Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (Ian Segebarth photo)
Single Supplement: $310
Participant to Guide Ratio: 4 to 1
Accommodations with private bathrooms
Activities and meals as mentioned in itinerary
Donation to local conservation efforts
Private transportation and driver for the duration of the program
Travel protection, post-departure coverage (excludes trip cancellation)
Cost is based on a minimum of 7 participants (double occupancy). This trip may incur unforeseen fuel surcharges.
A $350 per person deposit and enrollment form is due to hold your space on this trip. This deposit is refundable 120 days prior to departure, excluding a $100 cancellation fee. Cancellations after this date will result in loss of full deposit.
Travel/trip cancellation insurance is strongly
recommended. For more information call Travel Insured at 800-243-3174 or visit travelinsured.com.
Final payment due date: August 9, 2019.
Ecuador Birding Hotspots
November 12-21: 2019
Per square mile, Ecuador has the highest biodiversity in the world, including some 1,640 bird species and many rarities and endemics. Discover the amazing contrasts of cloud forest, tropical Amazon riverbottom forest, and high Andean landscapes on this 10-day birding adventure. With an expert local guide, encounter a huge variety of habitats, birds, and other wildlife while exploring a wide selection of Ecuador’s 50 distinct ecosystems. The program begins with a journey to Mindo Loma Private Reserve, 17 acres of recovering cloud forest. Also experience the Milpe Bird Sanctuary in the Chocó Andean foothills, considered one of the finest natural reserves in all of Ecuador. Along the way we will meet a famous Ecuadorian ornithologist, view the snow-capped Antisana Volcano, and straddle the equator at the Middle of the World Monument. Merlin Birding is offering this trip with Holbrook Travel. To register, please click HERE.
ITINERARY AT A GLANCE:
November 13: Arrive in Quito
November 14: Drive to Mindo, visit Alambi Cloud Forest Reserve
November 15: Mindo: Bird Pacha Quindi, and Tandayapa Valley
November 16: Mindo: Bird Mindo Lomo Reserve
November 17: Mindo: Bird Los Bancos Milpe
November 18: Sangolqui: Bird Mindo-Calacalí highway
November 19: Cosanga: Antisana Ecological Reserve
November 20: Cosanga: Bird trails of San Isidro Lodge
November 21: Quito: Bird around Guango Lodge
November 22: Transfer to airport for flights home
November 13: Rincon de Puembo
Upon arrival in Quito you’ll be met by your guide and transferred to the hotel. (November 13th is a travel day and meals are not included.) Overnight: Rincon de Puembo.
November 14: Mindo
Breakfast followed by program orientation. Afterwards we will transfer to the Cumbayá Valley to visit the house of the famous Ecuadorian ornithologist Juan Manuel Carrion. Juan Manuel is also a nature artist, actively involved in conservation as Executor of
Communication and Environmental Education projects. He is a pioneer in publishing illustrated books on birds of Ecuador, and
has been officially recognized as "the painter of the birds of Ecuador." Enjoy a mid-morning snack while visiting his gardens and workshop to see local birds and admire his wonderful artwork. Continue your adventure toward Mindo by La Mitad del Mundo Road. Enjoy lunch onsite and visit the Middle of the World Monument. We will then continue to Mindo with a stop at Alambi Cloud Forest Reserve. Alambi Cloud Forest Reserve sits over two major valleys and covers a great altitudinal range (4,750-7,210 ft), with a variety of habitats. Alambi has recorded 250 bird species, with 32 hummingbird species seen either at the feeders or in the reserve. Later we'll continue our trip through the Nono-Mindo Eco Road. Located in the Tandayapa Valley, this cloud forest is part of the Chocó Endemic Bird Area of northwest Ecuador, with lovely panoramic views and a mind-boggling array of birds, including the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. Arrive in Mindo in the late afternoon. Overnight: Sachatamia Lodge. B,L, D
November 15: Mindo
We'll depart from the hotel toward Pacha Quindi, a refuge dedicated to the preservation and protection of original cloud forest habitat and its native wildlife, where you will be able to experience the natural beauty of this unique and biologically diverse environment. We shall continue to Sachatamia for lunch and enjoy afternoon birding in the Tandayapa Valley. Overnight: Sachatamia Lodge. B,L, D
November 16: Mindo
Early this morning we'll visit Mindo Loma Reserve for birding along the road and at Mindo Loma. Mindo Loma is a mid-altitude
(4,590 ft) private cloud forest located between Nanegalito and the road to Mindo. It is comprised of 17 acres of recovering primary and secondary cloud forest. Target birds in this locale include the Velvet-purple Coronet, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, and Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager. Lunch will be onsite, We will then return to the lodge in the afternoon. Overnight: Sachatamia Lodge. B,L, D
November 17: Mindo
This morning we'll visit Milpe Bird Sanctuary, located in subtropical rainforest. Milpe Bird Sanctuary encompasses 49 acres, with an
altitudinal range of 3,350 to 3,770 ft. Located in the Chocó Andean foothills, Los Bancos Milpe is in an official Birdlife International Important Bird Area (IBA), and is considered one of the finest birding sites in all of Ecuador. Many of the most spectacular Chocó endemics are protected here, including Plumbeous Forest-Falcon, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Glistening-green Tanager, Chocó Trogon, Club-winged Manakin and Long-wattled Umbrellabird, to name just a few. This site is especially known for frequent sightings of the rare Moss-backed Tanager. We will continue to Mirador Río Blanco for lunch. This locale is a birder's dream and great for seeing many tanager species. We shall return to the lodge in the late afternoon. Overnight: Sachatamia Lodge. B,L, D
November 18: Sangolqui
We'll depart from Mindo early and travel to the Sangolquí Valley. En route we may stop for birds along the Mindo-Calacalí road, with a quick stop at Calacalí. The dry scrub at Calacalí is home to the Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Golden-rumped Euphonia, and the vulnerable White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant. A box lunch will be provided en route. Much of the afternoon is reserved for your leisure to enjoy the hacienda. Overnight: Hacienda La Carriona. B,L, D
November 19: Cosanga
We will enjoy a full morning birding along the trails at Antisana Ecological Reserve. Located between the Andes and the Amazon lowlands, this privately-owned reserve's 297,000 acres is comprised of varied ecological zones ranging from páramo (up to 18,886 ft) to lowland rainforest. More than 70 bird species can be found here, including the Andean Condor, Giant Hummingbird,
Carunculated Caracara, Black-faced Ibis, Speckled Teal, Andean Duck, Silvery Grebe, Slate-colored Coot, Andean Gull, Andean
Lapwing, and Aplomado Falcon. Adding to the breathtaking Andean scenery, the snow-capped Antisana Volcano is the fourth highest peak in Ecuador, with an altitude of 18,900 feet. In the afternoon we'll continue to Cabañas San Isidro. This private reserve forms an important bridge between the Antisana and Gran Sumaco reserves; the area boasts a bird list of 330 species, many of which are more easily observed here than anywhere else in the country. Overnight at San Isidro Lodge. B,L,D
IVelvet Purple Coronet
November 20: Cosanga
We will explore the area with your guide. San Isidro Lodge is situated at 6,726 feet altititude, but the area trails lead through elevations ranging from 7,874 feet down to 6,069 feet, making this an ideal base to observe Andean birds, from the lower reaches of the temperate zone into the heart of the subtropical zone. Among the rarities here are Highland Tinamou, Bicolored Antvireo, Peruvian Antpitta, and White-faced Nunbird. The Powerful Woodpecker, Smoky Bush-Tyrant, Inca Jay, Black-billed Peppershrike, Wattled Guan, and Glossy-black Thrush are often seen here. We'll also look for Sickle-winged Guan, Masked Trogon, Andean Motmot, Streak-capped and Striped Treehunters, Long-tailed Antbird, Slate-crowned Antpitta, Black-chested Fruiteater, Pale-footed Swallow, and a variety of colorful tanagers feeding within the mixed understory. Overnight at San Isidro Lodge. B,L,D
November 21: Return to Quito
After breakfast we'll check out of San Isidro and continue to Guango Lodge. Located about one hour away from San Isidro, Guango lies at an elevation of about 2,700m (8,858 ft) on Ecuador’s eastern slope, close to the hot springs of Papallacta. This area is classified as humid temperate forest, a habitat distinctly different from San Isidro and is characterized by its more stunted trees, thicker canopy, cooler climate, and different bird and plant composition. The hummingbird feeders here are especially popular, with some of the more noteworthy species being Mountain Velvetbreast, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Tourmaline Sunangel, Golden-breasted and Glowing Pufflegs, Mountain Avocetbill, and White-bellied and Gorgeted Woodstars. Other birds of particular interest (and seen regularly) include the Andean Guan, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Turquoise Jay, Scarlet-bellied, Lacrimose, Buff-breasted and Hooded Mountain-Tanagers, Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager, Black-headed, Black-capped, and Black-eared Hemispingus, and Slaty Brush-Finch. We shall enjoy lunch at Guango, and in the afternoon continue our drive back to Quito. This evening we'll reflect on our adventures during a farewell dinner at the hotel. Overnight: Rincon de Puemba.
November 22: Transfer to the airport for your flight home.