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Choco Forest & Northern Ecuador

Ecuador JocoToco Itineraries

Birdwatching & Nature Tours

Tours supported by the World Land Trust

Ecuador JocoToco Itineraries photo
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jocotoco reserve

Arrive to Quito and transfer to Hotel Quito.

Day 1

This Jocotoco Foundation reserve is located in the elfin forest in the slopes of Pichincha Volcano. The main trail is easy and the birds are amazing. Some of the birds you can see are: Scarlet-bellied and Black-chested Mountain-Tanagers, Great Sapphirewing, Sapphire-vented and Golden-breasted Pufflegs, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Sword-billed Hummingbird all regular, Black-breasted Puffleg can also be seen here occasionally. On the Old Nono-Mindo it could be White-capped Dipper, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrants, Beautiful Jay. Overnight at Tandayapa Lodge. In the afternoon you can walk through road on the upper Tandayapa valley to look for: Tanager Finch, Toucan Barbet, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan.

Day 2

Paz de Aves and the Upper Tandayapa Valley
This now-famous antpitta reserve near Mindo will be a highlight of the tour. Here, a local farmer has started hand-feeding Giant, Moustached, and Yellow-breasted Antpittas with amazing success. We also have a chance to see other Chocó specialties, including Velvet-purple Coronet, Empress Brilliant, and Orange-breasted Fruiteater.

Day 3

Afterwards we move to Canandé reserve. Most of the drive is through degraded habitat and plantations but you can try to do some birding stops to make the long drive a bit more interesting. Over a dozen Chocó endemics have been recorded at Canandé, though the highlight for many visitors is the lek of Club-winged Manakins, using their wings to make buzzing sounds to impress females. Other targets here include Choco Trogon, and Ochre-breasted and Rufous-throated Tanagers. Some good birds during the drive include: Short-tailed Hawk, Ecuadorian Ground-dove, Snowy-throated Kingbird, Swallow Tanager, Pacific Hornero. We arrived at the lodge at mid afternoon. In the afternoon you can walk around the Tawny-faced-Quail-trail where you can find: Red-capped Manakin, Rufous Piha, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, Chocó Poorwill.

Day 4

Rio Canandé, up to the mirador
One of the best birding at Rio Canandé is done during the hike up to the mirador. Various raptors, monkeys and other species are seen more easily from the mirador. Recent observations of the 2 extremely rare Banded Ground-cuckoo are all coming from the ridge. Sightings of this enigmatic species are getting more regular at Rio Canandé and the local guides have estimated at least three territories along the main trail to the mirador. The best chance for the rare and local Golden-chested Tanager is on top of the ridge were it has a territory. Some of the birds you can see are: Chestnut-backed Antbirds, Broad-billed Sapayoa, Band-tailed Barbthroat, White-whiskered Puffbird, Blue-crowned Manakin, Ornate Hawk-eagle!, Gray-backed Hawk, Black-tipped Cotinga, Great Jacamars!

Day 5

Canandé to Quito
One more time you can go up a few kilometers for the reserve to try for this rare species before starting the road back to Quito. While it is a fairly long drive back, there is plenty to see along the way like on the dryer valleys where you’ll look for Blue-headed Sapphire in the scrub. A short stop at Museo Intiñán to look for Ecuadorian cultures before finally arriving in Quito

  • Rates
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Choco Lowlands & Northern Ecuador Rates


  • US$ 1, 440 (For Two People)
  • US$ 1, 008 (For Four People)

Tour Includes:

Lodging hotel/lodges
All meals as indicated
All land transportation
Airport transfers
Guide services
Entrance fees to reserves

Tour Does Not Include:

International airfare
Airport departure tax (if required)
Expenses of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, extra drinks and snacks, souvenirs, etc.

For booking, please enquire with the Canandé Lodge contact form and mention the “Choco Lowlands & Northern Ecuador 5 Day Trip.”

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    Five Days

    Choco Lowlands & North Ecuador Quito, Ecuador

    5 Day Birdwatching Program | 5D / 4N
    Observe fantastic bird species on this tour of the Yanacocha and Canandé reserves. See birds like Scarlet-bellied and Black-chested Mountain-Tanagers, Great Sapphirewing, Sapphire-vented and Golden-breasted Pufflegs, and Plate-billed Mountain-Toucans.

For Tour Operators & Lodge Owners