Northwest and Eastern Slopes Birding Tour

This trip will take you to the most famous birding area in the world. This well-thought itinerary includes some of our favorite lodges in a mix of regions on both sides of the Andes, so you can experience Ecuador’s incredible wildlife, spectacular scenery, and birds. You are likely to find over 400 species of birds during this journey!



Duration of tour: 12 DAYS AND 11 NIGHTS

Tour departure time: 5:30 AM

Tour operating dates: UNDER REQUEST

Piano di viaggio

Giorno 01
Arrivo a Quito

Arrive at the International Airport, Quito. Most flights arrive in the evening. Transfer to a hotel in Quito.

Giorno 02
Yanacocha reserve

We will leave Quito early at 5:30 AM to Yanaocha reserve, where a worm feeder was created for the Tawny Antpitta and the Rufous Antpitta, the latter being seen more regularly in the area. In addition to finding several species of Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Chestnut-napped Antpitta and Ocellated Tapaculo.

We'll hike through the flat and easy-access Inca trail that extends for about 2 km through the stunning lush montane humid forest, with flocks of birds being regularly encountered. Several stations with multiple hummingbird feeders are situated at various spots.  There are mixed flocks of beautiful birds such as Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Black-chested Mountain Tanager, Blue-backed Conebill, Golden crowned Tanager, Superciliated Hemispingus.

A major highlight here are the amazing Hummingbirds!! Great Sapphirewing, Sapphire-vented and Golden-breasted Pufflegs, Tyrian Metaltail, Buff-winged Starfrontlet and the outstanding Sword-billed hummingbird are frequent visitors of the feeders. Lunch will be served at the reserve restaurant; later, we’ll continue our drive on the old Nono-Mindo Road towards Sachatamia Lodge. (BLD)

Giorno 03
Rio Silanche & Milpe Bird Sanctuary

On this day, we descend to the lower elevations of the foothill zone at two important private reserves strategically situated, run by Mindo Cloudforest Foundation: Rio Silanche & Milpe Bird Sanctuary. This important reserve of Rio Silanche, a vital part of a forest corridor in the region, hosts a mix of primary forest and a regenerating plantation. We'll try for Plumbeous Forest-Falcon, Dusky Pigeon, Rose-faced and Bronzed-winged Parrots, Pale-mandibled Aracari and Choco Woodpecker. Here you have access to a 50 ft. canopy tower platform where you can relax and let the birds come in to view.! At Milpe reserve we can try for Choco Toucan, Choco Trogon, Long-wattled Umbrellabird and the fascinating Club-winged Manakin. Milpe is recognized as an Important Bird Area in Ecuador. It is a small reserve located at an elevation of 3500 feet. Milpe’s flagship bird is surely the Club-winged Manakin, a lek of which they have on their land.

On late afternoon, return to Sachatamia lodge for dinner and accommodation. (BLD)

Giorno 04
Mashpi Amagusa

You'll leave from the lodge very early in the morning. The birding area includes a small side road that heads to the Mashpi Amagusa Reserve, a small, local reserve where the owners have set a system of feeders that attract some of the more localized species, like Velvet-purple Coronet, Empress Brilliant.  Mashpi is a secondary road that passes through the cloud forest in the northwestern foothills that has gained notoriety for its impressive collection of Chocó endemic bird species. Such as: Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Moss-Backed Tanager, Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Pacific Tuftedcheek, Orange-Breasted Fruiteater, Black Solitaire, Glistening-Green Tanager, Indigo Flowerpiercer, and the very rare Choco Vireo. The afternoon is somewhat flexible depending on the weather, we can visit a private farm to see the Oilbird, or go to another local site like Milpe for other foothill species. Overnight and dinner at Sachatamia Lodge. (BLD)

Giorno 05
Paz de las Aves reserve

Today we will start very early in the morning at 04:30 am and head off to Paz de las Aves that is a small, private reserve near Mindo where Angel Paz the owner of this magical place, has developed a way to hand-feeding several elusive species like Giant, Yellow-Breasted, Chestnut-Crowned, Moustache, Ochre-Breasted Antpittas with amazing success. This place is a highlight in this tour.

At sunrise, we will also visit an active Andean Cock of the Rock Lek to admire the amazing displays of males. Some birds You'll see in the forest are Golden-headed quetzal, Olivaceous Piha, Toucan Barbet, Black-chinned Mountain-tanager, Golden-Winged Manakin and Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Nariño Tapaculo among others. After a typical breakfast served in the reserve, we will enjoy the spectacular Velvet-purple Coronet, Brown-Violetear and Empress Brilliant at hummingbird feeders. Around the property we can also see Beryl-spangle tanager, Golden tanager.

On our way back to Quito, we will stop at Calacali and try looking for some dry forest birds like White-tailed shryke-tyrant and Tufted tit-tyrant. Return to Quito for an overnight at our local hotel.

Giorno 06
Antisana – Guango Lodge

This trip will take you through great scenery in the Ecuadorian High Andes. The roads border Antisana National Park. Therefore, the birdlife is great, and the scenery is quite amazing. The altitudinal range covered is over 3600 M. We spend the entire day in the area, watching for Andean condors (should be easy!) and other beautiful birds and if we have luck the marvelous Spectacled Bear.

Pick-up from Hotel in Quito at 6:00 AM to the east where the Antisana Volcano is located. On clear days, the views of the Antisana glaciers are dazzling. Our first stop is in a local restaurant, Tambo Condor, to use the bathrooms and have a cup of coffee. There we can observe giant hummingbirds and the astonishing Ecuadorian hillstar at the feeders. Then, we continue to the strategically located observation point of Chakana Reserve, where we can look for Andean Condor nests and the spectacled bear that used to walk around the “Peñón del Ishco” that is just in front of the balcony. We can also see some other species such as the endemic Carunculated Caracara, Variable Hawk.

A traditional lunch at Tambo Condor is available. In the afternoon, we continue to Antisana reserve where you will have the opportunity to see the snowcapped volcano and visit Mica Lake where we will see some other bird species like black-faced ibis, Andean lapwing, and Andean gull, as well as mammals like Andean fox or Andean rabbits.

After lunch, we’ll drive over the Andes and stay at Guango Lodge for the night, which is beside a rushing river that often has Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper. On late afternoon we will enjoy the spectacular set of hummingbird feeders which attract Collared Inca, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Tourmaline Sunangel, White-bellied Woodstar, Long-tailed Sylph and Chestnut-breasted Coronet.

Giorno 07
Guango, papallacta pass to San Isidro

Today we'll go to Cayambe Coca National Park situated near Papallacta Pass on a very high elevation, a tundra-like habitat. If the weather allows, we may head up to the top, where the Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe is seen. We also check the Polylepis woodland where we can try for Giant Conebill, Black-backed Bush Tanager, White-chinned Thistletail, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Pearled Treerunner, Golden-crowned Tanager, Pale-naped Brush-Finch, Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant.

On the way down on clear days, there is one of the best spots to see and photograph the snow-capped Antisana, and we can skulk for Masked Mountain-Tanager, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Black-backed Bush-Tanager, and Agile Tit-Tyrant, and we should start scanning the sky for Variable Hawk, Carunculated Caracara and Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, that may soar overhead.

It will be time to turn down-slope to Cabañas San Isidro. Once we arrive, we can try a Rufous-bellied Nighthawk. On clear night, we can make a short night walk after dinner around the cabins - in search of the “mystery owl” which seems to be an undescribed species. Overnight at Cabañas San Isidro.

Giorno 08
San Isidro area

Today we will spend the entire day birding around San Isidro trails in the subtropical forest. Some common birds include Montane and Olive-backed Woodcreepers, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Black-billed Peppershrike, Inca Jay, Bluish Flowerpiercer and Subtropical Cacique.

In the afternoon we can bird alongside the roadside to look for Long-tailed Antbirds, Plain-tailed Wrens, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Black-eared Hemispingus, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Green Jay, Andean Motmot, Black-capped Tanager, Pale-edged Flycatcher.

At the antpitta feeder, we may see Chestnut-crowned and White-bellied Antpittas. We may even want to try a spot near the lodge for Andean Potoo and Rufous-banded Owl. Night at Cabañas San Isidro.

Day 09
Guacamayos ridge trail to Wildsumaco

This morning we leave San Isidro early in the morning with box lunch to the Guacamayos Ridge trail. An enchanted cloud forest where we can try for Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, White-capped and Grass-green Tanager, Slate-crowned Antpitta, Rufous Spinetail, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Long-tailed Antbird, several species of Tapaculos even the Ocellated, Handsome Flycatcher, Rufous Wren, Turquoise Jay, Northern Mountain-Cacique Also a slight chance on the very rare Greater Scythebill and Dusky Piha.

In the afternoon we continue to the eastern side of the Cordillera Guacamayos towards the amazon, for Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant, Black-chested Fruiteater, Goldeneyed Flowerpiercer, Yellow-throated Tanager and Chestnut-bellied Thrush, White-tailed Hillstar, Cliff Flycatcher, Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Paradise Tanager, Crested Oropendola, Yellow-browed Sparrow, Black-billed Thrush. Late afternoon arrival at Wildsumaco Lodge.

Day 10
Sumaco area

Very early in the morning we can enjoy a fantastic set of feeders situated around the deck where we can expect for Napo Sabrewing, Gould’s Jewelfront, Black-throated and Violet-fronted Brilliant, Many-spotted Hummingbird, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Ecuadorian Piedtail, Gray-chinned Hermit, Gorgeted Woodstar, Wire-crested Thorntail.  On the trails we can try for Coppery-chested Jacamar, Yellow-throated Spadebill, Gray-tailed Piha, Military Macaw, Spot-winged Parrotlet, Plain-winged Antwren, White-streaked Antvireo, Foothill Screech-Owl, Crimson-bellied Woodpecker, Foothill Elaenia, Wing-banded Wren, Scarlet-breasted and Fiery-throated Fruiteater.

On the secondary road there are chances for Black-billed Treehunter, Lined Antshrike, Dusky Spinetail, Squirrel Cuckoo, Slaty-capped, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant and Dusky-capped Flycatcher. Overnight at Wildsumaco.

Day 11
Sumaco back to Quito

Today is our last morning birding this region before we drive back to Quito.  On the way back we can stop at a bamboo patch with chance on Large-headed Flatbill, Golden-winged & Black-and-white Tody-Flycatcher, Stripechested Antwren, Yellow Tyrannulet, Spot-backed Antbird, Dusky-billed Parrotlet and more.

NOTE: if you want to take an Amazon extension, you can go to Coca city instead.

Accommodation at Quito hotel.

Day 12

Breakfast in the morning and transfer out to the airport. End of services.

  • Private transportation
  • Accommodations in double or triple occupation.
  • All meals, purified water
  • Transfers In-Out
  • Birding guide
  • Use of trails and facilities
  • All excursions and entrance fees to reserves
  • Extra meals
  • Expenses of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, extra drinks, snacks, souvenirs, etc.
  • Tips
  • International airfare
  • Any other item not specified
  • Trip Cancellation & Medical Emergency Insurance

Prenotate il vostro tour ORA!



  • Warm clothes
  • Hiking boots
  • Hat
  • Sunblock screen
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Photograph camera.


WEATHER: Very variable. In the high Andes, it can be near freezing and windy. At San Isidro it is temperate (usually 53°-78°F, 12°-26°C). At Wildsumaco and the Amazon it is hot and humid (usually 72°-90°F, 22°-32°C). Some rain can be expected, especially in the afternoons and evenings, but in the Amazon sudden downpours can occur almost at any time with little warning.


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