Over 1,600 different birds flutter across Ecuador's sublime landscapes, the country's unusual ecosystems creating a haven for the endemic and endangered. This handcrafted bird watching tour of Galapagos and Ecuador blends the fabulous range of colors, habitats, and mating displays, from the waved albatross to sword-billed hummingbirds and the Andean cock-of-the-rock. You spend seven days in the Andean cloud forest then five days on the Galapagos, with every day exploring a series of birding sites....
Discovering a Unique City
Quito provides an elegant and relaxing welcome after the international flight. Its late-16th-century colonial streets are filled with hidden treasures. Turn a corner to find a bishop's palace, wander over broad cobbled squares, peek into golden churches, and overcome any travel fatigue in elegant cafes at the heart of the city's World Heritage Center. You'll be greeted at the airport and transferred to a five-star hotel that stands above the central square. From your balcony, there's a view over the Presidential Palace and South America's most artistically influential church. Within walking distance, you'll find narrow streets of pastel shades and elegant courtyards, plus wide plazas alive with the melodies of indigenous music.
Endemic Hummingbirds in the Cloud Forest
Vibrant Colors in the Highlands
The Iconic Species of the Cloud Forest
Andean Cock-of-the-rock and the Antpitta Show
Exploring the Lowland Slopes
Surreal Discoveries in the Cloud Forest
Final Birds of the Ecuadorian Forests
The Incredible Breeding Ground of North Seymour
Galapagos Highland Birds and Tortoises
All Three Booby Species on Punta Pitt
The Rare Waved Albatross of Espanola
- Marvel at a stunning sample of Ecuador's birds: crested quetzal, rainbow-bearded thornbill, rose-faced parrot, lanceolated monklet, Nazca booby, Darwin's finches, mockingbirds, sword-billed hummingbird, shining sunbeam, great sapphirewing, and many more
- Fully explore the cloud forests of Andean Ecuador by visiting the iconic birding sites in the heart of the country
- Spend five days on the Galapagos Islands, surrounding yourself with a rare and endemic world of birds
- Admire the vivid mating displays of unique species, like the Andean cock-of-the-rock, the magnificent frigate, and the blue-footed booby
- Discover endemic species of all sizes, from the waved albatross of Espanola Island to the hummingbirds of the cloud forest
- Watch how the species change as you travel from high-altitude forested volcanos to low-lying valleys split by gentle rivers
- Sleep in some of the country's finest lodges, every leisurely hour accompanied by graceful bird sightings from the balcony
The wings of 1,600 different birds flutter across the Ecuadorian landscape, providing a kaleidoscope of color to mysterious cloud forest and strange islands. There's the big and critically endangered, like Andean condors soaring above pristine forest or waved albatross nesting on Genovesa Island. Small and delicate wonder is found in sword-billed hummingbirds, lanceolated monklets, and shining sunbeams. Then there are the flamboyant mating displays of the Andean cock-of-the-rock, blue-footed booby, and magnificent frigate. For both diversity and abundance, this is one of the world's finest birdwatching destinations. A myriad of ecosystems is home to endemic specialists, and the wing colors change as you travel from volcanic highlands to river-dappled valleys and then the islands of the Galapagos. Consider reading for yourself first hand accounts from other travelers about the wonders of the Galapagos in their Galapagos travel reviews.
This handcrafted bird watching tour of Galapagos and Ecuador is split between Andean cloud forests and the surreal Galapagos archipelago. Over the first seven days, you explore the mainland, visiting over a dozen unique reserves as you traverse alpine slopes and low-lying valleys. With the change in altitude comes a change in species, each destination home to a rare mix of the sublime and surreal. Revered highlights include the elegant great sapphirewing, Andean pygmy-owl, red-crested cotinga, plus various quetzal and hummingbird species. For most of these eight days, you're based in Ecuador's bird capital – Mindo – and take day trips to iconic birding sites like Yanacocha, Reserva Las Gralarias, Bellavista, and Tandayapa. An initial night in World Heritage Quito provides the urban contrast, allowing you to explore another side of a mystical country.
Then the Galapagos, an otherworldly set of islands standing isolated in the Pacific. Magnificent frigatebirds inflate their vivid throat sacks, three booby species hop from foot to foot, while thousands of endemic seabirds nest on volcanic cliffs. Over five days, you visit the archipelago's most important birding sites, including North Seymour, Punta Pitt, and Espanola Island. It's wonderfully intimate, the rugged trails taking you directly past unspoiled breeding grounds of nature's most vibrant. Tens of thousands nest together, and they're seemingly oblivious to your presence; mating displays play out just a couple of meters from your camera, flightless hatching wait with an inquisitive grin, and mammoth seabirds dive from nearby cliffs. By combining cloud forests and the Galapagos, you get two very different experiences, meaning these two weeks are continually filled with rare and surreal highlights.
$12,670 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
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- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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