RESERVA Tapichalaca

Province: Zamora Chinchipe
Nearby communities: Yangana and Valladolid
Limits: North Valladolid
South of the Podocarpus National Park
Creation date: September 1998
Area: 9,699 acres
Temperature: 10 20 °C
Ecosystem: Cloudy and humid montane forest,
up to 5000 millimetres of rain per year
Climate: Temperate
Altitudinal range: 1800 3400 masl

Flora and fauna: our reserve is home of the Jocotoco Antpitta, Andean Potoo, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Chesnut-naped Antpitta, Tapichalaca Tree Frog, White-capped Tanager, Little Red Brocket, Spectacled Bear, Andean Tapir and Puma. Some of the flora that stand out are the Sangre de Drago trees, the liana Bomarea longipensen and Romerillos (Podocarpus spp.).

Tapichalaca is the first reserve of Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco, it was created to protect the last remaining habitat of the Jocotoco Antpitta. This reserve is home to more than half of the global population of the species. In 2004, the reserve expanded beyond Cerro Tapichalaca, reaching the west side of the Valladolid - Tapichalaca river basin.

In 2009, the Yacuri National Park was established west of Tapichalaca, increasing the protection of this unique area of the southern Andes, from the Podocarpus NP to the border with Peru. Tapichalaca plays an important role as a buffer zone between the Podocarpus and Yacuri National Parks. These three conservation blocks cover an enormous area of pristine montane forests with extremely high biodiversity.


From Loja city, take the main road south towards Zumba for c. 90 km, passing through the towns of Malacatos, Vilcabamba and Yangana. After Yangana you will reach the highest parts of the road (in the Parque Nacional Podocarpus). After crossing "Quebrada de los Muertos", a stream, you enter Tapichalaca reserve. A little further down the road past a monument known as "Cruz del Soldado", you will find Casa Simpson ecolodge.

To visit us, you must BOOK IN ADVANCE through our tour operator JOCOTOURS.

Indications for the visitor:

  • Pets are not allowed.
  • Do not touch or feed wild animals.
  • Use a mask and keep distance with the reserve staff.

The Tapichalaca Reserve hosts an extraordinary wealth of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and plants; among these are:

  • The Tapichalaca Tree Frog (Hyloscirtus tapichalaca), which was discovered in 2001. The specie's distribution range of is restricted to our reserve.
  • Birds that are globally threatened, such as: the Jocotoco Antpitta, the Bearded Guan, the Coppery-chested Jacamar, the White-breasted Parakeet and the Masked Mountain Tanager. Other near threatened birds: the Imperial Snipe, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Brown-billed Scythebill, Neblina Metatail, Orange-Banded Flycatcher and Masked Saltator.
  • The reserve is part of an important wildlife corridor for populations of Andean Tapir, Spectacled Bear, Puma, Andean Paca, Little Red Brocket and Andean Coati.
  • Tapichalaca has more than 130 species of Ecuadorian endemic plants, 90% of them classified as threatened according to the Red Data Book of Plants. Hundreds of orchid species, 30 local ones, have been registered. In 2004, the liana Bomarea longipesen was rediscovered in the "Cerro Tapichalaca", as well as a population of Romerillos (Podocarpus spp.).

Although, the reserve serves as a transition for some species, its biological population is more concentrated in birds, since we have more than 300 species present in the reserve and adjacent areas.


Casa Simpson is our lodge, it is located within the Tapichalaca reserve. Each room has a private bathroom. To stay or visit our reserve, please contact our tour operator Jocotours directly.

Interest sites:

  • Jocotoco Antpitta feeding station
  • Eight trails of different difficulties

Near the reserve:

  • Santa Ana -La Florida archaeological site located in Palanda.

The Tapichalaca reserve is the first created by the Jocotoco Foundation, thanks to the discovery of one of the rarest birds in the world, the Jocotoco Antpitta. This bird was discovered by the ornithologist Dr. Robert Ridgely, in 1997, in his honour this species is named "Grallaria ridgelyi".

Logo Jocotours
To visit the reserve