Ecuador is a land of endless discovery… Visiting Ecuador is finding a wildness full of wonder, discovering amazing wilderness attractions. From snow-capped volcanoes, high cliffs, majestic mountains, breathtaking sights to flowered gardens, green valleys bathed by cascading waterfalls, beautiful colonial architecture, monasteries and patios, Indian markets and little villages lost in the Andes, Ecuador has it all.
Our focus will be photography of this rich land, we will take time to learn about the varied species from our naturalist guide and birder. The comfortable lodges in the midst of our photographic locations allow us to relax and enjoy Ecuador, a growing world-class destination.
When you participate in our photography workshops and tours you are part of a small group (usually no more than six people per tour), which allows our leaders to respond to your individual needs and interests, as well as to changing conditions in the field.
Our photo tours are done in small groups because we allow for:
When you join our photo workshops and tours we offer:
Critique sessions so participants can assess their skills and recognize opportunities for improvement (program dependent).
Our tour leaders are world class photographers and provide the right balance of instruction and field experience, tempered with a keen sense of humor. Their research and preparation prior to the tour programs make them outstanding. We are flexible and take advantage of each photo opportunity.
Arrive in Quito this evening, where we will be transported to our boutique hotel in the Chillo Valley.
We will have a leisurely start this morning, due to our late arrival yesterday. Our first outing consisting of a day tour to the Antisana Ecological Reserve, with its lagoons transformed into immense mirrors, is an opportunity to view a unique landscape that gradually turns into forest. In this protected area we find the Antisana Volcano as a backdrop, with its indescribable beauty. We will also look for Andean condors to photograph.
The reserve, created in July of 1993, is located on the edge of the Amazon prairie and it is considered as a corridor or nexus between the Ecological Reserve of Cayambe-Coca and the Sumaco Napo Galeras National Park. These three areas comprise one of the richest areas in Ecuador and possess an enormous biodiversity. Overnight Chillo valley
Today we will begin our exploration of the eastern slope of the Andes, traveling through the Papallacta Pass. This habitat holds a wonderful array of hummingbirds, including such species as the Giant Hummingbird, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Red-crested Cotinga, and the Ecuadorian Hillstar. Our travels will take us from the timberline and paramo, down into the humid temperate forest, photographing different species as we go.
Guango Lodge is centered in a zone classified as humid temperate forest, characterized by its stunted trees (and thicker canopy), cool climate, bird species, and plant composition. Overnight at Guango Lodge
Today we will enjoy a day photographing right at our lodge. Some of the birds of particular interest include the Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Buff-breasted and Hooded Mountain-Tanagers, Grey-hooded Bush-Tanager, and Slaty Brush-Finch. Guango Lodge's hummingbird feeders attract some exciting hummers on a regular basis, some of the more noteworthy species being Mountain Velvetbreast, Sword-billed Hummingbird, and the Tourmaline Sunangel. Overnight Guango Lodge
We will depart this morning to San Isidro. This hacienda is a lodge that sits nestled in the Cosanga Valley with stunning views of the Cordillera de Guacamayos and surrounding hills. Excellent Ecuadorian cuisine will be provided for lunch at the lodge, where we will have tremendous accessibility to excellent birding locations. The bird list here is both impressive and unique, being difficult to find many of the species at other sites.
Some of the target birds that we will search include White-rumped Hawk, Crested Quetzal, Rufous-vented Tapaculo, and White-capped Tanager. Overnight Guango Lodge
After breakfast we will return to Quito, where we will have a relaxing day at the gardens and spa of our boutique hotel, in order to travel west the following morning. Overnight Chillo Valley
We will start early today to explore the western slope of the Andes, taking time to photograph the scenic views along the Nono-Mindo Road, with the Pichincha Volcano towering above the City of Quito. Our destination, the Yanacocha Reserve, is a hummingbird fancier’s delight, with the likelihood of viewing more than ten species. By late afternoon we will continue our journey, ending the day in MindoValley, at one of the finest birding lodges, elevation 4800 feet. This ideal location allows flexibility to explore the surrounding areas, while having the luxury of unpacking for three evenings. Overnight at boutique lodge.
Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve, located on the edge of Choco-bio-region, is among the most diverse places in the world. The expanding 700-hectare reserve is formed by sharp and deeply forested mountains descending to gorges with rushing waterfalls, crystalline streams, and views which stretch far away to distant volcanoes. Within this magical place of mist and mystery, Bellavista has 263-recorded species of birds and this list continues to grow! Tanager –finch, Giant Antpitta, Swallow-tailed Nightjar, Plush-capped Finch, and the White-faced Nunbird are all found here. Overnight at our boutique lodge.
Septimo Paraiso Cloud Forest Reserve is a private protected area born in 2001 with the goal of saving and preserving the forest and diverse ecosystem. This Reserve has one of the largest bird counts of the northwestern area of Pichincha, with 322 species of birds, several species of mammals, and an incredible amount of reptile and amphibian species. This afternoon we will have time to explore the varied trails, allowing us time to photograph as a group, or wander on our own. Overnight at our boutique lodge.
Today we will visit the Silanche Bird Sanctuary, as we travel back to Quito. The sanctuary consists of tropical lowland, featuring comfortable easy-going trails and a fifty-foot high observation tower that places the viewer eye-to-eye with awesome mixed foraging flocks. This important site is home to many important Chocó and Tumbesian endemic bird species. Transferring back to Quito in the afternoon, we will enjoy our farewell dinner. Overnight at a boutique hotel near the airport.
We depart early this morning for flights home. You also have the option to extend your trip and take a Galapagos photography trip , Amazon photographic workshop or a photo expedition of the Choco rainforest.
The above is a sample itinerary prepared for a birding photo workshop. It can be customized to fit the needs and special interests of your travellers.