with Kevin Loughlin & Lisa Langell
ECUADOR: Western Andes Feathered Photo Safari
From: $6,950 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Quito, Ecuador (UIO)
4 - 8 Participants
2024: 8 spaces available
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: Western Andes Feathered Photo Safari
Description of ECUADOR: Western Andes Feathered Photo Safari
With over 1700 species of birds—131 of them being hummingbirds—Ecuador offers nearly unlimited photo opportunities throughout the country. Driving through the Andes can be slow to get anywhere, so this new tour itinerary has been designed for the least amount of driving while still getting a large diversity of birds!
The Mindo region of Ecuador, on the western side of the Andes, offers lush cloud forests rich with colorful birds. Our first and last nights will be outside the capital city of Quito, with the other 6 nights split between two lodges with very different opportunities to offer.
Fruit feeder and hummingbird feeder set-ups bring many less-often seen birds into view of our lenses and high-speed multi-flash will be used on a couple days for breathtaking images of hummingbirds. Throughout our trip receive as much, or as little, photo instruction from your leaders as you wish.
In the evenings we can discuss professional nature photography techniques and image processing workflow and creative ideas.
Length of Tour
Day 1 – Arrival in Quito / San Jose de Puembo
Day 2 – Santa Rosa Lodge
Day 3 – Santa Rosa Lodge
Day 4 – Santa Rosa 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: Arrival / Hotel San Jose de Puembo (Quito)
Day 2: Drive to Santa Rosa Reserve / Zurolome Reserve
After breakfast, we will drive to the Zuroloma Reserve, high in the Andes. Here we will enjoy photographing a number of hummingbirds including: Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Mountain Velvetbrest, Sapphhire-vented Puffleg, Tyrian Metaltail, Black-tailed Trainbearer and the stunning Sword-billed Hummingbird. We will also have the opportunity to photograph some typically difficult to see species: Chestnut-naped and Equatorial Antpittas and Barred Fruiteater. Andean Guan, Yellow-breasted Brush-Finch and many other birds will also be found in this region. We will enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in the grandiose montane vista before continuing to the Santa Rosa Reserve.
Day 3 & 4: Santa Rosa Reserve
We will spend two full day at the Santa Rosa Reserve, the best place to photograph the endemic Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan! Hummingbird targets include the endemic Gorgeted Sunangel plus 15 additional species of hummingbirds.
We will also look to photograph the Striped Treehunter, Choco Brush-Finch, Gray-breasted Wood-Wren, Strong-billed Woodcreeper at the moth hide. The lodge owner is now feeding the Yellow-breasted and Chestnut-crowned Antpittas, so we should have great opportunities to photograph them as well.
The lodge also has eye-level reflection pools for wonderful reflection photos of Flame-faced Tanager, Blue-capped Tanager, Golden Tanager, Black-capped Tanagers and more.
We will also use a multiflash set-up for stop-action images of the many hummingbirds.
Day 5: Santa Rosa to Septimo Paraiso
We will have another great morning at Santa rosa before we depart for our next lodge, Septimo Paraiso. Less than an hour drive away, we will have time to enjoy the hummingbird feeders and gardens at the lodge before dark.
Day 6: Choco Toucan Reserve / Victoriana
After breakfast, we will drive to the Choco Toucan Reserve to photograph a new set of Hummingbirds including Green Thorntail, White-necked Jacobin, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Green-crowned Brilliant and White-whiskered Hermit. We also hope to have Choco Toucan and Collared Aracari put on a show for us.
We will go back to the lodge for our lunch and then drive for 50min to the Victoriana Reserve, one of the best locations to photograph the Andean Cock of the Rock on their afternoon lek.
Day 7: Amagusa Masphi Reserve
Today we will drive to Amagusa Masphi Reserve where we hope to photograph additional endemics including Moss-backed, Glissening Green and Rufous-throated Tanagers. Velvet-purtple Coronet, Black solitaire, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Orange-breasted Fruiteater and Black Solitaire may also be found around the fruit feeders.
Day 8: Angel Paz Reserve / Drive to Quito
This mourning, we will visit the famous Paz de las Antpittas reserve. Angel feeds some difficult to see species: Maria the Giant Antpitta, Willi the Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Shakira the Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Andrea the Chestnut-crowned Antpitta and Susan the Moustached Antpitta! We will enjoy a local breakfast here and continue photograph around the reserve.
We will return to our Lodge for lunch and pack our things to return to Quito in time for dinner.
Day 9: Return Home
Cost is $6,950 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Quito, Ecuador (Airport code UIO.
This trip ends in Quito, Ecuador (Airport code UIO).
If a single hotel room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $700 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 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.
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.