Day 1: International arrivals and transfer to hotel for dinner.
Day 2: Early drive for one hour and a half to Yanacocha Reserve with high montane forest and fantastic scenery. Our first hummingbird feeders might be visited by Sword-billed Hummingbird, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Golden-breasted and Sapphire-vented Pufflegs, while other highlights include Scarlet bellied and Black-chested Mountain-Tanagers, Andean Guan, Gray browed and Yellow-breasted Brush-Finches. After lunch we continue into the Mindo Valley to Septimo Paraiso Lodge, our base for the next three nights. With luck one of the rarer desirables like Banded Ground Cuckoo or Rufous-crowned Pittasoma will be staked out in the Mindo region during our visit and we will of course rearrange the itinerary to accomodate these species if available!
Day 3: Today we will visit the famous Angel Paz Reserve, a magical site where difficult birds come to the calls of birding celebrity Angel Paz, who feeds them worms every day! Dark-backed Woodquail, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Giant, Yellow-breasted, Ochre-breasted, Moustached and Chestnut-crowned Antpittas are regular through the year, but are not all guaranteed at any given time. After also checking out the phenomenal Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek and banana feeders with resident Toucan Barbets, we will visit a very easily accessible Oilbird cave and spend the afternoon back around the lodge Paraiso looking for Velvet-purple Coronet, Ecuadorian Seedeater, Narino Tapaculo and the local Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl.
Day 4: We will leave early to spend the whole day birding around Mashpi, with the majority of our time focused on Amagusa Reserve, a supreme birding site with highlights like Indigo Flowerpiercer, Black Solitaire, Blue-fronted Parrotlet, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Choco Vireo, Choco Warbler, Glistening-green, Rufous-throated and Moss-backed Tanagers, and many others. We will also see some lower elevation specialties like Barred Puffbird, Brown-billed Scythebill, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Orange-fronted Barbet, and Choco Trogon.
Day 5: Morning around Bellavista, home to several Choco specialties like Beautiful Jay, Tanager Finch, Gorgeted Sunangel, Dusky Chlorospingus, Western Hemispingus, White-faced Nunbird and others. We then continue to Papallacta Pass, the highest point we will reach on the tour. Several Paramo specialties can be seen here like Giant Conebill, Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Blue-mantled Thornbill, and Viridian Metaltail. We will arrive at Guango Lodge for overnight in the evening.
Day 6: Guango is famous for some amazing hummingbird feeders, but also some excellent garden birding. Highlights could include Mountain Avocetbill, Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Slaty Brush-Finch, Tourmaline Sunangel, Masked Mountain Tanager, Black-backed Bush-Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, White-chinned Thistletail, Agile Tit-Tyrant, and more! We will explore the area today, and maybe revisit Papallacta Pass. Overnight at Guango Lodge.
Day 7: Leaving early we will drive to Wild Sumaco Lodge, making a stop along the way at Wayra Reserve where there will be the chance to see the shy Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail at feeders, plus several species of tanager with great photography opportunities! More stops en route to Wild Sumaco if we have time could produce Western Striolated Puffbird, Blackish Nightjar, Yellow-throated Tanager, Green-backed Hillstar, Orange-breasted Falcon, Cliff Flycatcher, Blue-naped Chlorophomia and Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer. Overnight at Wild Sumaco Lodge.
Day 8-9: Two full days birding the amazing Wild Sumaco Lodge will have us seeking out great variety of eastern foothill specialties like Coppery-chested Jacamar, Fiery-throated and Scarlet-breasted Fruiteaters, Buckley’s Forest-Falcon, Chestnut-crowned Gnateater, Yellow-throated Spadebill, Gray-tailed Piha, Gray-throated Leaftoser, Foothill Screech-Owl, Band-bellied Owl, Gould’s Jewelfront, Napo Sabrewing, Plain-backed Antpitta, Large-headed Flatbill, Military Macaw and many others. With luck we will find some of the harder species like Black Tinamou. Overnights at Wild Sumaco Lodge.
Day 10: After some final birding we will drive several hours back towards Quito for an overnight at Hacienda La Carriona.
Day 11: One final session of birding will see us ascending Antisana Volcano to look for Andean Condor, Andean Ibis, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Giant Hummingbird, Streak backed and Many-striped Canasteros, Black-winged Ground-Dove, Paramo Pipit, Silvery Grebe and several other specialties. After lunch we will drive to Quito Airport for international flights this evening. NOTE: Visiting the wonderful Sani Lodge for a taste of the Amazon is easy to arrange for three or more nights at the end of this tour, with their excellent and professional packages including return flights to Coca from Quito, boat transfers to the lodge, and one of their excellent local bird guides on-site. Please let us know if you would like assistance arranging this, and if you wish the leader can stay on to accompany you for a fee.
Cost: $ 4,200
Deposit: $ 750
Single room supplement: $ 360
Accommodation: All comfortable hotels and lodges.
Walking difficulty: Mostly easy, but we might take a few longer walks for a couple of hours at birding pace.
Tour cost includes: All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.
Tour cost excludes: Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks and other items of a personal nature.