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Cloudforests of the Western Slopes (10 days)

Overview

Experience some of the best and easiest birding in the Americas on this 10 day trip to the cloudforests of Ecuador’s western Andes where you will be treated to an array of Hummingbirds and mixed feeding flocks along with a lek of Andean Cock-of-the Rocks, birds such as Tanagers, Toucans, Motmots, Cotingas and Potoos, and previously almost mythological bird families such as Antpittas and Woodcreepers...

  • Average number of birds expected to be seen & heard: 300 - 350 species.
  • Climatic zones visited: 4 out of six
  • Altitude Range: 700 to 3000 meters (2100 to 12,000 feet)
  • Vegetation types: 5 Lower and upper montane rainforest (cloud forest), North Ecuadorian grassland & valley vegetation, grass paramos, shrub and cushion paramos.

Details

  • 10-day trip begins and ends in Quito
  • 2 nights Quito, 2 nights Maquipucuna, 2 nights Bellavista, 3 nights Sachatamia

Outline Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive in Quito
Day 2 – Yanacocha – Nono Mindo road– Maquipucuna
Day 3-4 – Maquipucuna
Day 5-6 – Bellavista
Day 7-9 – Sachatamia
Day 10 – Flight home

 

If you would like any more information or to chat over the details of the trip we would be delighted to help. Telephone Telephone01964 552292 for more information or emailemail us today.

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Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival – transfer to your hotel in Quito The rest of the day to relax and recover from your flight (a city tour of Quito, a UNESCO world heritage site thanks to its beautiful colonial architecture can be organised on request).

Day 2 – Yanacocha, Old Nono – Mindo Road – Bellavista Early breakfast and departure to the Yanacocha Reserve, owned by the Jocotoco Foundation where the Critically Endangered hummingbird, the Black-breasted Puffleg lives. This 1200 hectare Reserve is located at 3,000m, on the western slopes of the Pichincha volcano. You will ascend a narrow and scenic road for about 15 kilometres, looking out for raptors and the rare Curve-billed Tinamou along the way.

Box lunch in the field and drive along the old Nono-Mindo Road, this is one of the most famous routes for birding, where you can do several stops to look for the most charismatic Chocó endemics, like Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, Toucan Barbet and with luck, Beautiful Jay. Arriving at Maquipucuna late afternoon for some birding around the lodge.

Day 3 – Maquipucuna Located within the Choco-Andean corridor, one of the top five ‘biodiversity hotspots’ on earth, Maquipucuna is surrounded by 35,000 hectares of primary and secondary forests and is a great place for birding Choco Endemics and birds of the western Andes. Home to over 350 species of birds including the Golden-headed Quetzal, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Violet-tailed Sylph, Broad-billed Motmot and Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. A pioneering conservation project in Ecuador which has been working for over 20 years, the lodge itself is located in a 6,000 hectare private reserve which covers a range of altitudes from 1,000 to 2,800 meters above sea level. 80 per cent of Maquipucuna consists of steeply-sloped, undisturbed cloud forest.

Day 4 – Macquipucuna – Bellavista Early morning birding around the lodge, before we depart for Bellavista birding all the way. At an elevation of 1,650 to 2,350 meters, with plunging valleys and tall trees festooned with orchids and bromeliads, the forest around Bellavista is a perfect place to find restricted range birds such as the Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, the Toucan Barbet, and the rare Tanager-Finch as well as a host of Hummingbirds. Around the lodge is an excellent network of more than 10 km of trails through the lodges700 hectare reserve.

Day 5 – Bellavista Full days birding in the trails around the lodge.

Day 6 – Bellavista – Sachatamia Early morning birding around Bellavista before heading to Sachatamia. Sachatamia at an altitude of 1700 metres, offering spectacular hummingbird viewing, settled in a private forest of around 300 hectares with close to 200 bird species seen in the area and reserve. Other attractions include a nearby Cock of the Rock lek.

Day 7 – Sachatamia – Angel Paz Birding at Sachatamia, and a visit to Angel Paz, this small private reserve has become the latest birding sensation in the northwest and is sometimes affectionately referred to as the “Antpitta Farm". Here Angel Paz, a local farmer has gained the trust of some normally rare and shy forest species by offering them juicy worms. Yellow-breasted, Moustached, and Giant Antpittas are now regularly seen here (Yellow-breasted being the most reliable), and Dark-backed Wood-Quail is seen on perhaps one out of three visits. Other forest birds regularly encountered are Golden-headed Quetzal, Toucan Barbet, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, and Scaled Fruiteater. Crested Quetzal can occasionally be found at fruiting trees.

Day 8 – Sachatamia – Milpe – Rio Silanche Today visiting two reserves run by the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, Milpe and Rio Silanche. Milpe Bird Sanctuary, located in the Birdlife International defined Important Bird Area (IBA) Los Bancos—Milpe. A 62 hectare (155 acre) sanctuary covers an altitudinal range from 1020-1150m (3350-3770 ft) and includes two small rivers that converge in a steep, forested valley. Bird guides consider this one of the finest sites in all of Ecuador. Many of the most spectacular Chocó Endemics occur here: Plumbeous Forest-Falcon, Glistening-green Tanager, Chocó Trogon, Club-winged Manakin and Long-wattled Umbrellabird.

Choco Lowland Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary is a 80 hectare (200 acre) reserve with a 15 meter (50 feet) canopy observation tower. This important site, one of the last remaining accessible forest remnants found in this key area, is situated in low foothills between 300-350m. The main feature at Silanche is the incredible birding: mixed flocks can be seen by visitors all day. Furthermore these flocks include many important Chocó endemics you won’t otherwise find without arranging a trip to Esmeraldas or Colombia: Purple-chested Hummingbird, Chocó Trogon, Double-banded Graytail, Griscom’s Antwren, Stub-tailed Antbird, Black-tipped Cotinga, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Scarlet-and-white Tanager, Blue-whiskered Tanager.

Day 9 – Sachatamia – Quito After a last morning birding around the lodge, you drive back to Quito....still birding all the way! Overnight Quito.

Day 10 – Quito Transfer to the airport for flight home.

Please note: Itineraries are unlikely to change significantly but are subject to change. Weather, wildlife breeding, instructions from the Galapagos National Park, specific abilities and interests of passengers as well as operational matters may cause your guide or captain to change the times or nature of your visits. Your guide will always endeavour to have the best itinerary for you within these constraints.

 

If you are interested in visiting the Western Slopes we would be delighted to put together a specialised itinerary for you. Telephone Telephone01964 552292 for more information or emailemail us today.

Accommodation

Macquipucuna Macquipucuna

Located within the Choco-Andean corridor, one of the top five ‘biodiversity hotspots’ on earth, Maquipucuna is surrounded by 35,000 hectares of primary and secondary forests...

Bellavista Bellavista

In the heart of the Cloud Forest Canopy. The accomodation itself is simple, but comfortable. The forest around the lodge is literally buzzing with hummingbirds...

SachatamiaSachatamia

A comfortable and cozy wooden lodge set in lush tropical cloud forest just next to the Mindo-Nambillo reserve. Built from wood, the lodge is comprised of several cabins...

 

If you would like any more information or to chat over the details of the trip we would be delighted to help. Telephone Telephone01964 552292 for more information or emailemail us today.

Think Galapagos

Rachel DexCall Rachel,
Ecuador Specialist
on 01964 552292
Contcat us online

Cloudforests of the Western Slopes

Cloudforests of the Western Slopes

Cloudforests of the Western Slopes

Cloudforests of the Western Slopes

Cloudforests of the Western Slopes

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