• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Ecuador bird photography mid September - start of October (1 Viewer)

BruceBerman

Well-known member
Thanks, I already saw your report. I'm afraid $280 dollar a day is not really an option. Might be cheap compared to other options but still way too much.
On a sidenote, I'm quite baffled by birding trip prices in general, 5000$ often doesn't even cover two weeks. I guess the average birder has deeper pockets
For reference, a trip of the same duration on a scuba diving liveaboard is about 3000$ all inclusive. That's without tickets but does include running a boat, meals, refilling tanks and multiple guides.
I guess it's what the market can bear. Our interest is very specialized. I almost always plan do-it-yourself trips and hire local guides. But, if I want to stay in the Amazon or Bhutan, that's going to cost a lot more than Mindo or Indonesia. I just priced a steelhead fly fishing lodge in Alaska for comparison at almost $7,000/week. That' my second passion and is something I will not be doing!
 

Arie G

Member
I guess it's what the market can bear. Our interest is very specialized. I almost always plan do-it-yourself trips and hire local guides. But, if I want to stay in the Amazon or Bhutan, that's going to cost a lot more than Mindo or Indonesia. I just priced a steelhead fly fishing lodge in Alaska for comparison at almost $7,000/week. That' my second passion and is something I will not be doing!
Yeah, when self-organizing a trip prices are very dependent on location. However all pre-organized birding trips are really expensive regardless of location in my experience. You're right though, it is specialized.
 

Dortmundbirder

Well-known member
We are actually going to Ecuador for 2.5 weeks self organized as well in September. We were also looking for some sort of mediocre budget.
Spending the first week on kind of a low budget in Mindo, exploring the various areas from there, moving through the high andes then to the somehow more expensive lodges on the east slope. Especially Wild Sumaco is something you dont want to miss from what i have read and heard.
For the amazon we opted not to take the option by canoe into Yasuni Nationalpark where you need to rely on the full service package but instead focussing on the Tena are, where you reach the Outskrits of Lowland Rainforest, which probably wont be the same experience but also not break the budget completely.
 

Jon Gallagher

Well-known member
Thanks, I already saw your report. I'm afraid $280 dollar a day is not really an option. Might be cheap compared to other options but still way too much.
On a sidenote, I'm quite baffled by birding trip prices in general, 5000$ often doesn't even cover two weeks. I guess the average birder has deeper pockets
For reference, a trip of the same duration on a scuba diving liveaboard is about 3000$ all inclusive. That's without tickets but does include running a boat, meals, refilling tanks and multiple guides.
You're quite right, Arie, birding trip prices are getting ridiculous. But for the Napo there weren't many options, and all the standard places were quoting me way more. Caiman is cheaper but looks like its new, and isn't reporting key Napo targets like Cocha Antshrike, antpittas, jacamars, manakins, Brown Nunlet, Ecuadorian Cacique. Salvin's Curassow, Olive-spotted Hummingbird and the rest. I'd be surprised to find anywhere reasonable to stay actually on the Napo.
But your general observation on trip costs are right on target. Price increases are way above inflation, which is why I almost always choose to do things independently. So for example a week in Guatemala recently cost me USD1500, and half of that was hire car (really excessive insurance premiums). A similar commercial trip was around $3000. However the Napo is one place that's tough to do independently.
 

Jon Gallagher

Well-known member
We are actually going to Ecuador for 2.5 weeks self organized as well in September. We were also looking for some sort of mediocre budget.
Spending the first week on kind of a low budget in Mindo, exploring the various areas from there, moving through the high andes then to the somehow more expensive lodges on the east slope. Especially Wild Sumaco is something you dont want to miss from what i have read and heard.
For the amazon we opted not to take the option by canoe into Yasuni Nationalpark where you need to rely on the full service package but instead focussing on the Tena are, where you reach the Outskrits of Lowland Rainforest, which probably wont be the same experience but also not break the budget completely.
Sounds like a good plan. Let me add my vote for WildSumaco for great birding, a brilliant location, and a fantastic birding owner, Jonas Nilsson. Food is excellent too (though not what I go birding for!) and the rooms are fine. I did 3 nights which was enough (and more than enough for my budget!). When it comes to the Napo good luck finding anything reasonable actually on the river. I also looked at the Tena option and staying in lower-cost places there, but decided in the end to bite the bullet and go where the majority of the birds I wanted actually were.
 

Dortmundbirder

Well-known member
Yeah Lowland Rainforest will be tough, luckily there are some open areas around Tena Airport + the laguna paikawe so some birding will be easy enough. We are staying in one of the lodges near Misuahalli for 20$/night.
And jatun sacha reserve has some great birds, but of course tracking them down wont be easy.
For a first time into the neotropics outside of mexico almost everything will be new anyway, so special targeting is not needed for us.
 
Last edited:

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
Hi I'm a bit confused, is Wild Sumaco considered upper amazon basin or cloud forest? I have been in contact with a couple of companies looking at options for a 2 week tailor made tour in November. We were looking to focus on the andes and cloud forest rather than the amazon, (as we're thinking about leaving amazon for a future trip maybe in conjunction with Galapagos) and neither option currently includes this lodge. We're both birder photographers with keen interest in mammals as well. Company 1 has suggested covering the following sites, company 2 has said they can cover the same but that they have some better sites to think about for photography but haven't been specific about that, and say it will be determined by local conditions as to where we should go. :

05-Nov 16:15 PM HJ Arrival to Ecuador.

  • Giant Hummingbird Reserve & Penas Blancas "Rainbow Bearded-Thornbill" Birding Road
  • Antisana Andean Condor & Wildlife Reserve, La Mica Lake, Ecuadorian Hillstar Nest
  • Cotopaxi National Park Base Camp Hike, Possible Andean Fox
  • Zuro Loma Antpittas, Yanacocha Reserve, Old Nono Mindo Road
  • Andean Cock of the Rock Lek, San Tadeo Tanagers and Sunbittern Reserve. Night Olinguito and Kinkajuo Feeders.
  • Plate-billed Mountain Toucan Reserve and Milpe Birding Sanctuary
  • Umbrellabird Lek and Suamox Woodpecker Feeders
  • Mashpi Amagusa Reserve & Alambi Hummingbird Paradise
  • Papallacta Pass & Guango Torrent Duck and Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan Reserve, Night Owl Walk.
  • San Isidro Reserve, Guacamayos Ridge Black-billed Mountain Toucan. Night Owl Walk.
  • San Isidro Reserve and Las Brisas Hummingbirds. Night Owl Walk.
  • Spectacled Bear

any other excellent birding/mammal watching sites that we can consider.

19-Nov 14:30 PM Transfer Out to the Airport (17H30PM flight)

looking for twin room accommodation for two people, preferably lodges with good wildlife viewing but we don't need luxury if we'll be out all day.
so far the lodges that have been recommended to us are:

Company 1:
Andes, 5 nights Hacienda Jimenita,
west slopes, 4 nights Sachatamia Lodge,
1 night back at Hacienda Jimenita,
east slope 3 night San Isidro Lodge,
1 night back at Hacienda Jimenita then fly out.

Company 2:
Andes, 2 nights, Puembo birding garden or similar,
6 nights Sachatamia Lodge,
back to Andes, 3 nights, Puembo birding garden or similar,
2 nights Guango Lodge with San Isidro,
1 night Termas de Papallacta
return to Quito & depart.


prices are pretty much the same for both. any advice welcome.
 

Jon Gallagher

Well-known member
Hi I'm a bit confused, is Wild Sumaco considered upper amazon basin or cloud forest? I have been in contact with a couple of companies looking at options for a 2 week tailor made tour in November. We were looking to focus on the andes and cloud forest rather than the amazon, (as we're thinking about leaving amazon for a future trip maybe in conjunction with Galapagos) and neither option currently includes this lodge. We're both birder photographers with keen interest in mammals as well. Company 1 has suggested covering the following sites, company 2 has said they can cover the same but that they have some better sites to think about for photography but haven't been specific about that, and say it will be determined by local conditions as to where we should go. :

05-Nov 16:15 PM HJ Arrival to Ecuador.

  • Giant Hummingbird Reserve & Penas Blancas "Rainbow Bearded-Thornbill" Birding Road
  • Antisana Andean Condor & Wildlife Reserve, La Mica Lake, Ecuadorian Hillstar Nest
  • Cotopaxi National Park Base Camp Hike, Possible Andean Fox
  • Zuro Loma Antpittas, Yanacocha Reserve, Old Nono Mindo Road
  • Andean Cock of the Rock Lek, San Tadeo Tanagers and Sunbittern Reserve. Night Olinguito and Kinkajuo Feeders.
  • Plate-billed Mountain Toucan Reserve and Milpe Birding Sanctuary
  • Umbrellabird Lek and Suamox Woodpecker Feeders
  • Mashpi Amagusa Reserve & Alambi Hummingbird Paradise
  • Papallacta Pass & Guango Torrent Duck and Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan Reserve, Night Owl Walk.
  • San Isidro Reserve, Guacamayos Ridge Black-billed Mountain Toucan. Night Owl Walk.
  • San Isidro Reserve and Las Brisas Hummingbirds. Night Owl Walk.
  • Spectacled Bear

any other excellent birding/mammal watching sites that we can consider.

19-Nov 14:30 PM Transfer Out to the Airport (17H30PM flight)

looking for twin room accommodation for two people, preferably lodges with good wildlife viewing but we don't need luxury if we'll be out all day.
so far the lodges that have been recommended to us are:

Company 1:
Andes, 5 nights Hacienda Jimenita,
west slopes, 4 nights Sachatamia Lodge,
1 night back at Hacienda Jimenita,
east slope 3 night San Isidro Lodge,
1 night back at Hacienda Jimenita then fly out.

Company 2:
Andes, 2 nights, Puembo birding garden or similar,
6 nights Sachatamia Lodge,
back to Andes, 3 nights, Puembo birding garden or similar,
2 nights Guango Lodge with San Isidro,
1 night Termas de Papallacta
return to Quito & depart.


prices are pretty much the same for both. any advice welcome.
WildSumaco is cloudforest, with the benefit of lower elevation species on the road. Don't know Hacienda Jimenita and don't know if it necessitates a total of 7 nights. I'd take San Isidro over Guango as a place to stay, but certainly stop at Guango for the hummers on the way.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top