• Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Trip Includes
  • Trip Excludes

The 14 Day Ultimate birding experience

Ecuador offers the extreme in Neotropical birding, this small country possesses an extraordinary range of habitats. Not surprisingly Ecuador has the highest bird species diversity for its area in South America, 1600 species! One can travel from towering snow-capped volcanoes to oxbow lakes deep in the Amazonian rainforests and from windswept grasslands to temperate cloud forests with very short drives.

Matchless Ecuador is a comprehensive tour that covers all the ecotypes of Ecuador, starting on the higher altitudes amongst the moss and bromeliad-encrusted trees of the cloud forests looking for gorgeously-plumaged quetzals and gaudy tanagers to the west slopes of the Andes highlands and paramo grasslands to the Amazon. Ecuador’s diversity of birdlife will astound you, the welcoming people make you feel at home, the short travel distances and good accommodations will make you comfortable and the birding a real delight.

This tour offers superb photographic opportunities, filling both your and your camera’s memory by the end of the tour.

Come join us for this carnival of birds.

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Itineraries

Day 1

Arrival – Private Airport transfer

Overnight Hacienda Jimenita, Deluxe Suite with Chimney (twin or double). No meals included.

Day 2

La Jimenita Jutuc Runa Reserve

Morning birding in our main trails and feeders. A perfect place to enjoy the mountainous scenery, relax in an oasis and enjoy our birding trails. After dinner optional visit to the hacienda’s Mystery Tunnels onsite, a pre-Inca archeological tunnel from the 1400’s awaits your visit. Welcome Dinner at the Hacienda’s cozy restaurant. Overnight Hacienda Jimenita. (B/L/D). Target Birds: Black-tailed trainbearer, Giant Hummingbird, Western Emerald, Whitewinged Brush Finch, Azaras Spinetail, Yellow Grossbeak, Blue and Yellow Tanager, and Saffron Finch.

Day 3

Private Machay Sacred Waterfalls and Birding & Hiking Tour

An easy-moderate 4-hour hike along river Pita in the Avenue of volcanoes to admire the natural landscape and observe up to 26 bird species. We will have a box lunch in front of the highest waterfall in the Andes. Return to the hotel in the afternoon. Overnight Hacienda Jimenita. (B/BL/D). Target Birds: Pearled Treerunner, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Spectacled Redstar, White-capped Dipper, Rufous Wren, Blue and Black Tanager, Harris Hawk, Sparkling Violetear, White-capped Tyrannulet, Rufous Spinetails, Blackish Tapaculo and others.

Day 4

Private Tour to Yanacocha Reserve.

In the West Slope, Old-Nono Mindo Route and Alambi Hummingbird Paradise. We will visit the Upper Mountain Forest and slowly start decreasing in the Old-Nono Mindo Road towards tandayapa valley Cloud Forest. Overnight in Mindo Lodge. (B/BL/D). Target Birds: Sapphire vented puffleg, black-tailed trainbearer, golden-breast puffleg, shining sunbeam, White-throated Screetch Owl, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Buff-throated Thursh, Burrowing Owl, Golden-headed Quetzal, Crested-headed Quetzal, Ocelated Tapaculo, Superciliared Hemisphingus, Mountain Velvetbreast, Tufted-tyt-tyrant, Purplebacked Thornbill, Palm Tanager, Golden Tanager and others.

Day 5

Private Tour to Angel Paz Reserve

Andean Cock of the Rock Lek and Antpittas Station with Milpe Birding Sanctuary Reserve. Early morning pick up around 5am to observe the Andean Cock of the Rock Lek and explore the main trails of the reserve. We will have breakfast on-site. Afternoon continue exploring the Choco-corridor Milpe Birding Sanctuary feeders. Return to the lodge late afternoon. Overnight at MindoLodge. (B/BL/D). Target Birds: Violet tailed Sylph, Velvet Purple Coronet, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Roadside Hawk, Red-billed Parrot, Moustached-Chestnut-Yellow Breasted and Ochre breasted Antpittas, Tropical Kingbird, Andean Cock of the Rock, Crested Quetzal, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Plate-billed mountain toucan, paradise tanager, golden tanager, flame-faced tanager and others.

Day 6

Mashpi and Amagusa Reserve

Pick up around 530am to visit the Mashpi reserve, one of the best spots in the world for biodiversity and birding. It’s one of the last foothillforest that directly connects to the lower subtropical western forest of Ecuador. Its unique location makes it particularly attractive for birders looking for the highest biodiversity regions with choco endemic birds. Lunch will be provided along the way. Return to mindo lodge in the late afternoon. Overnight at Mindo Lodge. (B/L/D). Target Birds: Rufous-thorated Tanager, Green Glistening Tanager, Broad-billed Motmot, Moss-backed Tanager, Smooth-billed Ani, Andean Emeral, Green Thorntail, Masked Trogon, Pale-mandibled Aracari, Golden-olive woodpecker, Scaly-throated Foliagegleaner, Streak-capped Treehunter, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Choco-Vireo, Black Solitaire, Rufous-brown Solitaire, Indigo Flowerpiercer and others. Overnight at Mindo Lodge. (B/BL/D).

Day 7

Bird Watchers Reserve and Feeders for Photography and Bellavista Road

Early morning pick up for birding in this private reserve to observe unique toucan species and tanagers close by in the feeders. After lunch return to Quito birding in Bellavista Road. Overnight Hacienda Jimenita. (B/BL/D). Target Birds: Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, Roadside Hawk, Wattled Guan, Ruddy Pigeon, Speckle-faced Parrot, Red-billed Parrot, White-collared Swift, Gorgeted Woodstar, White-faced Nunbird, Choco Toucan, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Slaty Antwren, Bronze-olive Pigmy-tyrant and others.

Day 8

Papallacta Pass, Guango Reserve and Cosanga Reserve

Our drive to the East Slope will initially lead us through the drier central valley where we will pass through a mix of agricultural zones and native chaparral forests before rising up steeply to the high and (often) windswept paramo. Among the many bird possibilities, we will be particularly on the lookout for Andean Gull, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Scrub & Blue-and-yellow Tanagers and Southern Yellow-Grosbeak. Along the way superb views of the endless high Andean mountains harboring a backdrop of textures that make for an unforgettable birding setting. This area, known as the Papallacta Pass by birders, is rich in paramo birdlife, and with the proper weather, you can expect to see some of the following: Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Tawny Antpitta, Many-striped Canastero, White-chinned Thistletail, Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, some interesting seedeaters, and even Giant Conebill (with a bit of luck, up in the Polylepis woodlands). We aim to arrive to Guango Reserve for lunch, where the hummingbird feeders that will be dripping with species such as Tourmaline Sunangel, Sword-billed Hummingbird and White-bellied Woodstar (2 feet distance from your table!). After lunch we’ll devote our afternoon birding to the trails and spectacular hummingbird feeders near the reserve. On the grounds at Guango we frequently run into some of the best temperate forest flocks on any of our tours in Ecuador; in a matter of minutes it isn’t uncommon to see Bar-bellied Woodpecker, White-banded Tyrannulet, Blue-backed Conebill, Black-capped and Black-eared Hemispingus, Slaty and Pale-naped BrushFinch, Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager, several species of mountain-tanager and even Plushcap. Afterwards drive to Cosanga Valley for a 1 ½ hour drive. We will shoot to arrive in time to get settled into our rooms and even try and spotlight a Rufous-bellied Nighthawk and Masked Trogons at dusk before what will certainly be a delicious dinner. Assuming the weather cooperates, we will want to try a short night walk after dinner - right between the cabins and the dining room - in search of the “mystery owl”. Overnight at San Isidro. (B/L/D)

Day 9

San Isidro Reserve

We plan to start the morning off with some birding right around the lodge, some of the regulars include Montane and Olive-backed Woodcreepers, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Black-billed Peppershrike, Inca Jay, Bluish Flowerpiercer and Subtropical Cacique! After about an hour of this exciting morning, we will want to visit the Antpitta feeders, where you will likely see White-bellied Antpitta. The rest of the morning will be spent birding the ample trail system and forested roadside at San Isidro, where Long-tailed Antbirds, Plaintailed Wrens and Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonias await. After lunch at the lodge, we can choose any of the trails that sprawl out from the lodge (or even the roadside) for a second crack at flocks and other activity… quetzals or maybe a fruiteater. We may even want to try a spot near the lodge for Andean Potoo and Rufous-banded Owl. Overnight at San Isidro, (B/L/D).

Day 10

Guacamayos Ridge Trails

Morning birding the beautiful Guacamayos ridge trail – only about 20 minutes from the lodge by vehicle - where some of the birds we hope to see include Green-and-black Fruiteater, Handsome Flycatcher, Rufous Wren, Turquoise Jay, Grass-green Tanager, a few species of skulking tapaculos (and maybe even an Ocellated) and Northern Mountain-Cacique. While not as common, but still regularly seen here, some of the other harder possibilities include Greater Scythebill, Dusky Piha and Black-billed Mountain-Toucan. Depending on the guide’s plan for the day, we may enjoy one last meal at San Isidro, or choose to bring along a box lunch for our birding drive towards Wild Sumaco in the lower amazon basin. Overnight in Wild Sumaco Lodge (B/L/D)

Day 11

Wild Sumaco Lodge Reserve

Our reserve is located near Napo Galeras National Park, and let your eyes and imagination wander to the far-off Amazonian lowlands stretching out beyond. Wildsumaco Lodge is located at a comfortable elevation of about 1480m (4900 feet) and our forest reserve ranges from 1200 to about 1600m (3900 to 4900 feet). We will explore Wild Sumaco Reserve trails to possible observe Gray-tailed Piha, Blue-rumped Manakin, and Chestnut-crowned Gnateater. Short-tailed Antthrush and Wingbanded Wren. Overnight in Wild Sumaco Lodge (B/L/D)

Day 12

Wild Sumaco Lodge Reserve

Continue Exploring the Reserve and hummingbird feeders of Wild Sumaco. Some possible species include over 30 species of hummingbirds visit Wildsumaco's feeders to date, including sought-after species like Ecuadorian Piedtail, Napo Sabrewing, Blackthroated and Violet-fronted Brilliant, Wire-crested Thorntail and Gould's Jewelfront. Whitetipped Sicklebill frequents the heliconia that's abundant everywhere, and Gorgeted Woodstar and Violet-headed Hummingbird can usually be found on the porterweed in front of the guest rooms. Overnight in Wild Sumaco Lodge (B/L/D).

Day 13

Date : April 5, 2020

Quito

Return to Quito after breakfast with a short birding at the lodge. Drive of around 6-8 hours by car. Overnight Hacienda Jimenita, (B/BL/-)

Day 14

Private Birding Tour Antisana National Park

Antisana Reserve is the most impressive Andean mount near Quito and sanctuary of wild Andean Condor. We will make strategic stops to observe different flora and fauna and natural treasures that Antisana offers. We will stop at an Observation Point to observe Condors and Giant Hummingbirds. Once we reach La Mica Lake we will have a short hike of about 1hour to observe possible wildlife and Andean ducks in the lake. We will have a VIP box lunch admiring the scenery and La Mica Lake. Return to our lodge in the afternoon and transfer to the airport around 5pm (depends in flight). (B/BL/-). Target Birds: Andean Condor, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Caranculated Cara-Cara, Black-faced Ibises, Andean Lapwing, Andean Teal, Rudy Duck, Yellow-billed Pintail, Cinerous Conebill, Black flowerpiercer, Variable Hawk, Cinerous Harrier, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, Tawny Antpitta, Plumbeous Sierra Finch, Great Thursh and others. End of trip.

Accommodations in double rooms
All transport mentioned above
3 meals a day starting from breakfast on day 2 until breakfast on day 13
English-speaking bird guide equipped with telescope, laser pointer and bird sounds from airport pickup till
airport dropoff
All tours mentioned above
All entrance fees
Detailed information package + bird checklist and 1 detailed roadmap per room
Unlimited purified water

International flights, Visa
Personal expenses
Tours and activities not mentioned
Tips for local guides