right.  This is the entrance to El Para Reserve.  Park here and continue on foot.   Follow the trail starting on the left through the second growth forest, and look for Chestnut-headed Crake, Black-throated Mango, Little Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Rufous-breasted Piculet, Dusky Spinetail, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Lined Antshrike, Stripe-chested Antwren, Black Antbird, White-browed Antbird, White-lored Antpitta, Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Red-billed Tyrannulet, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Olive-chested Flycatcher, White-bearded Manakin, Violaceous Jay, White-vented Euphonia, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Spotted Tanager, Yellow-bellied Tanager, Turquoise Tanager, Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager and Magpie Tanager.

Once you enter on the forest trails, the more pristine habitat gives you chances to see Amazonian White-tailed Trogon, Amazonian Violaceous Trogon, Collared Trogon, Lemon-throated Barbet, Purplish Jacamar, Brown Nunlet, Red-stained Woodpecker, Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper, Black-banded Woodcreeper, Spix's Woodcreeper, Lineated Woodcreeper, Rufous-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Rufous-tailed Foliage-gleaner, Fasciated Antshrike, Undulated Antshrike, White-shouldered Antshrike, Rufous-winged Antwren, Gray Antbird, Spot-backed Antbird, Spot-winged Antbird, Sooty Antbird, White-plumed Antbird, Bicolored Antbird, Hairy-crested Antbird, Reddish-winged Bare-eye, Black-faced Antthrush, Thrush-like Antpitta, White-lored Tyrannulet, Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher, Pink-throated Becard, Wing-barred Piprites, Slaty-capped Shrike-vireo, Wing-banded Wren, Paradise Tanager, Fulvous Shrike-tanager, Slate-colored Grosbeak and the scarce Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak.

Despite its array of typical forest birds, the El Para Reserve is known also for its bamboo patches and the bamboo dominated forest.   It is in these bamboo habitats that some of the most interesting species of the site occur.  This is the only currently known place in Ecuador to find the Striated Antbird.  A few other bamboo specialties are Bamboo Foliage-gleaner, Dot-winged Antwren, Dusky-tailed Flatbill and Large-headed Flatbill.

The Heliconia stands in this area are a good place to look for the Buff-tailed Sicklebill.


Birds to look for

Orchid’s  Paradise Lodge

Second-growth (2GF), Grasslands (G).

Common: White-eyed Parakeet (2GF),   Blue-winged Parrotlet (2GF), Blue-headed Parrot (2GF), Chestnut-collared   Swift (2GF), Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, Glittering-throated Emerald (2GF),   Lineated Woodpecker (2GF), Yellow-tufted Woodpecker (2GF), Little Woodpecker   (2GF), Sooty-headed Tyrannulet (2GF), Golden-faced Tyrannulet (2GF),   Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet (2GF),    Common Tody-Flycatcher (2GF), Olive-chested Flycatcher (2GF),   Violaceous Jay (2GF), Black-billed Thrush (2GF), Blue-necked Tanager (2GF),   Turquoise Tanager (2GF), Green-and-gold Tanager (2GF), Silver-beaked Tanager   (2GF),  Lesser Seed-Finch (G),   Chestnut-bellied Seedeater (G), Orange-billed Sparrow(2GF),  Yellow-browed Sparrow (G).

Uncommon: Rufous-sided Crake (G),   Blackish Rail (G), Tropical Screech-Owl (2GF),   Golden-tailed Sapphire (2GF), Orange-fronted   Plushcrown (2GF), Lined Antshrike (2GF), Stripe-chested Antwren (2GF), Moustached   Antwren (2GF),  White-browed Antbird   (2GF),  Mouse-colored Tyrannulet (2GF),   Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher (2GF), Olive-faced Flatbill (2GF), White-winged   Becard(2GF), Coraya Wren (2GF), Blackpoll Warbler (2GF), Blue Dacnis (2GF),   Black-faced Dacnis(2GF), Yellow-bellied Dacnis (2GF), Masked Tanager (2GF),   Yellow-bellied Tanager (2GF), Bay-headed Tanager (2GF), Scarlet Tanager   (2GF), Black-and-white Seedeater (2GF,P),    Olivaceous Siskin (2GF).

Rare: Pale-tailed Barbthroat   (2GF), Southern Nightingale-Wren (2GF), Black-billed Seed-Finch (2GF).



El Para Reserve

SecondGrowthForest   (2GF), Forest (F), River (R),

Common: White-collared Swift, Chestnut-collared Swift, Little Woodpecker (2GF), Lined Antshrike (2GF), Dot-winged Antwren   (2GF,F),  Spot-winged Antbird (F),   Ecuadorian Tyrannulet (2GF,F), Olive-chested Flycatcher (2GF), White-bearded   Manakin (2GF),  Violaceus Jay (2GF,F), Turquoise   Tanager (2GF,F), Magpie Tanager (2GF,F), Paradise Tanager (2GF,F).

Uncommon: Fasciated Tiger-Heron (R), Chestnut-headed Crake (2GF), Black-throated Mango   (2GF,F), Red-stained Woodpecker (2GF,F), Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper   (2GF,F),  Black-banded Woodcreeper   (2GF,F), Spix's Woodcreeper (F), Lineated Woodcreeper (2GF,F), Yellow-billed   Nunbird (2GF,F), Amazonian White-tailed Trogon (F), Amazonian Violaceous   Trogon (F), Collared Trogon (F), Lemon-throated Barbet(F), Dusky Spinetail   (2GF), Orange-fronted Plushcrown (2GF), Rufous-rumped Foliage-gleaner (F), Bamboo   Foliage-gleaner (2GF), Fasciated Antshrike (F), Rufous-winged Antwren (F), Stripe-chested   Antwren (2GF), Striated Antbird (F), Black Antbird (2GF), White-browed   Antbird (2GF), Gray Antbird (F), Spot-backed Antbird (F), Sooty Antbird (F), Bicolored   Antbird (F), Hairy-crested Antbird (F), Reddish-winged Bare-eye (F), Black-faced   Antthrush (F), Thrush-like Antpitta (2GF,F), White-lored Antpitta (2GF), White-lored   Tyrannulet (2GF), Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher (F), Golden-winged   Tody-Flycatcher (2GF), Rusty-fronted Tody-flycatcher (2GF), Large-headed   Flatbill (F), Pink-throated Becard (F), Wing-barred Piprites (F),   Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo (F), Wing-banded Wren (F), White-vented Euphonia   (F), Yellow-bellied Dacnis (2GF,F), Spotted Tanager (2GF,F), Yellow-bellied   Tanager (2GF,F),  Ashy-throated   Bush-Tanager (2GF,F), Fulvous Shrike-Tanager (F), Slate-colored Grosbeak (F).

Rare:   White-chested Swift, Buff-tailed Sicklebill (2GF), Rufous-breasted   Piculet (2GF), Purplish Jacamar (F), Brown Nunlet (F), Rufous-tailed   Foliage-gleaner (F), Undulated Antshrike (F), White-shouldered Antshrike (F),   White-plumed Antbird (F), Red-billed Tyrannulet (2GF,F), Dusky-tailed   Flatbill (F), Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak (2GF,F).

For a complete checklist of the El Para reserve go to

www.  under the eco-tourism section-lista de aves.

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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