Ecuador holds one of the worlds highest biodiversity rates. With over half of all the birds in all of South America and twice as many as live in Europe, more mammals per square meter than anywhere else in the world, more frog species than any other country, 25,000 species of plants, 1250 species of fish, 350 species of reptiles and untold hundreds of thousands of invertebrates Ecuador truly has a wealth of life. This tour focuses on some incredibly bio-diverse habitats the Choco-Andean Corridor and cloud forests as well as the Amazon Rainforest. You will probably see more species every day here than you would on a months safari in East Africa!
Guided walks through the Amazon
Learn the tricks to catch Piranha
Visit parrot clay licks
Canoe through the flooded forest
Climb huge canopy towers!
Spotlight for caimans after dark
Tour Dates: 24/8/2020 – 5/9/2020
Duration: 12 nights
Type / Focus: Mammals & Birds
On arrival in Ecuador you will meet your local guide and be taken to your accommodation, level –local guesthouse. Today you can rest from the long journey to Ecuador while we get used to Quito’s altitude. A complimentary small night tour of the city of Quito and the historic centre is offered with a nice welcome in a traditional restaurant of the city, where you will meet all your fellow travellers and your guide for a very special and friendly cocktail.
This morning we will start early by going to one of Quito’s local markets where Ecuadorians do their daily grocery shopping. A very local experience, where “caseras” offer products on small kiosks that are filled with an incredible variety of Ecuador’s local fruits and vegetables. We will continue towards Museo del Intiman, located exactly over the Equator line, where they will amuse us with some particular tricks that can only be done right here, in the middle of the world. We will then visit the Mitad del Mundo monument where one step can take you from one hemisphere to another. We enjoy a delicious lunch at one traditional restaurant of the city. This afternoon we will visit the historic centre, full of legends and myths, it is considered one of the best preserved colonial sites in Latin America. We will visit incredible churches like the Compañia de Jesus church, considered to be one of the most beautiful of its kind in all Latin America, the Basilica del Voto Nacional and San Francisco Plaza. You will return to your accommodation, level – local guesthouse.
Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve
Early in the morning you will be picked from your hotel in Quito to start an amazing trip trough the Andean hills to the cloud forest. In the way you will pass in front of Mitad del Mundo Monument and after, you will do two short stops, one in Pululahua Geobotanic Reserve, which is in fact a volcano which has people living inside, and in the southern control point of Maquipucuna Reserve, called Utopia (because when Fundación Maquipucuna began his work of conservation 20 years ago, everything looked like a dream), to look at the magnificent of the cloud forest. After more or less two hours of driving we will arrive to Maquipucuna Ecotourism Center, once there the Administrator will give us a short speech and explanations about the history of Maquipucuna Foundation, Maquipucuna Reserve and conservation projects. There will be some time for relaxing and getting prepared for your first walk into the cloud forest. Joined by your naturalist guide, you will go inside the forest for one of the trails of Maquipucuna Reserve. You will be able to experience the nature, to see the richness of cloud forest, to hear and to see its inhabitant; Maquipucuna is home of 350 species of orchids, 370 bird species, 50 species of mammals, countless species of invertebrates and exotic species of butterflies and moths so you will not be disappointed. There is the possibility of setting up camera traps to see what animals have been moving around after dark as well here. Before you return to lodge, we recommend you to take a relaxing and energizing bath in the waterfall close to the lodge. When you arrive back at the lodge you will have lunch before visiting the orchid garden organic farm in the afternoon. You will also have your evening meal at the accommodation, level – Eco-lodge (Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Eco-Lodge). As the sunsets you will be treated to slideshows of the work done here as well as the sounds of frogs, grasshoppers and beautiful sights of colourful moths.
Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve
You will rise early this morning to catch some of the birds as they start their day around the lodge. Tanagers, toucans and euphonies are the main targets. This is the best time of day to spot spectacled bears and if their favourite fruit is ripe when we arrive (the time changes every year) you will probably see one. After breakfast you will have another guided walk around the reserve before starting the journey back to Quito and your accommodation, level – local guesthouse; for the night and your evening meal.
Napo Wildlife Centre
This morning you will be taken to the domestic airport to catch the short 30min flight to Coca. The flight will be over the eastern Andes and offer spectacular views. Once arriving in the Amazon a short local bus journey will take us to Port Francisco de Orellana where you will take a motorised canoe along one of the many rivers and towards Napo. Along the waterways herons and kingfishers are among the commonly seen animals. Once you have got to Napo there will be a short paddle canoe trip along the narrow creeks to Anangu Lake where the lodge is located. Various large birds like toucans, parrots and even macaws can be seen. After your evening meal at the accommodation, level – Eco Lodge (Napo Wildlife Centre) you can spend some time searching out caiman in the lake.
Napo Wildlife Centre
Early this morning you will visit some clay licks where up to 11 species of parrot, parakeets and macaws can be seen during the morning gathering much needed salts from the clay. Later in the day you will be taken to the Quichua community of Anangu and see how the indigenous people live their lives before a second visit to a clay lick and lunch will be served at the Parrot Clay Lick Observatory. The rest of the evening will be at your leisure. Your evening meal will be served at the accommodation, level – Eco Lodge (Napo Wildlife Centre).
Napo Wildlife Centre
After an early breakfast you will be taken to the 36m tall canopy observation tower. This is by far the best way to experience rainforest life and the views of spectacular. Various monkeys and bird species are almost guaranteed up here and being at their level you get a true insight to how they live their lives. Lunch will be served at the lodge and the afternoon will be spent exploring the Terra Firme Trail which delves into primary forest and is a great place to see the rare manakins, golden mantled taramins and other interesting forest animals. After this hike a canoe ride down some of the creeks and into the lake usually brings us to a family of giant otters playing and these 2m long otters are a exceptional sight. Your evening meal will be at the accommodation, level – Eco Lodge (Napo Wildlife Centre).
Napo Wildlife Centre
This morning will be your last adventure down the Napo River and trying to find giant otters and the unusual Monk saki monkeys; before being transferred back to the airport and back to Quito for the night, your evening meal will be back at the accommodation, level – local guesthouse; or in a nearby restaurant.
This morning once again you will be taken to the airport and a short 30min flight will bring you back into the Amazon Rainforest; but this time the 2 hour canoe ride and short hike will bring you to a different lake and Sacha Lodge. The lake (Pilchicocha) is very inviting and we recommend a good old dip once you arrive here to relax after the day travelling. Other activities today include a mini observation tower which allows for fantastic views at sunset and is also a great place to view many of the common birds seen around the lodge. There is also a butterfly house here where a local guide will help introduce you to the outstanding colours and shapes of the butterflies in the rainforest. After dinner at the accommodation, level – Eco-Lodge (Sacha Lodge) you will have either a guided walk or canoe ride after dark to spotlight for nocturnal animals including caiman.
This morning will begin with a walk through the rainforest until we come to the 36m tall observation tower. Once again spending time here to observe the birds and monkeys at their level. Afterwards a guided walk through the Terra Firma and Igapo forests will introduce you to many medicinal plants found here and used by the locals for hundreds of years. After lunch you will use a combination of hiking and canoeing back to the lodge. Looking for the elusive dusky titi monkeys along the way. The evening meal will be once again back at the accommodation, level – Eco Lodge (Sacha Lodge).
Leaving the lodge shortly after breakfast you will begin a hike of the Lagartococha trail which will give you the chance to learn more of how the indigenous people live alongside the forest wildlife and spot some more of the rare mammals, birds and reptiles which share the forest. The trail will eventually bring you to the Lake Lagartococha where you will have a canoe ride and try to spot the caimans, anacondas, capybaras and many bird species along the natural swamp. Continuing the walk along the other side of the lake we usually seen capuchin and squirrel monkeys playing in the tree tops. There will be time to relax and enjoy lunch back at the accommodation, level – Eco Lodge (Sacha Lodge) and after lunch a local guide will teach you the trick to catching red-bellied piranha (one of the most misunderstood of all animals). As the temperature begins to cool down you will embark on probably the best trail around Sacha, the silent canoe ride through the flooded Amazon forest often means being surrounded by capuchins, squirrel and howler monkeys as well as the possibilities of giant otters, three-toes sloths and other incredible forest animals. The culmination of this cruise will be the 135ft tall wooden tower built into an ancient Kapok tree, from here the vibrantly coloured birdlife coupled with the sunset view over Mount Sumaco (a local volcano) is one of the best sights you will ever see. Leaving the tower just after sunset will reveal a different world on the canoe ride back. The caiman are out along with hundred and thoudands of bats, frogs and insects along with nocturnal birds (which makes for a natural orchestra full of sound) and if you are very lucky maybe a rare glimpse of the night monkey (douroucouli). Your evening meal will be served back at the lodge.
Today will be another early start as we catch the flight back to Quito (one more canoe trip through the forest before arriving in the cultural capital of Ecuador. From here you will have one more fantastic trip; we will try local biscuits from a small factory in Cayambe overlooking the stunning San Pablo Lake as well as continuing to one of the biggest markets along the Pan-American Highway which spans the Andes – Otavalo. Before dinner you will be taken to the Peguche waterfalls and after lunch a visit to Cuicocha. This is an active crater filled with water over hundreds of years, here you will enjoy your last evening meal in Ecuador overlooking the crater before you return to your accommodation, level – local guesthouses; in Quito.
This morning you will be transferred to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
The weather in Ecuador is always fairly constant in its unpredictability! And in August you should expect rain and temperatures in the 20s. However the tour goes from the tropical rainforests to wet Cloud Forest, so it is best to come prepared for anything.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private vehicle to be driven by a local guide.
All our excursions including treks, guided walks, canoe trips, canopy towers and park entrance fees are also included.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be everything from swimming gear to warm cloths and waterproofs. The nights can be chilly so a fleece, long trousers and woolly hat are a good idea. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. Insect repellent is needed. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be very strong here during the day.
We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4-6 people these do not stretch too far. A spotlight is usually provided for nocturnal wildlife watching (when local conditions allow) and Camera Traps will also be used to try and capture hard to see wildlife in the dead of night.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not included are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souvenirs and tips. Any departure taxes applicable when leaving are not included (but may be included in the cost of your flights), Please check this before hand.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend Continental Airline or Delta Air Lines Inc as good airlines for flights to Quito. One of the best websites to search for the best fares for all these flights is www.holidaygenie.com; who are ATOL bonded and IATA accredited this is a link direct to their site. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.
Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
All UK passport holders are not required to have a visa for Ecuador. However things change so the easiest way to find information is by visiting http://ecuador.embassyhomepage.com/ (be aware that these links leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for information on the site).
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit Ecuador, but it is recommended to be protected against TB, polio, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis It is however very important to be taking a form of malaria prophylactics during your time in Ecuador. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting Ecuador as soon as you have decided on this trip.
Joe & Rhoda Boyer, Chelsea - Mighican
David Fox, Oxfordshire
Mr. O\'Leary & Ms. Osman, Essex