Join me in Ecuador in 2020!
2019 Tour SOLD OUT
Private tour upon request
FLYING JEWELS OF ECUADOR
Nov 1st / Nov 13th
Nov 12th / Nov 17th
12 nights & 13 days
Most meals included!
Tour Leader: Juan Carlos Vindas
Ecuador is home to a great variety of species, many of them endemic. The species diversity makes Ecuador one of the seventeen mega-diverse countries in the world. This country also boasts more than 1600 species of birds, pristine cloud-forests, vast mountain ranges, and grasslands that are breathtaking. Culturally speaking the country is very safe, clean, and easy to travel. The US dollar is the currency of choice, and with a solid infrastructure of highways, it’s a pleasure to travel this country. One would be hard pressed to find a better place in the world to accomplish your photographic goals. Your leader Juan Carlos Vindas will lead you on a most productive, and practical tour. Air transportation to the capital city of Quito, is quite easy from Miami, and Houston serving as prime departure hubs.
This photo tour begins with your arrival to Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) where one of our representatives will be waiting for you outside to transfer you to our first hotel, located just 20 minutes away! And not only that, but if you arrive early enough, you could start taking pictures at the hotel grounds right away or just rest after a long day of traveling!
Then we will spend 4 nights, and 5 days in the world famous Mindo area. We will visit 4 of Ecuador’s finest bird photography lodges. At each lodge, you will photograph a diverse number of hummingbirds and many other colourful birds, giving you the opportunity to create your own exclusive portfolio of neotropical bird images. Also, we will visit several private gardens and blinds, where you will have the opportunity to photograph many colourful birds and hummingbirds coming to feeders where Juan Carlos will help you get the shot of your dreams by using natural-looking perches and with smooth backgrounds!
The photo tour starts in the cloud forest slopes of northwest Ecuador where we will focus our efforts on photographing the amazing diversity of hummingbirds and tanagers that inhabit the cloud forest at various altitudes and life zones. Then later, we will travel to the eastern side of the Andes for totally new species of birds!
We will travel in an altitudinal gradient that ranges from 600masl up to 4000masl on both Eastern and Western slopes of the Andes plus we will visit the Antisana and Cayambe-Coca Reserves, both world-famous for their unique ecosystems and bird species. Let me show you Ecuador from my perspective!
Day 1: Arrival in Quito: One of my co-workers will be waiting outside the airport to take you to the hotel for the first night. Depending on your arrival time you could begin to take pictures at the lodge garden where many bird species can be seen. Dinner is included if you arrive before 7pm local time, lunch is not.
Day 2: Mindo: We will eat breakfast and then will travel to the area of Mindo but before we will make a stop on the way to visit a private garden and where you will begin to take pictures of hummingbirds and other birds such as tanagers that frequent the bird feeders, we will eat a traditional Ecuadorian lunch here and then will head towards the lodge before dark. BLD
Day 3: Mindo: Today we will visit a private garden to take pictures of the Andean Cock-of-the-rock, then will focus on other birds such as antpittas and tanagers, we will eat lunch and then will visit another garden in the afternoon. BLD
Day 4: Mindo: We will visit two more private gardens today, one in the morning and another in the afternoon where we can take pictures of a Cock-of-the-rock lek plus several antpittas. The number of birds at this place is great and hopefully we will have a good chance with the Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Toucan Barbet and several tanagers. BLD
Day 5: Mindo: Today we will have a full-day of multi-flash hummingbird photography right at our lodge so we don’t have to spend time traveling to another place. Target species are: Velvet-purple Coronet, Booted Rackettail, Violet-tailed Sylph and Purple-bibbed Whitetip. BLD
Day 6: Mindo/Quito: After spending most of the day taking pictures at a private garden, we will head towards Quito where we will spend the night. BLD
Day 7: Quito/Papallacta Pass area: Today we will spend most of the day looking for some specialty birds at Antisana Reserve. http://areasprotegidas.ambiente.gob.ec/es/todas-areas-protegidas-por-region?t=S Some species includes: Carunculated Caracara, Andean Lapwing, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Andean Condor, Giant Hummingbird, Black-tailed Trainbearer hummingbird, Black-faced Ibis and Aplomado Falcon among others. We hope to arrive at lodge before dark. BLD
Day 8: Papallacta Pass area: We will get up early to take pictures at our multi-flash set up, some of the target species include the superb Sword-billed Hummingbird, White-bellied Woodstar, Chestnut-breasted Coronet and Collared Inca among others. Also, you can take pictures of the beautiful Turquoise Jays around the lodge and Torrent ducks that can be found in a nearby river. So as you can see, there will be plenty to photograph this day! BLD
Day 9: Papallacta Pass area: Today we will take a short drive to visit Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve. http://areasprotegidas.ambiente.gob.ec/es/todas-areas-protegidas-por-region?t=S where we will focus on some specialty birds such as the Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe and Blue-mantled Thornbill Hummingbird among others, also, with a bit of luck we could find a spectacled bear! We will return to the lodge for lunch and to keep taking pictures of more birds that frequent the gardens. BLD
Day 10: Papallacta Pass/Narupa: Today we will be traveling to our last lodge in this tour. We expect to arrive for lunch. Then after we will focus on taking pictures of some of the most beautiful hummingbirds in Ecuador such as the Wire-crested Thorntail, Gould´s Jewelfront and Napo Sabrewing among many others! Keep also an eye open for the Black Tamarin monkeys that frequent the lodge grounds where they feed on cecropia fruit. BLD
Day 11: Narupa: Today we will get up early to visit a walking-distance antpitta feeder, but we could also see other birds that come for worms! Once we are back to the lodge we focus on more birds that can be found around our lodge such as the Golden-eared Aracari, Gilded Barbets and Yellow-tufted Woodpeckers. Based on the owl activity at the time of our visit we could try for the Tropical and Band-bellied Owl not far from our lodge. BLD
Day 12: Narupa: Today you can take your last pictures at this wonderful lodge, we plan on having an early lunch and then depart to Quito and arrive before dinner. Then pack and get ready to fly home the next day. BLD
Those doing the Amazon extension will not depart to Quito and instead be taken to the village of Coca where I will help you with translation and logistics as I am going with you. If you are not doing the extension not a problem, as my right-hand man and driver in Ecuador will take you back to Quito where you will spend the last night before you fly back home the next day (November 13th. )
Going to the Ecuadorian Amazon is an eye opener experience, just getting to our lodge is an adventure as it will take two hours from our lodge to reach Coca, then 2.5 hours by motor boat along the Napo River, then a 10-minute walk over an elevated wooden walkway and then 20 minutes by canoe to reach the lodge! Don´t worry as you don´t have to do the paddling but two strong and healthy locals!!! BLD
Day 13: Ecuadorian Amazon
Day 14: Ecuadorian Amazon
Day 15: Ecuadorian Amazon
Day 16: Ecuadorian Amazon We depart the Amazon early in the morning to arrive at Coca, and take a van that will take us back to Quito, then once in Quito we will be transferred to our lodge, pack and get ready for your flight back home the next day! BLD
Day 17: Quito: Fly home! B.
Payments must be done in US dollars and you must cover your wiring fees. (I will cover mine in Costa Rica)
Accommodations are for two persons per room.
Private rooms, single supplement is available for an additional charge: $400
Once I have received your deposit; I will send you a suggested gear and clothes list.
What is included in this tour:
+Neotropic Photo Tours always focus on a total personalized tour with the photographer in mind.
+ Neotropic Photo Tours always use local guides as they have the most current knowledge, and locations of our targeted species.
+All entrance fees to private gardens/ecological parks and/or reserves visited.
+All accommodations, based on double occupancy.
+Breakfast on first day of tour, breakfast and lunch on last day of tour
+Land transportation during tour (we travel on a modern, A/C equipped van)
+Tips for local guides, waiters, maids and bellboys are included, tip for your tour leader and driver is NOT.
+ Airport pick up and drop off transfers
What is not included in this tour:
+International airfare to Quito
+Any additional night accommodation outside of the tour dates
+Additional tip for tour leader and driver
+Fees for passport, visas, immunizations and insurance
+Alcoholic beverages, laundry, phone and other items of a personal nature
+Cost of hospitalization and evacuation if necessary, -I strongly recommend travel insurance-
+Passports should be valid for more than 6 months after the end of your visit.
A $1500 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your seat on this tour. The balance of the payment is due before June 30th. 2020.
Juan Carlos Vindas
Also, if you wish to check out my Ecuador gallery here´s the link: http://www.juancarlosvindasphoto.com/portfolio/birds-of-ecuador/