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Antisana National Park

Searching for Spectacled Bear, Giant Hummingbird, Andean Condor and Ecuadorian Hillstar

About the Tour

The marvelous páramos of Antisana, the magical Cloud Forest of the Tropical Andes, looking for Andean Condor, Spectacled Bear, and Andean Cock of the Rock.

This itinerary has selected the best nature reserves and lodges, run by local people to encourage forest protection and preservation through ecotourism, during your stay you will enjoy wonderful local meals using local products.

The lodges have many trail options from easy to challenging where you will have a great number of birds, including many hummingbirds, tanagers, toucans, flycatchers, trogons, woodpeckers, quetzals together with unique amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

Of course these ecosystems are also a paradise for botanists and plant lovers, due to the altitudinal gradients you will enjoy a great diversity of orchids, bromeliads, ferns, giant trees full of epiphytes, also you will be amazed by the incredible diversity of flowers in the natural habitat.

Day 1:

This nature experience starts at 7:00am: with a pickup from your hotel in Quito after breakfast.

We will drive to Antisana National Park, which is home to the emblematic bird of Ecuador, the majestic Andean Condor. On the way to the reserve, you will enjoy a stunning landscape of elfin forest and paramo grassland.
Once we arrive to antisana buffer zone will look for high altitude specialties, good chances to see Andean Condor, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Variable Hawk, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Many-striped Canastero, Paramo Pipit, Black-winged Ground Dove, and the Many-striped Canastero,
While driving towards La Mica Lake, weather permitting, we will enjoy magnificent views of Antisana and Cotopaxi Volcanoes that are 5,750m/12,470ft.

After few hours birding along a paved road we go back to the entrance of the reserve, we will stay at Tambo Condor restaurant and hummingbird garden, this place offers a great opportunity for hummingbird photography, once here we will try to find the magnificent Giant Hummingbird, some other visitors to the feeders are Black-tailed Trainbearer, Black Flowerpiercer, Tyrian Metaltail, Purple-backed Thornbill, Eared Dove, and possibly we may see the magnificent Andean Bear feeding on the other side up on the hill.

After lunch a slow walk close to the restaurant and observation deck, afterward we will drive to the western slope of the Andes, the next few days we will explore the magical cloud forest of Mindo located in the Choco-bioregion.

Elevation: 3,600m/11,810ft.

Dinner and overnight, Sachatamia Lodge.

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Day 2:

Photographing the bizarre Andean cock-of-the-rock, and some Choco endemic birds.

We leave from the Lodge at 05:30am to Mashpi Amagusa and La Victoriana reserve.
We will drive towards Mashpi-Pachijal, this reserve is the best place to see more than a dozen of Choco-endemic birds, colorful tanagers, stunning hummingbirds, parrots and fruiteaters await us.

Not only that, but we will start with a short walk near the entrance of Amagusa, focusing on spotting Black Solitaire, Broad-billed Motmot and Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant. Later on we break for Breakfast, followed by a short walk along a secondary road looking for Buffy Tuftedcheeks, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, White-throated Daggerbill, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Indigo Flowerpiercer, and Uniform Treehunter, we then move to the feeding stations in the reserve for lunch, an incredible area for photography, many varied of tanagers can be seen, among them being Glistening-green, Moss-backed, Rufous-throated, and Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, there will be great opportunities to photograph Violet-tailed Sylph, Empress Brilliant and Velvet-purple coronet jewels of the Chocó bioregion.

We remain at Amagusa after lunch to admire the magical cloud forest, a countless number of plants and flowers can be seen and photograph here, later on we will drive back to the town of Santa Elena where we will visit a new reserve, La Victoriana, where you will have the chance to see the amazing displays of the bizarre Andean Cock-of-the rock. Often more than a dozen males gather together at this courtship lek to show off for females, after an hour at la Victoriana we will go back to the hotel.

Dinner and overnight, Sachatamia Lodge.

Elevation: 1,700m/5,570ft.

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Day 3:

A day exploring the magical Cloud Forest, Orchids, Bromeliads, Tree ferns and the mythical Mountain Toucan.

Our nature experience starts at 5:30am, immerse yourself in the heart of the Cloud Forest at Bellavista lodge and reserve.

This is the first private Ecological reserve in Ecuador, with 347 hectares included in the National System of Protected Areas (SNAP). Hunting, mining, and deforestation is not permitted here under Ecuadorian law.
Before breakfast, we will take a short walk around the lodge, and we will enjoy the stunning view points. You will see an endless mountain chain covered with a magical forest.

Bellavista is home to stunning birds, orchids, bromeliads, mammals, amphibians and reptiles endemic to the Tropical Andes. Close to the main restaurant you can enjoy viewing Masked Trogon, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Masked Flowerpiercer, and the Golden-crowned Flycatcher. The main hummingbird feeders attract Collared Inca, Buff-tailed Coronet, Gorgeted Sunangel, and Violet-tailed Sylph. Also, a great place to search for the Tayra, a mammal in the weasel family.

After having breakfast we go to take a short break around the feeders, later on we will do an easy walk on trails of the lodge. It will be time to enjoy the mythical cloud forest, everyone enjoys the unique landscape of the western side of the Andes!. During our walk we will be searching for Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, Toucan Barbet and Golden-headed Quetzal, you will be surprised by the number of plants you will see growing on the tree trunks and branches, here you can find a countless number of orchids, bromeliads, anthuriums, mosses and ferns just to mention some of the most remarkable species, to be honest these trees are a whole ecosystem!
Lunch will be on the way back to Quito surrounded by hummingbirds, after lunch we will take a short walk close to a beautiful river.

At midafternoon, transfer back to your hotel in Quito near the airport, for your flight to the Amazon or Galápagos Islands the next day early in the morning.

Elevation: 2,200m/7,220ft.

¡Please note!

This tour links with: Experience the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador: Yasuní National Park or Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.

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Let us make your Trip an Unforgettable Experience!


More Information

  • What does the trip include?

    • Private transportation throughout the tour.
    • English-speaking birdwatching and photography guide.
    • Entrance fees to all reserves and photography hides.
    • Two meals, breakfast and lunch.
    • Coffee and tea.

  • What is not included?

    • Travel insurance.
    • Tips for drivers and local guides.
    • Alcoholic drinks, laundry services.
    • Extra services and trips not specified in the posted itinerary.

  • Relevant Information

    • Climate is highly variable in Ecuador, with temperatures varying from 10-30°C/50-80° Sudden rainstorms interspersed with bright sun is not uncommon.
    • The official currency in Ecuador is USD.
    • National language is Spanish.
    • Internet is available at some lodges, but not guaranteed. Nature Quest can arrange for the purchase of local SIM cards with advance notice in order to provide data based internet service.

  • Sugested Packing List

    • Clothing, quick dry material; no cotton.
    • Long sleeve shirts.
    • Long convertible pants.
    • Waterproof hiking boots or trail runners.
    • Sandals or water shoes.
    • Quick dry / merino wool socks.
    • Sun hat or baseball cap.
    • Lightweight rain jacket.
    • Soft shell jacket or fleece.
    • Binoculars.

    Others: Always a camera, Refillable water bottle, Eco friendly sunblock, Eco friendly mosquito repellent (we suggest sawyer brand picaradin), Personal medications, Hiking poles if needed.

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