The Unseen World of the Reptiles & Amphibians of Ecuador
Ecuador, with its three diverse ecosystems the Amazon rainforest, the coastal west, and the mountainous Andes which give the region mouth-watering levels of biodiversity across the taxa birds, mammals, plants and the tour’s targets; Ecuador’s reptiles & amphibians. Not only are there high levels of biodiversity throughout the region’s cloud and rainforests, but these habitats host some of the most superb and sought-after reptiles and amphibians on Earth.
An incredible 570 amphibian species are found in Ecuador’s habitats, almost half of which are endemic to the country. Treefrogs, Glassfrogs, Poison Arrow Frogs, Monkey Frogs and Mushroom-tongued Salamanders make up just a selection of the exciting families of amphibians we’ll have the opportunity to find as we explore the cloud and rainforests. Similarly impressive are the numbers of reptile species over 450 species, of which more than 160 are found only in Ecuador. Anoles, Tegus, Woodlizards, Boas, Vipers, Turtles and Crocodilians are among a huge range of reptiles we’ll be searching for during both diurnal and nocturnal excursions. Our after-dark walks will delight us with a rarely-seen and sensational performance of the Amazon’s amazing micro-ecosystems.
On this very special itinerary we’ll visit the Ecominga Reserve! For over more than a decade few tourism companies have been working to protect threatened cloud forest in the Ecuadorian Andes. Through the World Land Trust and their Ecuadorian partner Fundación EcoMinga, we support direct purchase of the forest as a nature reserve. We continue working to expand the reserve’s boundaries and, at the time of writing, the reserve stands at 1,629 acres in area. Here in the reserve, under the guidance of our herpetologist tour leader, one of our main targets here would be the endemism of frogs. A huge number of species are protected in the reserve and we’ll enjoy every minute of searching for wildlife here, some of the exciting highlights we shall hope to see are listed in the day summary below.
When you add to this exciting itinerary Ecuador’s welcoming people, the relatively short travelling distance and quality lodges, it’s easy to see why this is an unmissable opportunity for any passionate naturalist!
February – June
Tour Grading & Focus
The focus of the tour will be finding and photographing Ecuador’s reptiles and amphibians while noting the birds, mammals and any special flora we encounter along the way. This tour is perfect for the keen naturalist who has an interest in reptiles and amphibians and has a desire to see some of the world’s most spectacular species whilst learning about their fascinating biology.
This is a traditional lodge-based wildlife tour. Whilst some of the lodges are appointed simply, each is comfortable and has in-suite facilities. A certain level of fitness is required for the tour, as the terrain may be a little rough or slippery in parts. Night searches are an important part of the tour, as many of our target species are nocturnal. The time spent up at Guango will be at over 2,800m in altitude. All walking with be naturally easy paced as we search thoroughly for the wonderful fauna and flora.
Weather, Clothing & Equipment
The climate in Ecuador varies enormously, depending on the region and the altitude. Quito is mild and temperate with chilly nights; like a spring day in England. The Amazon is hot and humid. There is a possibility of heavy rain at any time, but hopefully not to the extent that it will spoil your enjoyment. A strong waterproof torch is essential and amongst the options available a powerful head-torch will be most useful, which keeps your hands free for balancing.
Today will mark the beginning of our journey home, as we take a 45-minute flight from Coca to Quito, but with a final destination lined up for us to explore before our onwards journeys.
After landing in Quito, we’ll make just the one-hour transfer across to Guango in the highlands of eastern Ecuador. Here we’ll target some very special amphibians indeed. Linda's Treefrog (Hyloscirtus lindae), the rare Papallacta Rainfrog (Pristimantis acerus), Riobamba Marsupial Frog (Gastrotheca riobambae) Papallacta Valley Rainfrog (Pristimantis gladiator) and Bruised Rainfrog (Pristimantis lividus).
Reptiles here include the dimuninitive but elegant Shieldhead Gecko (Gonatodes caudiscutatus), Mountain Pholiodobolus (Pholidobolus montium) and Günther's Whorltail Iguana (Stenocercus guentheri).
Guango is exceptional for birding too, particularly for hummingbirds! Tourmaline Sunangel, Chestnut Breasted and Buff-tailed Coronet, Collared Inca, White-bellied Woodstar, Long-tail Sylph, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Tryian Metaltail and Shining Sunbeam just part of the kaleidoscopic line-up.
In Guango we’ll be based at a comfortable lodge with wonderful vistas.
Extending Your Holiday
There are a number of options available as an extension:
Should you wish to discuss these options the tour’s manager Xavier Munoz will be more than happy to help. Please email@example.com or whatsapp +593 959 089 426.
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