It is difficult to convey how different the Tandayapa Valley is from the dry hustle and bustle of Quito. When you cross from the dry inter-Andean valley and start your way down the west slope of the Andes, about 30 minutes from the north tip of Quito, the habitat changes from dry scrub to high cloud forest on the sides of very steep mountains. The road continues for another twenty minutes and you arrive at the KM 52 marker, where you turn off the main highway onto a gravel road that follows the bottom of the Tandayapa Valley. Through a forest road with a few cow and trout farms, you wind for 6kms, until you get to the small discreet Tandayapa Bird Lodge sign, and you have made it to the edge of one of the best birding centers in all the world.
The natural experience starts in the driveway where tanager flocks with toucanets, barbets and quetzals cross. Some of the best birding in the area is actually on the entrance driveway so do not forget to walk back down. In a few hundred meters, you pass where the old car park was and continue to the top where it is only a few steps to the lodge. The horror stories (or happy depending on your take) of having to walk up a long steep walkway are over, and now those who desire can be driven very close to the lodge.