Ecuador birding: choco highlands & slopes
Explore Ecuador’s most famous birding region
This specialist birding tour takes you to explore the most famous birding region in Ecuador, the “Choco”, in the northwest of the country, where wet cloudforest meets humid lowland forest. Here you will find a hotspot for birding due to its diversity and endemism. In fact, this region supports the largest number of restricted-range birds of any Endemic Bird Area (EBA) in the Americas, so you are in for a real treat!
- Visit a wide variety of differing ecosystems, including montane cloud forest, Lowland Choco, Foothill Choco & High Paramo grasslands.
- Join a specialist birding guide who will accompany you to the very best birding sites, and share his expert knowledge and birding tips.
- Expect to find a wide diversity of bird species in a single week, many of them endemic to this region of Ecuador. It is not uncommon to spot 300-400+ bird species during this tour, including 40 different hummingbirds.
- Enjoy comfortable lodging and easy organization throughout, so you can focus entirely on quality birding.
Ecuador birding: choco highlands & slopes
PRICES PER PERSON 2022
- 1 person
- 2-3 people
- 4 or more
- Day 1 Yanacocha, Bellavista: Yanacocha boasts excellent montane cloud forest northwest of Quito with lots of interesting bird life such as mountain-tanagers, fruit-eaters, Brush-Finches, flowerpiercers, etc. Afternoon drive down the Bellavista Road looking for Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, Tanager Finch, Fruiteaters, & mixed flocks.
- Day 2 Silanche, Rancho Suamox & Milpe: Spend the morning in the lowland Choco (below 500 m.a.s.l.) where often flocks of over 30 to 40 species can be spotted. In the afternoon we head to Milpe (around 1000 m.a.s.l.), a foothill birding site with excellent hummingbird feeders & beautiful trails
- Day 3 Birdwatcher’s House (Santa Rosa) & Mindo: We head to the Birdwatcher´s House early for the insectivorous birds. There is also a banana feeder station and hummingbird station. Some of the main targets here are also quality views of Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Gorgeted Woodstar, and Blue-capped Tanager.
- Day 4 Paz de los Aves, Alambi & Puembo Birding Garden: This morning is a real treat, visiting one of the best cock-of-the-rock leks in the country! Wild antpittas and other birds are also commonly spotted. Next we visit Alambi Reserve, very good for White-capped dippers, & local quetzals (Crested and Golden-headed) when avocado is in season.
- Day 5 Papallacta Pass, Parque Nacional Cayambe Coca & Baeza: Along the Papallacta Pass our main target will be the Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, before moving lower down the paramo grasslands to Polylepis forest & Elfin Forest for more spotting opportunities. In the afternoon we leave the high altitude sites behind us, heading to Baeza & San Isidro.
- Day 6 San Isidro y Narupayacu: San Isidro is a bustling place in the morning, including both species of quetzal, masked trogon, black-chested fruiteater, sickle-winged guan, & much more. We will also visit the antpitta feeding station. Afternoon in Narupayacu, for trail walking and Amazon foothill birds, and hummingbird feeders that often have 10 or more species of hummer buzzing around. We maye also look for nocturnal birds (weather permitting).
- Day 7 San Isidro, Guango & Return to Quito: Early spotting opportunities around San Isidro Lodge, before heading to Guango Lodge in search of the fabulous Sword-billed Hummingbird, and Torrent Duck. After lunch, we hit the trails before it is time to return to Quito.
- Private transport starting and ending in Quito (hotel or airport)
- Specialized expert birding guide with spotting scope
- Breakfasts, lunches, dinners (from lunch on day1 to breakfast on final day)
- Double / Twin room accommodation
- Entrance fees and access permits to all scheduled visits on itinerary
- International Airfare
- Single Supplement ($495)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Extra snacks
- Personal expenses & souvenirs
- Extra activities not specified in the itinerary
- This tour is available to start on any day throughout the year, depending on the availability of the birding guide.
Recommended to bring
- Cameras, binoculars, rain proofing (just in case), decent walking shoes, warmer clothes, water bottle, head covering (hat or buff), sunscreen, insect repellent, flashlight.
About this itinerary
What Our Clients Say
We had the pleasure to book this tour. Our guide knew the Ecuadorian birds including calls exceptionally well, was very knowledgeable about the overall natural history and human history of Ecuador, and was also flexible and enthusiastic about braving the elements to find birds. Based on group preferences, we requested a major change in itinerary midstream, and our guide was able to accommodate and make it happen without a hitch. It was a great trip from start to finish.
I teach organismal biology at Michigan State University and have had the opportunity to take students on study abroad trips to Ecuador. Recently, I also brought a few of my family and friends to this beautiful country. Finding this tour was a great opportunity. Our guide's encyclopedic knowledge of the history, geography, and natural history of this region assured that everyone in the group, no matter their birding skills, enjoyed the experience. Our guide was a master bird-finder. Whether your trip includes the high Andes páramos, the humid foothills, the dry inter-Andean valleys, or the lowland rainforests, he seemed to, almost magically, conjure up the reluctant species.