Ecuador’s Amazonian rainforests and snow-capped volcanoes provide a fabulous arena in which to observe a bewildering medley of birds, butterflies and animals. Rio Napo’s rainforests are the most biodiverse on Earth.
The loud gruff calls of Red Howler Monkeys fill the dawn air at magical Sacha Lodge, deep in Amazonia. Delicate Clearwings, Polkadot Treefrogs and all the intricacies of life in the rainforest canopy can be seen from a superb canopy walkway. A great spot to watch Sacha’s most colourful birds like Plum-throated Cotinga, White-throated Toucan, Ivory-billed Aracari and Bare-necked Fruitcrow. Amazonian Umbrellabirds enjoy ripe avocados whilst groups of Heliconid butterflies flash green and red in the lodge grounds. Shimmering blue Morphos alight on a sun-dappled bough sending the world’s tiniest primate, the Pygmy Marmoset, scurrying away in fright – it is an amazing place!
The sheer complexity of Baeotus japetus’s marking have to be seen to be believed, yet even Baeotus is eclipsed by Batesia hypochlora, the Painted Beauty, an insect of the purest brilliance. Lovely Kite Swallowtails mud-puddle by the waterside alongside red and blue Callicore zelphanta and the shining purple emperor Doxocopa agathina. There’s also the almost transparent Blushing Phantoms Cithaerias menander, Cithaerias aurorina and Cithaerias merolina, whose hindwings blush pinky-red. A hide overlooks the Yasuni clay lick where hundreds of parrots congregate daily, and we’ll see the rare Zigzag Heron and enjoy Giant Otters as they cruise nearby waters.
Mindo’s biodiverse cloudforests will be our ‘dip’ into the Western Andean slopes remarkable bird and butterfly life. This is superb butterfly country. We’ll see the plush-velvet Corades enyo, lovely green and black Philaethria dido and the brilliant blue and orange daggerwing Marpesia marcella. We’ll visit the famed Oilbird Cave and watch the remarkable and highly entertaining Cock-of-the-Rocks at their lek. Picturesque Chuquiragua blooms attract dazzling Ecuadorian Hillstars on the paramo of Volcan Antisana, as we search for Andean Condor and Carunculated Caracara. Mossy cloudforests are home to Tourmaline Sunangel and the outrageous Sword-billed Hummingbird whilst along rushing rivers are Torrent Ducks and White-capped Dippers. Ptarmigan-like Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe feed in cushion-moss dotted with beautiful flowers. Moths crowd to the lights at our lodges in the subtropical forests of the Eastern Slope, home to secretive Antpittas nowadays drawn into the open by regular feeding! We’ll follow an old Incan trade route through the mossy forest of the Guacamayos Ridge, inhabited by Greater Scythebill and the amazing Grass-green Tanager. Wildsumaco’s sensational feeders draw up to seventeen Hummingbird species in an hour including Ecuadorian Piedtail and Napo Sabrewing. The incredible shimmering purple-pink-blue upperside of Fountainea nessus will induce gasps of admiration whilst hardly less stunning is the bronze-shaded clearwing Godyris duillia. We’ll see the fabulous orange and navy-blue striped ‘Banner’ Epiphile dilecta as well as the lovely ‘Eighty-eight’ Diaethria eluina. Fabulous Perisama humboldtii has complex patterns of turquoise, red and gold which are truly something to behold.
An extension takes us to the still little-known Podocarpus National Park in the south of Ecuador. Abundant orchids adorn beautiful forests, home to Flame-throated Sunangels and the newly-discovered Jocotoco Antpitta. Green-and-Black Fruiteaters and Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan inhabit stunning cloudforests where the glittering gem that is the Glowing Puffleg feeds at flowering shrubs.
Dates and Prices
4th August - 20th August 2024 (17 days)
Optional Tour Extensions
Southern Ecuador Extension
21st August - 27th August 2024 (7 days)
* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged
Birds, Butterflies and Mammals. Also Reptiles, Amphibians and Landscapes.
The minimum is 5 and the maximum is 9.
All flights. All transport, accommodation and meals in Ecuador. Services of your leaders. Please note: Drinks, tips and items of a personal nature including insurance, are not included.
Butterfly, mammal and bird checklists are available.
This tour features the finest lodges in the region. We have a night in Quito on arrival before heading to the excellent Septimo Paraiso in Mindo’s lovely forests for a two night stay. After a night back in Quito (where we also stay for the last night of the main tour) we move to the Guango Lodge for a single night then we’ve two nights in the comfortable Cabanas San Isdiro. Next are three nights in the excellent new Wildsumaco Lodge, nestled in the foothills of the Andes. In the Amazon we’ve three nights at the very special Sacha Lodge, a long-established favourite among visitors. The screened cabins are very comfortable (with 24-hour electricity), the food is plentiful and tasty, and the wildlife around the lodge superb. On the extension we’ve two nights at Tapichalaca and then three nights at the excellent Copalinga Lodge, with fine food and twenty species of Tanager! We finish with a night in the colonial city of Cuenca and the last in Quito. All rooms on this tour have en suite facilities.
Mostly easy on the main tour with some short slippery trails in the Andes, the Amazonian paths are relatively flat. No more than three or four miles a day. On the extension there are one or two longer walks with slippery sections and some short steep bits. Note that you start the tour at altitudes of 3500m which means that we will take it easy for the first couple of days!
UK return flights are from various UK airports* via Amsterdam to Quito. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Very variable. From cool, or even cold, in the Andes, to hot and humid in the Amazon. Rain can occur at all locations, usually as heavy showers.
Contact us to check if there is availability for the number of places you require. Click on the ‘Book this Tour’ button on this page to be taken to the online booking form or contact us and we will send one to you which you can complete and send back to us. You will receive confirmation of your place, and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.