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Ecuador early 2015 (1 Viewer)

Kiki

Well-known member
We are hoping to go to Ecuador in 2015. We are interested in all wildlife (though a special interest in birds - I would love to see Torrent Duck) and photography. We prefer to be independent travellers and would like some advice on self drive. We are hoping to fly into Quito then spend some time in the Mindo area and also Papallacta Pass and possibly one other area, we are still working on the details.
Any information would be useful. Thanks
 

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
I think Mindo is excellent - but I can't really say anything very useful about where to stay in town; I haven't been since 2001 so anything I could tell you would be obsolete. Torrent Duck is probably still a fairly sure thing there, though, along the river just outside of town...

More recently, I have been to Reserva Las Gralarias (4-wheel drive highly recommended!), which is just a bit on the Quito side of Mindo - it's terrific, but plan to stay a while if you go, in order to make the trek up there worthwhile.

If you don't mind following another link, this one has some useful recommendations about Papallacta; now, an easy drive up from the airport (since they relocated the airport!)
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=274799&highlight=Ecuador
 

dnsallen

Well-known member
I am in Mindo now, but haven't seen any Torrent Ducks here yet. They were easy on the river at Guango Lodge though.
 

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
I am in Mindo now, but haven't seen any Torrent Ducks here yet. They were easy on the river at Guango Lodge though.

Have you gone out along the El Cinto - Lloa road? (I think heads roughly west from town). There's a bridge over the Mindo River along there about 1 km outside of town, that's where we had a pair. Habitat much better than in town, very rocky, very fast water.
 

ptickner

Well-known member
I also missed the Torrents in Mindo a couple of years ago, but had great looks at Guango.

I can also second Peter's recommendation for Las Gralarias. There is some excellent habitat and trails there, as well as a great chance of seeing a Hoary Puffleg, which can be very difficult to find elsewhere. Don't let the road scare you off though. While it isn't very good, we've gone up there before just to have lunch!
 

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
Has anyone done self drive in Ecuador? Is it safe to do?
Yes, and yes.
On our first trip, we couldn't find a vehicle to our liking (long story, not interesting) so we were stuck - we hired drivers to take us first to Mindo, and then to Guango and San Isidro. This was almost as expensive as hiring your own vehicle for the entire period, and had many obvious drawbacks.
On our second trip, we got a cab from the airport to a downtown hotel on the first day, but then rented a Hyundai Tuscon for the subsequent seven days (we also had an Amazon component to that trip, afterwards - but flew in. I wouldn't want to drive down there!) We drove to Las Gralarias, down the Pacific slope a little bit, and then over to Termas de Papallacta. Having the freedom to just hop in the car and drive up to the pass (very different birds there) was really valuable.

Got lost a few times, but it's quite safe.

Peter
 

dnsallen

Well-known member
Peter, yes I have crossed that Cinta roan bridge may times but never saw the ducks there or elsewhere on that river.
Las Gralarias was good though I found the birds away from the house area to be exceptionally shy.
I'm now in Guayaquil...
 

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