Phone: +1 (778) 870-1542 | Email: info@nestbirdtours.com
photo of toucan bird

 

TRIP SUMMARY

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Price: US$2,295 per person based on double occupancy

Single Supplement: US$380

Price Includes:
* 6 nights accommodation in the Tandayapa Bird Lodge for the tour in October, Hotel Saguamby for the tour in November, Sachatamia lodge for the tour in December and April.

* Accommodation on the night of September 30 (night prior to departure) at the Best Western Premier CPlaza Hotel in Quito      
* English speaking birding expert/guide for 7 days from/to Quito      
Ground transportation from pick up point/hotel on day one
* Transportation to all birding sites in private bus from day 1 on October 1 – October 7 2016
* Fees, Tips & Charges: Entrance fees to reserves or parks, tips to service staff and all taxes
* Meals starting with breakfast on day 1 (October 1) and ending with lunch on day 7

Tour Dates:

December 17 – December 23 2017 (SPACES AVAILABLE)

April 15 – April 21 2018 (SPACES AVAILABLE)

Max group size: 8
Min group size: 4

Departure of this tour will be guaranteed with a minimum of 4 participants. If you have registered for this tour a confirmation will be provided six (6) months prior to departure. Please ensure you take this into account when booking your flight and other travel plans. If we cannot attain the minimum of 4 participants, the tour will be cancelled and you will be refunded any payments/deposits made in full.

Length: 7 days/6 nights
Starting city: Quito
Ending city: Quito
Birding pace: Slow
Physical difficulty: Easy to moderate. Some slopes may be encountered

Tour highlights: Bird watching and Photography in the Mindo Valley and surrounding reserves of the Choco Region with a tour of a chocolate factory. Focus will be on sighting and photographing as many of the colourful Toucan species, the Golden-headed Quetzal and other Hummingbird species and tanagers and as many as possible of the 500 plus in this region.

Climate: Tropical climate. Average temperature can be between 23 to 30 degrees Celsius

Accommodation: We will be staying in a birding lodge ranked as first class 4 star plus.
If you would like more information to plan your trip and make a decision, click ENQUIRE & PLAN NOW.

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If you have already made your decision and would like to reserve your spot now, click RESERVE NOW.

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TOUCAN & QUETZAL PHOTOGRAPHY TRIP DETAILS

 

With over 1600 species, Ecuador has one of the highest number of bird species anywhere in the world including many Toucan species along with the Cock of the Rock and Golden-headed Quetzal and many colourful Tanagers. From the stunning landscape of the Andes with the Amazon to the east and the spectacular cloud forest to the west Ecuador provides the ideal environment for birding that is hard to beat anywhere on earth. The country boasts of over 70 endemics with the Mindo/Choco Lowland region accounting for approximately 30.

The quaint town of Mindo is located in a biological hotspot. As the Andes slope to the west, the lower region provides a climate that supports lush cloud forests and the perfect environment for birds to thrive. It is no wonder Mindo is considered one of the best spots in the world for bird watching tours>.

On this tour we hope to encounter some outrageous species such as Flamed-Face Tanager, Blue-Winged Tanager, Moss-Back Tanager, Scarlet-Belly Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Choco Toucan, Plate-Billed Mountain Toucan, Masked Trogon, Rose-Faced Parrots, Red-Headed Barbet, a variety of Hummingbirds, Cock-of-the-Rock, Golden-headed Quetzal and the spectacular Toucan Barbet amongst many others. 

Click on each marker for route details


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Our birding tour schedule is set out below:

DAY 1: QUITO – YANACOCHA RESERVE & OLD NONO-MINDO ROAD – MINDO: 

You will be picked up from the Best Western Premier CPlaza Hotel 6:30 AM and we will head towards the Yanacocha reserve and old Nono-Mindo Road. We will have pre-packed breakfast from the hotel. The Yanacocha reserve is a very steep area, however, walking and birding here is very easy and will not be difficult as we spot different species in the valleys below and the hills around us with the active Volcano Pichincha in the near distance.

The reserve is above 10,000 ft making it a great location to view high altitude species. After our time at the reserve we follow the old Nono-Mindo Road, stopping frequently at strategic spots where we may encounter different species. 

We will have the opportunity to view and photograph a variety of birds including Toucan species, Blue-Winged Tanagers, Scarlet Bellied Tanagers, Hooded Tanagers, Black Chested Mountain Tanager, Hummingbirds, Antisana, Curve-Billed Tinamou, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, White Throated Tyrannulet, Spectacled Whitestart, Golden Crowned Tanager, Rufous-Napped Brush finch, Blue and Red Crested Cotinga, Turquoise Jay and much more. We will have box lunch during the day and make our way to the Tandayapa Bird Lodge in the late afternoon where the feeders are excellent for Hummingbird photography and we can get set up for some great photos here.

We will have dinner at the lodge in the evening.

LODGE: Tandayapa Bird Lodge or Sachatamia Lodge

DAY 2: PAZ DE LA AVES COCK OF THE ROCK LEK & EL CHONTAL (OIL BIRD COLONY):

We leave between 5:00 AM to 5:30 AM for the private reserve of Paz De La Aves. We will have pre-packaged breakfast with us to have along the way at our convenience. Here we will wait behind the constructed screen where we will set up our equipment to view and photograph the lek of the Cock-of-the-Rock. With some luck, we can witness Angel (the owner) call in and feed the Giant Antpitta. Up to 5 species of Antpitta can be found on the property and no one can predict which one will be present on any given day/time.

We have a good chance of seeing Choco Toucan, Golden-Headed Quetzals and Crimson-Rumped Toucanet. Box lunch will be provided or depending on the length of time it takes for us to capture these magnificent birds, we may return to our lodge for lunch.

In the afternoon, we will drive to the town of Chontal where a colony of oil birds reside. The site is not a regular birding path but it is an easy way to view and photograph these birds.

We will have dinner at the lodge.

LODGE: Tandayapa Bird Lodge or Sachatamia Lodge

DAY 3: MINDO VALLEY – CORDILLERA SAN LORENZO & THE MINDO CHOCOLATE FACTORY:

This morning we will have breakfast and then descend into the Mindo Valley and head towards the Cordillera San Lorenzo. This trail can take up to 5 hours to complete. Here you have a great chance to see Red-Headed Barbet, Choco Toucans, Golden-Headed Quetzal, White Capped Dipper, White Tailed Hillstar, Red Billed Parrot, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Crimson-Rumped Toucanet, Blue-Necked Tanager, Bay-Headed Tanager, Flamed-Face Tanagers, Toucan Barbet and many others. Our guide will use his local knowledge to take you to the best spots to view these colourful Toucan species and other Tanagers for photographic opportunities. 

We will have box lunch with us from the Tandayapa Lodge and then return to the town of Mindo for a tour of the El Quetzal (Mindo Chocolate Factory) for a “bean-to-bar” experience. This takes you through the entire process of El Quetzal’s chocolate making. You also get the chance to try their delicious brownies.

In the afternoon, we will bird the surrounding Mindo area trying to spot species we may have missed during the day. Species of Toucan can sometimes be seen in flocks of 10 when we are lucky and we will be heading back out to try our luck. We can go deeper into the valley in areas familiar only by our local guide. We will return to our lodge to relax and have dinner in the late afternoon. 

LODGE: Tandayapa Bird Lodge or Sachatamia Lodge 

DAY 4: MASHPI RESERVE 

We leave early in the morning for Mashpi Reserve and as a result, pre-packaged breakfast will be provided. This area is good for spotting species that cannot be spotted elsewhere. We have a great chance of spotting Yellow-Collared-Chlorophonia, Rufous-Throated Tanagers, Golden-Wing Manakin, Glistening-Green Tanager, Choco Warbler, Black Chinned Mountain Tanager, Orange-Breasted Fruiteater and many more. A morning of bird watching in this area can be quite productive. Depending on the time we exit Mashpi we may have the time to make our way to an Oilbird colony in this area.

We will return to our lodge for lunch and relax at the brilliant Hummingbird feeders where up to 20 species of Hummingbirds can be seen on a typical day. In the afternoon, we will bird the upper Tandayapa valley and search for the Plate-billed Mountain Toucan and other species for photography. We will return to our lodge for dinner in the late afternoon.

LODGE: Tandayapa Bird Lodge or Sachatamia Lodge

DAY 5: RIO SILANCHE RESERVE

An early start is required to arrive at Rio Silanche at dawn. The drive is approximately 1.5 hours and pre-packaged breakfast and lunch will be provided. On arrival, we will immediately head towards the canopy tower and set up our equipment where Cecropia trees and other cloud forest trees with berries and fruits surround the tower. A wide variety of birds feeds on these trees in a frenzy, a mere 10 – 20 metres away, including various Tanagers, Barbet, Honey Creepers and other spectacular species.

Once the feeding frenzy is over and the canopy gets quiet we will have our pre-packaged breakfast and head for the network of trails around the reserve to find more species we may have missed.

We will relax and have box lunch before returning to the trails of Rio Silanche for an afternoon on the trails and the canopy tower. We will return to our lodge for dinner in the late afternoon, bird tour will end with dinner back in the lodge.

LODGE: Tandayapa Bird Lodge or Sachatamia Lodge

DAY 6: 23 DE JUNIO & MILPE RESERVE 

This will be another early morning drive to 23 De Junio. We will again have our pre-packaged breakfast. Here we will have the chance to view and photograph the unique Long-Wattled Umbrella Bird. Chances of spotting this bird here are good.  We will have the opportunity to view additional species before we head back to the lodge for lunch where we can relax and enjoy the feeders and blinds for excellent photography.

In the afternoon, we will drive to the Milpe Reserve. This 62 hectare bird sanctuary will be rewarding. The network of trails leads to a Club-Winged Manakin lek as well as a Golden-Winged Manakin lek. In addition, you may see Moss-Back Tanagers and Emerald Tanagers. The latter is not common and will be hard pressed to find. Milpe will be our best chance of spotting this species. 

We return to our lodge in the late afternoon for dinner at the lodge.

LODGE: Tandayapa Bird Lodge or Sachatamia Lodge

DAY 7: BELLAVISTA AND UPPER TANDAYAPA VALLEY – QUITO

On this final day, we will have pre-packaged breakfast and return to Quito via the old Nono-Mindo road and the Bellavista Reserve passing through the Upper Tandayapa Valley once more. This gives us a great opportunity to view and photograph an array of species we may have missed the days before. We will have breakfast on site and enjoy the various species of hummingbirds at the feeders. We will hike through the magnificent cloud forest searching for additional species such as the Plate-Billed Mountain Toucan and Masked Trogon. The feeders around the Bellavista lodge attract an array of hummingbird species as well including Racket-Tail, Buff-Tailed Coronets and Sparkling Violet Ears. Some days between 15 to 20 different species can be found at the feeders. You can set up your equipment for some excellent photographic opportunities. 

We will drive the old Nono-Mindo road and search this route on our way back to Quito for your onward destination. Your tour ends on arrival in Quito at the airport or hotel in Quito.

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IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER

 

PLEASE NOTE: All individuals are responsible for checking VISA requirements and obtaining the necessary travel documentation for entering Ecuador prior to arriving.

FITNESS LEVEL: 

Most of the terrain is moderate to easy. Some of the birding will be done by driving the tracks in a vehicle and stopping at strategic spots. However, where hiking is required even though it is considered easy to moderate, we strongly advise that a moderate level of fitness be attained before embarking on this tour. Regular exercise prior to your trip is advisable. Remember you will be hiking for long periods in some cases and although the pace will be very slow you may be carrying camera equipment, meals and water where applicable. To ensure your maximum enjoyment a moderate level of fitness is advisable. 

AGE POLICY: 

If you are considering travelling with children and other family members, please note that this tour is open for individuals 15 years and older.

CLIMATE AND CONDITIONS ON THIS BIRD TOUR

Areas such as Yanacocha is above 10,000 ft and is cooler. It can be a bit cold on mornings and at night. When we descend to the Mindo Valley it is much more pleasant and warmer. This is the middle of the cloud forest and we can expect rain any time. Trails can be muddy and slippery at times and as a result, a good pair of hiking boots is recommended along with a rain jacket and protection for your camera.

 

WHAT TO BRING:

Hat, camera and equipment, binoculars, sun block, rain jacket, hiking boots, fleece for colder areas such as Tandayapa, small back pack for box lunch and water, bug spray.

BAGGAGE:

This tour involves the use of a private minibus and/or 4 x 4 vehicle and the group size is restricted to a maximum of eight (8). This would indicate a lot of room. However, for flexibility and ease of travel, we would advise that baggage be restricted to two (2) medium sized suitcases per person plus a handbag.

CURRENCY:

The official currency in Ecuador is United States (US) dollars.

Contact Us
For more information please call us directly or send us an email.

Tel. 1- (778) 870-1542

E-mail: info@nestbirdtours.com
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