Hello again! For the last week of Ecuador, we had many activities to do. At our first day at Maquipucana Reserve and Ecolodge (a beautiful place located in the cloud forest of Ecuador that offers an ecotourism experience like no other) we hiked the Swamp Trail where we began our Entomology research. Our main assignment was to capture macro images of 30 different insects and to identify them and their behaviors (I attached a few of my favorite insects from my time there). We also set up a blacklight late at night about 5 minutes into the trail and studied the different types of insects that came out at night versus the day. We also went on a night walk where we saw bioluminescence on one part of the trail along with a Tailless Whip Scorpion.
While at Maqui, we got to go to their coffee plantation and picked ripe coffee berries (arabica beans) that were either red or yellow colored to show that they were ripe enough to pick. We of course got to drink their delicious coffee as well. The next day was an action packed day filled with ziplining through the forest, visiting the Mariposa Butterfly Garden which turned out to be one of my favorite activities in Ecuador, and participating in the Mindo chocolate tour where we tried different types of chocolate (my favorite was the ginger and brown sugar chocolate!).
For our last couple of days at Maqui, we did a bird hike in the morning where we saw Wattle Guan, Tiny Hawk, and a Mat Mat. We then cooled off at the beautiful waterfall that’s just a couple of minutes up the trail. Our very last day we did a long hike (little over 4 miles total) to the primary forest of Maquipucana where you could see the changes in vegetation from the secondary forest to the primary. Changes included thicker greenery, bear tracks of the Andean Bear, and a dead Tarantula (which is actually quite hard to find in the forest). After a wonderful week at Maquipucana, it was time to say our farewells and head to the Galapagos!