Southern Ecuador

Birding & Nature

Red-masked Parakeet

Southern Ecuador: Birding & Nature




15 Days



Group Size

8 Guest


3.726 mdpl

Southern Ecuador: Birding & Nature

The Andes Mountains of Southern Ecuador are a highly complex system of mountain-ridges and valleys, providing a great variety of habitats within a small geographic area. For decades, birders have recognized the region’s rich biodiversity; now lodgings at the Jocotoco Foundation Reserves make it possible to stay in incredible places with nature close hand.

We stay in two Jocotoco Foundation reserves, at Buenaventura, in the foothills of the western side of the Andes, and at Tapichalaca, adjacent to the magnificent Podocarpus National Park on the upper montane from eastern Ecuador. The delightful Copalinga Lodge affords us access to the subtropical areas of Podocarpus National Park. Finally, we enjoy the windswept paramos of Cajas National Park.

At Buenaventura we have the chance to see the beautiful and scarce El Oro Parakeet, only discovered in 1980. Here we enjoy the windswept paramos of Cajas National Park.

we can also find the elusive and iconic Long-wattled Umbrellabird. At Tapichalaca Reserve we look for the stunning Jocotoco Antpitta, discovered only in 1997! We should see large mixed flocks of some of most colorful tanagers on the continent. Peppered among the flocks are manakins, flycatchers, fruiteaters, becards, and more. The extension of Podocarpus National Park protects the largest remaining patches of Polylepis forest in south Ecuador, as well as the high terrain of the paramo. Perhaps (with luck) we find Spectacled bear!

Tour Highlights

  •  Enjoy a lovely stay in Quito at the beginning and end of the tour. Here the feathered specialties are Scrub Tanager and Purple-collared Woodstar.
  • Visit Cajas National Park near Cuenca, where the upper paramo is dotted with over 250 lakes and patches of montane vegetation.
  • Explore the Jocotoco Foundation’s Buenaventura Reserve looking for the Ecuadorian endemic, El Oro Parakeet and the elusive Long-wattled Umbrellabird, as well as several other Chocoan and Tumbesian specialties.
  • Visit Tapichalaca Reserve looking for Jocotoco Antpitta, Golden-plumed Parakeet, White capped Tanager, and Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan.
  • Explore the upper cloudforests of Podocarpus National Park in search of Giant Conebill, the endemic Bearded Guan, Rufous-capped Thornbill, and several Mountain-Tanagers.
  • Relax and enjoy great birding at Cabinas Ecologicas Copalinga, with hummingbird feeding frenzies right outside the dining room.


At dawn, sounds of the forest lure you from bed; the hummingbird feeders are abuzz and we have the chance to see Collared Inca, Amethyst-throated, and Flame-throated Sunangel, and of course the bossy Chestnut breasted Coronet. A favorite of many, though wide-spread throughout Ecuador, is the incredible Long-tailed Sylph. Enjoy good Ecuadorian coffee from the porch with a spectacular view of the valley below. Plant life around the lodge is fascinating as well; with luck, several species of orchids and bromeliads are in bloom. This morning we venture to lower elevations to explore the Valladolid Valley, about seven and a half miles south of Tapichalaca towards the Peruvian border. This area, with several patches of woodland and scrub to explore, gives us access to a number of species not found elsewhere in Ecuador, notably: Black-faced Tanager, Marañón Thrush, Straw-backed Tanager, and more.

In the afternoon, we venture to higher reaches of neighboring Podocarpus National Park, learning more about the unique Polylepis forest and spending time in the often-windswept paramo. The elusive Giant Conebill is closely tied to this type of habitat. The endemic Bearded Guan and several tanagers, including Plushcap, Red- hooded Tanager, and Black-headed Hemispingus, are some of the montane birds to look for.

At dusk, we watch for some nocturnal birds, including Swallow-tailed Nightjar. In this remote location, listening for the eerie call of Andean Potoo is a treat, and if it’s a clear night, enjoy a sky of ten thousand stars.

Accommodations at Casa Simpson, Tapichalaca Reserve (B, L, D)

General Information

Cost of the Journey

Cost of the tour, from Quito, Ecuador, is TBA Tour price includes: 13 nights’ accommodations, airport transfers, and professional guide services of expert local guide Andrea Molina. It includes land transportation within Ecuador, park and reserve entrance fees, pre-departure information and services, miscellaneous program expenses, accommodation and meals at all lodges, private transport, and private bilingual bird/naturalist guide.

Cost of the November 23 Antisana day trip is $180 per person and includes meals, guide, park fees, and airport transfer. If four or more people are interested in this option, the price drops to $140 per person.

It does not include your international flights to Quito or your internal flights in Ecuador (Guayaquil to Quito}, though we do book the internal flight for you. This fee will not exceed $260 per person and if a saving occurs it will be passed on to you. The tour cost does not include items of a personal nature such as beverages from the bar, porterage, laundry, phone calls, or gift items. We also recommend a gratuity for maid service, and for our local drivers and guides, which is left to your discretion.

Travel Information

Neblina Forest is an equal opportunity service provider and committed to the goal of ensuring equal opportunity for all in employment and program delivery.

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