ECUADOR: Bird Photography Safari
From: $0 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Quito, Ecuador (UIO)
6 - 8 Participants
2023: New Itinerary and Pricing coming soon!
PRIVATE TOUR OPTION
This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.
Highlights of ECUADOR: Bird Photography Safari
Description of ECUADOR: Bird Photography Safari
We are currently working on a new itinerary for this workshop for April 2023. Stay tuned for new information and pricing!
About 130 species of hummingbirds have been recorded in Ecuador and our Hummingbird Photo Safari itinerary will include high quality lodges and hotels across the northern region of the Ecuadorian Andes where we can expect to see nearly 50 species of these beautiful gems!
Our photo locations will be in several cloud forest habitats from 4000 feet up to 9000 feet. Most lodges offer stationary feeder sites as well as wildflower gardens in order to find the most species and the best photo opportunities.
For the non-photographing companions, we will offer many walks through the surrounding habitats in search of trogons, quetzals, toucans, warblers and so much more. The photographers are obviously welcome to take a break from the hummingbirds to enjoy these additional opportunities as well. Some of the lodges offer relaxing opportunities by the pool, fireplace or observation deck.
This trip is designed for any level of photographic knowledge from beginner to expert, so no matter what your skill level this trip will help you get the best possible images of the beautiful birds!
Length of Tour
Day 1 – Arrival in Quito / San Jose de Puembo
Day 2 – WildSumaco Lodge
Day 3 – WildSumaco Lodge
Day 4 – Guango Lodge
Day 5 – Drive to Septimo Paraiso Lodge
Day 6 – Septimo Paraiso Lodge
Day 7 – Septimo Paraiso Lodge
Day 8 – Drive to Quito / San Jose de Puembo
Day 9 – Return Home or Continue to Galapagos
Day 1 – Quito / San Jose de Puembo
Participants arrive throughout the day.
Day 2 – Wild Sumaco Lodge
We will depart after breakfast to drive to Wild Sumaco Lodge on the eastern slope of the Andes above the Amazon Basin. Here we will find a dozen or so species of hummingbirds (and many other birds, too)!
We will arrive in time for lunch before jumping in to our first photo opportunities with both flash set-ups and non-flash photography so we can get a great sense of the advantages of each technique.
Day 3 – Wild Sumaco Lodge
After a bit of practice we should be getting pretty good at our set up images. So we will mix our lessons with some added non-hummingbird species as well, in difficult light at times, to learn more about exposure, ISO and shutter speeds.
Although we will have a full day of opportunities around the lodge, anyone interested in doing so may take a break and go for a hike with our local birding guide, too.
Day 4 – Guango Lodge
After breakfast we will depart for our next location. Hummingbird feeders surround the front of our lodge and this is the best place to find many species like Chestnut-breasted Coronet and the amazing Sword-billed Hummingbird.
We will arrive at the lodge with plenty of time before lunch to get some non-flash photography in. After lunch we will build our set-ups and get more images created of this new set of species.
Day 5 Septimo Paraiso Lodge
This morning we will have more time for both flash and non-flash photography of hummingbirds and other species around the gardens.
After lunch we’ll drive to the western side of the Andes, downslope to Mindo where we will find a new set of hummingbird species to learn and photograph. We will arrive in time for dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day 6 – Septimo Paraiso Lodge
Today will be spent at and around the lodge to enjoy the hummingbird gardens and practice more of what we have learned with and without flash set-ups.
Day 7 – Septimo Paraiso Lodge
This morning we visit a local, family-owned sanctuary, with a number of hummingbird feeders, a short drive from the lodge. They also have fruit feeders that attract a number of colorful tanagers and other species. No flash is allowed at this location, so we will practice other techniques.
After lunch back at the lodge we will drive about 40 minutes to the Milpe Reserve for additional hummingbird and fruit feeders.
Day 8 – Quito / San Jose de Puembo
This morning we will rise very early to visit the Cock-of-the-Rock lek and Antpitta haven of Reserva Angel Paz. We will return to our lodge for lunch before driving to Quito and our hotel for our final night.
Day 9 – Return to USA or Continue to Galapagos
Flight departures throughout the morning to the USA or have a relaxing day as others arrive to continue on to the Galapagos.
Cost is $0 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Quito, Ecuador (Airport code UIO.
This trip ends in Quito, Ecuador (Airport code UIO).
Non-Photographer Companion Cost
$4450 per non-photographer companion, sharing with photographer. Non-photographers will have other activities available, some with a local guide.
If a single hotel room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $0 will be assessed.
NOTE: For boat-based tours, see pricing options for single cabins. Single cabin cost includes the single hotel cost above.
If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.
A $1,000 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.
How to Book
In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.
For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.
For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.
NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.
Septimo Paraiso Lodge (Mindo)
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 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.
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.
Activity Level Rating: 2 (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)
This is a very easy tour with limited walking, however, two of our lodges will be over 8000 feet elevation and we will travel to over 12,000 feet.
Gear for Birding & Wildlife Viewing
• Good quality binoculars
• Spotting scopes are not typically needed as we will be photographing much of the time, unless you plan to do some digiscoping.
Photography Gear Recommendations
The best camera is the one you have with you! That said, we will help you get great photos no matter what camera you use.
This Photo Workshop is geared toward those using DSLR or Mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses, here is what we recommend that you bring:
• Bring at least 2 camera bodies – to reduce changing lenses and just in case of accidental damage to one
Recommended Lenses for Birds & Wildside
• 100-400mm (or equivalent) for birds in flight
• 500mm lens or longer for birds and wildlife
Recommended Lenses for Landscape Opportunities
• 24-105mm (or equivalent) for landscape and general purpose
• In addition you may also want to have an ultra-wide lens equivalent to about 16-35mm which may be used for fun landscapes and night sky photography.
Recommended Lenses for Macro (Bugs, Frogs, etc.)
• 100mm Macro is fine for general purpose macro photography
• 150mm Macro is best for small, quick moving subjects like frogs
Filters (Mainly for Landscape Photography)
• Polarizing Filter for removing reflections (screw in for wide-angle lenses)
• Filter Holder for 4×6″ (or similar) filters
• 2-stop Neutral Density Filter
• 8-stop (or more) Neutral Density Filter
• 2-stop Hard and/or Soft Graduated Neutral Density Filter
• Tripod for long exposures, big lenses and steady video
• Flash for low light, fill light and stop action
• Better Beamer or MagMod flash extender
• Rain cover for camera
• Weather resistant Camera Bag (Backpack style is best)
• Batteries and chargers
• Lots of memory cards!
• Laptop or other downloading device
Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.
Detailed Trip Information
Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.
Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.
As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.
Passport & Visa
US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.
Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.
The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.