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Ecuador: 1000 Birds or $1000 Back!*


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!

Southern Ecuador has only recently become easier to traverse in search of the many (16) endemics that reside here. One of our top targets is the Jocotoco Antpitta which was only discovered by modern science in 1997! Bob Ridgely and John Moore heard a bird they did not recognize as they were exploring the region, when they finally saw they bird they were positive it was something new.

Retrace their discovery and join us on the incredible journey through the series of Jocotoco Reserves in search of birds found nowhere else on Earth. Long-wattled Umbrellabird, El Oro Parakeet, El Oro Tapaculo, Tumbes Swift, White-headed Brush-Finch, and Tumbes Swallow will be sought.

Tumbesian specialties such as Watkin’s Antpitta, Henna-hooded and Rufous-necked Foliage-Gleaners, Gray-breasted Flycatcher, Rainbow Starfrontlet, Purple-throated Sunangel, Piura Hemispingus, Black-crested Tit-Tyrant, Chapman’s Antshrike, and Gray-headed Antbird will all be highlights of this spectacular opportunity.

*1000 birds must be the group total. Each bird on the list must have been seen by at least one guide and one client. ASK FOR DETAILS.

White-bellied Antpitta

White-bellied Antpitta

  • Tour Cost
  • 31 Day/30 Nights 


    2018 Cost

    $14,500.00 from Quito, Ecuador (return flight from Guayaquil, Ecuador)
    Prices per person, double occupancy.
    Cost includes local flights, Coca to Quito/Quito to Guayquil.



    A deposit of $2500 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 $1800 will be assessed for the trip.


    Included in the Tour Cost

    All ground transportation from Quito, Ecuador, local flights Quito/Coca and Quito/Guayaquil, plus 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
  • Day 1 Arrival in Quito
    We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Night in Quito.


    Day 02 Yanacocha / Mindo
    We will enjoy an early breakfast at the hotel, then depart for Yanacocha Reserve. At 11,483 feet, Yanacocha is famous for its high-elevation specialties, and we will spend the morning birding the Trocha Inca Trail. Here we will see at least ten species of hummingbirds, and the mixed feeding flocks we will encounter will add many more tantalizing birds to the list. We will seek Barred Fruiteater, Great Sapphirewing, Golden-breasted and Sapphire-vented Pufflegs, Sword-billed Hummingbirds, and much more.


    We will enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in the grandiose montane vista, after which we will begin the drive to Mindo via the Old Nono Mindo Road, birding along the way. This road offers spectacular views of the forest and excellent birding, with the possibility of such sought-after birds as Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper. We will then arrive in Mindo, where we will spend the next four nights.


    Night in Mindo.


    Day 3 Bella Vista Cloud Forest
    After an early breakfast we will drive to the Tandayapa Valley, where the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve is located. Our target species will include Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, Toucan Barbet, and one of the most rare and sought-after birds the Tanager Finch. After lunch, we will relax by the feeders and enjoy up to 20 species of hummingbirds, including Brown and Collared Incas, Violet-tailed Sylph, and Booted Rackettail.


    Night in Mindo.


    Day 4 Masphi Reserve

    This day we will visit the Masphi Reserve, it is a small but very good choco forest, we will see Moss Back Tanager, and the local people is feeding some tanager with Bananas , so we expect to see The glissening green , golden, flame faced Tanager , Black chinned Mountain Tanager, Crimson rumped toucanet and more and then we will travel an hour's drive to the Oilbird Cave in hopes of seeing this enigmatic bird!


    Night in Mindo.


    Day 5 Paz de las Antpittas Reserve/Andean Cock-of-the-Rock
    Early this morning we will head to Paz de las Antpittas Reserve to observe the Andean Cock-of-the-Rocks at their lek, where males assemble during the mating season and engage in competitive displays that attract females. Afterwards we will join Angel (the owner of the reserve) as she draws her "charges" in for breakfast Maria the Giant Antpitta, Willi the Yellow-breasted Antpitta, and Susan the Moustached Antpitta! We will then enjoy our own breakfast, and on the way back to the lodge we will make a stop at Mindo Loma Reserve to look for Black-chinned Mountain Tanager and Hoary Puffleg. After lunch we will have about an hour to "chill out" before visiting the Milpe Bird Sanctuary in the afternoon to search for Choco endemics such as Moss-backed, Rufous-throated, and Glistening-green Tanagers, as well as Club-winged Manakin.


    Night in Mindo.


    Day 6 Silanche Reserve / Canande
    After an early breakfast, we will drive downslope to the Silanche Reserve. At 1000 feet, this is the lowest preserve we will visit, and we will spend a few hours at the Canopy Tower looking for Choco endemics such as Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Rufous-winged and Blue-whiskered Tanagers, Choco Toucan, Pacific Parrolet, and the we will drive to Canade Rserve.


    Night in Canande.


    Day 7 Esmeraldas Reserve
    Canade is a in the pristine Choco bioregion in Esmeraldas Province. There are 37 threatened and choco endemics in the reserve.


    We will look for Plumbeous Forest Falcon, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Sapayoa, White-tipped Cotinga, Choco Poorwill and Screech Owl, and Great Jacamar, Black-and-white Hawk Eagle, Blue-whiskered Tanager, Dagua Thrush, Purple-chested and Blue-chested Hummingbird, Orange-fronted Barbet, Black-striped Woodcreeper, Lita Woodpecker, Guayaquil woodpecker many more.


    Day 8 Return to Quito
    This day we will try get the species that we had miss before and then drive back to Quito.


    Day 9 Antisana National Park
    After breakfast, we will head for Antisana National Park where we will search for Andean Condor, Black-faced Ibis, Paramo Pipit, Black-winged Ground-Dove, and other paramo specialties. On our way to Papallacta Pass we will target the Giant Hummingbird, which feeds on the strange Puya Puya plant, then take the Old Papallacta Route to look for Viridian Metaltail and the rare Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant.


    When we get to the pass, our main targets will be the Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe and the Ecuadorian Hillstar. Afterwards we will explore the unique Polylepis Forest (the only tree hardy enough to grow at an altitude of over 9500 feet) and look for mixed flocks which will hopefully will include such sought-after birds as Giant Conebill , White-chinned Thistletail, Black-backed Bush-Tanager.


    Night Guango Lodge


    Day 10 Guango
    Early this morning we will drive to the Elfin Forest to look for rare and endangered species such as Masked Mountain-Tanager, Paramo Tapaculo, and Agile Tit-Tyrant, among others. We will allow time to revisit the Polylepis Forest to clean up on any missed target species before heading on to Guango Lodge.


    The feeders at Guango allow "in-your-face" views of many highly sought-after hummingbirds, star among which is the amazing Sword-billed Hummingbird! Other special hummers include Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Mountain Velvetbreast, Tourlamine Sunangel, and Mountain Avocetbill. We will walk the nearby trails looking for mixed flocks and also check the Papallacta River for Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper.


    Late afternoon we will make the drive to San Isidro.


    Night in San Isidro.


    Day 11 San Isidro
    We will spend the day exploring the trails around the lodge property, looking for such gems as Crested Quetzal, Masked Trogon, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, and Inca Jay. Few birds can compete with the tanagers when it comes to "feathered jewelry", and we will search for as many as we can find, including White-capped, Saffron-crowned, Golden-naped, Beryl-spangled, Blue-and-black, and Blue-winged Mountain Tanagers. Come nightfall, we will search for the "San Isidro Owl", the lodge's famous "mystery owl" which may eventually be designated a new species!


    Night San Isidro Lodge


    Day 12 Wild Sumaco
    After an early breakfast we will drive to the Loreto road in the foothills of the Andes, known for its wide variety of birds such as Paradise, Orange-eared, Golden-eared and Magpie Tanagers, plus Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Cliff Flycatcher, Orange-breasted Falcon and Golden-collared Toucanet.


    Night Sumaco wildlife Lodge


    Day 13 Wild Sumaco
    After enjoying an early breakfast we will explorer the trails and the road which are very good for mix flocks. Coppery-chested Jacamar, Gray-tailed Piha and Blue-rumped Manakins may all be seen. We will enjoy the hummingbird feeders for at least 15 species, including Napo Sabrewing, Ecuadorian Piedtail, Many-spotted Hummmingbird and Booted Racket-tail.


    Night in Sumaco.


    Day 14 Napo River
    After breakfast, we will look for any species that we missed previously before driving to Coca to board our canoe to the Napo Wildlife Center.


    The four hour motorized canoe ride to the lodge will offer fantastic birding along the way. We will arrive at the lodge in time for dinner, but not before finding some Giant River Otters!


    Day 15/16/17 Napo Wildlife Center.
    We will have three full days to cover different habitats around the lodge—Varzea (flooded forest), Terra Firme Forest and the lesser explore Rainforest Canopy via a tall tower. The Ecuadorian Amazon is one of the best birding locations in the World!


    On the Añangu creek we will look for the Orange-crested Manakin, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Black-capped Donocobiuos, Hoatzin and Snail Kite. We will have great opportunities for Zig-zag, Agami and Capped Herons, plus as many as five species of kingfisher.


    From the canopy we will see Orange-winged, Yellow-crowned, Black-headed, and Blue-headed Parrot, plus Slate-colored Hawk, Green, Olive and Casqued Oropendola.


    We’ll also visit the parakeet clay-licks for Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Silvery Antbird, Screaming Piha, Black-necked Red Cotinga and many more.


    Day 18 Travel to Guayaquil
    Today we will leave Napo and catch our flights to Guayaquil (via Quito), Transfer to Salinas.


    Night in Salinas.


    Day 19 Umbrellabird Lodge
    After breakfast we will journey to Salinas Beach and Ecuasal Lagoon to look for Chilean Flamingo, White-cheeked Pintail, Gray and Gray-headed Gulls and many shorebirds such as Black-necked Stilt, Short-billed Dowitcher and Willet.


    After our morning birding we will drive to Umbrellabird Lodge. Along the way we will visit Cerro Alto, part of the dry forest which houses such target Tumbesian endemics as Short-tailed Field-Tyrant, Tumbesian Tyrannulet, Elegant Crescentchest and Parrot-billed Seedeater.


    Night Umbrellabird Lodge.


    Day 20 Umbrellabird Lodge
    We will have a full day at Umbrella Bird Lodge, where we will walk the trails in search of El Oro Parakeet and El Oro Tapaculo, two more Ecuadorian endemics and we’ll visit the Long-wattled Umbrellabird lek as well seekp Ochraceous Atilla, White-tipped Sickledbill and Esmeraldas Antbird. We will also have plenty of time to enjoy the lodge's hummingbird feeders… who knows what may show up!


    Night Umbrella Bird Lodge


    Day 21 Jorupe Reserve
    After an early breakfast we will spend the morning combing the trails for any species that we may have missed the previous day. After lunch we will travel to Macara, where we will spend the next two nights at the Jorupe Reserve. On the way we will make a special stop to look for Tumbes Swift, White-headed Brush-Finch, and Red-masked Parakeet.


    Night at Jorupe Reserve.


    Day 22 Jorupe Reserve
    After breakfast we will explore the reserve's trails in search of Tumbesian specialties such as Watkin's Antpitta, Henna-hooded and Rufous-necked Foliage-Gleaners and Gray-breasted Flycatcher. After lunch we will drive up to the Utuana Reserve, where at this higher elevation we hope to find Rainbow Starfrontlet, Purple-throated Sunangel, Piura Hemispingus, Black-crested Tit-Tyrant, Chapman's Antshrike, and Gray-headed Antbird.


    Night Jorupe Reserve


    Day 23 Jorupe Reserve
    After an early breakfast we will visit the Utuana Reserve to look for Gray-headed Antbird, Chapman’s Antshrike, Rainbow Starfrontlet, Purple-throated Sunangel, Black-cowled Saltator, Chestnut-collared Swallow, Three-banded Warbler, Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaner.


    After birding we’ll drive to the Tapichalaca Reserve.


    Night in Tapichalaca.


    Day 24 Tapichalaca
    This morning we will hike the Quebrada Honda Trail to a very special feeder area where "Panchito" the Jocotoco Antpitta comes in for his breakfast! Other tough-to-see targets we will search for include Ocellated, Ash-colored, and Chusquea Tapaculos. After lunch we will road-bird on the way to the town of Valladolid, where we will search for Maranon Thrush. As darkness approaches, we will try for Andean Potoo and Rufous-bellied Nighthawk.


    Night Casa Simpson.


    Day 25 Copa Linga Lodge
    After an early breakfast we will spend the morning birding the lodge grounds in search of anything we may have missed. and we will drive down to valladolid to look Marannon Thrush, Silver backed Tanager, Rufous fronted Thornbilled , After lunch we will drive to Bomboscaro and the Copa Linga Lodge, where we will spend the next two nights. We will have time this afternoon to search the lodge grounds for Wire-crested Thorntail, Spangled Coquette, and Violet-fronted and Black-throated Brilliants.


    Night Copa Linga Lodge


    Day 26 Copa Linga Lodge
    We will spend the day birding the Bomboscaro area, where we hope to find such target species as Amazonian Umbrellabird, Coppery-chested Jacamar, Highland Motmot, Andean Cock-of-the-rock (the orange, eastern race), and Olive Finch. In addition, there's always the possibility of a tanager flock that will include such gems as Paradise, Green-and-gold, Yellow-bellied, Spotted, Magpie, and Fulvous-crested Tanagers.


    Night Copa Linga Lodge.


    Day 27 Yakuam
    Today we’ll drive to Yakuam… it will take about 4 hours to get the lodge but we will enjoy stops to look for Little Woodpecker, Violaceous Jay and our main target bird, the Orange-throated Tanager.


    Night in Yakuam.


    Day 28 Yakuam
    Today we will search for Bamboo Foliagle-Gleaner, Strek-chested antwren, Black-billed Seed-Finch, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, Yellow-whiskered Bush-tanager, plus Blue-browned, Vermilion and Rufous-crested Tanagers.


    Night in Yakuam


    Day 29 Drive to Cuenca
    Today’s drive to the beautiful town of Cuenca will take about 7 hours… stoping for many more birds, of course!


    Night in Cuenca.


    Day 30 El Cajas National Park
    After breakfast we will start the hour-long drive to El Cajas National Park, where we will search for Tit-like Dacnis, Violet-throated Metaltail, Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Bar-winged and Stout-billed Cinclodes, and Giant Conebill. At Toreadora Lake (12,000 ft) we will have a chance to see Andean Ruddy Duck, Andean Coot, and Andean Teal. If the day is sunny, Andean Condor may be seen as well. We drive back to Guayaquil in the afternoon.


    Night at Grand Hotel, Guayaquil.


    Day 31 Return Home
    Flights throughout the day.

  • 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.