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independent birding in Ecuador (1 Viewer)


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I've been entrusted with the planning for a short (approx. 2 weeks) trip to Ecuador focusing on the northeast region (well described in Chapter 4 of Navarrete's online guide at http://www.birdsinecuador.com/en/chapter-4). The group will consist of 4-5 (perhaps as many as six) birders, some of whom have birded in Mexico and Costa Rica, others of whom have been more casual in their birding pursuits. None has birded south of southern Costa Rica.

We avoid formal, expensive multi-day tours and we try to adhere to a reasonably frugal budget (though perhaps less so when traveling with spouses). In Costa Rica we invariably enlisted the same non-birding driver for transportation, and retained local guides or more wide-ranging guides willing to offer services for half-day and full-day tours (and benefitted from the resulting friendships).

When we contemplated a South American destination I proposed Ecuador because it seems to be logistically less complicated than Peru or Colombia, especially for such a brief period with a goal of satisfactorily covering at least some Andean and Amazonian habitats.

No member of the group is fluent in Spanish, or even moderately conversant. Without spouses we are likely to be traveling somewhat lighter than normal, but field guides and optics do combine for a bit more bulk than would be required for non-birding travel (almost certainly we will bring one spotting scope with tripod).

I'm wondering if anyone on this forum has undertaken a similar trip in Ecuador. I've communicated with two birding tour providers who have generously offered advice and expressed a willingness to transport our group, presumably with a full-time guide. Has anyone had experience with a non-birding transportation provider that proved satisfactory?

I'm really not at a point where I'm even knowledgeable enough to ask the right questions, and I appreciate any guidance that might be proffered.


Gary Hunter
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