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14 Day Biodiversity and Birdwatching Tour in Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Ecuador Birds and Fauna Safari

Discover the birds and wildlife of the Andes, the cloud forest, and the Amazon region in the country of passions and biodiversity that is Ecuador. Thousands of species of birds and terrestrial animals and plants will fascinate you for sure.

Overview

  • Minimum group size: group safari with minimum 4 people per group
  • Main wildlife to be viewed: birds
  • Starting point and ending point: Quito

Highlights

  • Bird watching activities
  • Chance to see monkeys, many species of birds, and plants
  • Visit Maquipucuna Reserve, Mindo Cloud Forest, and Cosanga
  • Service of bilingual naturalist guide specialized in ornithology
  • Canoeing in rivers like Pato Cocha and Cayman Cocha
  • 13 nights accommodation
  • All meals

Styles


11 activity days
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Accommodation

During the tour, you will stay in various accommodation in hotels and lodge, depending on the location.

Program

Day 1: Quito / Antisana Reserve

Arrive at Quito airport and transfer to your hotel. You will overnight at the hotel in Quito.

Alternatively, you can take a short drive to the area of the Antisana Volcano and overnight at the hacienda inn near the reserve and nesting region of the Andean condor, various birds of prey, and waterfowl.

Day 2: Antisana - Lake Mica - Quito / Nono

Go on a hiking and morning observation of the condors and birds of the Antisana Reserve and around Lake La Mica, through Andean vegetation of unique altitude: the Paramo (4000 meters above sea level). Then, take a short drive to Quito.

There will be an optional guided tour of Quito or visit the Vivarium de Quito or another museum or the Guayllabamba Zoo.

Overnight at the 3-star hotel in the historic center or, if possible and desired, in a simple hostel in Nono.

Day 3: Quito - Yanacocha - Maquipucuna

Very early morning, transfer to the village of Nono (if you spend the night in Quito) to the Yanacocha Reserve, a private reserve belonging to the Ecuadorian foundation Jocotoco, covering 960 hectares of land on the northwestern flanks of the Pichincha Volcano.

Enjoy a walk, following the path on the side of the volcano, in a vegetation typical of temperate Andean temperate forests (polylepis, fuchsias, Melastomaceae, orchids, Bromeliaceae, and other epiphyte plants, Chusquea bamboos and hummingbirds, different altitude bird species like the Jotococo, the most popular of the reserve, and with great luck, the rare black-breasted puffleg / Erione black-breasted).

Then, take on old country road through the Rio Alambi valley that goes from Nano to Tandayapa.

Arrive at the reserve renowned for its bears and its very large bird population (22% of the species of Ecuador): Maquipucuna, in the heart of the wet cloud rainforest. This is where you will have lunch.

Settle at the lodge, tour in the vicinity, possible bird watching. And optional or included, night walk to observe animal life, insects, amphibians, and birds if possible. Have dinner and overnight at the lodge.

Day 4: Maquipucuna - Angel Paz Reserve (optional) - Mindo

Go on a morning hike to the birds, possibly bears (usually the best season is between October and December) among other small animals. Then, short drive to the cloud forest area of Mindo. On the way, in option, it is possible to visit of the reserve of Angel Paz or so-called "Paz de las Aves" (the Peace of the Birds), a tamer of tropical birds.

Arrival at the quiet village of Mindo. Installation at an eco chalet near Mindo, surrounded by nature, home of a hundred species of birds including Aracari toucans, parrots, colorful tanagers, squirrel bird, Momot, falcon, herons, etc.

Enjoy free dinner at the village of Mindo or prepared by yourselves and overnight at the eco chalet.

Paz de las Aves

Paz de las Aves is the place where you can observe cock-of-the-rock and the incredible cotingas mating dance. This reserve at 1800 meters above sea level is the scene of an incredible spectacle. Angel Paz, the owner, managed to accustom four species of Grallaires, a Tocro, and a Tétéma to come for food on regular sites. You will have the opportunity to observe these undergrowth birds almost invisible in general. You will also spend time near Hummingbirds’s waterers and fruit feeders.

Day 5: Mindo

Go on a morning walk to observe the birds of Mindo, visit a butterfly farm, a garden of hummingbirds, and observe peacefully fifteen species of hummingbirds, meeting up and waiting for their turn to drink. You will have tilapia and ceviche of heart of palm as lunch.

There is an optional visit of a chocolate's factory from the plants to the tablets with tasting (it can be done the next afternoon). There’s also a free time to walk and observe the birds around the eco chalet.

Enjoy pizza dinner at one of the best pizzeria in the country. Overnight at the eco chalet.

Day 6: Milpe Reserve / Rio Silanche Reserve

Today, you could choose to explore Milpe Reserve or Rio Silanche Reserve. You can also request to visit the Pachijal Reserve.

Milpe of multicolored birds

After a breakfast at dawn, transfer to the Milpe Reserve located in the heart of a subtropical piedmont forest at 1100 meters altitude. This reserve belongs to the Mindo Cloud Forest Foundation. Explore its trails and visit leks of different species of manakins and observation of hummingbirds and birds fond of the fruits of the reserve.

The last bird of Rio Silanche

Take an early departure for the Rio Silanche Reserve, a reserve also belonging to the Mindo Cloud Forest Foundation located in the plain at 600 meters altitude. Observation and search of endemic birds of Chocó de Plaine in one of the northwestern lowland rainforest sanctuaries. This ecosystem is one of the most threatened in the country by deforestation to promote and spread the intensive agriculture of oil palms, bananas, cocoa, etc.

Day 7: Mindo - Puerto Quito - Quito / Papallacta

Early morning departure to the coast, from an altitude of about 800 meters to the warm tropical region of Puerto Quito. Hike and visit the interesting and wonderful Suamox Reserve to discover other species of coastal birds. Then, have breakfast.

Drive back to Quito and overnight at the hotel. Alternatively, you can continue the journey to the famous baths of Papallacta at the four-star spa hotel with hot thermal pools. The stay at Papallacta is recommended so that you’re more ready for the day after at the Guango Reserve.

Day 8: Quito / Papallacta - Cosanga

From Quito, take the road up to Col de Papallacta at more than 4000 meters above sea level, to temperate altitude forest after the village of Papallacta. Visit the rich ecosystem that you appreciate and discover in the temperate forest reserve of Guango, following the river to another great diversity of birds and special species (different from the Yanacocha Reserve). There’s possible observation of other beautiful species of hummingbirds drinking.

Continue your exploration, rolling to the Amazon, to the pre-Amazon region that is home to the largest number of birds in Ecuador: Cosanga. You will explore San Isidro, the famous bird reserve. Dinner and overnight will be at the San Isidro lodge or another nearby.

Day 9: Cosanga - Lago Agrio

Go on morning observation of the winged population around the lodge. Then, drive to the deep Amazon towards the city of Lago Agrio. Along the way, you could walk to enjoy the spectacular San Rafael Waterfall. You will arrive in the afternoon at Lago Agrio and overnight at the best hotel in the city.

Day 10: Lago Agrio - Amazon Forest Cuyabeno Park

Go from Lago Agrio to Cuyabeno Park then transfer by canoe in the forest to the lodge. During the trip, there’s a chance to see some bird species (cacicus, oropendolas, greater anis, prehistoric bird hoazin) or other animals of the jungle.

After settling in, you will have lunch at the lodge or picnic on the way then rest. There’s a chance of a hike or a swim in the river before or after dinner. If desired, have a night walk in the forest to observe amphibians and insects. You will overnight in a double cabin.

Day 11: Cuyabeno Park

After breakfast, trek in the primary forest for 3 or 4 hours for a chance to see medicinal plants and exotic bird watching and monkeys and flora watching. Back to the huts for lunch and nap.

In the afternoon, swim in the river and watch sunset. With luck, you can see pink freshwater dolphins or anacondas. Back to the cabins for dinner and go on a night ride aboard a canoe to observe caimans. Overnight at the lodge.

Day 12: Cuyabeno Park

Before breakfast, you can go to observe the sunrise by canoe. Back to the cabins for breakfast. Departure in canoes (build by the natives) to visit rivers like Pato Cocha and Cayman Cocha with bird watching and monkeys along the way. Have lunch.

Back to the cabins for dinner. Enjoy night hike in the primary forest to look for insects like spiders, gekos, and scorpions. Overnight at the lodge.

Day 13: Cuyabeno - Lago Agrio - Quito

After breakfast, transfer by canoe and vehicle to Lago Agrio. Then, return to Quito and transfer to the hotel to have cocktail and farewell dinner. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 14: Quito (end of tour)

Free morning (visit or shopping tour optional on request). In the afternoon, 4 or 3 hours before flight time, transfer to Quito airport and depart for home.

Location

This biodiversity tour takes place in Ecuador. You will visit natural reserves including Antisana Reserve, Yanacocha Reserve, Maquipucuna Reserve, Angel Paz, Milpe Reserve or Rio Silanche Reserve, Suamox Reserve, Guango Reserve, Cosanga, and Cuyabeno Park.

Maquipucuna Reserve

The Maquipucuna Reserve is the closest pristine rainforest from Quito. It spans over 14,000 acres of privately protected cloud forests at the heart of the Chocó Andean Corridor, one of the earth's top three biodiversity hotspots. The reserve covers a vast diversity of ecozones between 900m (2900 ft) and 2785m (9100 ft), meaning you can find a huge diversity of wildlife that call Maquipucuna home.

Mindo Cloud Forest

The Mindo Forest is located in the heart of the mountainous Chocó, called "cloud forest" from 1300 to 2100 meters of altitude, one of the richest ecosystems of the planet, habitat more than 420 endemic and migratory bird species and dozens of hummingbird species.

Cosanga, San Isidro, Ecuadorian bird paradise

This region of subtropical montane forest is one of the richest ecosystems on the planet. Discover San Isidro Reserve, its species of hummingbirds, forest and cryptic birds, and discover more open environments for the rounds of Thraupidae.

Food

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Extension tours are available on request:

  • Pacific Coast extension tour to watch whales (from June to September), monkeys, and different birds
  • Galapagos cruise (5 or 8 days)
  • Galapagos island hopping tour (5 or 8 days)
  • Dive cruse (8 days) or diving tour (5 days)

What's included

  • 13 nights accommodation
  • All breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Service of bilingual naturalist guide specialized in ornithology
  • Entrance fee and visits mentioned in the program

What's not included

  • Extra drinks
  • Tips (guide / bus driver)
  • Airport taxes (42 USD)
  • International bank wire transfer fees

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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