Ecuador,

The Birds, Bugs & Wildlife of Ecuador’s Amazon & Cloud Forests – With George McGavin.

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Group Tour
14 Days
From £5118
GEOIP Not Available
Birding
Off The Beaten Track

Tour Introduction

14 Days from £5118
GEOIP Not Available
per adult.

Known mainly as an ardent entomologist, George McGavin also has a deep interest in general zoology and ecology.  After 25 years as an academic at Oxford University, George became a television presenter, chiefly for the BBC taking him all around the world.

George’s boundless enthusiasm, energy and charm are clearly evident from his TV appearances and he will certainly bring those qualities to bear when helping the group members to observe the abundant wildlife to be found in Ecuador.

As well as invertebrates, you should see three-toed sloths, up to eight species of monkeys, various snakes, lizards and caiman, and a great many of Ecuador’s 1,600 bird species.

Join George, a local natural history guide, and a small number of like-minded natural history enthusiasts on this uniquely enjoyable journey to the New World and come home with far more knowledge of the hidden (and more visible) wildlife of the tropics than you ever thought possible.

Click to download 2020 group details (PDF)

Full Itinerary

Price from £5118
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms
Day 1
Quito

Met on arrival at QUITO airport and transfer to hotel.

Staying at Hacienda Jimenita. Includes Dinner.

Day 2
Napo

Transfer to Quito and fly to Francisco de Orellana (aka Coca).

Met on arrival and drive to the river port. Transfer by motorised canoe along the Napo River and cruise for around two hours downstream to the lodge dock. Walk (approx. 30 mins) along boardwalks through the rainforest, accompanied by George, Roberto and local guides who will stop to spot wildlife, to Pilchicocha Lagoon. Take a short canoe trip across to Sacha Lodge, your jungle home for the next four nights.

Staying at Sacha Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 3
Napo

Enjoy a full programme of inclusive activities accompanied by George, Roberto and the local guides from the lodge. Ecuador has one of the richest insect faunas anywhere in the world. Species to look out for include stalk-eyed flies, giant silk moths, owl butterflies, moss-mimicking stick insects, green-gold scarab beetles, assassin bugs, stingless bees - the list is endless.

Activities here will include trail hikes, excursions on the lake, and visits to the canopy walkway and observation tower. Night walks with an ultraviolet torch may reveal scorpions in a new light when you see their exoskeletons fluoresce bright blue.

Staying at Sacha Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 4
Napo

Another day of guided wildlife excursions accompanied by George, Roberto and the local guides.

Staying at Sacha Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 5
Napo

Enjoy a final day of guided rainforest excursions accompanied by George, Roberto and the local guides.

Staying at Sacha Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 6
Sumaco

After breakfast, paddle across the lake and walk back to the Napo River to meet your motorised canoe transportation back to Coca. Here you will board a minibus and begin your journey by road (2 hrs) into the Andean foothills.

Time permitting, begin exploring the area accompanied by George and Roberto in the late afternoon. Treehoppers are one of George’s favourite insect families and you will discover many of these marvellous masters of disguise, whose bizarre shapes can take your breath away. Roberto meanwhile will be searching for some of his avian favourites to show you.

Staying at WildSumaco Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 7
Sumaco

Spend today exploring the area accompanied by George and Roberto looking for birds and insects. Just birding around the lodge’s deck is excellent and the street light on the driveway attracts a further variety of bird life. Hummingbird species attracted by the feeders include Napo sabrewing, Gould's jewelfront, black-throated and violet-fronted brilliant, many-spotted hummingbird, and golden-tailed sapphire. In the evening look for band-bellied and mottled owl, great potoo, and scorpions.

Staying at WildSumaco Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 8
Sumaco

Enjoy another day exploring the area accompanied by George and Roberto.

Staying at WildSumaco Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 9
Sumaco

A final day to explore the area accompanied by George and Roberto.

Staying at WildSumaco Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 10
Cosanga

Say farewell to San Wildsumaco and, with packed lunch in hand, ascend the eastern side of the Cordillera Guacamayos towards the Andes with George and Roberto.

On a clear day there are wonderful views of the forested valleys stretching towards the Amazonian lowlands. En route to your next lodge perhaps explore the pristine cloud forest of the Guacamayos Ridge Trail.

The lodge is located in the heart of the wet subtropical zone at an altitude of about 2,050 metres.

Staying at Cabanas San Isidro. Includes All Meals.

Day 11
Cosanga

Spend the day exploring the area accompanied by George and Roberto. George will be on the lookout for the harlequin beetle (Acrocinus longimanus), a huge longhorn beetle. Early naturalists thought that the ridiculously long legs of the males allowed them to swing from branch to branch but the reality is far more interesting. Other showy beetles include Euchroma gigantea, a brightly coloured jewel beetle.

San Isidro is considered to be one of the best places to go birdwatching in the rich subtropical zone which has mixed feeding flocks, a diversity of hummingbirds and many other special possibilities including masked trogon, Andean cock of the rock and powerful woodpecker. Night walks can also be arranged to search for nocturnal mammals, as well as San Isidro owl and scorpions.

Staying at Cabanas San Isidro. Includes All Meals.

Day 12
Cosanga

Enjoy a final day exploring the area accompanied by George and Roberto

Staying at Cabanas San Isidro. Includes All Meals.

Day 13
Quito

Continue ascending by road with George and Roberto to Guango Lodge. Here you can enjoy the stunning variety of hummingbirds that come to the lodge’s feeders. Normally 10-15 species can be seen including the incredible sword-billed hummingbird and tourmaline sunangel. Look out also for the white-capped dipper and torrent duck, often found on the river next to the lodge.

After lunch continue climbing towards the Papallacta Pass which is at an elevation of over 4,000 metres. Then continue driving over the pass and descend to your accommodation in Quito’s Los Chillos Valley. In the evening relive your wildlife adventures over a delicious farewell dinner

Staying at Hacienda Jimenita. Includes All Meals.

Day 14
Quito

This morning is at leisure to pack, relax and explore the hotel’s 18 acres on your own. For those interested in exploring Quito’s colonial centre a guided tour can be arranged (additional cost). In the afternoon transfer to Quito Airport in time for the international flight.

Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Download the full details of this itinerary and start planning your trip today.

Download File

Tour Accommodation

Ecuador The Andes

Hacienda Jimenita

Overview

This historic hacienda has been owned and run by the same family for over a century, and is just 15 minutes from Quito’s international airport. It is set in 18 acres of private land with native plantations of trees, organic gardens, walking trails, old tunnels, volcano views, and up to 10 species of hummingbirds.

The charming main building is full of antique furniture, with comfy seating areas, a dining room, bar area, and covered porch for al fresco dining. Some of the rooms are located in the main building, and there is also a separate block of newer rooms. There is no TV, safety deposit box or minibar in the rooms.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
8
Facilities

Main building with comfy seating areas, dining room, bar area, and covered porch for al fresco dining.

Local Wildlife

Private reserve with 18 acres of nature trails, with a bird list of over 90 species including 10 hummingbirds.

Ecuador Amazon

Sacha Lodge

Overview

Sacha Lodge has a beautiful position overlooking Pilchicocha (oxbow) Lake with excellent swimming, piranha fishing and gentle wildlife viewing by dugout canoe. The surrounding primary rainforest has large concentrations of monkeys (including squirrel, red howler, brown capuchin, black mantled tamarin and pygmy marmoset), an incredible 587 species of birds (including hummingbirds, toucans, parrots and rainforest raptors), sloths and a huge variety of other rainforest mammals, insects and plants.

There is a butterfly farm and a large network of rainforest trails. Across the Napo River is the Yasuni National Park with two spectacular clay licks where you can see large numbers of parrots, parakeets and occasionally macaws (additional charge to visit the clay licks). A highlight of the lodge is the 940-foot canopy walkway suspended 95 feet above the ground which, combined with the lodge’s 135 foot observation tower, gives unparalleled views over the rainforest and excellent chances of spotting monkeys, sloths and hundreds of canopy birds.

The large thatched wooden cabins blend perfectly with the surrounding forest but retain a high level of comfort including private bathrooms with hot water, well screened rooms and an excellent restaurant. All rooms are linked by raised, covered board walks keeping you a respectable distance from the surrounding forest.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
26
Facilities

Restaurant, bar and lounge with raised lookout overlooking the lake, laundry service, 24-hour electricity and private bathrooms.

Local Wildlife

587 species of birds, 8 species of primates including regular sightings of pygmy marmoset, black-mantled tamarin, common squirrel, red howler and white fronted capuchin monkeys. Black agouti, sloths and many fascinating reptiles, amphibians and butterflies frequent the lodge grounds.

Optional Activities

Visits to two parrot clay licks.

Ecuador The Andes

Wildsumaco Lodge

Overview

Wildsumaco lodge is located in Ecuador’s upper tropical zone on a ridge in the eastern foothills of the Andes at an elevation of 1,480 meters. There are far-reaching views across the Rio Pucuno Valley and Andes peaks beyond, and on clear days there are views of the El Altar, Tungurahua, Antisana and, to the north, the Sumaco volcanoes.

Wildsumaco Lodge and the private reserve it sits within were created by a group of passionate conservationists and birders from the USA and Sweden. Their aim is to preserve and protect the rainforest that is under increasing threat from clearance for farms and pastures. They have also established a non-profit arm, the Rio Pucuno Foundation and through it have opened a biological research station.

Wildsumaco Lodge has two cabanas housing a total of 8 twin and 2 double en suite rooms located either side of a separate building with a large, open dining and sitting area complete with bar and fireplace. Outside there is a partially covered 22 metre-long deck overlooking the Rio Pucuno Valley and across to the Andes to the west.

The meals feature international home-style cooking, and soft drinks, beer and wine are available to purchase from the bar. There is an extensive, well-maintained trail system accessible directly from the lodge with other trails located a short drive away.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
10
Facilities

Bar, lounge and dining area and outside decking with chairs.

Local Wildlife

Due to the overlap in bird species from both the cooler mountain cloud forests above and tropical Amazonian rainforest below the lodge, there is an exceptionally high avian diversity. Almost 500 species of bird have been recorded around the lodge, including cloud forest, foothill and Amazonian specialities. Many localised specialities and up to 27 species of hummingbird can be seen. There is an enticing list of mammals found in the reserve but most are rarely seen. The Napo tamarin (recently split from the black-mantled tamarin), black agouti and kinkajou are seen more frequently and there is a good chance of finding some dazzling butterflies, amphibians and reptiles while exploring the reserve.

Optional Activities

Guided birdwatching in various elevations.

Ecuador The Andes

Cabanas San Isidro Lodge

Overview

The Bustamante family, originally from Quito, founded Cabanas San Isidro Lodge over 50 years ago when the Ecuadorian government began making the underpopulated eastern lands available to the general public to convert to farms. Rather than clear the land for farming, Simon Bustamante left the majority of his 1,100 hectares, plus a further 800 hectares bought by the Bustamantes’ local foundation, untouched.

Today the lodge is set amongst large, accessible tracts of primary cloud forest and is overseen by Simon’s daughter, Carmen.

The lodge sits in the picturesque Quijos Valley, one of the westernmost headwaters of the Amazon basin. There are 13 comfortable en suite rooms surrounded by sprawling gardens, all with private porch, hummingbird feeder and sitting area. A cosy living room is found in the main house as well as a separate dining room serving a delicious fusion of traditional Ecuadorian and international dishes. There is a comfortable mirador (viewpoint) lounge, Wi-Fi is available in the dining room and additional amenities include a pool table, TV room, book exchange, dartboard and laundry service.

The lodge has a number of well-maintained forest trails and, along with its immediate surroundings including the forested roadsides, boasts a bird list of 330 species. There is a high diversity of other wildlife too, including mammals such as night monkey, kinkajou and black agouti.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
13
Facilities

Excellent cuisine, dining room, lounge, Wi-Fi in communal areas, pool table and darts board, TV room, book exchange area,

Local Wildlife

There is a high diversity of cloud forest bird species including powerful woodpecker, smoky bush-tyrant, Inca jay and black-billed peppershrike and many hummingbirds. Mammals are shy and rarely seen, although night monkeys, kinkajou and black agoutis are seen with more regularity than others.

Optional Activities

Cooking courses.

Route Map

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Sacha Lodge: -0.471286, -76.459098
Wildsumaco Lodge: -0.642056, -77.544926
Cabanas San Isidro Lodge: -0.591131, -77.880882
Hacienda Jimenita: -0.235066, -78.349476

Departure Dates

Tour Dates
Adult Price
Single Supp
20/11/2020
£5118
£525

Travel Information

Are International Flights Included?

No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Best Visited:

January to January

Are you ATOL Registered?

Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.

John Melton

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965

George McGavin is a MUST. Hugely informative, entertaining and engaging. Also his evening presentations were well pitched and unique in my experience. He’s much more than his TV personality.

Mr M W – Maidenhead