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'Birds of Ecuador'

What makes this trip special?

High temperate zone

High temperate zone

Yanacocha forest & Nono-Mindo road

In this region hummingbirds are the highlight, Shining Sunbeam, Mountain Velvet breast, Great Sapphirewing, Buff-winged Starfrontlet and the rare endemic Black-breasted Puffleg and Purple-backed Thornbill.

Lower temperate zone & subtropical forest

Lower temperate zone & subtropical forest

Tandayapa

Nearly 300 species are listed in this area including, 35 species of tanager, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Golden-headed and Crested Quetzals, Toucan Barbet, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Powerful Woodpecker and Andean Cock-of-the-Rock.

The Antpitta farm

The Antpitta farm

Refugio de los Aves

Sit back and watch the normally elusive Giant, Moustached and Yellow-breasted Antpittas come onto the farms paths to feed.

Temperate forest

Temperate forest

Pulalahua

A vast volcanic crater close to the equatorial line and a good place to spot Rusty-Brown, Undulated, Chestnut-Crowned, Chestnut-Naped and Rufous Antpittas.

High paramo birding

High paramo birding

Antisana & Papallacta

Visit the highest road in Ecuador for species such as Andean Snipe, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Bar-winged Cinclodes and Tawny Antpittas.

Subtropical & temperate montane forest

Subtropical & temperate montane forest

San Isidro

Travel to the eastern flanks of the Andes for species such as Dusky Piha, White-capped Tanager, Red-hooded Tanager, Inca Jay, Sickle-winged Guan, Masked Trogon and Tyrannine Woodcreeper.

Amazon birding

Amazon birding

Amazon rainforest

Choose between 3 rainforest lodges all nestled in the western Amazon and all with impressive bird lists of around 550 species.

Itinerary map for Ecuador & Galapagos 'Birds of Ecuador' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Quito
  • 2 Tandayapa
  • 3 Tandayapa
  • 4 Tinalandia
  • 5 Tinalandia
  • 6 Tinalandia
  • 7 Papallacta
  • 8 Papallacta
  • 9 San Isidro
  • 10 San Isidro
  • 11 Quito
  • 12 Napo Wildlife Centre
  • 13 Napo Wildlife Centre
  • 14 Napo Wildlife Centre
  • 15 Quito
  • 16 Quito
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Birds of Ecuador'

DAY 1

Quito

You will be met on arrival off your chosen international flight and transferred to a 3* hotel in Quito.

DAY 2
BLD

Yanacocha Forest and Nono-Mindo Road

A pre-dawn departure for the northwest slope of Mt Pichincha to birdwatch in the Yanacocha forest at around 3,300m. This is a high temperate zone habitat where hummingbirds are a major highlight, eg Shining Sunbeam, Mountain Velvet breast, Great Sapphirewing, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, three species of pufflegs including the rare endemic Black-breasted Puffleg and Purple-backed Thornbill. We hope to encounter foraging flocks of tanagers, flower piercers, and furnariids, and listen for antpittas and tapaculos. In the afternoon continue birding downhill on the Nono–Mindo Road through lower temperate and subtropical forests to Tandayapa, our base for the next 2 nights.

DAY 3
BLD

Tandayapa and Bellavista

A full day of birdwatching along forest trails and roadside habitats around Tandayapa and Bellavista. Nearly 300 species have been recorded here, including 35 species of tanager, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Golden-headed and Crested Quetzals, Toucan Barbet, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Powerful Woodpecker and Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. Sit mesmerized as up to 20 species of hummingbird come to the feeders.

DAY 4
BLD

Tinalandia

Morning drive south to Tinalandia, birding en route with stops in Mindo, San Miguel de los Bancos and Pedro Vicente Maldonado—humid lowland rainforest where a number of Chocó endemics can be found, eg Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove, Double-banded Greytail, Fulvous-vented Euphonia, Emerald and Scarlet-and-white Tanagers and the near-threatened Blue-whiskered Tanager. Stay 3 nights at Tinalandia at 600m on the Andes western slopes at the Chocó bioregion’s southern end. Over 350 species are recorded here.

DAY 5
BLD

Dawn birding in the grounds of Tinalandia, then walk the trails and skirt the golf-course in search of parrots, Red-headed and Orange-fronted Barbets, Pale-mandibled Aracari and Chocó and Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, woodpeckers, trogons, motmots, jacamars, woodcreepers, antbirds, flycatchers and tanagers. In the afternoon bird the lower section of the Chiriboga Rd in search of Torrent Duck, White-capped Dipper and more. Night birding is also a good option.

DAY 6
BLD

Río Palenque Biological Centre

Today take a day-trip south to Río Palenque Biological Centre in the lowlands at about 100m. This small patch of tropical forest offers great birding and as you walk the labyrinth of forest trails you will find yet another subset of species not found at other sites. Highlights include Pacific Parrotlet, Pallid Dove, Bronzy, Baron’s and Stripe-throated Hermits, Ecuadorian and Northern White-tailed Trogons, Chocó Toucan, Slaty-winged Foliage-gleaner, Red-billed Scythebill, several ant birds, Black-headed Antthrush, dozens of flycatchers, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, White-bearded Manakin, Whiskered and Song Wren, Black-lored Yellowthroat, Grey-and-Gold Warbler, Golden-hooded and Tawny-crested Tanagers and Scarlet-rumped Cacique.

DAY 7
BLD

Antisana Ecological Reserve

Depart early from Tinalandia for a long drive to Los Chillos valley for high páramo birding in and around the Antisana Reserve, including Laguna Micacocha—a landscape created by a colossal volcano that erupted just 400 years ago. Stay 2 nights at Papallacta, where hot springs are a well earned treat.

DAY 8
BLD

Papallacta

Depart early for Papallacta Pass, the highest road in Ecuador. Your birding is at high páramo and marsh areas, and Papallacta and Sucus lakes. Among species seen are Andean Snipe, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Bar-winged Cinclodes, Tawny Antpitta, Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant, Red-crested Cotinga, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanagers, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanagers, and Black-backed Bush-Tanagers.

DAY 9
BLD

San Isidro

Early this morning head to lower elevations on the eastern flanks of the Andes around San Isidro for 2 days of superb birding in an area of subtropical and temperate montane forest. Among the highlights here are Dusky Piha, White-capped Tanager, Red-hooded Tanager, Inca Jay, Sickle-winged Guan, Masked Trogon, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Greater Scythebill, Highland Tinamou, Bicoloured Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Black-chested Fruiteater, Green-and-Black Fruiteater and Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (eastern subspe-cies). Stay 2 nights at Cabañas San Isidro.

DAY 10
BLD

A full day birding at Cordillera de los Huacamayos and Loreto Road. The area is dominated by montane and lower montane cloud forest from 2,300m to just 200m, a forest bridge to lowland rainforest with several eco-tones. The area provides chances for a good number of rare and localised species restricted to eastern Andean foothills. Tanagers are well represented in the entire area, especially at lower elevations where some good mixed flocks are seen. They may include Orange-eared, Golden-eared, Paradise and Saffron-crowned Tanagers. Near the summit of the Guacamayos Cordillera, find Black-billed Mountain Toucan and White-rimmed Brush Finch. Other interesting possibilities are Orange-breasted Fal-con, Black-mandible Toucan, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, Fasciated Tiger Heron, Plum-throated Cotinga, Military Macaw and Subtropical Cacique, among many others. Nocturnal highlights include Rufous-bellied Nighthawk and Lyre-tailed Nightjar.

DAY 11
BL

A morning’s birding at San Isidro, then return up the eastern slopes, stopping for species missed on the way down. Stay at your 3* hotel in Quito. Dinner is not included so you can explore the city if you wish.

DAY 12
BLD

Amazon

A morning flight to Coca to be transferred by fast riverboat to your chosen rainforest lodge: Napo Wildlife Centre, La Selva or Sacha Lodge—your base for the next 3 nights, full board, with wildlife excursions led by the lodge’s resident guides .

DAY 13
BLD

At lodge.

DAY 14
BLD

At lodge.

DAY 15
B

Return to Quito

Return by river to Coca and then by plane to Quito around lunchtime; met and transferred to stay at the same hotel as Day 1. Rest of the day free.

DAY 16
B

Depart Quito

You are transferred to Quito airport for your return flight home, or onwards to the Galápagos.

Guide prices for 'Birds of Ecuador'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide Price (with driver) 2 people sharing £4,750
Guide Price (with bird guide) 2 people sharing £5,235
Prices are per person and include:
  • all travel in Ecuador
  • all accommodation
  • meals as indicated B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner
  • all excursions as described
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • airport and departure taxes
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • any optional excursions you may buy locally

Customer reviews for 'Birds of Ecuador'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average customer rating 100%

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The Amazon, but it was all very exciting and a well balanced introduction

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The excellent bird watching and photography opportunities.

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Time spent in Yachana was all that I could have wished for, exploring at its best.

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Abel- the guide at Yachana was excellent. Best place for seeing butterflies was en route to Yachana. Most Andes areas had good butterfuly spots - above papallacta very few butterflies

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Mindo and Antisana.

Seasonal information for 'Birds of Ecuador'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Quito 15°C rainfall 117mm
2 Tandayapa 23°C rainfall 257mm
3 Tandayapa 23°C rainfall 257mm
4 Tinalandia 27°C rainfall 404mm
5 Tinalandia 27°C rainfall 404mm
6 Tinalandia 27°C rainfall 404mm
7 Papallacta 12°C rainfall 84mm
8 Papallacta 12°C rainfall 84mm
9 San Isidro 22°C rainfall 110mm
10 San Isidro 22°C rainfall 110mm
11 Quito 15°C rainfall 117mm
12 Napo Wildlife Centre 30°C rainfall 229mm
13 Napo Wildlife Centre 30°C rainfall 229mm
14 Napo Wildlife Centre 30°C rainfall 229mm
15 Quito 15°C rainfall 117mm
16 Quito 15°C rainfall 117mm

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Birds of Ecuador'

Day 1

Hotel La Rabida

Quito modern part
rating

Average rating 4.4 (16 ratings)

Hotel de La Rábida is a traditional Quito home that has been renovated and turned into a rather charming small guest house. It is situated in the modern part of Quito. It has characterful lounge with log fire and small patio garden.

Hotel La Rabida
Bedroom
Days 2 - 3

Tandayapa Lodge

high elevation near Mindo

A birders lodge. Proudly designed by birders, owned by birders, and run for birders by birders. Not really suitable for people with more general interests. However, everyone would enjoy the long list of hummingbird species that can be seen at their feeders.

Downside: functional. Few comforts and only the very smallest  outside communal  patio area to relax on as this is a very steeply sloped site seventy metres from the forest edge. Rooms are a good size, plain, clean with private bathroom. Meals are served at times to suit birders I.e. early breakfasts and early dinners.

Tandayapa Lodge
Balcony
Days 4 - 6

Tinalandia Lodge

west of Mindo

Situated at an altitude of 2,000m this birders lodge gives people the opportunity to see birds in the Choco region.

The lodge has 16 rooms, which are located on a steep hill.

Tinalandia Lodge
Exterior
Days 7 - 8

Termas de Papallacta

Papallacta
rating

Average rating 4.4 (38 ratings)

Situated high on the paramos (moors) 40  minutes drive east from Quito this is a delightful lodge with outdoor thermal pools and spa. It has a total of 32 rooms dotted about in its garden, including 13 cabins which also have living rooms and fireplaces. Accommodation is about 300m from the main block which houses the restaurant and spa. Guests have thermal pools, never more than a few footsteps from their room. Here on a clear night it is lovely to slip into the warm water after dinner and admire the moonlit snowcapped summit of distant Antisana volcano. All rooms have private bathrooms and there are self-guided hiking trails on the paramos behind the hotel where there are opportunites to see hummingbirds. There are also much larger thermal pools which are open to the public which are very popular at weekends when day-trippers visit from Quito. Room prices are higher at weekends when the lodge is busiest so aim to stay mid-week.

Termas de Papallacta
Thermal pools
Days 9 - 10

San Isidro Lodge

20 mins south of Baeza
rating

Average rating 4.5 (13 ratings)

Birders and walkers lodge in the eastern foothills of the Andes at 2,000m above sea level in a zone still mostly blanketed by exensive humid forest. It has 10 wooden cabins all with private bathroom and small private porch with a private hummingbird feeder, coffee maker, sitting area. Thre is WIFI in the communal dining room, a pool table, white light for insect observation and a book exchange. It’s a great place for butterflies, birds (310 species) and other wildlife including large mammals. 30 species of hummingbird come to the feeders including Long-tailed Sylph and Gorgeted Woodstar. There is an Orchid garden with over 100 species around the cabins, Antpitta feeding station. The lodge's trails pass through habitats from 2,400m all the way down to 1,850m i.e. from the lower reaches of the temperate zone down into the subtropical zone.

San Isidro Lodge
Cabin
Day 11

Hotel La Rabida

Quito modern part
rating

Average rating 4.4 (16 ratings)

Hotel de La Rábida is a traditional Quito home that has been renovated and turned into a rather charming small guest house. It is situated in the modern part of Quito. It has characterful lounge with log fire and small patio garden.

Hotel La Rabida
Bedroom
Days 12 - 14

Napo Wildlife Centre

Napo River
rating

Average rating 4.9 (32 ratings)

Napo Wildlife Centre is located within its own 82 square mile reserve area within the Yasuni National Park–a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with the highest documented tree diversity in the world. The Centre was created and built by the Añangu community in partnership with charitable foundations.

The fast boat from Coca drops you by a beautiful creek that meanders into the forest. Here you are met by the lodge staff in small dug-out boats who slowly paddle you along, introducing you to the plants and wildlife of the forest as you travel (the journey can last 1½—2½ hours) . You emerge into a very beautiful oxbow lake with the lodge buildings nestling together on the opposite shore.

The Napo Wildlife Centre lodge offers individual adobe style cabins, spacious and well-screened, with 24hr electricity, fans and gas-heated hot water in en suite bathrooms. There are comfortable bar and dining areas in an large and airy main lodge building, which also offers a roof level viewing platform. Facilities include a canopy platform set in a 120ft ceiba tree. There is a good network of trails and a selection of excellent river excursions. The lodge is well run by experienced managers who are training local people to assist in (and eventually take over) its operation.

The terrain around the lodge (terra firma and varzea forest) is similar to the others on the north side of the Napo but accompanied by small hills which provide a variation of habitat that adds to the range of species that can be seen. An excellent range of wildlife, birds, plants, trees is almost guaranteed and the lodge’s recorded lists of birds, mammals, etc are top rate.

Napo Wildlife Centre
Lodge
Day 15

Hotel La Rabida

Quito modern part
rating

Average rating 4.4 (16 ratings)

Hotel de La Rábida is a traditional Quito home that has been renovated and turned into a rather charming small guest house. It is situated in the modern part of Quito. It has characterful lounge with log fire and small patio garden.

Hotel La Rabida
Bedroom