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Birding at Santa Lucía: x-day Bird Tour

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Santa Lucía Lodge
We organize customized birding tours in our reserve and can include the Yunguilla community (higher elevation) and the Maquipucuna reserve (lower elevation) in it. Contact us if you are interested. The itinerary below is an example; the length and the intensity of your birding tour depends on your interest (and partly on the season). We recommend a minimum of four days - especially if you want more than one site included. Two people minimum. Please ask about prices since all birding tours are calculated individually.

Price include:

  • Entrance to Santa Lucía's and Yunguilla's and Maquipucuna's reserves
  • All accommodation at Yunguilla and Santa Lucía.
  • All meals
  • Transport from and to Quito and between sites
  • Local guides with specialist knowledge of birds
  • National taxes (IVA)

Price do not include:

  • Accommodation in Quito
  • Additional drinks at Santa Lucía and Maquipucuna (wine, beer etc.)
  • Insurance. We therefore recommend that visitors purchase insurance to cover accident, medical expenses, evacuation, repatriation loss of personal effects and cancellation.

Tour Itinerary (example)

Day 1.
  Pick up at your hotel at 8:00 a.m. and  drive to Yunguilla, a picturesque village in the Andes located at 8000 ft. where the local villagers make their living by growing organic fruits and vegetables. Here we will stay in a comfortable hostel overnight. This first day we will walk along the local trails to find the higher elevation birds such as … Plushcap, Brush Finches, Rufous-chested Tanager, Turquoise Jay, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Speckled and Sword-billed humminbirds, Black- capped Hemisphingus, and some of the gorgeous Mountain Tanagers... Scarlet-bellied, Hooded and Grass Green. On a clear day you will have magnificent views of the volcanoe Cotacachi. There is an option of visiting the Yunguilla work shops where organic cheese and jams are made.

Day 2.  After an early breakfast we will drive about one and a half hours to la Delicia, a small country community where the Santa Lucia office is located. This is at a lower elevation where we will expect to see such species as ... Masked Tityra, Lemon-rumped, White-winged and Bay-headed Tanagers, Red-rumped and Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, Red-headed Barbet, Brownish Twistwing, Little Tinamou and many more. We will bird here for 2-3 hours and then after enjoying an early lunch we will drive along a beautiful country road to the trailhead leading to the Santa Lucia Lodge. The two kilometer trail up to the lodge is fairly steep but we will walk at a leisurely pace and bird along the way. The lodge is perched on top of the Andes in the cloud forest and we will arrive before dinner in time to enjoy the spectacular views, take a hot shower and then enjoy a delicious meal.

Luggage will be taken up via mules.

Day 3.   An early start before breakfast birding around the lodge and the hummingbird feeders to see Empress, Green-crowned and Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Booted Racket-tail, Violet-tailed Sylph and Sparkling Violetear. Ecuador boasts 130 species of hummingbirds.

After Breakfast we will hike further along the main trail to look for flocks of colorful tanagers and locate such species as...Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Giant, Scaled and Moustached Antpitta, Toucan Barbet, Golden-headed Quetzal, Golden and Club-winged Manakin, Barred and Roadside Hawks, Black-and-Chestnut and Ornate Hawk Eagles for just a few.

Day 4.  Today we will take the Cascade Trail: A beautiful trail leading down past many waterfalls into primary forest with many epiphytes, orchids and bromeliads clinging to the trees, and hopefully see Dark -backed Woodquail, Giant Antpitta and with luck the rare White-faced Nunbird and Cloud Forest Pygmy Owl. The trail eventually  reaches the river where there is a  crystal clear pool for swimming, and a good spot to have our boxed lunch and be on the lookout for the White-tailed Hillstar, White-capped Dippers and Torrent Tyrranulet. After lunch we return to the lodge for maybe a well earned nap before dinner.

Day 5.  A visit to the fantastic Andean Cock-of-the-Rock Lek: This is a 1-1/2 hour walk to reach the lek location, but is well worth the effort. A sight you will never forget as the spectacular 30+ scarlet males perform their dance to attract females, it will be the highlight of your trip.

Day 6.   Today, if you feel energetic you can walk to the highest point in the reserve (approx 2,475 metres,) a three hour hike uphill to see some of the higher elevation birds …Black-chested Buzzard, and Crested Eagle. Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, Beautiful Jay, Spillman's Tapaculo and Tawney-breasted Tinamou are a very good possibility.

Day 7.  After an early  breakfast we walk back down the main trail to the Maquipucuna Reserve to see lower elevation birds. This reserve is along the beautiful Umachaca River where Torrent Ducks, White-capped Dipper, Torrent Tyrannulet, Choco Toucan, Rufous-breasted and Blue- crowned Motmots, Yellow Tufted Dacnus, White-whiskered and Barred Puffbird, Scaly-throated  Foliage Gleaner and many, many others are easily located. We will spend the morning birding here and after lunch return to Quito.


Click here to SKYPE usReservations: (593-2) 215 7242 or  santaluciaecuador@gmail.com - www.santaluciaecuador.com 
Santa Lucía Cloud Forest Reserve, Barrio La Delicia, Nanegal, Ecuador

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