Map of Ecuador, Focus on Ibarra

 Discovering Your Soul’s Bucket List


Bucket lists. We’ve all heard of them.  The list of adventures and experiences you want to check off before you kick the bucket. We primarily think of trips to faraway lands, jumping out of airplanes or meeting some Hollywood star: Check, check and check. But what about your soul’s bucket list? What do you, as a human being with this one opportunity at life, wish to experience before you die? What does your soul long for? Do you know what you are truly passionate about? What special gifts you bring to the world? If you could take a step back and look at your life, what would you do different from here on out?

Now you can tackle both bucket lists by coming to Ecuador, South America. Here you will experience the cloud forest and the Andes mountains side by side with a warm-hearted culture in an incredible South American Country.  In the midst of the forest, sip on a cup of coffee while watching clouds being born and unwind from the world of obligations. While witnessing the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly, you will contemplate how you want the rest of your life to look and feel. What do you want to let go of? How can you incorporate more joy into your life? What do you really want, deep down inside? Only you know the answers to these questions, but we will give you the time, the space and the activities to help in this discovery.

On top of thinking about those questions along with others, you will see some amazing Ecuadorian sites. Watch and learn how coffee is processed, visit ancient ceremonial swimming pools, view the mating ritual of the enigmatic Cock of the Rock Bird and take a cable car ride over the cloud forest. You will make music with Ali and his family, experience a Shamic cleansing and visit the famous Otavalian market of handmade woolen goods. We will view one inhabited volcanic crater from above and take a boat ride on another crater lake. We will visit the oldest Hacienda in Ecuador while partaking in the Pamba Mesa ritual lunch and stand on the equator.

We hope you will join us on this unique trip, to the center of the world, to the center of yourself.



Each morning we will gather to talk about the question of the day you will be asking yourself. You will have time to reflect and journal.  The activity of the day will also help you to find answers.

Saturday:  Arrival. Stay near the airport.

Sunday:  Head towards the Cloud Forest. Stop to view the Pululahua Crater.  Lunch surrounded by hummingbirds.  Arrive at Above the Clouds Guest House.  Happiness Presentation.

Monday:  Pacto waterfall visit.  What things do you want to let go of? Write it down and watch it flow down the river.  Visit Coffee farm to see how that cup of coffee comes into existence.

Tuesday:  Mindo Cloud Forest to take a cable car ride over the Choco-Andino Reserve.  Butterfly farm visit. Question of the day:  Like a butterfly, are you ready to transform yourself?  Into what?

Wednesday:  Visit Tulipe Archeological site to see the Ceremonial Swimming Pools.  Afternoon visit to the Cock of the Rock mating ritual.  Queston of the day: What things about yourself do you want to unearth?

Thursday:  Head to Otavalo.  Make music with Ali and his family. What joys do you want to incorporate into your life?

Friday:  Visit to Lake Cuicocha.  Boat ride on crater lake.  Shaman Ceremonial Energy cleansing to make room for what your soul wants.  What do you want deep down in your soul?

Saturday:  Otavalo market.  Lunch at Hacienda.  Music and dance presentation.  Afternoon free at to swim and hot tub.  Evening activity:  What are you passionate about?  We’ll go through a process to find out along with how to make them a priority in your life.

Sunday:  Visit the equator at Cayambe and see a different vision of the world. Stand on the equator and think about how to find more balance in your life once you go home. Pamba Mesa Lunch at Ecuador’s oldest Hacienda.  Fly home.

Pululahua Crater Ecuador
Hummingbird Ecuador

Sunday:  After a good night’s sleep near the airport, we will head to Above the Clouds Guest House in the subtropics of Ecuador. On the way down, we will stop at the gorgeous Pululahua Crater, the only inhabited volcanic crater in the world.  It is then time to make our descent from 9,000 feet above sea level to the cloud forest at 5,000 feet, driving through the lungs of the world. Stopping for lunch where we’ll be surrounded by hummingbirds floating around their feeders and exotic birds eating bananas at the feeders. Check into Above the Clouds Guest House.  After getting settled in, Cheryl will do a presentation on Happiness and Joy.

Coffee plantation, Cheryl Reed
Gallo de la Pena Waterfall Pacto, Ecuador

Monday: Today we will visit the waterfall in Pacto.  Enjoy the blue green water and take a swim if you like.  Here we will decide what things we want to let go of to bring in the things we do want.  We will then visit a local coffee farm and see the process from start to finish.  

Subtropical Ecuador
Boue Morph, Mindo, Ecuador
Cable car over the Cloud Forests in Mindo

Tuesday:  Today we’ll visit the cloud forest town of Mindo which sits in the middle of the Choco Andino Biosphere reserve.  We will take a cable car ride over the cloud forest valley and hike through the reserve to one or more waterfalls. Next up the Butterfly farm where you watch the entire metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly and walk the gardens while butterflies land on your head.  Here we will contemplate how we want to transform our own lives.  

View from Above the Clouds Farm, Gualea, Ecuador
Sacred swimming pools Gualea Ecuador
Cock of the Rock, Gualea, Ecuador

Wednesday: Today, we will visit Tulipe, a small town 15 minutes from the guest house.  This archeological site consists of sacred swimming pools left behind by the Yumbo Indians who lived in this area from 700 BC to 1600 AD.  These ceremonial pools are in various shapes such as a clock and a puma. We will tour the small museum that shows how they built earthy pyramids all around the region, one of which can be observed at Above the Clouds Guest House.  The question of the day will be what do you want to unearth or uncover in your life.  Any long lost dreams that still want to be manifested?  In the late afternoon you can hammock or head to see the Cock of the Rock mating ritual.  After a short 15-minute walk through my neighbor’s property you will observe a mating ritual during which 14 male Cock of the Rock birds fight, prance and dance for a chance at the female.  (Red bird above.)


Sierra Ecuador
Ali music Workshop, Peguche, Ecuador

Thursday:  We will say good-bye to the cloud forest and leave for Otavalo in the Sierra Mountain area. After lunch on the way, we will visit Ali’s Music Workshop where he fabricates Pan flutes from bamboo. He will give us a musical demonstration on the many instruments he plays and his sweet daughter will sing us a song.  After experiencing the pure joy and passion Ali brings to his music, you will have time to think about what brings you joy and how to incorporate it into your life.  We will then check into Hacienda Chorlavi.

Lake Cuicocha, Ecuador
Lago Cuicocha Boat Ride, Otavalo, Ecuador

Friday:  We will head to Cuicocha Lake, a beautiful crater lake at the foot of Cotocachi Mountain.  The lake was given it’s name because the Indigenous feel the islands in the center are the shape of a cuyo (guinea pig) which is actually a delicacy in Ecuador. Here we will take a boat ride around the islands and stop to watch the volcanic bubbles coming up from beneath the lake.  We will then head to Cotachachi, also known as the leather town, where you can shop for handmade leather goods. In the evening we will receive attend a ceremony with a local Shaman to cleanse away our negative energy and make room for new energy.  


Hacienda Chorlavi Dancers, Ibarra, Ecuador
Hacienda Chorlavi swimming pool, Ibarra, Ecuador

 Saturday:  Saturday morning we will go to the famous Otavalo Market where your senses with come alive with the colors of the handwoven goods.  We will lunch back at the Hacienda where we can enjoy a show of local music and dance.   You will have afternoon free time to enjoy the pool or a spa treatment.  In the evening we will dig into what you are passionate about.

pamba mesa group, Hacienda Guachalá, Ecuador

Sunday:  Today we will pack up and head towards the airport.  On the way, we will stop at the equator where you will see the orientation of the world in a new light and think about how to bring balance in your life.  Next we will visit the oldest Hacienda in Ecuador and share a Pamba Mesa lunch.  

Plaza Grande Quito

Your Hotels for the week

Above the Clouds Guest House is a great base for exploring the Choco-Andino Biosphere Reserve!

Above the Clouds Guest House

Above the Clouds Guest House, owned and operated by Cheryl Reed,  sits at the end of a country road on a ridge overlooking two river valleys. It is surrounded by the Andes Mountain peaks of Pichincha and Cotacachi. This five-bedroom, four and a half bath home is a perfect home away from home. In addition to the large dining room and fully equipped kitchen, you have a spacious living area to relax in. Not only does the balcony and terrace overlook a lush garden and labyrinth,  you’ll also have views of the Imbaburra Valley where you can often watch clouds sweeping up from the river below.  Here you can let the silence and beauty envelop you!


Above the Clouds Farm, Gualea, Ecuador
Above the Clouds Guest House, Nanegalito, Ecuador

Hacienda Chorlavi, Ibarra, Ecuador

Hacienda Chorlavi was founded by Jesuit Priests in 1620 and was then acquired by the Tobar Family over six generations ago and ultimately transformed into a hotel in 1971.  Among the vast array of Haciendas in the Northern part of Ecuador, there is no doubt that Chorlavi still holds its tradition and story untouched thanks to its inherent beauty. Where once stood a granary house, with its large halls, chambers, and service rooms of an old estate, you now find spacious barns turned into modern auditoriums and conference rooms, houses for laborers turned into rustic yet charming guest rooms, all surrounded by gardens and orchards sheltered by millennial trees that offer visitors the magic aroma of the past.

Ibarra lies at the foot of the Imbabura Mountain and is known for it’s temperate climate. Sitting at 7,300 feet above sea level yet close to the equator makes for perfect weather.  In your free time you can take a walk in the gardens, go for a swim or relax in the Jacuzzi. You will enjoy folkloric dancing in the courtyard. You can play pool, cars, or mini-golf. Or you can simply enjoy the views from a hammock.

Hacienda Chorlavi Gardens, Ibarra, Ecuador

What is included:

All in country transport

Eight nights hotel

All Tourist and Retreat activities listed

All meals Sunday to Sunday

Guiding by Cheryl



Not Included:

Airfare to and from Ecuador


Alcoholic Beverages

Meals where not specified

Travel Insurance