Discover the wonders of the cloud forest at night with a walk around the reserve surrounding Casa Divina Eco Lodge, in the company of a specialized guide!
It’s an opportunity to connect with the atmosphere around you, hear the sounds and observe species such as frogs, insects and spiders.
It’s exciting, safe and relaxing to immerse yourself and get to know this wonderful cloud forest of the Andean Chocó, declared as a biosphere reserve by the UNESCO.
Nocturnal species play an important role in the balance of the cloud forest and learning about them helps us understand the importance of conserving these ecosystems. On an excursion we can learn, for example, that insects such as moths pollinate plants and flowers and ensure their reproduction and are also food for other species. Amphibians also control insect pests, which contributes to maintaining the balance of the cloud forest.
What is the difference between a night walk and a day tour?
On a day hike you may see more birds and perhaps mammals. The weather can be warmer, but also rainy. They can last longer, depending on the place you hike, for example: our tour from Casa Divina to the Waterfall Sanctuary can last between three to six hours.
On a night walk you can observe other species that are more active such as insects and amphibians. As it is done around the Casa Divina reserve, it can be shorter, between one and two hours. The weather is cooler at night and can often rain.
Generally, the excursion takes place after dinner on a flexible schedule. Most of our passengers have dinner at 7pm and leave for their tour at 8pm until 9 or 9:30pm.
Is it dangerous to do a night walk in the cloud forest?
No. The hikes we offer are always accompanied by a guide specialized in the fauna and flora of the area and take place within the private reserve of Casa Divina. The guide can identify any species that may be harmful and alert the group. In general, the hikes follow previously established trails in the surroundings of the cloud forest which have some lighting as well.
Who leads the night walk? What kind of experience do they have?
At Casa Divina and SabinaTour we offer tours with bilingual (Spanish and English) naturalist guides. One of our night walk guides is Eric Osterman. He’s originally from Canada and has lived in Ecuador for many years. He is the local reptile expert as well as our neighbor. His passion for all things creepy and crawly is contagious and impressive! Efrain Toapanta is the co-founder of Casa Divina Eco Lodge and chief guide of SabinaTour Operator. He enjoys taking guests on the night walk and always hopes to catch an owl or other nocturnal birds that are often found. Efrain is passionate about sustainable tourism, environmental education and an expert in bird watching.
Can children go? Seniors?
Night walks are open to all members of the family. Children enjoy these excursions as real adventures. What could be more fun than walking through the cloud forest with flashlights and discovering and learning about new species? For adults? Of course! Adults enjoy them as much as children! Older folks can also enjoy a walk at their own pace because we adapt to their needs. It is generally a short distance that is covered on the night hike.
How physically demanding is the walk?
We walk along simple and easy trails. The idea is to take the time to observe and get to know the nocturnal species, observe and enjoy them.
What species are observed during the night walk? Are any of them poisonous?
With the help of the guide you will see a variety of nocturnal creatures. Wait to spot some spiders, such as the wandering spider, and also a diversity of amphibians such as the palm tree frog, cane toad or the executioner clown frog. You will also see spectacular insects such as the tailless whip scorpion that you can hold without any problem in your hands!
The guide will recognize when a species is poisonous and will alert the group about the importance of not touching it and the precautionary measures to take. It is very unlikely that a venomous snake will appear in the area.
Where does the night walk take place?
We hike the trails in the cloud forest surrounding Casa Divina’s cabins with few slopes and declines. We can also hike the two self-guided trails that are a little more physically demanding. Throughout the Casa Divina Reserve — that is where the night walk takes place.
What equipment do we need for the hike?
Casa Divina provides rubber boots and flashlights. We recommend bringing a camera or cell phone with flash to take pictures of insects and amphibians. We also suggest wearing comfortable clothes and, if possible, do not use repellent so as not to scare away the insects that can be observed or even touched without any danger. Clothing that covers you as light pants and a long shirt are the best protection against mosquitoes.
What do people have to say about the night walk?
You can read the reviews made by our visitors on the Tripadvisor page. We share some of them with you:
There are trails around the property which allow you to get a closer look at the flora, birds, and other critters. The entire staff was very kind and welcoming. After six wonderful days, we felt like family. We loved all that the lodge is doing to be ecologically focused and sustainable.
Couldn’t imagine a better place. Our family of 4 (2 teenagers) stayed here in July 2021 and it was nearly perfect. Private, quiet, with amazing food and extremely kind and knowledgeable hosts. They helped us find great activities both at the lodge and nearby. Strongly recommend the night walk.
Put on your boots, turn on your flashlight and let us guide you to a different world! Contact us for more information and to clear up any doubts you may have.
Author and pictures: Lucila Donoso