Ecuador,

Wild Ecuador Off the Beaten Track

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Tailor-Made Tour
13 Days
From £6185
GEOIP Not Available
Birding
Off The Beaten Track
Rainforest

Tour Introduction

13 Days from £6185
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. All trip details below can be tailored just for you

This extraordinary itinerary, ideal for keen birders and general wildlife lovers alike, takes you on a journey of discovery through some of the wildest and most beautiful temperate, cloud and rain forests in South America. By combining both the western and eastern slopes of the magnificent Andes range, you are exposed to the full diversity of specialist birds inhabiting a range of altitudes, as well as rare mammals such as the recently discovered olinguito, a relative of the nocturnal kinkajou. Those regions combined with a fine selection of well-run wilderness lodges amount to a mainland wildlife tour of profound depth and diversity, which we commend to you wholeheartedly.

Full Itinerary

Price from £6185
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms
Day 1
Arrive in Quito

Arrive in Quito. Late afternoon arrival and transfer to lodge.

Staying at Guango Lodge. Includes Dinner.

Day 2
Guango Lodge

Morning of guided activities in the temperate forest that surrounds the lodge. The lodge is at an altitude of 2,700 metres on the eastern slopes of the Andes. There are some excellent birdwatching opportunities here: a highlight is the hummingbird feeders that attract up to 15 species of those wonderful birds. Later in the day transfer to Cabañas San Isidro lodge.

Staying at Cabañas San Isidro Reserve. Includes All Meals.

Day 3
San Isidro Reserve

Full day of guided excursions in the Cabañas San Isidro Reserve. The Reserve has a network of well-maintained trails and at an altitude of 2,050m, is a natural eco tone between the Amazonian and cloud forest ecosystems. The reserve has some very exciting resident wildlife including occasional sightings of rare mammals such as mountain tapir, night monkeys and margays and offers excellent bird watching.

Staying at Cabañas San Isidro. Includes All Meals.

Day 4
Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary

Transfer to Wildsumaco Lodge, at an altitude of 1480m through spectacular cloud forest scenery. The lodge is near to the Sumaco National Park and the humid forest here remains in a pristine state and offers some of the finest bird watching on the Eastern slopes of the Andes.

Staying at Wildsumaco Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 5
Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary

A full day of guided excursions in the Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary and Sumaco National Park. The bird life includes cloud forest and Andean foothill specialities as well as Amazonian species: over 500 species have been recorded in the area. There are some exciting mammals such as margay, puma, greater grison and spectacled bear, all of which have been recorded on camera traps. More commonly seen mammals are the Napo tamarins and kinkajous.

Staying at Wildsumaco Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 6
Napo Wildlife Center

Transfer to Coca, and board boat down the Napo river looking for wildlife including troops of squirrel and capuchin monkeys, herons, kingfishers, macaws and toucans to the excellent Napo Wildlife Center lodge.

Staying at Napo Wildlife Center. Includes All Meals.

Day 7
Napo Wildlife Center

Full day of small group guided activities around the Napo Wildlife Center. Activities could include a visit to a large parrot clay lick, a walk through the forest to visit the Kichwa community of Añangu and maybe join in with their daily activities. Climb to the top of the 36-metre high canopy tower to observe the different structures of the forest as you ascend and the wildlife which inhabits the treetops. Afternoon guided trail walking will give a chance to find primates such as the endemic golden-mantled tamarin in the forest and giant otters on the nearby lake.

Staying at Napo Wildlife Center. Includes All Meals.

Day 8
Napo Wildlife Center

Another day of guided activities at the Napo Wildlife Center.

Staying at Napo Wildlife Center. Includes All Meals.

Day 9
Maquipucuna

Transfer to Coca and catch flight to Quito. Met on arrival and transfer to Maquipucuna on the western slope of the Andes.

Staying at Maquipucuna Lodge. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 10
Maquipucuna

Full day of guided activities in the reserve. There are many trails to explore here and a wealth of cloud forest biodiversity to see, including orchids, specialist birds and spectacled bears. During the fruiting season of the aguacatillo tree, several of the rare but charismatic bears can be watched feeding on the succulent fruits in the trees above the trails.

Staying at Maquipucuna Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 11
Bellavista Reserve

After a last early morning walk in the reserve, transfer to Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge. The lodge is nestled high up in an area of beautiful cloud forest on the edge of the Choco/Andean biodiversity hotspot and is home to many exciting species. A nocturnal attraction is the visit from two species of frugivorous carnivore, the kinkajou and its newly described relative the olinguito, which visit banana feeders in the gardens each night. The olinguito was only described as a new species in August 2013 and as yet very little is known about it in the wild.

Staying at Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 12
Bellavista Reserve

Full day of guided activities within the Bellavista area including an early morning visit to Refugio Angel Paz to see the lek (mating ground) of the brightly coloured Andean cock-of-the-rock. Many other beautiful cloud forest birds can be seen here including normally very shy antpittas (giant, yellow-breasted and moustached) which often feed from the track in front of visitors. There are also many other trails through the main reserve to explore. After dinner, enjoy another evening of watching the olinguito and kinkajou at night.

Staying at Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 13
Depart Quito

Transfer to Quito airport and catch your international flight home.

Includes Breakfast.

Tour Accommodation

Ecuador Amazon

Napo Wildlife Centre

Overview

Owned and operated by the local Anangu Kichwa Amerindian Community, Napo Wildlife Centre is an upmarket lodge located within a pristine 52,000-acre private terra firma rainforest reserve forming part of the Yasuni National Park, the largest in Ecuador and comprising a huge tract of pristine Amazonian rainforest.

The lodge overlooks the beautiful Anangucocha Lake, which is home to a resident population of giant river otters, capybara, large numbers of water birds and the black caiman, an endangered relative of the alligator which reaches 4 metres in length. The surrounding primary rainforest is home to 11 species of monkey (including red howler, spider, woolly, squirrel, monk saki and golden mantle tamarin), sloths and a multitude of insects, reptiles and amphibians. Spectacular but more elusive residents include anaconda, jaguar, puma, tapir, giant anteater and giant armadillo.

Over 560 species of birds have so far been recorded at the lodge with highlights including macaws (scarlet, blue and yellow, red and green, chestnut-fronted, red bellied), mixed feeding flocks of antbirds, toucans, manakins (six species), hummingbirds, agami herons, five species of kingfisher and occasionally harpy and crested eagles.

A particular highlight at Napo Wildlife Centre is their pair of parrot clay licks which attract large numbers of parrots, parakeets and occasionally macaws to digest kaolin to counteract toxins in their diet. There is also a large canopy platform offering spectacular views over the rainforest where you have a good chance of seeing monkeys, sloths, canopy birds and rainforest raptors.

Each of the 16 bright and airy detached cabanas has a spacious bedroom, private bathroom, hot water shower and private porch with seating and good views over the lake and surrounding forest. There is also a good restaurant, bar and well-stocked library.

Your stay here includes a full programme of rainforest walks, canoe trips, visits to the clay licks and canopy platform – all in the company of the lodge’s expert naturalist guides and local spotters. Visits to the local community are also possible.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
16
Facilities

Restaurant, bar, well-stocked library, 24-hour electricity, laundry service, 120-foot canopy tower, internet service and kiosk.

Local Wildlife

Two parrot and parakeet clay licks, 565 bird species, 11 species of monkeys including the endemic golden-mantled tamarin, two groups of giant otters and other large mammals such as white-lipped peccaries and Brazilian tapir, and black caiman.

Optional Activities

Visits to the local Añangu Kichwa community.

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.

Ecuador The Andes

Guango Lodge

Overview

This lodge is set amongst humid temperate forest on the Interoceania Highway at an elevation of 2,700 metres, and just 7 miles from the village of Papallacta. The Bustamante family, who own Cabanas San Isidro Lodge, also owns this property which has a reputation for excellent, home-cooked food. There are 8 simple, en suite double rooms, a dining room and lounge.

The lodge is known for hummingbird feeders distributed around the main building: six different species of hummingbird can be seen at one time.

There are several miles of trails through different forest types offering ample opportunities to see the maximum range of birds.

A visit to the Papallacta Hot Springs can also be arranged from this lodge.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
8
Facilities

En suite rooms, hot water showers, dining room, lounge, excellent trail network.

Local Wildlife

There is an outstanding diversity of hummingbirds and many other cloud forest birds. A number of mammal species are present but rarely seen.

Optional Activities

Visit to the Papallacta Hot Springs.

Ecuador The Andes

Maquipucuna Lodge

Overview

Maquipucuna is the best preserved area of cloud forest close to Ecuador’s capital, Quito, which is only a two-hour journey away.

The Maquipucuna reserve protects a large tract of virgin cloud forest that has never been logged and therefore retains a high level of biodiversity. The reserve ranges from 900 metres to almost 2,700 metres above sea level, which increases the diversity of wildlife.

Maquipucuna Lodge offers a range of accommodation options that are located in different buildings. Tulipe House has a set of 4 private rooms with en suite bathrooms and is strategically located for superb views across the forest. Tulipe is joined to Umachaca House which can accommodate 18 people in double or family bedrooms with shared bathrooms.

The most recently built accommodation is Cachillacta House which offers two modern and spacious rooms with private balconies and en suite bathrooms.

The main dining area has been constructed from locally sourced materials. The lodge is simple but offers a rustic, relaxed and pleasant atmosphere and is a great place to explore the Andean cloud forests close to Quito. The lodge offers a high standard of service and their local guides can speak good English.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
14
Facilities

6 en suite rooms with hot showers, family bungalow with 2 rooms and private bathroom, dormitory rooms with shared facilities, dining room, lounge and bar.

Local Wildlife

Over 375 species of birds have recorded in the reserve including a large percentage of cloud forest and Andean specialities, many of which are reliably found close to the lodge.

During the months of August and September the aguacatillo (an avocado-like fruit) is usually abundant in the forest. This is a favourite food of the endangered spectacled bear and sightings of this charismatic mammal are remarkably reliable at this time. Sloths, agoutis and other mammals are sometimes encountered and there is a high diversity of beautiful butterflies and other fauna and flora within the reserve.

Optional Activities

Excellent cloud forest birdwatching, mammal spotting, mountain biking, trail hiking and wild swimming.

Ecuador The Andes

Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge

Overview

Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge borders the Choco bio-region (one of the most diverse terrestrial environments in the world) and is surrounded by its own 1,730-acre reserve of orchid and bromeliad laden cloud forest containing the world’s greatest diversity of epiphytes. There have been over 330 species of birds recorded at Bellavista and the Tandayapa Valley with particular highlights including an Andean cock-of-the-rock display ground (lek), white-faced nunbird, rufescent screech-owl, swallow-tailed nightjar, crested quetzal, over 40 species of hummingbirds and the beautiful plate-billed mountain toucan. Mammal sightings are rare but species present include spectacled bear, puma, Andean coati and tayra.

The lodge has 11 fairly rustic bedrooms and two suites, many with private balcony, bathroom and stunning views over the surrounding cloud forest and distant volcanoes. All rooms also have hummingbird feeders attracting a number of these delightful birds to your balcony. There are also nine dormitory rooms.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
13
Facilities

Restaurant serving trout, chicken and vegetarian dishes but no red meat, lounge and bar.

Local Wildlife

Excellent birding with over 330 species of birds, an Andean cock-of- the-rock display ground and over 40 species of hummingbirds.

Optional Activities

Visit to cock-of-the-rock display ground and nearby reserves, zip line, Mindo River tubing, visit to orchid and butterfly farms.

Route Map

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Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge: -0.016140, -78.681130
Napo Wildlife Centre: -0.523806, -76.439912
Wildsumaco Lodge: -0.642056, -77.544926
Maquipucuna Lodge: 0.123952, -78.630032
Cabanas San Isidro Lodge: -0.591131, -77.880882
Guango Lodge: -0.378000, -78.075021

Departure Dates

This tour has no set departure date and can be tailored to suit your travel requirements. Contact us for more details.

Travel Information

Are International Flights Included?

No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Flight Info:

Fly from London to Quito on Iberia Airlines via Madrid or KLM via Amsterdam.

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

[Our Guide] made the trip for us. She was knowledgeable, took her time and was very enthusiastic. This was a wonderful holiday and well organised. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

Dr R P - Bedfordshire