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Advice for my holidays in august: pantanal or Ecuador (1 Viewer)

Glimmer

Well-known member
I read a lot of good things of both places.. Jaguar is a must in pantanal (are there real high possibilities of watching it?), and everybody seems to like Ecuador..

Enviado desde mi MHA-L29 mediante Tapatalk
 

jc122463

Well-known member
Hi Glimmer,

Definitely a difficult decision! Both are fantastic for birding and have a lot to offer as far as scenery, culture, and wildlife. Having live in Ecuador and only visited the Pantanal I might be slightly biased, but if it's your first trip to South America I would definitely say Ecuador. For such a small country, Ecuador has a huge amount of diversity. And the fact that it is small means it's relatively easy to get between habitats. Based out of Quito you could make trips to Papallacta, Antisana, Mindo, and even down the western slope as far as Pedro Vicente Maldanado.

Again, I'm biased - and I do love the Pantanal as well - but Ecuador definitely has the higher bird species count! If you're looking for iconic mammals like Jaguar, the Pantanal is probably better - though Ecuador has some fun mammals as well. Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Benji
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
I read a lot of good things of both places.. Jaguar is a must in pantanal (are there real high possibilities of watching it?), and everybody seems to like Ecuador..

Jaguar is pretty close to being guaranteed these days if you go to Porto Joffre, at the end of the Transpantaneira. Probably one of the few places in the world where it is. But you won't be alone when looking for or viewing them. They are most frequently seen on the riverbank from boats. And the boatmen are all on radios, so when one is spotted 10 to 20 boats will converge on the area. When I went in July we saw five jaguars in our day on the river; great experience despite the crowd of boats. The population is denser there than anywhere else. I also saw a giant anteater, though sightings of them are rare in the pantanal. Most birders combine a visit with a visit to an area with cerrado habitat, which has it's own specialist bird species.

Ecuador will have the Andes, cloud forests, tons of hummingbirds, and a greater diversity of habitats, and bird species.

You can't go wrong with either. Both are fantastic spots.
 
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Pepe_Rojas

Active member
It would depend on how much time you want to spend and I agree, both are great places.

In Ecuador, you can access many biomes from Quito: In the east side of the Andes: Papallacta, Guango, and Cabañas de San Isidro, Wild Sumaco all the way to the lowlands where you can explore a number of lowland lodges. This gives you a good amount of birds to find. Also on the West Side, you could visit Mindo for some Choco specialties. Again, depending on your time availability, you could continue or start in Guayaquil and go south for Tumbesian region birds and then continue to Loja, Zamora where you could have great birding at the Podocarpus national park and tapichalaca reserve.

In the Pantanal, from Cuiaba, you could access to three different biomes. The Pantanal, the largest marsh in the world, Cerrado and the southernmost extension of the Amazon at Cristalino Lodge which is spectacular.

In terms of time, I don't know how much time you are thinking to spend on the trip but I have led tours to both places and depending on species people wanted to see this trips ranged from a week to 2 weeks. In Ecuador doing a trip from Quito all the way to the lowlands in the Amazon for instance. In the Pantanal, visiting the three biomes at once too.

Anyway, many things to have on mind but I hope this helps somehow.

Cheers

Pepe
 

Pepe_Rojas

Active member
One more detail, at the Pantanal, Jaguars are almost guaranteed (I say almost because despite that my last trip I saw 4 in three days, there have been times where there were not easy to find!) best time here will be between July and September when the water has receded and is drier. Be aware too that September is VERY hot!
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
Be aware too that September is VERY hot!

Need to be prepared for cold as well. We were there in July during a cold front. Wore my windbreaker and a fleece most of the time, and wished I had brought gloves and a warm hat for the mornings and evenings. Plus none of the rooms have heat and hot water was marginal at best.
 

Glimmer

Well-known member
Thanks all!

I have been in Bolivia (Madidi) and Costa Rica, so I dont know if ecuador or pantanal will offer different species of birds, excluding the endemic or special...

I assume you can drive by yourself in ecuador but not in the pantanal area. Maybe I can do both... let´s see... The three biomas of pantanal sounds good also
 

Pepe_Rojas

Active member
Glimmer,

Madidi is tropical lowlands rainforest, a VERY diverse place where you could expect an average of 500 species of birds. The Pantanal is the largest marsh in the world and holds amazing numbers of species. Is high in density but low in diversity but is spectacular. Now, as I mentioned in my prior response, it will depend on what do you want to see and how much time do you have for it. In Ecuador, everything is easily accesible and distances are short. The driving could be hectic and I won't recommend it. Instead would be easier to hire a driver There is a company named Bird Ecuador that can arrange for you a guide/driver to show you around. it would be easier and less hassle for you. As far as driving in the Pantanal area, there are plenty of car rentals in Cuiaba, the capital of Mato Grosso and at that time fo the year is not bad because is the dry season and the driving is not so bad. But again, hiring someone would be easier too.
As far a weather, the cold fronts run normally between May and to the end of August, not in September. Have this on mind if you end up traveling to the Pantanal in August and bring some warm cloth. This cold fronts come from Patagonia and believe me....it can be very cold!
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
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I did self driving in Ecuador and did not have much problems at all. Inside Quito might be a different thing, but most birding destinations are outside ;)

Niels
 

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