Casa Simpson- Tapichalaca Reserve

Casa Simpson lodge is placed in a breathtaking environment, at 2500 m elevation, at a lookout point facing Cerro Tapichalaca, in the eastern Andean slope. It has a large network of trails through high Andean forests, home of many rare and beautiful birds along with astonishing plan diversity, primarily orchids.

It has a large network of trails through high Andean forests, home of many rare and beautiful birds along with astonishing plan diversity, primarily orchids. Our guests will enjoy our comfortable and functional environments. The lodge is built in local materials. It has seven rooms with private bathroom, spacious restaurant and a resting area beside a chimney. Fifteen people can be comfortably roomed. Further, we have a separate cabin for researchers. Casa Simpson is the only lodge around the world where you will see the exclusive Jocotoco Antpitta: it will be a matchless and unforgettable experience!

  • How to get

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    From Loja, take the road towards Vilcabamba and Zumba for 75 km. Casa Simpson is located between Yangana and Valladolid settlements. Approximately two hours beyond Yangana, and after traversing a sector of Podocarpus National Park, you will arrive to a site known as Cruz del Soldado; a 100 meters further you will see an entrance on your left. Road signs of Jocotoco Foundation will guide you from Cruz del Soldado to Casa Simpson, at Tapichalaca Reserve.

    Location

    Zamora Chinchipe Province, on the Loja-Vilcabamba-Valladolid-Zumba road.

    Mapa_TAPICHALACA

  • Lodging capacity

    Five comfortable rooms in the main building and a separate cabin with two double rooms, each in private bathroom.

    Rooms Bed type Lodging
    1 1 single 1 bunk bed 3 pax
    2 1 double 2 pax
    3 1 bunk bed, 1 single 3 pax
    4 3 singles 3 pax
    5 1 single 1 pax
    6 1 double 2 pax
    7 1 double 2 pax
    Total 4 16 pax

  • Facilities and services

    We have wireless Internet connection, hot water and electricity (110 volts); restaurant, shop bar and chimney, laundry service using biodegradable products; also an extensive trail network.

    Activities

    Casa Simpson is located inside Tapichalaca Reserve, at 2,500 m elevation. We have a variety of trails that get into Andean forests, where several rare and gorgeous species or fauna and flora will be seen. Our trails are:

    TRAILS DURATION DISTANCE ALTITUDE DIFFICULTY OBSERVATIONS
    Trail Jocotoco 2 hours 2 km 2400 m Moderate This well-marked trail has cobbled ground, safety handrails and a hid for bird and wildlife watching. It offers the main attraction of this protected area: a feeding station for Jocotoco Antpittas that allow staggering observations.
    Quebrada Honda Trail 3 hours 5,5 km 2000 – 2400 m High Trail has dirt ground. Flora and fauna characteristic of this area can be seen, as well as cattle ranching activities at nearby farms.
    Tapir Trail 2 hours 3 km 2700 m Moderada Andean Woolly Tapir that has been seen along this trail. You can continue trekking down to a small river descending from the paramos upslope, but this will require extra effort.
    Paramo Trail 4 hours 5 km 2700 – 3100 m High This trail gets to the remains of an airplane that crashed decades ago. Besides, 4 km further you will reach two paramo lagoons, at 3,200 m elevation.
    Las Pavas Trail 4 hours 4 km 2700 m High Flora and fauna characteristic of this area can be seen.
    Las Tangaras Trail 1.5 hours 1,5 km 2600 – 2750 m Moderate Flora and fauna characteristic of this area can be seen.
    Undulated Antpitta

    Trail

    1.5 hours 1,5 km 2600 – 2750 m Moderate Flora and fauna characteristic of this area can be seen.
    Piha Trail 6 hours 8 km 1800 – 2750 m High Flora and fauna characteristic of this area can be seen.

  • Jocotoco Antpitta Trail and Feeding Station Policy

    The Jocotoco Antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi) is an Endangered species whose distribution is confined to a very limited area on southeastern Ecuador, where it was discovered as recently as 1997.  Given the urgent need to protect the habitat of this magnificent bird, beginning in 1998 the Jocotoco Foundation began to acquire the land on which this species depends.  Thus was created Tapichalaca Reserve.

    For a number of years the species remained elusive and almost impossible to see without the aid of tape playback.  In 2006 one of the reserve’s park rangers was trained in the technique of luring antpittas in for viewing by daily placing earthworms at a site where they could feed.  The program was an almost immediate success, and since then every morning one to as many as several Jocotocos come to be fed, almost at your feet – they hardly ever miss a day.

    The Jocotoco’s rarity, extremely limited range, and beauty have created a big and growing demand among birders to see this bird.  The foundation wishes to enable as many people as possible to see the bird, while at the same time disturbing it as little as possible.  One pair of antpittas is now extremely tame, and has repeatedly been able to raise offspring.  We are concerned about excessive disturbance to this unique population of birds, and therefore have established the following regulations for visitors desiring to see one of the world’s more special birds.

    1. Visits to Tapichalaca Reserve and Casa Simpson must be coordinated in advance with the office of Jocotours in Quito.
    2. Visitors to the Jocotoco Antpitta Trail and the Jocotoco Feeding Station must be accompanied by our park ranger, who is the only person allowed to feed the birds.
    3. Guests staying at Casa Simpson have the priority when planning visits to the Jocotoco Antpitta Trail and Feeding Station. We ask guests to coordinate with the office in Quito regarding the day the visit will take place.  Typically guests will wish to plan a visit to the site the first morning after they have arrived.  More than one visit is permitted for overnight guests.  Groups should stay together, and should refrain from making excessive noise.
    4. Day visitors not using Casa Simpson as their lodge will be allowed to visit Jocotoco Antpitta Trail and Feeding Station ONLY when guests staying at Casa Simpson will not be visiting the site that day, and after having made previous coordination with the office of Jocotours in Quito.  This is imperative and non-negotiable given the need to avoid disturbing the birds with oversized groups.  Such day visitors should assemble at Casa Simpson no later than 7AM on the day of their visit.
    5. It is forbidden the use of playback to call individuals of the Jocotoco Antpitta anywhere on Tapichalaca Reserve.  Playback directed at other species is permitted, but we request that it be used judiciously.

    Prices and Fees

    1. The normal daily entry fee to Tapichalaca Reserve is $15/person.  Day visitors intending to visit the Jocotoco Antpitta Trail and Feeding Station will have an entry fee of $30/person, which includes the company of a forest ranger to feed the birds and access to all the other areas in the reserve.