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The Northwest Cloud Forest: Birding in the “Choco” 5D/4N - 5 Days

Ecuador is one of the most diverse countries in the world with over 1600 bird species distributed among its four regions.
This tour will take you to one the best birding spots in Ecuador: the Northwest Cloud forest which is part of the ecological region called “Choco”. This region is considered a Hotspot for birding because of its diversity and endemism.

Ecuador is one of the most diverse countries in the world with over 1600 bird species distributed among its four regions.
This tour will take you to one the best birding spots in Ecuador: the Northwest Cloud forest which is part of the ecological region called “Choco”. This region is considered a Hotspot for birding because of its diversity and endemism.

Details:

Day 1: Yanacocha – Bellavista (B,L,D)
Day 2: Bellavista FD
Day 3: Paz de las Avez – Mindo (B,L,D)
Day 4: Mindo Full day (B,L,D)
Day 5: Mindo – Rio Silanche – Quito (B,L)

Day 1
Yanacocha – Bellavista

We start our tour picking you up in the early morning from your hotel in Quito. We will visit the highlands out of Quito, a reserve called Yanacocha. Here we can enjoy one of the last remnants of Andean forest in Ecuador, an ecosystem in danger of extinction. During the walks we will be able to find a great diversity of birds, including various species of hummingbirds. Today we can start our check list of hummingbirds so by the end of the tour you will realize the great diversity of them living in this region of the country. After Yanacocha we will continue towards Bellavista lodge where we will stay the night. We will have lunch in Yanacocha reserve before we continue to the lodge. The car ride to Bellavista is a long one, almost two hours in which we will have several stops to watch more birds. We will be arriving to Bellavista between mid and late afternoon. We will check in and if there is enough time we will do more birding in the surroundings of the lodge or visit the hummingbird feeders. Dinner will be served at the restaurant in the Lodge. At night it will possible to check on the mammal feeders to look for one of the newest species of mammal described in Ecuador and in the world called Olinguito. Accommodation and meals at the lodge.

Day 2
Bellavista FD

Today we will walk on the trails that Bellavista reserve has to offer. There are a large number of trails offered to the visitors with different lengths and difficulty. Some of the trails are better for birding than others for the topography and visibility. However the option of birding by the road is one of the best. On the trails it will be possible to observe Bromeliads and orchids, hummingbirds and tanagers, toucans and antpittas, all vying for our attention, and could keep any dedicated naturalist enthused for a lifetime of observation.

In the afternoon we will keep exploring the area walking a different trail or enjoying the hummingbird feeders and the surroundings. Accommodation and meals at the lodge.

Day 3
Paz de las Avez – Mindo

This day we will visit “Paz de las Aves” reserve. We will have an early wake up to have the chance to see one of the most amazing wildlife shows in the Cloudforest: The Andean Cock of the Rock Lek. This is an area of display where the Andean Cock of the Rock males congregate to dance, sing and perform in front of the females in order to attract them for mating. After this show, we will walk around the trails of this reserve spotting more wildlife. The person responsible for this reserve, Angel, has trained Antpittas to answer to his call so it is possible to have some close views of some of the most difficult birds to observe in nature. We will have a late breakfast in this reserve while enjoying the view of the Cloudforest.

We will continue to Mindo town for check in and to have lunch. In the afternoon we will walk the trails of the reserve or visit the surroundings of Mindo town to find more birds. Finally we will return to Mindo town and the lodge. Accommodation and meals at the lodge.

Day 4
Mindo Full day

This morning we will have a full day birding in the surroundings of Mindo town. We will have an early wake up followed by our breakfast. We will drive to Mindo town and up to the higher part of the mountain ridge. This morning we will be birding by the road. However, because this road is the only one taking visitors to the waterfalls of “Nambillo” we will be here for a time depending on the transit of cars up and down the road. Soon after we leave the road we will drive to different areas and other reserves. We will finish or morning birding and we will continue to have lunch at the Lodge. After lunch we will continue other birding sites to increase the list. Accommodation and meals at the lodge.

Day 5
Mindo – Rio Silanche – Quito

After breakfast, early in the morning we drive to “Rio Silanche” reserve. A great birding place to find some species from the lowest altitudes of the cloud forest. This reserve is 100 ha (250 acre) of Choco-lowland forest and a Bird Sanctuary. There is an ample trail system and a 15 meter (48 feet) tall canopy observation tower to find some canopy birds.

This important site is situated in hilly lowland forest at an altitude between 300-350 meters high (960 – 1120 feet). The main feature at Río Silanche is its incredible birding: mixed species foraging flocks, packed with many important Chocó regional endemic species. Lunch in the reserve. In the afternoon we will return to the hotel in Quito ending the tour.

The Trip Cost Include

  • Bilingual - bird watching guide
  • Private transportation
  • Accommodation as mentioned
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Entrance fees to: Yanacocha, Paz de las Aves, Alambi, Milpe, Rio Silanche, las cotingas

The Trip Cost Excludes

  • Other meals not mentioned
  • Drinks and alcoholic drinks
  • Tips, gratuities and personal expenses

Frequently Asked Questions

How difficult are activities on this trip?

All the activities are from easy to moderate. However this may change according to weather conditions.

What is the highest and lowest altitude reached on this trip?

The highest point will be Yanacocha Reserve, located at approximately at 3.300 meters high (10.560 feet high). The lowest point will be the Rio Silanche at approximately 600 meters high (1.900 feet high).

How are the guides?

Our guides are Naturalist Birdwatcher Guides with extensive experience on the destinations. They have knowledge on flora, fauna and ecology in the same way.
They speak great English and some of them have knowledge and experience in photography

What kind of outfit do I need for this trip?

On this trip we will be changing to different altitudes. For Yanacocha we recommend to wear layers. Temperature ranges during the day between 12 and 21 degrees Celsius (50 – 70 Fahrenheit). During the rainy season (October through May) the Andes are cloudy and humid and it is recommended to bring rain gear. Wear comfortable hiking or walking shoes (if they are water proof will be much better). In Mindo and in Rio Silanche the altitude is much lower so weather is warm/hot and humid. Light weighed clothes will be good for this part of the trip.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

The Northwest Cloud Forest: Birding in the “Choco” 5D/4N
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$ 3,294 Per Person
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Trip Facts

  • Yanacocha, Bellavista, Mindo, Rio Silanche
  • 2 to 6
  • approx. from 1.200 m (3.840 ft) - 3.900 m (12.500 ft)
  • Private transportation
  • All meals included
  • First Class Lodges

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