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A Birdwatcher’s Paradise

12 Days

Embark on an extraordinary 12-day adventure tailored for birdwatching enthusiasts and nature lovers. This immersive tour takes you through the diverse landscapes of Ecuador, from the historic streets of Quito to the breathtaking rainforests of Yasuní National Park. Discover the unique biodiversity of the cloud forest, witness the incredible Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, and explore pristine rainforests teeming with vibrant wildlife. Enjoy expert-led birdwatching expeditions, canopy walks, and encounters with colorful parrots. Immerse yourself in the captivating world of Ecuador’s avian wonders and experience the thrill of being surrounded by some of the world’s most exotic and remarkable bird species. Ecuador Birdwatching Tour

This offer is valid until 31 December 2024

Overview

Embark on an extraordinary 12-day adventure tailored for birdwatching enthusiasts and nature lovers. This immersive tour takes you through the diverse landscapes of Ecuador, from the historic streets of Quito to the breathtaking rainforests of Yasuní National Park. Discover the unique biodiversity of the cloud forest, witness the incredible Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, and explore pristine rainforests teeming with vibrant wildlife. Enjoy expert-led birdwatching expeditions, canopy walks, and encounters with colorful parrots. Immerse yourself in the captivating world of Ecuador’s avian wonders and experience the thrill of being surrounded by some of the world’s most exotic and remarkable bird species.

Highlights

  • Antisana Reserve: Observe diverse wildlife, including condors and Andean gulls.
  • Cloud Forest Birdwatching: Encounter the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock and other exotic bird species.
  • Yasuní National Park Exploration: Immerse in one of the most biodiverse rainforests in the world.
  • Cultural and Natural Diversity: Experience Ecuador's cultural richness and natural landscapes, from the Amazon to the Andes.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival in Quito
Day 2: Quito City Tour & Free Afternoon
Day 3: Antisana Reserve
Day 4: Middle of the World & Transfer into the Cloud Forest
Day 5: Birdwatching in the Cloud Forest
Day 6: Birdwatching in the Cloud Forest (Andean Cock-of-the-Rock)
Day 7: Maquipucuna Reserve
Day 8: Flight to Coca & Start of the Rainforest Adventure
Day 9: Exploring the Yasuní National Park
Day 10: Exploring the Yasuní National Park
Day 11: Back to Civilization
Day 12: Departure

Itinerary

Take a glimpse out of the window while approaching Quito Airport and first look at the beautiful Andean scenery surrounding Ecuador’s capital. Upon arrival, your driver will welcome you and escort you to your hotel in the city center. Depending on your time of arrival, just relax a bit in your hotel or head out for a first exploration of the city.

You will explore Quito’s historic city center today. Quito lies at an altitude of 9350 ft/2850 m and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Stroll through the narrow streets and over the big plazas, and visit some of the most important churches, such as La Compañía (its interior is covered in gold), a great example of the „Baroque School of Quito“. Walk down „La Ronda“, one of the oldest streets of Quito, and head to Panecillo Hill for spectacular 360° views.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Visit „Mercado Artesanal“ for some souvenir shopping or learn about Ecuador’s history and culture in one of the several interesting museums.

Leave the city and explore the stunning Antisana Reserve, located approx. 1,5 hours from Quito. Field rabbits, white-tailed deer, dwarf deer, condors, curiquingues, and Andean gulls are among the native species that can be seen during this fascinating day trip. Also, don’t forget to notice the ancient Polylepis, a tree that once covered a huge part of the Ecuadorian Andes. Today, those trees are endangered.
Take the path to the Mica Lagoon, a high-altitude lake, and up to the Condor viewpoint, where - on a clear day - you can enjoy great views of the impressive Antisana volcano.

Have you always wanted to stand on both the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time? Today’s your chance! Visit the so-called „Middle of the World“: a French expedition determined the equator line there in 1736, and later, an enormous monument was built there. The actual equator is located around 200 m north of that line though. As the monument had already been built, it stayed there and still is a funny tourist attraction. You can visit various exhibition halls, take pictures, and have fun jumping from one (fake) hemisphere to the other.
The next stop is the Inti Ñan Museum, an interesting and interactive site on the actual equator line where you can participate in funny experiments and learn about ancient Ecuadorian culture.
Afterward, you will continue your journey until arriving in the biodiverse cloud forest.

The Ecuadorian cloud forest is located just 1,5-2 hours from Quito and is home to more than 20% of the world's bird species, and a great destination for nature lovers and birdwatchers.
Start the day with an early-morning birdwatching expedition! Just around the corner from your hotel, native forests with hundreds of bird species wait to be explored by you. The Ecuadorian cloud forest is famous for its biodiversity and you can be sure to spot many of the colorful species for your photo collection this morning, such as for example different species of hummingbirds, toucans, aracari, tanager, antpitta, and many more.

Wake up early again today and visit a local reserve to watch out for the famous Cock-of-the- Rock lek, and possibly other wonders. The Andean Cock-of-the-Rock is native to the cloud forests in South America and is an incredible bird with red-orange plumage and a large crest (the males).

Enjoy the rest of the day relaxing in your hotel, or set out to explore other parts of the cloud forest - you can sample locally produced chocolate or participate in adventure activities such as ziplining or tubing.

The Maquipucuna Reserve is the closest pristine rainforest from Quito. It spans over 14,000 acres of privately protected cloud forest at the heart of the Chocó Andino Biosphere Reserve, one of the earth's top three biodiversity hotspots. The reserve covers a vast diversity of ecozones between 900m (2900 ft) and 2785m (9100 ft), meaning you can find a huge diversity of wildlife that call Maquipucuna home: around 25% of the bird species in Ecuador, 15% of the mammal species in Ecuador, and 342 different species of orchids.
During this day, you can wander the immense trail system, take a dip in one of the many swimming holes, learn about the flora and fauna that make up the diverse ecosystem of the Chocó-Andino, and lunch or dine on locally sourced cuisine.
After this day in nature, we will leave the Cloud Forest and head back to Quito.

This Your driver will pick you up in the morning and escort you to the airport, from where you take a short 50-minute flight to Coca - the starting point for your rainforest adventure!
Upon arrival at the small airport Francisco de Orellana, you are welcomed by the crew of your lodge and join the rest of your small group. From Coca, you will take a motorized canoe to your lodge deep inside the jungle, where you can already enjoy the first impressions of the biodiverse Yasuní National Park and observe the unique landscapes.
After arriving at the lodge and meeting your guide, you will take your first excursion into the forest. Once you have returned and had dinner, you will set out for your first nighttime adventure: snake spotting in the jungle, or canoeing among caimans on the lake.

A typical day at the lodge begins at sunrise or earlier, in order to take advantage of the cool morning hours when the rainforest’s animals are most active.
In the following days, you are free to create your own itinerary with your guide, choosing from our list of activities. Please note: some activities are dependent on the weather.

Kapok Tower
You’ll feel like you’re on the very top of the world on our 135-foot (43-meter) observation tower, a platform built on the highest branches of a giant kapok tree. From here, magnificent, panoramic views of the forest unfold all around, while the 500 species of birds registered in the area, including rainbow-colored toucans and parrots, become easy to spot. Climb onto the crows’ nest for the 360-degree experience, the captain of the Amazon.

Canopy Walks
Imagine crossing the rainforest across a bridge 94 feet (36 meters) high over the treetops. This 940-foot (275-meter) sturdy walkway is fixed to the ground by three metal towers and offers an astounding opportunity to spot dozens of animals and epiphytes seldom seen from the ground, immersed in the canopy. You might even follow along with troops of monkeys as they forage through the forest canopy. And if you don’t see them, you’ll almost certainly hear them: howler monkeys roaring through the sunset like true kings of the jungle.

The Butterfly House
Your lodge is home to one of the largest butterfly farms in Ecuador. Designed as a live exhibition conservatory, the Butterfly House is now successfully breeding nearly 40 local butterfly species. Guests will be shown how these beautiful insects are bred and raised and may roam through ”the flying room” where hundreds of colorful butterflies flutter from flower to flower. Transparent glass-wing butterflies, spectacular blue morphs, striking tiger longwings, bright yellow swallowtails, and giant nocturnal owl butterflies are only a few of the species you’ll encounter here, up close and personal.

Lake Pool
Ideal for families, the Lake Pool is the only one of its kind in the Amazon region. The plunge pool, protected by a mesh cage, allows you to cool off and relax in the black shallows of the Pilchicocha Lake, without the fear of encountering the unknown. You could even spot caiman and giant otters swimming by the other side of the net.

More activities to choose from during your stay at the lodge:

Parrot Clay Lick
A short distance from your lodge is Ecuador’s most accessible parrot lick, an exposed clay riverbank where technicolored parrots of several different species gather in the early morning. In ideal conditions (sunny and dry) hundreds of parrots will perch on and eat the exposed clay in a spectacular show of sound and color! The lick is located on the edge of Yasuní National Park, which is accessible from your lodge by a short canoe trip down the Napo River.

Birdwatching
Of the incredible 1,600 bird species registered in Ecuador, 600 (37 percent) have been seen at our Lodge. That’s almost 7 percent of the species found in the entire world!
For avid birdwatchers, we can provide specialist bird guides, who know the best spots for the hard-to-find species and can easily identify species by both sight and sound. Oscar Tapuy, a local expert who has been with the lodge since 1995, estimates that he spots 60 species per day on average. Your guide will lead you through a variety of habitats where mixed flocks are common and generally begin before sunrise to take full advantage of the morning peak. Our guides carry telescopes, and have become dab-hands at taking photos with your camera or phone through the lens!

Forest Walks
Creeping along the jungle paths through the spotlights of sun filtering down through the canopy, careful not to tread on an army of marching ants, your nature guide will point out plants and insects and the fascinating symbiosis between them. He might take you through the territory of the crested owls or spider monkeys, expertly mimicking the creatures’ call to win their trust and coax them out of hiding. When darkness falls, have your flashlight ready to spot creatures of the night, from tarantulas and boas to stick insects and frogs.

Creek Paddling
Besides being your means of transport between expeditions, creek paddling in dug-out canoes is a fabulous adventure in itself, with the bonus that it requires little physical exertion. Paddling down the streams is like entering into a tunnel leading to a lost world. Birds call in surround sound and vast families of monkeys leap from branches overhead, a show to coincide with the setting of the sun.

Today, it is already time to say goodbye to your lodge and the Yasuni National Park! You will return to Coca by canoe, and from there you will take the plane back to Quito. Your driver will await you at Quito Airport and accompany you to your hotel in the city center.

Day 12 :
Departure

Time flew by way too fast, so now it’s already time to say goodbye. On time for your international flight, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and accompany you to Quito Airport. We hope that you’ve had an unforgettable time in Ecuador and that you’ll visit us again one day to explore the rest of the country!

Cost

Included

  • Private Airport transfers
  • Accommodation in selected hotels (double rooms)
  • 4-day rainforest group tour in the Yasuní National Park, with English-speaking naturalist guides, canoe transportation, and full board
  • Rubber boots and rain ponchos during the rainforest tour
  • Meals: 11x breakfast, 4x lunch
  • Flight Quito - Coca - Quito
  • Private English-speaking guide from day 2 to day 7
  • Activities as mentioned in the itinerary

Excluded

  • International flights
  • (Travel-) Insurance
  • Personal expenses such as tips
  • Additional meals or drinks
  • Any other items not specified in the itinerary

    From $3625
    / Adult
    • Location Highlights

    Trip Info

    • Starting at $3625 per person
    • 12 Days
    • Quito
      Antisana Reserve
      Mindo Cloud Forest
      Yasuní National Park

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