Jewels of Ecuador’s Cloud Forest
Jewels of Ecuador’s
The Untamed Jewels of Ecuador’s Cloud Forest Expedition whisks you off to the western slopes of the Andean mountains. Here, close to Ecuador’s Andean capital city of Quito, lies one of nature’s surprising gems.
Unique conditions have created a biodiversity hotspot in terms of bird species, many of which are endemics to the Chocó. Additionally, the hard work and dedication of local people allows you to visit and see some of their strange and wonderful birds, and created situations of unparalleled photographic opportunity.
This expedition aims to give you the chance to see and photograph some of these feathered jewels including Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, shy antpittas, quetzals, trogons, toucans, flowerpiercers, barbets, manakins, tanagers & the hummingbirds being the cream of the cake.
While the area is a birder’s dream with hundreds of different species crammed into such a small area, this expedition is focused on photographic opportunities of just some of these gems, and as such it is best suited to small groups of bird photographers.
The area has a range of accommodation options, of which we can choose from various for their location in terms of target species and their photographic opportunities, or proximity to such locations.
The trip will start in Quito, located at 2,850m above sea level, and spend 1-2 days at different locations, descending down the slopes of the Andes to about 800m above sea level.
This expedition can be combined with a visit to Ecuador’s Amazon Jungle or extended to bird the higher slopes of Ecuador’s Andean mountains.
Keep an eye out for a future Andean Bear Photography extension!
Huge diversity of species ranging from high Andean, to Cloud Forest, to lowland forest species including many hummingbird species
Visit sites including a Cock-of-the Rock Lek, hummingbird feeders, and photographic hides which provides the chance to photograph tanagers, barbets, brush-finches, toucans, and 5+ species of antpitta
Novel light trap photographic set ups attract in insectivorous birds that are typically harder to see and photograph, such as flycatchers, tree creepers, trogons etc
Support locals earning sustainable living through eco-tourism, and encouraging maintance of natural habitat for local fauna
Private transport and guide
Guided by a fluent, English speaking guide for the duration of the trip
A custom-made itinerary based on your preferences to create the perfect expedition for you.
All our expeditions are private, personalized and specialized in wildlife observation or photography. We help you with the local knowledge of where to go and what to see, but you decide what your perfect itinerary woudl be.
To enjoy all that this region of the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest has to offer, we suggest something along the following lines:
Day 1: Arrival in Quito
Overnight at a lodge on the outskirts of Quito with a hummingbird garden and feeders, to see and photograph some of the high Andean species.
Days 2-3: A morning of photographing the high Andean species before heading west from Quito along the old Nono-Mindo Road to the Tandayapa valley.
There are several sites in the area to visit, but arriving at one of the lodges for lunch, the afternoon can dedicated to enjoying birding and photography opportunities in the gardens, and exploring sites further afield over the next two days.
Days 4-9: Not far as the crow flies, but moving to the next base one valley over near the town of Mindo puts you in another central location for eight top bird photography sites, each with their unique array of species and specialised bird photography setups.
Cock-of-the-Rock and Umbrella-bird leks, antpitta viewings, photographic hides, light traps, reflection pools, hummingbird gardens and banana feeders, combined with an overload of species diversity, all together makes for an incredible bird photography experience.
Day 10: A morning of bird photography around the lodge, or at a different site en rotue back to Quito to end the trip.