Southern Ecuador Route

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

About This Route

This is a great trip for photographers, especially as Buenaventura Reserve 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.

Southern Ecuador is a beautiful and highly diverse region with amazing variety in habitat, scenery, and birds. This itinerary covers arid scrub, deciduous forests, rainforests, montane cloudforests, high altitude elfin forests, and páramo. This trip also gives you a chance to explore the Tumbesian region of Ecuador, a unique ecosystem that has produced a number of endemic species.

The lodges where you will stay are owned and operated by Jocotoco Foundation. All are cozy, comfortable, and offer excellent birding right on site.

Route Information

This itinerary can be booked through Jocotours, a partner of the Jocotoco Foundation.

Other tour companies that offer this route:

Follow The Trail

  • Podocarpus National Park

    Day 1. Take a flight from Quito to Loja-Catamayo airport in southern Ecuador and arrive with plenty of time left in the morning to visit Podocarpus National Park, where you will look for Undulated Antpitta, Chesnut-naped Antpitta and Rufous Antpitta. In the afternoon, travel to Tapichalaca Reserve where you can relax and enjoy the spectacular array of hummingbirds at the feeders, such as Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Collared Inca, Little Sunangel, and Long–tailed Sylph. Overnight at Tapichalaca.

    Photo by: Owen Deutsch

  • Podocarpus National Park

    Day 2. Tapichalaca Reserve. Spend a full day birding at Tapichalaca Reserve, which was established in 1998 to protect the habitat of the Jocotoco Antpitta. A worm-feeding station makes for great views, and photos, of the Jocotoco Antpitta!  Then, you’ll get another chance to look for the Chestnut-naped Antpitta and others such as Orange-banded Flycatcher, White-throated Quail-dove, White-capped Tanager. Overnight at Tapichalaca.

    Greg Homel

  • Jorupe Reserve

    Day 3. Jorupe Reserve. Depart Tapichalaca and spend the day journeying to the Jorupe Reserve, birding along the way of course. You will note a change in habitat as you get into the Tumbesion region and some dry forest. Look for species such as Elegant Crescent-chest, Loja Hummingbird. Parrot-billed Seedeater, Drab Seedeater, and Tumbes Sparrow. In route be sure to stop and bird the amazing forest at Jocotoco Foundation’s Utuana Reserve. Among the giant Ceiba trees you might see White-headed Brush-Finch, Tumbes Hummingbird, and Baird’s Flycatcher. Overnight at Jorupe Reserve.

    Ivan Samuels

  • Jorupe Reserve

    Day 4. Jorupe Reserve. Spend the birding around the deciduous forest in the Tumbesian region of southwest Ecuador where you will hope to find Tumbesian endemics such as Blackish-headed Spinetail, Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner, Slaty Becard, Loja Tyranulet, Watkins Antpitta and Western Peruvian Screech Owl. Overnight at Jorupe Reserve.

    Larry Thompson

  • Buenaventura Reserve

    Day 5. Buenaventura Reserve. Spend one final morning birding around Jorupe and enjoying the gardens, and then depart for Buenaventura Reserve, stopping for birds along the way. Overnight at Buenaventura Reserve.

    Pancho Sornoza

  • Buenaventura Reserve

    Day 6. Buenaventura Reserve. Spend the day exploring the reserve and looking for the reserve’s flagship species: the El Oro Parakeet and the El Oro Tapaculo. Also here are species from both the Choco and Tumbesian regions, including Rufous-headed Chachalaca, Ochre-bellied Dove, Grey-backed Hawk, Pacific Royal Flycatcher and Ochraceous Attila.  Close to the research station is a lek of the threatened Long-wattled Umbrellabird.  Different types of feeders are placed near the lodge for birds and mammals where a diversity of Hummingbirds, Tanagers and Toucans can be seen alongside Coaties. Overnight at Buenaventura Reserve.

    Francisco Sornoza

  • Yanacocha Reserve

    Day 7. Yanacocha Reserve. Fly back to Quito and then make the hour trip to Yanacocha Reserve to explore a unique blend of Elfin forest, Polylepis forest, and páramo grasslands. You will look for Hooded Mountain tanager, Blue and black Tanager, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Golden-breasted Puffleg, and more. Bring a lunch to enjoy at the reserve before traveling back to the city in the afternoon. Overnight in Quito.

    Ondrej Prosicky

Accommodations

  • Casa Simpson Lodge

    Two nights will be spent at the Casa Simpson Lodge at Tapichalaca Reserve. The lodge is tucked into prime birding habitat and features a cozy communal area to dine and relax after a long day birding.

  • Casa Simpson Lounge Area

    Two nights will be spent at the Casa Simpson Lodge at Tapichalaca Reserve. The lodge is tucked into prime birding habitat and features a cozy communal area to dine and relax after a long day birding.

  • Casa Simpson Balcony

    Two nights will be spent at the Casa Simpson Lodge at Tapichalaca Reserve. The lodge is tucked into prime birding habitat and features a cozy communal area to dine and relax after a long day birding.

  • Casa Simpson Dining Area

    Two nights will be spent at the Casa Simpson Lodge at Tapichalaca Reserve. The lodge is tucked into prime birding habitat and features a cozy communal area to dine and relax after a long day birding.

  • Jorupe Lodge

    Two nights will be spent at the Urraca Lodge at the Jorupe Reserve. The lodge features cabins with balconies and picturesque views of the surrounding forest.

    Ivan Samuels

  • Jorupe Lodge Balcony

    Two nights will be spent at the Urraca Lodge at the Jorupe Reserve. The lodge features cabins with balconies and picturesque views of the surrounding forest.

  • Jorupe Cabin

    Two nights will be spent at the Urraca Lodge at the Jorupe Reserve. The lodge features cabins with balconies and picturesque views of the surrounding forest.

  • Buenaventura Cabin

    Two nights will be spent at the Umbrellabird Lodge at Buenaventura Reserve. The lodge features cabins, a lovely open air dining room, and a hummingbird garden.

  • Hummingbird Garden

    Two nights will be spent at the Umbrellabird Lodge at Buenaventura Reserve. The lodge features cabins, a lovely open air dining room, and a hummingbird garden.

  • Buenaventura Dining Area

    Two nights will be spent at the Umbrellabird Lodge at Buenaventura Reserve. The lodge features cabins, a lovely open air dining room, and a hummingbird garden.

  • Interpretive Center at Yanacocha

    At the end of your trip, you will spend the day at Yanacocha Reserve, which features a lovely little café area for lunch and an interpretive center to learn more about the region.

  • Cafe at Yanacocha

    At the end of your trip, you will spend the day at Yanacocha Reserve, which features a lovely little café area for lunch and an interpretive center to learn more about the region.

  • Cafe at Yanacocha

    At the end of your trip, you will spend the day at Yanacocha Reserve, which features a lovely little café area for lunch and an interpretive center to learn more about the region.

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