NORTHERN ANDES BIRDING TOUR
|Duration:||12 days, 11 nights|
|* This tour is available for any dates of your choosing provided guide services and accommodations are available.|
The geographical barrier that is the Andes Mountains creates extraordinary species diversity, making it possible to see 550 species of birds in just 11 days. Our Ecuador Andes Birding Tour covers most of the best birding sites of the northern Andes in 11 days, 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, the Mindo area including Refugio Paz of antpitta fame, the subtropical forest at lower elevation Rio Silanche and Milpe Bird Sanctuary, 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 viewing of 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 birding there, with the likelihood of seeing 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 will be devoted to looking for high elevation specialties along the private Papallacta Water Plant Road and along a side road leading up to the radio towers above Papallacta Pass. Then the tour continues to famed Tandayapa Bird Lodge for one night. From Tandayapa we continue downslope to the Mindo area, our base for the next 3 nights. While there we'll bird the Mindo area and two forest reserves farther downslope in the subtropical zone. We'll 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 and opportunities to see specialties such as Golden-headed Quetzal. That afternoon we head back upslope to Bellavista Reserve, a wonderful place to see some cloud forest specialties such as Toucan Barbet and Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan.