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Tropical Birding 
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Victor Emanuel
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Southern Ecuador - January 2006

Southern Ecuador Route
Good all year; 7 days travel; 650+ species occur, 4 endemics, 27 threatened species

This route could be described as the dry to wet route! That doesn't necessarily mean you will get rained on, though you may, it just means that you will be experiencing a range of birds that start in the dry Tumbesian region near the coast, moving inland to the moist cloud forests of Buenaventura and Tapichalaca.

This is a great trip for photographers, especially as Buenaventura has one of the most spectacular hummingbird feeding stations anywhere, and because the feeding station for antpittas at Tapichalaca allows close approach to some of the rarest and most photogenic Andean birds. The lodge at Tapichalaca is warm and welcoming and a superb base from which to explore the reserve and the southern part of Podocarpus National Park.

The route starts with arrival to Guayaquil airport and a visit to the nearby Cerro Blanco reserve. It continues south via the wetlands of Mangalares Churute, and on to the dry forest reserves at Jorupe and Utuana, before climbing higher into the Andes - visiting Buenaventura, and then Tapichalaca.

Some of the driving can be tedious, though roads are generally good to fair. It is possible to do this route independently, but you will get more out of it if you hire a guide or go on an organized tour. 

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