ECUADOR: Birding the Andes West to East



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2024 :: August 3 - August 15



From: $5,650 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Quito, Ecuador (UIO)


5 - 10 Participants


2024: 7 spaces available


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.

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Highlights of ECUADOR: Birding the Andes West to East

  • Nearly 600 species of birds typically seen on this tour
  • Over 60 species of hummingbirds usually seen
  • Beautiful cloud forests of the east and central highlands plus the forested gateway to the amazing Amazon Basin

Description of ECUADOR: Birding the Andes West to East

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!


Length of Tour


Brief Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival in Ecuador / Hotel Quito

Day 2 – Drive to Mindo; Septimo Paraiso Lodge

Day 3 – Mindo; Septimo Paraiso Lodge

Day 4 – Mindo; Septimo Paraiso Lodge

Day 5 – Mindo; Septimo Paraiso Lodge

Day 6 – Night in Quito

Day 7 – Guango Lodge via Papallacta

Day 8 – Cabañas San Isidro

Day 9 – Cabañas San Isidro

Day 10 – Travel to WildSumaco Lodge

Day 11 – WildSumaco Lodge.

Day 12 – Night in Quito

Day 13 – Flights Home


Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival in Ecuador / Hotel San Jose de Puembo

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!

Day 2 – Drive to Mindo / Septimo Paraiso Lodge

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

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.

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

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 – Night in Quito

We will return to Quito for the night, arriving in time for dinner and some good rest before an early departure the following morning.

Day 7 – Travel to Guango Lodge via Papallacta

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 8 – Travel to Cabañas San Isidro

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 9 – Cabañas San Isidro

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 10 – Travel to WildSumaco Lodge

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 11 – WildSumaco Lodge

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 12 – Return to Quito for our final night

No worries, we have more great birding stop as we make our way back to Quito and our farewell dinner.

Days 13 – Flights Home

Flights home at anytime today.


Cost is $5,650 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Quito, Ecuador (Airport code UIO).
This trip ends in Quito, Ecuador (Airport code UIO).

Single Supplement

If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $600 will be assessed.

Deposit Requirements

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.

Minimum Number

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.

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.

Final Payment

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

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.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

Although most trails are well groomed, there will be a fair amount of walking at higher elevations.

Purchasing Flights

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.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to help cover your investment, for covered reasons. 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.

Itinerary Changes

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.

Location Map