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Ecuador: Northern Andes and Amazon Birding


Crimson-mantled Woodpecker

Crimson-mantled Woodpecker

With over 1600 species, including many endemics, Ecuador is certainly a birders paradise! Many of Ecuador’s lodges have been built specifically for birders and photographers! Color is everywhere… hummingbirds, tanagers, toucans and quetzals are abundant!

Draped across the equator in the northwestern corner of South America, Ecuador shares a border with Peru to the south and east, Colombia to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Quito, the nations capital, sits centered at the northern end of the country, high in an Andean valley only 14 miles south of the equator. The size of Nevada, Ecuador can be divided into three general regions: the western coastal lowlands, the central Andean highlands and the eastern lowland forests of the Amazon basin.

The Andean highlands are composed of two volcanic ranges separated by a central valley in which the bulk of the population lives. They offer an incredible diversity of hummingbirds and tanagers. Color is everywhere in the forest. Above tree line however, colors fade to birds that blend with their surroundings. Shades of gray and brown are the colors of the grasslands, called paramo. Cold and wet, these high mountain ecosystems offer a load of Andean endemics!

The Amazon basin rainforests are a nearly impenetrable tangle known to Ecuadorians as the Oriente (the East). Although the Amazon itself does not flow through Ecuador, all rivers east of the Andes eventually empty into it… the Rio Napo being one of the largest tributaries.

Thanks to its agreeable climate and patchwork of habitats (alpine grasslands, coastal swamps, tropical rainforest), Ecuador is one of the most species-rich nations on earth. It boasts 300 species of mammal (including monkeys, sloths, llamas and alpacas) and over 1600 species of birds!

White-bellied Antpitta

White-bellied Antpitta


  • Tour Cost
  • 16 Day/15 Nights 


    2019 Cost

    $6450 from Quito, Ecuador
    Prices per person, double occupancy.
    Cost includes local flight, Coca to Quito.



    A deposit of $1000 is required to hold your space. You may register with credit card on-line using the form to the right, or download the registration form and mail it with a check or call toll free 888.875.9453 with your credit card.


    Final Payment

    Final payment by check required 120 days prior to departure date.


    Single Room

    If a single room is preferred, or a roommate is not available, a single supplement fee of $800 will be assessed for the trip.


    Included in the Tour Cost

    All ground transportation from Quito, Ecuador, local flights Quito/Coca and boat travel. All accommodations. All meals from breakfast on first full day through breakfast on departure day. All entrance fees and guide fees. Tips for meal service.


    Not Included in the Tour Cost

    International air travel, passport fees, luggage fees, trip insurance, alcoholic beverages, departure taxes, phone calls, laundry, or other items of a personal nature.

  • Itinerary
  • Detailed Itinerary


    DAY 1 Arrival in Ecuador / Hotel Quito (NO MEALS)

    Participants may be arriving in Ecuador at varying times throughout the day. After a relaxing dinner we will have a brief orientation to Ecuador and the tour. Then have a good night’s rest and prepare for an early rise to begin our amazing journey!



    Departing after an early breakfast, we’ll bird the well known Yanacocha Reserve, a high altitude sanctuary on the edge of the polylepis forest to see many Buff-winged Starfrontlets as we look for Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Golden-breasted Puffleg and Shining Sunbeam.  We’ll continue to bird our way to our lodge, arriving in tim for dinner.


    Day 3 - Mindo / SEPTIMO PARAISO LODGE (B, L, D)

    Today we will explore up-slope from 1200m to 2300m in the Miraflores and Bellavista area. Species here include Plate-billed Mountain-toucan, Green-and-Black Fruiteater and Grass-green Tanager. Collared Inca, Booted Racquet-tail, White-bellied Woodstar and Black-tailed Trainbearer can be found at feeding locations.


    Day 4 - Mindo / SEPTIMO PARAISO LODGE (B, L, D)

    We will do an early morning visit to the Cock-of-the-rock lek and bird the Mindo Valley area looking for feeding flocks of tanagers, Toucan Barbets and a glimpse of the recently described Cloud-forest Pygmy-owl. In the afternoon we will explore around the lodge and the village of Mindo... which has flourished thanks to birding! Golden-headed Quetzal, Ornate Flycatcher, Violet-tailed Sylph and many others will be enjoyed on this relaxing day.


    Day 5 - Mindo / SEPTIMO PARAISO LODGE (B, L, D)

    Today we will explore the Mospi Reserve to explore the recently discovered Oilbird cave! We will seek tanager flocks and other feeding flocks along the way.


    Day 6 - TO Guango Lodge VIA Papallacta (B, L, D)

    Our drive today will take us over Papallacta Pass at nearly 14,000 ft. where we will make a stop to seek Rufous-bellied Seed-snipe on our way to Guango. At Guango we will enjoy their gardens full of hummers before dinner!


    Day 7 - TO Cabañas San Isidro (B, L, D)

    After a morning at Guango we will drive to San Isidro birding along the way. We will arrive in time for some late day birding before dinner. After dark we will seek the yet-to-be named “San Isidro Owl.”


    Day 8 - Cabañas San Isidro (B, L, D)

    At San Isidro where will enjoy more hummingbird feeding stations as well as many great trails. Here we will also find the White-bellied Antbitta that comes for breakfast each morning. The mornings here explode with bird sounds and we will enjoy easy walks for many birds, including Rufous-bellied Nighthawk.


    Day 9 - TO WildSumaco Lodge (B, L, D)

    Today we will begin with birding along the Loreto Road on our way to WildSumaco Lodge. This brand new lodge built in the foothills east of the Amazon offers incredible bird life and many photo opportunities.


    Day 10 - WildSumaco Lodge (B, L, D)

    The feeders at WildSumaco will offer about 10 new hummingbirds for our list including the spectacular Wire-crested Coquette. Additionally, the trails can offer many feeding flocks full of tanagers, dacnis, antbirds and more!


    Day 11 - TO Napo Wildlife Center (B, L, D)

    Today we’ll bird our way to Coca then take a motorized canoe three hours down the Rio Napo to our lodge. Arriving at the lodge property, we will look for Red-capped Cardinal, Black-billed Thrush and Southern Lapwing before the short paddle and walk to the lodge.


    Day 12/13/14 - Napo Wildlife Center (B, L, D)

    Today we’ll fly to Coca then take a motorized canoe three hours down the Rio Napo to our lodge. Arriving at the lodge property, we will look for Red-capped Cardinal, Black-billed Thrush and Southern Lapwing before the short paddle and walk to the lodge.


    Each of our days here will offer unique and exciting birding. Blue-headed Parrots, Dusky-faced Parakeets, Cobalt-winged Parakeets, Scarlet Macaws, Mealy Parrots and maybe the elusive Orange-cheeked Parrot come to the clay lick.


    The 150 foot canopy platform allows us to view canopy specialties otherwise invisible to the ground dwelling birder: White-browed Purpletuft, Dugand’s Antwren, Paradise Tanager and Opal-crowned Tanager. Tthe terra-firma rainforest trails may produce Wire-tailed Manakin and the amazingly loud Screaming Piha.


    Day 15 - Transfer to Quito / Hotel Quito (B, L, D)

    Transfer back to Quito, first by motorized canoe then take a flight from Coca to Quito. Dinner at the hotel and a relaxing evening.


    Day 16 - Depart for USA (B)

    Departures throughout the day. Note that if your flight is too early for the served breakfast, request a box breakfast the night before departure.

  • Accommodations
  • Septimo Paraiso Lodge

    Septimo Paraiso Lodge lies on a private reserve set at about 5000 feet above sea level. The lodge offers luxury well beyond its rustic setting. Large rooms with full bath... some with spectacular views, are surrounded by rainforest. The birding is spectacular!


    Guango Lodge

    Guango Lodge is a new, small tourist facility on a family property that is surrounded by temperate forest and very birdy flocks. Guango Lodge, about 1 hour away from San Isidro, lies at a higher elevation (about 9000 feet) on Ecuador’s eastern slope.

    This area is centered in a zone classified as humid temperate forest, a habitat distinctly different from San Isidro and characterized  by its more stunted trees (and thicker canopy), cooler climate, and different bird and plant composition. All rooms have private bath.

    Hummingbird feeders surround the front deck and this is the best place to find many species like Chestnut-breasted Coronet and the amazing Sword-billed Hummingbird.


    Cabañas San Isidro

    Cabañas San Isidro, surrounded by its own 1,300 acre forest reserve, has built a reputation for being the pioneer in private conservation and birding/nature tourism on the northeast slope of the Ecuadorian Andes. While many popular birding spots lack any type of lodge, at Cabañas San Isidro you will not have to sacrifice comfort for great birds and the chance to see other interesting wildlife.


    WildSumaco Lodge

    WildSumaco is a brand new tourist lodge with all the ammenities... full en suit bath, etc, set amidst the incredible mid-level cloud forest on the eastern slope of the Andes.


    Napo Wildlife Center

    The Napo Wildlife Center, NWC Amazon Lodge, is a luxury eco-hotel in Amazonian Ecuador. This ecotourism project includes the conservation of approximately over 82 square miles (53,500 acres) of the most pristine Amazon Rain Forest within the Yasunì National Park, an important UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the largest tract of tropical rain forest in Ecuador.

    The lodge complex is located by Anangucocha lake, within the unique ancestral territory of the Anangu Quichua Community, part of the Yasuni National Park. In the early 90’s the community envisioned building their own lodge to provide jobs while protecting their land.