Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a cloud forest?
- Does the farm have an electricity supply?
- Does the farm have treated water?
- How do I wash my clothes?
- Where is the nearest bank and cash machine? Do you accept credit cards?
- Are there any security issues in Intag?
- Where is the nearest doctor? should I have medical insurance?
- Is smoking permitted?
- What is the climate like, and when is the best time of year to visit?
- Are there any special health problems in the area?
- Is there telephone/internet at the guest-house?
- What is the currency?
- What is the time zone of Ecuador?
- Is San Antonio a suitable place to bring children?
- How can I make a phone call to Ecuador?
- Are there any environmental issues in intag?
- What is the altitude?
- Is there a recommended packing list?
- Is there a place to read and make comments about Cloudforestadventure?
What is a cloud forest?One of the least known types of tropical forest, cloud forests, are found in remote valleys at higher elevations 1600-2500m. The name comes from the clouds which drench the forest in a fine mist, allowing some particularly delicate forms of plant life to survive.
Cloud forest trees are adapted to steep rocky soils and a harsh climate, and have the characteristic low gnarled growth, dense small-leaved canopies, and moss-covered branches supporting a host of plants such as orchids, ferns, bromeliads and many others.
The dense vegetation at all levels of this forest gives it a mysterious and delicate fairytale appearance. It is the home of such rare species as the mountain toucan, the Andean spectacled bear, and the puma. This habitat is particularly important as a source of fresh water and to control erosion.
Does the farm have an electricity supply?Yes; 110 volts, 2-pin plugs.
Does the farm have treated water?No - the water comes from a spring in our forest, and is free from pollution, but we prefer to boil water for our guests.
How do I wash my clothes?In the same way as most Latin Americans do: using a specially built tank, a scrubbing brush, and plenty of soap, all of which are provided!
Patricia will gladly do your washing for you if you don't like or need a rest from such chores.
Where is the nearest bank and cash machine? Do you accept credit cards?The nearest banks/cash machines are in Otavalo (3 hours by bus from Cuellaje). Unfortunately we cannot accept cheques or credit cards, so please do bring enough cash to cover your costs. The preferred notes in ecuador are $20 bills or smaller.
Are there any security issues in Intag?
This is perhaps one of the safest areas of Ecuador - comparable to my home town in the UK. Even so, it's good while in Latin America to get in the habit of keeping any cash and valuables out of sight, perhaps zipped up in an inside pocket.
Where is the nearest doctor? Should I have medical insurance?The nearest doctor and health centre is in Cuellaje, 15 kilometres from Finca San Antonio. The nearest hospital is in Cotacachi, about 3 hours by road from Cuellaje. Treatment at both of these medical centres is free. Yes, If you have concerns about health, you may choose to take out medical insurance - that's obviously a personal decision, and it may be worth saying that Cloudforestadventure consists of 2 nearby farms in the Andean foothillls, with waterfalls, steep slopes in places, and slippery conditions in wet weather. Usually common sense precautions are fine, and we have had only one accident involving a visitor in the last 10 years - a girl who unfortunately fell from a tree while playing at our lower farm, and broke both wrists. She was received at a private clinic in the nearby city of Ibarra, and the treatment she received was approved by her local hospital in the UK.
Is smoking permitted?Of course, outside of the bedrooms. Please show consideration for other guests.
What is the climate like, and when is the best time of year to visit?In general, our farm is warm during the day and a bit chilly at night. Typical daytime temperature: 22 centigrade. Nightime: 18 centigrade. Lower down the valley (in the small town of Cuellaje), the temperatures are about 3 degrees warmer.
The driest time of year is usually between May and December.
January to April is usually the rainy season (great for birdwatching, and rain no longer predictable apparently due to climate change).
Are there any special health problems in the area?This is a remarkably healthy area in which to stay. However, remember that we are not far from the Equator, and light intensity may be higher than you are used to - it's good to bring a wide-brimmed hat, maybe some sunglasses and sunblock.
Malaria and dengue fever are absent, as is SICCA syndrome. At some times of year there are a few mosquitoes, and it's a good idea to bring a repellent.
We offer the opinion that vaccines are perhaps unnecessary for a visit to Cuellaje parish in Intag.
When in Ecuador, we offer the opinion that it's good to stick to boiled or bottled water - this applies even when you see locals slurping delicious looking fruit juices, unless you are really satisfied that they have been prepared with boiled or bottled water.
Is there telephone/internet at the guest-house?
Yes, there is a telephone; and there is internet with wi-fi. There is no mobile phone signal at present. Wassup works fine on the wifi. We unplug the wife when we go to bed, usually around 8.30pm.
What is the currency?From March 2000 Ecuador has used the United States dollar. The only difference from the US is that Ecuadorean coins bear the faces of their own national heroes. It's best to bring bills of $20 or less.
What is the time zone of Ecuador?Ecuador is at GMT -5
Is San Antonio a suitable place to bring children?Yes, most children have a wonderful time here!
There are so many different things for them to see and do, and the local children, like their parents, are friendly and cheerful.
How can I make a phone call to Ecuador?The international code for Ecuador is 593, followed by the city code with the first 0 removed (for example Quito's code of 022 becomes 22), and finally the phone number, usually 6 digits.
For example: +593+22+648 627.
Are there any environmental issues in intag?There are 2 main environmental issues in the area.
- Threat of mining; there are huge mineral deposits in Intag, mainly copper. There are mining concessions all over Intag, including in Cuellaje parish. One of our aims is to raise the profile of Intag in this respect, in the hope of avoiding or mitigating the diseases, destruction, pollution and social division caused by this activity.
- Deforestation. "Slash and burn" agriculture has been practised for three generations and the burnt land is sown with maize and then grass seed for cattle pasture. Streams on deforested land typically turn to dust and stone within two years of the destruction of the forest, with consequent problems of water shortage and empoverishment of the land.
What is the altitude?
The town of Cuellaje is at 1800 metres above sea level. Our farm in San Antonio community (the highest populated area in the parish) is at 2400 metres. Our lower farm is at about 2000 metres.
Do you have a packing list?
Here are a few ideas - however, it's good to know that you can get almost anything you may need in the main cities of Ecuador.
Favourite toiletries, medications, simple first aid kit
rubber boots (we lend these to tourist-visitors)
Light rain-proof jacket
Hat - wide-brimmed if possible.
dark glasses and/or sunblock
sandals and swim gear
Is there a place to read and make comments about cloudforestadventure?
We welcome comments , suggestions and critcism - we are on Trip Advisor (see icon on homepage), and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cloudforestadventurecotacachi/