April 1, 2009
The US Ambassador to Ecuador, Heather Hodge (using the microphone in the photo); Linda Cross, the UK Ambassador (seated far left on the photo); the Prefect of the Province of Loja; the Mayor of Macara; and the Deputy Mayor of City of Loja officially opened the Urraca Lodge at Jorupe Reserve in Ecuador on August 14th. About 80 people attended, including the press.
Built on a ridge overlooking the Jorupe valley towards Peru, the lodge buildings are nestled in the dry Tumbesian forest so that visitors will feel that they are a part of the natural surroundings. Being so close to the habitat means the birds and wildlife will be right next to you. White-tailed Jays, Ochre-breasted Dove, Slaty Becards, and even Rufous-necked Woodrails have already been seen from the lodge buildings! Now that the noise of construction has subsided, we expect many more birds and animals to become regular neighbours.
Around the lodge are several majestic Ceiba trees that are characteristic of the dry forest region. These trees are nesting sites for Gray-breasted Flycatchers or roosts for our resident pairs of Grey-breasted or Harris' Hawks. If you are really lucky, you might see a King Vulture soar by when you are relaxing on one or our outdoor porches. The marvelous Henna-hooded Foliage-Gleaner nests in the banks along the roadways and trails and these birds are often seen next to the cabins.
The dining room has been designed as an open-concept pavilion with clerestory ventilation to allow for natural air circulation and to allow birders to keep an eye on the birds around them in the forest. Don't worry, the dining room is screened so you won't be bothered by insects. A couple of porches provide areas to watch birds or to gather informally. Each porch is designed to take advantage of the angle of daylight at different times of the day so you get the best view of birds and the landscape beyond.
There are six cabins, each with two beds and a private bathroom. The cabins are separated for privacy, but if you feel lonely, you can meet up with others at the dining room. Perhaps the best part of the cabins is the porch. Sitting here, you will feel as though you have the valley and all its birds to yourself.
If you are interested in visiting the lodge, please let us know by contacting Jocotoco's Eco-tourism director Exequías Villarroel at email@example.com.
The lodge construction was supported by WLT-US and designed by David Agro, Carmen Bustamente, Peg Ridgely, Robert Ridgely, and Anthony Spick; and constructed by Diego Pantino and Amada Silva.
For more information on the Jorupe Reserve and how you can support the purchase of additional forest havitat, please go to the project page here.