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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Ecuador Birding Advice (1 Viewer)


I am going to Ecuador for two months in january and febuary where should i go just to see as many bird species as possible (small-medium budget). Some advice would be really helpful as i have not visited the country before.
Ecuador is easy to do cheap by yourself (excluding Amazonia).

In two months you can see a lot. In 2016 I got almost 400 birds almost entirely using cheap public transport and on foot, no guides, budget accommodation and camping. Spent only €773 in total on everything (transport, accommodation, food, entry fees, etc) + €653 international flight from London on my 55 days trip.

Mindo area is excellent. Go visit the cloud forests in the wider area (Bellavista etc). It is very easy to see birds there.
Cotopaxi NP is great for high elevation species
Cajas NP
Podocarpus NP
Thank you so much this is really helpful, i am also doing a month in costa rica do you have any advice?

I visited Costa Rica also on my own/ low budget (2015) and found it very easy to do with public transport and on foot. It is helped by the fact that it is a small country, so not too much travel time. But more expensive than Ecuador (some park fees are ridiculous).

  • Tortuguero is nice. Easy reached from San Jose by bus + boat (standard tourist thing). Cheap accommodation there. Explore the forest on foot by yourself and rent a canoe to explore the water.
  • Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui. There was a small bit of forest with nice birds and poison dart frogs. Explored by myself at night for the frogs and insects. Also saw an anteater.
  • La Fortuna. Get a bus from town in the morning and explore by yourself
  • Santa Rosa NP. This is the dry north-west, different birds. This was excellent. I brought my own tent and camped in the park for several nights. Could be reached by bus + rather long walk. I partly hitched it (locals entering or leaving the park will take you). I really enjoyed this park. Pauraques perched on the ground right next to my tent at night and in the early morning.
  • Santa Elena NP / Monteverde NP. Stay in nearby town. Reached by bus if I remember correctly, though I always went back on foot in the evening. Monteverde is very touristy, Santa Elena is much more quiet. But visit both, because they have different birds.
  • Carara NP is excellent! Stay in Jaco (terrible tourist town) and take a bus in the morning to the park and back late afternoon.
  • Manuel Antonio NP. Stay in Quepos. Birding was so-so (relative to the general excellence of parks in CR) but great for sloths etc
  • San Vito. Went there for the botanical garden which has lots of good birds. I camped at a finca nearby (which wasn't bad for birds in itself).
  • San Gerardo de Dota. This was excellent! The bus drops you off high on a pass and it is a long walk down (or hitch). But it's very birdy, so I walked all the way down and ticked off many birds in the process. I camped down in the valley. From there I explored the forest in the area, which is excellent. Many birder groups stay there in expensive lodges, but camping was cheap.
  • Volcan Poas NP. Very scenic area where you can also tick off some birds. Reached by bus from Alajuela. If you arrive at the airport, you can completely bypass San Jose if you want and stay in Alajuela instead. It's much nicer. Volcan Poas is a nice outing on your last day and you are then staying close to the airport already.
I spent 29 days in Costa Rica in 2015 and spent €853 while there on everything (accommodation, food, entrance fees, transport, etc) + €705 for international flight from London. I found Costa Rica relatively expensive with high entrance fees for the parks (like $15 - probably even worse now) and accommodation often not cheap. I saw 271 birds (no guides). It was my first time birding on the American continent so virtually all of them were new, and some (not counted) remained unidentified. Really enjoyed the trip.

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