Hot springs and hummingbirds in Ecuador
The lodge offers accommodation for birdwatchers, or you can wander its paths as a day visitor. Invariably, the cloud forest will seem well named, as tendrils of mist drift through the canopy. Hummingbird feeders hang from the trees, which are naturally strung with orchids (Ecuador has more than 4,000 species of the flower) and the air seems almost to vibrate with the staccato movements of the myriad hummingbirds.
To reach Papallacta from Quito, 70km to the west, travel across the country's highest major road, crossing the divide of the Andes at 4,200m above sea level. From here, the road descends into Papallacta, where mist clings to the mountains, merging with the steam that rises from the hot springs.
The best time to travel in the region is the June-to-September dry season.