Northern Ecuador is arguably home to the greatest avian diversity of anywhere in the world. This tour explores a cross section of the region from West to East, covering a wide range of elevations on both slopes of the Andes. As a whole this tour aims to keep a relaxed pace and keep moves between accommodations at a minimum. The concentrated nature of Ecuador’s diversity means a short drive in any direction can result in a near complete shift in birdlife.
We begin with the Western slope of the Andes, exploring the arid highlands around Quito before descending into the incredibly diverse cloud forests and rainforests of the Chocó bioregion. This area is characterized by a wide array of gemstone-like hummingbirds and tanagers, as well as world class feeding stations catering to birders. The Andes are rich in birdlife from end to end but nowhere is it perhaps so accessible as this region centered around the town of Mindo. Expect close views and excellent photo opportunities. Reserva Amagusa in particular could lay credible claim to being the best place to photograph birds anywhere in the world. From here we make our way back to the highlands as we head towards the Eastern slope and the Amazon basin.
The second half of the tour will be an exploration of Napo Province, an area roughly half the size of New Jersey that has recorded over 1000 species. From high elevation páramo to Amazonian lowlands this area packs unbelievable diversity of scenery and wildlife into a small area. This side of the Andes is somewhat wilder and more intact than the West, with massive swathes of land protected by the trio of Cayambe-Coca, Sumaco Napo-Galeras, and Antisana National Parks. These parks have limited access by road and are therefore havens for a wonderful array of special wildlife. What limited access there is offers a glimpse into this wild world, with a host of rare species to be found amongst the impressive scenery.
Maximum 4 participants
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