EXTENDED NORTHERN ANDES PHOTO TOUR
|11 days, 10 nights
|* This tour is available for any dates of your choosing provided guide services and accommodations are available.
Our Ecuador Andes Bird Photo Tour covers many of the best places to photograph birds of the northern Andes, Guango Reserve and Papallacta Pass in the high eastern Andes, San Isidro Reserve at middle elevation of the eastern Andes, Tandayapa Reserve in the western Andes, subtropical forest at lower elevation Rio Silanche and Milpe Bird Sanctuary, Refugio Paz of antpitta fame near Mindo, and Bellavista Reserve. The best time to take this tour is from July through mid-December except October, which typically has a period of short rains. The period from January-June should be avoided as it is typically foggy and rainy, especially in the western Andes. Accommodations are very good throughout the tour, with exquisite cuisine at Guango Lodge, Cabanas San Isidro, and Bellavista Lodge.
The tour begins with a transfer from the airport to Guango Lodge in the high eastern Andes. Next morning is devoted to an early walk through the reserve followed by photographing some extraordinary hummingbirds outside the dining area, including the amazing Sword-billed Hummingbird. After lunch transfer to San Isidro, a middle elevation site in the eastern Andes. A full day will be spent photographing birds there, with the likelihood of photographing two antpitta species conditioned to come out onto a trail near the lodge. From San Isidro we re-trace our route back up to Guango Lodge for an overnight stay. Next morning after breakfast we depart for the western Andes with a stop along a side road leading up to the radio towers above Papallacta Pass where we'll photograph several high elevation specialties including the rare Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe that is reliably found there. From there the tour continues to famed Tandayapa Bird Lodge for a two night stay. While at Tandayapa we'll photograph hummingbirds and forest birds on the lodge veranda and along a trail through the lodge's private reserve. From Tandayapa we continue downslope to the Mindo area, our base for the next two nights. During our stay near Mindo we'll visit Rio Silanche and Mindo Bird Sanctuaries downslope where opportunities to photograph birds of subtropical forest are very good. We'll also visit Refugio Paz, famous for the several antpittas and Dark-backed Wood-Quail that have been conditioned to come out onto the forest trail plus an Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek. We'll be able to photograph those species and other birds along forest trails while there. Finally, we'll visit Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve, located at somewhat higher elevation, where we'll photograph hummingbirds and such specialties as Toucan Barbet and Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan.