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Southern Andes – Tumbesian Specialities (13 days)


This 13-day trip is for those searching for some truly unique birding – literally! The sheer number of bird species found here and the high proportion of endemics is amazing and led Birdlife to designate the area as the ´Tumbesian Endemic Bird Area´. Stretching into north-western Peru, this is one of the most diverse areas on earth, consisting of tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests...


  • 13 day trip begins in Guayaquil and ends in Quito
  • 1 night Gran Hotel Guayaquil (or similar), 2 nights Buenaventura, 2 nights Jorupe Lodge, 2 nights Hotel Quo Vadis (or similar), 2 nights Tapichalaca Lodge, 2 nights Copalinga lodge Zamora, 1 night Quito.

Outline Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive Guayaquil
Day 2 – Manglares Churute -Buenaventura
Day 3 – Buenaventura Reserve
Day 4-5 – Utuana and Jorupe Reserves (Macara, Peruvian border)
Day 6 – Loja
Day 7-8 – Podacarpus National Park to Tapichalaca Reserve
Day 9-10 – Tapichalaca to Copalinga, Zamora
Day 11 – Copalinga to Loja
Day 12 – Quito - Antisana
Day 13 – Transfer to airport for 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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Day 1 – Guayaquil Upon arrival in Ecuador’s largest city, your guide will meet you at Aeropuerto de Guayaquil for your transfer to your hotel.

Day 2 – Buenaventura Reserve This morning we will drive to Buenaventura, birding on the way! We’ll pass a number of shrimp farms where we’ll look for a variety of species, and also bird a side road in search of Jet Antbird and Horned Screamer and pass the Manglares de Churute area. The Buenaventura reserve currently extends over 1600 hectares and the expected size is 5000 hectares. It includes a transition zone between humid bioclimatic regions and humid subtropical forest, and is influenced by four areas of endemism in Ecuador, namely: Chocó lowlands, Tumbesian, Western slopes of the Andes and South West Highlands. We will spend the next few days exploring this reserve and the enchanting range of species it offers, with over 300 species recorded. A highlight is surely the large population of El Oro Parakeet and El Oro Tapaculo, which are both endemic to this region and in danger of extinction. Buenaventura has one of the most successful leks for the observation of the exotic Long-wattled Umbrellabird. It also has a spectacular Hummingbird garden with over 20 species.

Day 3 – Buenaventura Full day birding, exploring the trails in the Reserve.

Day 4-5 – Utuana and Jorupe Reserves (Macara, Peruvian border) This morning we will travel to prime “Tumbesian” habitat, and spend the next two days discovering the delights of the Jocotoco Foundation reserves of Jorupe and Utuana. Jorupe contains high quality deciduous forest and supports many endemic and rare species of plants and animals, including populations of numerous globally threatened birds, such as the Henna-hooded Foliage-Gleaner. The Utuana reserve protects a hilltop evergreen forest at 2500m altitude and lies in the transitional zone between humid montane forest and the dry forest of the Tumbesian endemic region. The trees in the forest are heavily laden with epiphytic plants. Numerous endemic birds are present such as Black-crested Tit-Tyrant. We will stay at a lodge that is located within the Jorupe Reserve.

Day 6 – Loja After some early morning birding we set off and work our way to Loja, birding all the way, spotting more of the species from this area. Overnight in Loja.

Day 7-8 – Podacarpus National Park to Tapichalaca Reserve We will spend the morning at Podacarpus National Park, one of South America’s great national parks, with protected habitats ranging from Amazonian lowlands to high-elevation páramo. The Cajanuma area, only 20 minutes from your hotel in Loja, has breath-taking views of rich temperate forest and is home to many high-elevation Andean species. We’ll also watch for mixed-species flocks of tanagers, which often contain both Hooded and Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanagers. We will then work our way to Tapichalaca, another one of the Jocotoco Foundation’s reserves. The reserve, which includes Cerro Tapichalaca, encompasses approximately 2,000 ha, ranging from an elevation of 2000 m to 3400 m. This reserve was established to protect the only known range of the newly discovered Jocotoco Antpitta. The reserve contains an unusually wet area of temperate-zone forest on the east slope of the Andes. In addition to the Antpitta, the reserve is also home to other vulnerable restricted range birds. The Hummingbird feeders at the lodge have a great variety of highland species, including Flame-throated Sunangel. The Lodge is located at an altitude of 2500m in the reserve, with a variety of trails enabling you to see Golden-plumed Parakeets and Bearded Guan.

Day 9-10 – Tapichalaca to Copalinga, Zamor This morning we set off for Zamora, the gateway to the Río Bombuscaro area of Podacarpus National Park. At the pass, we’ll walk down a small section of the old highway in search of high-elevation species such as Mouse-colored Thistletail, Blue-backed Conebill, and Golden-crowned Tanager. We will make some stops along the lower section of the old highway to look for Tanager-rich mixed-species flocks including Vermillion and the elusive Blue-browed. The following day we will visit the Río Bombuscaro section of Podacarpus National Park which is just five minutes from our lodge. Perhaps we will spot some more unique species such as Plain-backed Antpitta and Northern White-crowned Tapaculo. This area offers extraordinary birding, including the newly described Foothill Elaenia. Overnight both nights at Copalinga Lodge.

Day 11 – Copalinga to Loja This morning we will begin the drive to Loja and cross over a high pass leaving the eastern foothills of Zamora behind. Outside Zamora, a section of the old highway winds through patches of rich subtropical forest where we hope to find Andean Cock-of-the-Rock as well as a variety of common and rare species. We spend the afternoon birding in a dry valley near Catamayo for any missing “Tumbesian” endemics. Overnight in Loja.

Day 12 – Quito – Antisana We’ll take an early flight to Quito, then immediately we visit the Antisana Ecological Reserve which includes Antisana Volcano (18,709 feet/5,704 meters) in the Eastern Andes. High Paramos around its base are relatively undisturbed and support a good number of Andean Condors. Laguna Micacocha harbours a population of Silvery Grebes. Also look for Black-faced Ibis, Carunculated Caracara, Andean Lapwings, Variable Hawk, the Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, the tiny Ecuadorian Hillstar and Andean Gulls

Day 13 – 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 Southern Andes we would be delighted to put together a specialised itinerary for you. Telephone Telephone01964 552292 for more information or emailemail us today.


Buenaventura ReserveBuenaventura Reserve

The Buenaventura Reserve is where the threatened El Oro Parakeet was discovered in 1980, and is well known as probably the richest ornithological site in south west Ecuador...

Jorupe and Utuana ReserveJorupe and Utuana Reserve

The Jorupe Reserve, located in the heart of the Tumbesian region of south west Ecuador, consists of quality deciduous forest dominated by statuesque Ceiba trees...

Tapichalaca ReserveTapichalaca Reserve

The Tapichalaca Reserve, where the Jocotoco Antpitta was discovered in 1997, protects an unusually wet area of temperate forest on the east slope of the Andes...


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
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Southern Andes  Tumbesian Specialities

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