'Birds of the Pacific Coast'

What makes this trip special?

Birding by salt pools

Birding by salt pools

Ecusal salt pools

The salt pools at Ecusal are a magnet for rarities and a wide variety of water and coastal birds, including Chilean flamingos.

Remnant deciduous & semi-humid forest

Remnant deciduous & semi-humid forest

Ayampe River

The habitats which surround the Ayampe River are the only known breeding area for the endangered Esmeraldas Woodstar.

Pelagic zone

Pelagic zone

Isla de la Plata

A boat ride around the island can uncover species such as White-vented Storm Petral, Wedge-rumped Storm Petral, Parkinson's Storm Petral and the large waved Albatross.

Humid & dry forest

Humid & dry forest

Machalilla National Park

The national park supports a large number of species including Tumbesian endemics, Pacific Royal Flycatcher, Collared Antshrike, Ecuadorian Thrush, Guayaquil Woodpecker and many more.

Itinerary map for Ecuador & Galapagos 'Birds of the Pacific Coast' holiday


  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Cerro Blanco
  • 2 Puerto Lopez
  • 3 Puerto Lopez
  • 3 Isla de la Plata
  • 4 Puerto Lopez
  • 5 Puerto Lopez
  • 6 Guayaquil
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Birds of the Pacific Coast'


Cerro Blanco and Salinas

Depart early from Guayaquil to bird Cerro Blanco. Leaving Cerro Blanco, continue westwards to the Ecuasal pools—salt evaporation ponds near Salinas that provide habitat for large numbers and a wide variety of water birds and seem to be magnets for rarities. Numerous water and coastal birds are resident and breeding, notably Grey-hooded and Kelp Gull, Gull-billed Tern, and Snowy Plover. Chilean Flamingos are usually here. Drive north along the coast to stay at Hostería Atamari, set on a promontory with superb views over the Pacific Ocean. The hotel grounds are good for birding.


Ayampe River

A full day birdwatching at the Ayampe River, a narrow, shallow river that doubles as a road and normally can be navigated by vehicles with reasonable clearance. Extensive deciduous and semi humid woodland and forest remains in various areas, including along the main coastal road leading south. The road passes through hills that are the only known breeding area for the endangered Esmeraldas Woodstar. Later, drive a short way north to Puerto López to stay at Mantaraya Lodge, outside the town, for 4 nights.


Isla de la Plata

An early departure and boat ride takes you to the highlight of Machalilla National Park: Isla de la Plata. Pelagics can be quite a highlight of the boat trip to the island, including White-vented Storm Petrel, Wedge-rumped Storm Petrel and Parkinson’s Storm Petrel, plus the large Waved Albatross. Before arriving at the landing site, search carefully along the cliffs and shores of the island. One of the pelagics that may be spotted is the Red-footed Booby. Enjoy a full day excursion as you land on the island and hike the trails in search of Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca (Masked) Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Waved Albatross, and many other sea birds. Look for Short-tailed Woodstar, and the island’s endemic subspecies of Long-tailed Mockingbird. Between June and September the boat trip can also be rewarding for cetaceans.


Machalilla NP: humid forest and dry forest

Two full days’ birding at Machalilla NP and Cerro San Sebastián. Machalilla supports large populations of many Tumbesian endemics, and a host of other interesting birds. Some of your avian companions include the Pacific Royal Flycatcher, Collared Antshrike, Ecuadorian Thrush, Guayaquil Woodpecker, and more. Cerro San Sebastián is an 800m peak within the park, rising from arid shrub, through deciduous forest and woodland, to semi-humid and then cloud forest above 700m. The area is rich in endemic bird species, some of them threatened, with notably large populations of Ochre-bellied Doves, and Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaners. Despite the diverse avifauna present, very few foreign birders have discovered this area, making your visit a quite special one to this pristine location.


Birding at Machalilla NP and Cerro San Sebastián.


Shore highway—Guayaquil

This morning depart early for coastal birding along the shore highway. Parts of the road detour inland, so you can add sea and shore birds, as well as birds such as the Croaking-ground Dove, Pacific Parrotlet, Harris Hawk, Plumbeous Kite, Great Black Hawk, King Vulture, Laughing Falcon, Yellow-tailed Oriole, Scrub Blackbird and more. You arrive in Guayaquil by early afternoon in time for evening flights home, or you could stay the night in Guayaquil and fly to the Galápagos next day.

Guide prices for 'Birds of the Pacific Coast'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
guide price (with regular driver) 2 people sharing £call
guide price (with bird guide) 2 people sharing £call
Prices are per person and include:
  • all travel in Ecuador
  • all accommodation
  • meals as indicated B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner
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 the Pacific Coast'

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.


Seasonal information for 'Birds of the Pacific Coast'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Cerro Blanco 19°C rainfall 90mm
2 Puerto Lopez 29°C rainfall 52mm
3 Puerto Lopez 29°C rainfall 52mm
3 Isla de la Plata 29°C rainfall 33mm
4 Puerto Lopez 29°C rainfall 52mm
5 Puerto Lopez 29°C rainfall 52mm
6 Guayaquil 31°C rainfall 172mm

Typical weather for January


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

Hotels for 'Birds of the Pacific Coast'

Day 1



Hotel Atamari offers spacious well appointed cabins set around a cliff-skirted promontory, with wonderful views for whale-watchers and sunset-gazers. There is a good sized swimming pool and a steep rocky path descends to a secluded beach at Ayampe. Additional facilities include two restaurants (one interior with capacity for 30 people and another outside with capacity for 60 people), bar with terrace and viewpoint, two convention rooms. There is a good chance of seeing whales from June-September.

Pool area
Days 2 - 5


Pacific Coast Machalilla National Park

Average rating 5.0 (1 ratings)

Situated in the Machalilla National Park, 15 minutes from Puerto Lopez, Mantaraya Lodge is a Mediteranean style bulilding with 15 rooms with private bathroom, all with either a balcony or a terrace. The hotel has an unheated swimming pool, restaurant serving local and international food and internet connection. There are a number of activities available to guests.

Pool area