Ecuador: The Northwestern Andean Slopes: Nov 15—23, 2014

Register for WaitlistTour Details

Price: $2,895
Discount of $75 in double occupancy and $150 in single occupancy when combined with Ecuador: Tinalandia Pre-trip.
Departs: Quito
Tour Limit: 7
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (130.3 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Paul Greenfield

Paul Greenfield grew up near New York City and became interested in birds as a child. He rec...

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Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan

Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan— Photo: Paul Greenfield

Ecuador’s spectacular Chocó-Andean bioregion offers extraordinary biodiversity and unsurpassed endemism along with the greatest hummingbird and antpitta shows on earth. This jam-packed, weeklong adventure, based at a single birding lodge, covers a relatively tiny natural corridor that runs from high-elevation elfin Andean woodland to remnant wet lowland jungle along the Pacific coastal plain.

Ecuador may well be the epicenter of Neotropical bird diversity, and perhaps no other destination expresses this better than the western slopes of Volcán Pichincha. This region stretches for only some 50 miles to the west of the country’s charming capital city, Quito, yet holds a phenomenal array of bird species. From our base of operations, the Séptimo Paraíso Cloud Forest Reserve in the renowned Mindo Valley, we will visit a variety of nearby bird sanctuaries, nature reserves, and birding hot spots in search of the local avian specialties found here.

Breathtaking dawn vistas greet us our first morning as we climb over the slopes of the inter-Andean plateau and wind our way up to Yanacocha Reserve. Here—where hummingbirds represent a major element of this stunted, moss and epiphyte-covered wonderland—we will search for high-Andean mixed foraging flocks and marvel at the wing-whirr of up to 12 species of these feathered jewels, including the unimaginable Sword-billed! We continue birding onward and constantly downslope through temperate and subtropical mountain-forest along Ecuador’s first “Ecoroute,” a pioneer community-based conservation project that has converted a 45-kilometer country road into a protected sustainable bird tourism zone, to finally arrive at our destination and “headquarters” for the week.

Nestled in a dramatic, prime montane cloudforest setting, Séptimo Paraíso not only offers comfortable accommodations, excellent cuisine, and the best birding opportunities to be found in the area, but is also strategically located to allow easy access to the key birding sites in this important bioregion. We will take good advantage of each day, working exceptional locations including Río Silanche and Milpe Bird Sanctuaries, Angel Paz Reserve, and the “Paseo del Quinde” Ecoroute.

This is the domain of Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Toucan Barbet, Moss-backed Tanager, Guayaquil Woodpecker, and over 40 hummingbirds and tanagers, among more than 500 possible Neotropical avian specialties, with promises of unforgettable experiences for all.

Good accommodations; excellent food; box lunches in the field; swimming pool and Jacuzzi; generally easy to moderate walking on varied terrain, more strenuous at Paz Antpitta Reserve; roadside and forest birding; warm and cool climate conditions; mostly humid.