You are here: Cerro Toledo Enterance to Podocarpus NP Cerro Toledo Enterance to Podocarpus NP

Cerro Toledo entrance is a fairly remote area which can be accessed from the small village of Yangana along the Loja-Valladolid-Zumba road.  This is the highest entrance of the national park and starting from Yangana at 1800 meters, you drive up to 3450 meters, and above the treeline.

Elfin Forest, Temperate Forest.

Cerro Toledo entrance to Podocarpus NP

No special arrangements are needed to visit the park.  The best place to stay in order to visit is Vilcabamba. You can get by bus to Yangana, but it will be difficult to hire a vehicle to continue on from there.  Hiring a pickup truck in Valladolid, or driving your own vehicle is a better choice.  A vehicle with a four wheel drive is recommended, although you can make it with a high clearance one.  This park entrance doesn’t have a ranger station and it doesn’t charge any fee.



Cerro Toledo entrance to Podocarpus NP

If you are continuing from your visit to Vilcabamba and Zolanda please see the birding instructions from those respective subchapters for how to get here.

Starting in Vilcabamba along the main road, and with the plaza two blocks away on your left 0.0 km; drive for 12.2 km.   Park in this area and walk up the road for the next 1.4 km, or 13.6 km from Vilcabamba.  The dry scrubby area along this section has some Tumbesian species that can be see just by the road: Pacific Parrotlet, Pacific Pygmy-Owl, Amazilia Hummingbird, Purple-collared Woodstar, Elegant Crescentchest, Tumbesian Tyrannulet, Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant, Fasciated Wren, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Streaked Saltator, Southern Yellow-Grosbeak and Yellow-tailed Oriole.

 Drive another 7.8 km, or 21.4 km from Vilcabamba.  At this point you will pass the park of the small town of Yangana. 

(Click here to download Map. Cerro Toledo English)

From the Yangana Park, continue toward Zumba by driving for another 1.1 km, or 22.5 km from Vilcabamba. At this point you will see a narrow road on your left.  This rough looking road is the entrance road to Cerro Toledo.  Reset your odometer to 0.0 km for future references.  The Cerro Toledo road goes through much degraded habitat for the first 3 or 4 kilometers. The most interesting area occurs at around 8.5 km to 12 km from the highway, where many of the birds occurring at the Cajanuma park entrance can be seen: Bearded Guan, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Red-faced Parrot, Scaly-naped Amazon, Andean Pygmy-Owl, Mountain Velvetbreast, Collared Inca, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Viridian Metaltail, Flame-throated Sunangel, Crested Quetzal, Masked Trogon, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Bar-bellied Woodpecker , Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Rufous Spinetail, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Long-tailed Antbird, Chusquea Tapaculo, Ash-colored Tapaculo, Ocellated Tapaculo, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Sierran Elaenia, White-banded Tyrannulet, White-throated Tyrannulet, Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant, Smoky Bush-Tyrant, Barred Fruiteater, Red-crested Cotinga, Barred Becard, Turquoise Jay, Andean Solitaire, Pale-footed Swallow, Rufous Wren, Plain-tailed Wren, Citrine Warbler, Russet-crowned Warbler, Blue-backed Conebill, Capped Conebill, Blue-and-black Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Red-hooded Tanager, Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager, Superciliaried Hemispingus, Black-capped Hemispingus, Black-headed Hemispingus, Plushcap, Páramo Seedeater, Northern Mountain-Cacique and Stripe-headed Brush-Finch.

Continuing on to the elfin forest at around 15 km from the main road, you will get to an area to look for Mouse-colored Thistletail, Neblina Metaltail, Páramo Tapaculo, Masked Mountain-Tanager and Pale-naped Brush-Finch. This is probably the best site in Ecuador to look for the Neblina Metaltail in Ecuador, as you can drive to the site without having to endure a long walk to its habitat.

The Chestnut-bellied Cotinga has not been reported form this site, but there is no reason for it not to occur here.

At a point 16.4 km from the highway there is fork in the road. The left road, that should be avoided, descends steeply for a while and then turns into a mule trail. The right fork continues for some 4.0 km more, or 20.4 km from the main road, to a communication tower guarded by the army.  In this higher area you could also find Rainbow-bearded Thornbill and the common Plumbeous Sierra-Finch.



Birds to look for

Near Yangana

Dry Mountain Scrub (DMS)

Common: Amazilia Hummingbird, Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant, Fasciated Wren, Streaked Saltator.

Uncommon: Pacific Parrotlet, Pacific Pygmy-Owl, Tumbesian Tyrannulet, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Southern Yellow-Grosbeak, Yellow-tailed Oriole

Rare: Elegant Crescentchest






Birds to look for

Cerro Toledo

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

Common: Scaly-naped Amazon (SF,F), Mountain Velvetbreast (F,2G), Collared Inca (F,2G), Buff-winged Starfrontlet (F,2G), Chusquea Tapaculo (F,2G), Páramo Tapaculo (SF), Ash-colored Tapaculo (F,2G), Sierran Elaenia (F,2G), White-banded Tyrannulet (F,2G), White-throated Tyrannulet (F,2G), Rufous Wren (F,2G), Plain-tailed Wren (2G), Citrine Warbler (F,2G), Russet-crowned Warbler (F,2G), Blue-backed Conebill (F,2G), Capped Conebill (F,2G), Blue-and-black Tanager (F,2G), Superciliaried Hemispingus (F,2G), Plumbeous Sierra-Finch (SF).

Uncommon: Bearded Guan (F), Golden-plumed Parakeet (F), Andean Pygmy-Owl (F), Viridian Metaltail (F,2G), Neblina Metaltail (SF), Flame-throated Sunangel (F,2G), Crested Quetzal (F), Masked Trogon (F,2G), Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan (F), Bar-bellied Woodpecker (F,2G), Crimson-mantled Woodpecker (F,2G), Rufous Spinetail (F,2G), Mouse-colored Thistletail (SF), Streaked Tuftedcheek (F,2G), Long-tailed Antbird (F,2G), Ocellated Tapaculo (F), Black-capped Tyrannulet (F,2G), Black-throated Tody-Tyrant (F,2G), Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant (F,2G), Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant (2G), Smoky Bush-Tyrant (F,2G), Barred Fruiteater (F), Red-crested Cotinga (F,2G), Barred Becard (F,2G), Turquoise Jay (F,2G), Andean Solitaire (F,2G), Pale-footed Swallow (F), Golden-crowned Tanager (F,2G), Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager (F,2G), Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager (F,2G), Hooded Mountain-Tanager (F,2G), Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager (F,2G), Grass-green Tanager (F,2G), Red-hooded Tanager (F), Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager (F,2G), Black-capped Hemispingus (F), Black-headed Hemispingus (F,2G), Northern Mountain-Cacique (F,2G), Stripe-headed Brush-Finch (F,2G), Pale-naped Brush-Finch (SF), Plushcap (F,2G).

Rare: Red-faced Parrot (F,2G), Rainbow-bearded Thornbill (SF), Masked Mountain-Tanager (SF), Páramo Seedeater (F,2G, SF).



Copyright © 2010 by Lelis Navarrete

All rights reserved. This web book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author and Jocotoco Foundation except for the use of brief quotations in a book review and to print the information for traveling in Ecuador purposes.

You may not mirror, modify or otherwise alter any files in this website for rebroadcast, print or distribute in anyway the information contained therein with commercial purposes , without written permission from the author. Except as expressly provided above.

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.


Jocotoco Foundation

  • Lizardo García E9-104 y Andrés Xaura,
  • Quito - Ecuador
  • Tel: +593 2 250-5212
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.