Tandayapa Bird Lodge,
western Andes cloud forest,
Ecuador

personal experience...

I stayed here for 4 days in October 2015.

access...

The lodge is accessible from the tourist town of Mindo, which is in turn easily reached by Quito via public transport. Or if you have a lot of gear, and you want to work or control where you stop, you can arrange a taxi in Quito.

the lodge...

As with most Ecuadorian Lodges,the rate includes three meals a day. As with most places, the food is great. Unlike most lodges, the coffee is always available and nice and strong!

photography...

This lodge is visited by birdwatchers, as well as keen photographers who want to shoot Hummingbirds.

Unlike most lodges, they allow flash photography. In fact, they even have external flashes for hire.

Because of this set up, the lodge is visited by photography groups. Just be aware that when these tours are present, they do tend to take over the place and access to the feeders, so just check before you book.

Tandayapa Lodge is a blur with hummingbirds! (Damon Ramsey)

activities...

There is a nice trail system at the back of the lodge. There are also shorter walks to more remote lodge rooms, with an observation deck atop. When I was here, there was a female cock-of-the-rock nesting on the building. 

There is a hide overlooking the compost heap, that sometimes attracts birds.

hanging around the compost heap

You can also walk along the access road; it is a dirt road with good views, and not too much traffic. Because you are walking on the edge of the rainforest, this is also good birdwatching and butterflies....

butterflies on the road outside Tandayapa Lodge (Damon Ramsey)

Of course, as with most lodges, some of the best birdwatching is around the lodge. There are half a dozen hummingbird feeders and sometimes they are crazy with hummers. But besides the hummingbird feeder bringing in nectar feeders, there is also a fruit tray on the opposite verandah. And while this brings in less traffic, there are some interesting species that visit, such as Crimson-rumped Toucanet...

Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Tandayapa Lodge, (Damon Ramsey)
Summer Tanager (Damon Ramsey)
Rufous Motmot (Damon Ramsey)

Insect attractor

While other lodges attract nocturnal insect visitors accidentally with their lights, this lodge does so deliberately. They do this with a white sheet with a light behind it, and by dinner it usually has a range of very pretty moths and other insects.

If you wander around the rainforest there is of course lots of small amazing critters to see. My favourite is from a spider I have not identified, but with a pattern on the back that looks a lot like a cat's face.

Unidentified spider with a cat-face mark on the back! (Damon Ramsey)

oh, did I mention the hummingbirds?

the wonderfully named Purple-throated Woodstar caught in flight (Damon Ramsey)
Look at the cute fluffy go-go boots on the Booted Racquet-tail Hummingbird! (Damon Ramsey)