Nature Reserve & Biological Station
Our Nature Reserve.
The Un poco del Chocó nature reserve is situated in the northwest of Ecuador. Located in the Pichincha province, it is approximately 3 hours away from Quito. Although just a few kilometers northeast of San Miguel de Los Bancos, the reserve can only be reached via the small village Las Tolas (40 minutes by car). From there a 13 km unpaved road leads to Ayapi and the river Pachijal. Un poco del Chocó is located at the very end of the Las Tolas-Ayapi road.
The biological station is situated at 1200 meters (~3900 feet) above sea level. The average temperature is 20°C (68°F). Daily temperature can vary between 14°C (57°F), at night, and 28°C (82°F), on a sunny day.
The Northwest of Ecuador has four seasons. There is a long rainy season from January to May and a long dry season from June to September, followed by a short rainy season in October/November and a short dry season in November/December. The rainy season is often characterized by a sunny or at least dry morning and (sometimes heavy) rain falls in the afternoon. In the dry season it rains less. During the long dry season, sometimes there is almost no rain for several weeks.
To get an overview of our local climate, you can access the data from our weather station here.
Lower montane rainforest
The 15 hectares nature reserve is situated in the transition zone between two biodiversity-hotspots, the Chocó and the Tropical Andes. The forest reaches from the river Pachijal, at an elevation of 950 masl, up to the road that leads to Las Tolas, at an elevation of 1200 masl. The steep terrain is primarily covered with lower montane rainforest showing different levels of disturbance. The main part of the reserve consists of slightly disturbed primary forest where some bigger trees have been cut illegally in the past. Along the roadside you will find flourishing secondary forest, which only 20 years ago was a cattle field. Nicole and Wilo’s house, the station’s house, the organic garden and Wilo’s carpentry work shop are built here.
Thanks to the hard work of several volunteers during the past years, a small trail system (~ 5km) which now covers most of the reserve has been established. A 1,5 km long nature learning trail with 30 different stations explains the unique features of the montane rainforest and leads through the upper third of the forest. The main trail which starts next to the station’s house leads all the way down to the river Pachijal. From there another trail leads back uphill passing two small waterfalls and connects with the nature learning trail. A fairly new trail starts behind Nicole and Wilo’s house and winds downhill where it also connects with the nature learning trail.