Birdwatching tour in Ecuador

13 day trip to discover the bords of Ecuador

Ecuador is not only home to a wide variety of animal species but also boasts a remarkable diversity of birds. In fact, it holds the distinction of being the country with the highest bird density in the world. Prepare to be amazed as you encounter magnificent creatures such as the condor, over 300 species of hummingbirds, and vibrant toucans.

During your 12-day stay, you will have the opportunity to observe these extraordinary birds in the renowned region of Mindo, known for its vibrant hummingbird population. Your journey will then take you to the Amazon rainforest and the majestic Andes, where you can continue your exploration and witness the unique Ecuadorian bird species in their natural habitats.

Length of stay: 13 days

Kind: Nature and Wildlife

Fix: For all public

Countries visited: Ecuador

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Day 1 : Quito Airport

Welcome to Ecuador !

A proverb says *Traveling leaves you speechless at first, before turning you into a storyteller*

… Let the adventure start in the country of the middle of the world ! Chulla vida ! Private transfer with spanish-speaking driver from Quito airport to your hotel. Reception at the airport by an english-speaking guide. Night at the Hotel Adamas in Standard room.

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Day 2 : Quito Historic Center

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Quito stands out for its topography spread out from north to south, in an Andean corridor flanked by the Pichincha volcano and the valley where the airport is located. But it is above all the largest and most preserved colonial city on the continent.

Then you will visit the colonial and republican center of Quito :

– the Panecillo, the statue of the Virgin of Quito, located on top of a hill overlooking the city;
– the Church of the Society of Jesus (of the Jesuits), the most gold-laden church in South America;
– the Church of San Francisco (of the Franciscans) and its convent/museum;
– the Plaza Grande where the Presidential Palace (Carondelet) and the Cathedral of Quito are located;
– the district of La Ronda for its craftsmen;
– the Basilica of the National Vow of Quito, designed by a French architect;
– the Museum of Alabado, of archaeology with its classification of pieces according to the worlds of the indigenous cosmovision. *Yumbos chocolate* is an initiative that promotes the so-called fino de aroma cocoa, certainly the best in the world, and mostly produced in Ecuador.

You will visit their store in the historical center of Quito, in front of San Francisco church. A guide will explain the whole process of transformation, from fermentation to the elaboration of the chocolate paste. Then, you will taste several chocolates with different strengths and flavors as well as products derived from cocoa, such as a cocoa syrup.

*NOTE: Yumbos is not only a product, but also a way to support cocoa-producing communities, many of which are neglected by the authorities in terms of social protection and education. Yumbos aims to finance teachers and to practice fair trade for a more dignified life.* Night at the Hotel Adamas in Standard room.

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Day 3 : Quito

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Depart from Quito to reach Tandayapa, towards Mindo. Let’s leave the capital for the western flank of the Andes Cordillera, towards the tropical high altitude region known as the cloud forest. You will follow a road that winds through mountain forests until you reach the dome of your lodge in the middle of the clouds.

You will start the day by walking one of the many trails around the lodge in search of toucans, quetzal, tanagers and other bird species. Your expert guide will explain the flora and fauna found in this unique ecosystem.

After lunch, you will leave again to discover the mysteries of the lush vegetation of this cloud forest (Bromeliads, Orchids, etc.), with your guide, as well as its avifauna which is the subject of annual symposiums, so rich is it.

After nightfall, you may be lucky enough to spot two nocturnal mammals (Olinguo and Kinkajoo) that have made their home near the lodge.

Dinner and night at the Bellavista Lodge.

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Day 4 : Tandayapa

Before breakfast, you will go on an expedition in search of the early morning birds, the ones that can only be seen at dawn.

After breakfast, a second surprise awaits you with a walk to a waterfall hidden under the foliage of the tallest trees in the cloud forest.

Back at the lodge, relax or explore the surrounding area at your leisure.

After lunch, you will continue your journey. English-speaking guide in a private transport. Depart from Tandayapa to reach Mindo. The Alambi reserve is one of the best place to observe hummingbirds. You will make a little stop over on the road to Mindo so as to see around a dozen of species of these magical and emblematic birds of this region. Night at La Bicok Lodge hotel in Standard Cabaña room.

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Day 5 : Mindo

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Hike of Mindo Waterfalls:

On the way to Nambillo, you will take a cable car to go to the other side of the valley and start your walk which will take you to three beautiful places where are the most beautiful waterfalls of the region. According to your wishes and physical condition, the walk can last from 1 to 3 hours.

Difficulty: easy hike: sunday sportsmen, welcome!

Estimated duration: 1 to 3 hours – Elevation: -120m./+120m. – Max. altitude: 1600m. – Distance: 4 km. Early wake-up call to watch the birds at sunrise. This morning you will try to find the Antpitta. You will need to pay close attention in order to spot the 5 species of Antpitta present in this ecosystem. Accompanied by an expert guide, you will continue your bird exploration by walking the trails of the reserve.

After several hours of bird watching, you will be served a typical breakfast. You can enjoy a few more moments in this soothing place in the middle of nature.

At around 12:00 you will leave this little bird paradise. Night at La Bicok Lodge hotel in Standard Cabaña room.

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Day 6 : Mindo

English-speaking guide in a private transport. On the way to the eastern cordillera in the direction of Papallacta. You will pass a pass at 3200m. with the Antisana volcano on your right if clear. Night at the Guango Lodge in Standard room.

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Day 7 : Papallacta

English-speaking guide in a private transport. You will leave Papallacta, an ecosystem of paramo, Andean village well known for its thermal waters. and descend to Baeza, known for its birds. Complementary day dedicated to observe birds in the San Isidro Lodge area.

*NOTE: the entrances to private reserves or properties will have to be paid on spot.* Night at San Isidro Lodge in Standard room.

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Day 8 : San Isidro

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Departure from San Isidro for a trip to Papallacta. You will enjoy on the way various landscapes as you will cross a mountain pass at 4000 meters. The Antisana Volcano Reserve is an important stop for bird watching, as it is one of the last refuges for the great Andean condors. You will be able to observe the cliffs where they nest.

On the edge of the Mica lagoon you will see other species such as he great-cheeked grebe, sharp-tailed duck, Andean lapwings, blue-winged teal, grand knight and owls. Return journey to Quito. You will spend the night at Hacienda La Jimenita, close to the airport. Imperial superior room.

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Day 9 : Coca

Transfer from hotel to airport. You will take a 40 minutes domestic flight from Coca to Quito. Upon your arrival at Coca, you will be welcomed by a member of your lodge and a lunch will be served to you in town in the private house of Sacha Lodge.

You will then embark in motorized canoes to reach your Lodge.

The latter is located on the shores of Lake Pilchicocha. A black water lake in which you can swim if you have overcome your fears or opted to cool off due to the heat.

For this end of the day, several options are available to you:

– climb to the small observation tower to appreciate the species of birds that inhabit this lake as well as the sunset
– discover the butterfly farm
– go for a night walk in the forest with your naturalist guide. You will be surprised to discover the life that is active at night and the number of species, including insects, hiding in this lush vegetation.
– go out in a canoe to observe the black spectacled caimans with their bright orange eyes that light up with the torches

Dinner and night at Sacha Lodge.

*NOTE 1:* *The trip by motor boat will last approximately 2 hours.*

*NOTE 2:* *Activities during your stay in the Amazon may be subject to change depending on weather and group conditions.*

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Day 10 : Sacha Lodge

This morning, after having breakfast, you will go for a walk on the Liana Chica trail, which will take you to viewpoints on the canopy, where many species of brightly colored birds live: toucans, macaws , parakeets and more. You can take advantage of the observation towers on the different levels of the canopy to understand its organization and the cohabitation of species.

Back on dry land, your native guide will show you the many species of plants with not only food but also medicinal uses.

After lunch, you can choose to take a leisurely walk along the Rio Napo, or a slightly more difficult hike on the Leoncillo trail to try to spot the Titi monkey which is not always visible.

Dinner and night at Sacha Lodge.

*NOTE:* *Activities during your stay in the Amazon may be subject to change depending on weather and group conditions.*

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Day 11 : Sacha Lodge

In the morning, you will go on the Lagartococha trail, a moment to be able to listen to the legends that populate the dreams of the inhabitants of the region, especially concerning the spirits of their ancestors or the mysterious devil of the forest. You’ll also take a canoe ride through a swamp that’s home to anacondas, caimans, and capybaras (the largest rodent in the world). On the other side of the lake you can spot capuchin monkeys or squirrel monkeys jumping from tree to tree.

In the afternoon, you will take another canoe trip to continue observing the fauna. You may be lucky enough to be surrounded by troops of squirrel monkeys, capuchins and howler monkeys.

Overnight at Sacha Lodge.

*NOTE:* *Activities during your stay in the Amazon may be subject to change depending on weather and group conditions.*

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Day 12 : Coca

You will take a 40 minutes domestic flight from Coca to Quito. Night at the Wyndham Grand Condor hotel, close to the international airport of Quito in Club room. A local representant will join you at the gate in the airport with a signboard at your name and will bring you at your hotel. Free connection for your international flight from Quito. According to your flight schedule, you will dispose of more or less free time.

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Day 13 : Quito Airport

Transfer to Quito international airport.

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