Photo by: Kathy Adams Clark
Location: Ecuador

Ecuador Exotic Bird Photography Tour

  • A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Houston Audubon Society to support their programs.
  • Travel with an Ecuadorian naturalist/birder and Photo Leader & Educator Kathy Adams Clark.
  • Visit tropical lowlands, and high Andes for a chance to see a wide array of hummingbirds, tropical birds, and the majestic Andean Condors.
  • Accommodations are at well-known eco-friendly lodges in the heart of the cloud forest, with breathtaking on-site bird photography.
  • Visits Antisana, Yanacocha, and Alambi Nature Reserves, among others to photograph their wealth of tropical birds.
  • Extend your stay with Kathy to the Papallacta area, the eastern slope of the Andes, offering some of the most exciting birding in the country.

Latin America and Caribbean




May 22-30, 2025


8 days

Available Post-Trip Extension

Eastern Andes Extension


per person, double occupancy*

*U.S. dollars based upon minimum of 8 participants. There is a small group surcharge of $200 if 6-7 participants. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested (subject to availability), or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, there is a single room surcharge of $495.

Tour Overview

Welcome to a land of endless discovery… Ecuador is split down the middle by the magnificent Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world. The itinerary begins in search of the Andean Condor at the Antisana Ecological Reserve outside Quito. Journey next to the Mindo Valley where you will stay in one amazing eco-lodge for six evenings. This will provide a very relaxed itinerary without the various demands of changing lodges. Each day you...

Welcome to a land of endless discovery… Ecuador is split down the middle by the magnificent Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world. The itinerary begins in search of the Andean Condor at the Antisana Ecological Reserve outside Quito. Journey next to the Mindo Valley where you will stay in one amazing eco-lodge for six evenings. This will provide a very relaxed itinerary without the various demands of changing lodges. Each day you will be photographing various protected reserves in the Western Andes. You can then extend your stay on the optional extension with Kathy seeking out and photographing the different species of birds and wildlife in the Eastern Andes.

Visiting Ecuador is finding a paradise full of wonder and astonishing natural attractions. Ecuador has it all, with its snow-capped volcanoes, plunging valleys, majestic mountains, breathtaking gardens, and green valleys bathed by cascading waterfalls. Each destination has been selected to maximize photographic and birding opportunities.

Ecuador’s attractiveness springs from the fact that over 1,500 species of birds have been recorded in this tiny country. The country is rapidly becoming a prime destination for photographers and naturalists because the land is being wisely protected with a system of national parks and private reserves. The comfortable lodges in the midst of our photographic locations allow us to relax and enjoy Ecuador. You will see why Ecuador is a growing world-class destination.

Photo Leader

Kathy Adams Clark

Over all an excellent trip: food, guides, and the tour itself! Kathy did a great job.

— J Davis

I learned a lot of new things about photography and details of better camera use that I will put into practice. We were very pleased with the trip, the guides, the drivers, the food, and the accommodations.

— D. Lund

Tour Itinerary

May 22: Home - Quito, Ecuador

Flights from the U.S. arrive in Quito this evening, where there will be a group transport (time to be announced) to your accommodations, in the heart of Quito. Overnight Quito (meals aloft)

May 23: Quito and Antisana Ecological Reserve

Even before tourists catch sight of the Volcano Antisana, there is evidence of her destructive past. Ancient lava flows are footsteps from the past, setting the scene as visitors make their way into the reserve. Antisana is a haven for birdlife, home to an impressive 418 different species. The most famous feathered Antisana resident is the Andean Condor. Today, there are fewer than 100 wild condors in Ecuador and this reserve is often the best place to spot them.

For hummingbirds, the feeders around Tambo Condor offer a great location to photograph Shining Sunbeams, Tyrian Metaltails and Sparkling Violetears, as is the largest species on the planet – the Giant Hummingbird (Patagona Gigas). Long trumpet flowers also attract sword-billed hummingbirds in season, using his spectacular long beak to find pollen where only he can reach. At Antisana it’s also possible to spot an endemic species to the country – the Ecuadorian Hillstar.

Admire one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the well-reserved historical center of Quito, with its many beautiful churches, museums, houses, and squares. Overnight Quito (B, box Lunch)

May 24-29: Western Andes

Your home base for the next six days is at a marvelous, private ecological reserve. The lodge is nestled into the cloud forest, with individual cabins, and boasts a swimming pool and hot tub, with optional spa treatments. It is located close to Milpe and Mindo Valley, Tandayapa Valley, and Rio Silanche lowlands. The local guide and Kathy will be taking you each day to various reserves and nature trails.

 Zuro Loma & Yanacocha Reserves – Alambi Hummingbird Garden

Enjoy photographing the ecological reserves along the hummingbird route on the western slope of the Andes. The Zuro Loma Reserve or “Bamboo Hill” is located near Yanacocha Reserve in the foothills of Pichincha Volcano, about an hour and half outside Quito. The reserve is a mix of a temperate neotropical cloud forest and inter-Andean vegetation. In addition to the 171 registered bird species, and possibly observe 2 main antpittas, the Equatorial antpitta and the Chestnut-naped antpitta. You will re explore the 3 main trails to observe hummingbird feeders, and other species like White-throated screech owl.

Continue to the Alambi Reserve, a hummingbird paradise. It is a favorite destination for birding and photography with feeders in the West slope cloud forest. It is in the Tandayapa Valley. There are over 30 species of hummingbirds that you can observe in 15 minutes! There are also aguacatillos trees near by, which attract the Golden-headed quetzal and Crested quetzal. The Tandayapa River brings other bird species and is the nesting ground for the Andean cock-of-the rock, Lyre-tailed nightjar and cloud forest pygmy owl. The reserve has 120 Hectares and around 90% is primary forest.

Paz de las Aves & San Tadeo

There are great views of antpitta feeders and Andean cock-of-the rock, located in Angel Paz Reserve. This is a private birding sanctuary owned by Angel and Rodrigo Paz, birders and antpitta lovers, who have conserved this pristine secondary forest. In our tours we can observe possible 6 types of antpittas, Andean cock-of-the rock, and ocellated tapaculo, in addition to hummingbirds, toucans, potoos, flycatchers and others.

Amagusa & Santa Elena

Other great photography location can be found at Amagusa and Santa Elena. Amagusa Mashpi Reserve is one of the best spots in the world for biodiversity and birding. It’s one of the last foothill-forests that directly connects to the lower subtropical western forest of Ecuador. Its unique location makes it particularly attractive for birders looking for the highest biodiversity regions with choco endemic birds.

Birdwatchers House – Mirador Rio Blanco – Frutti Tour

We’ll also visit and photograph at the Birdwatchers House. It is consistently rated as one of the world’s most biodiverse habitats and host to a record-breaking number of endemic bird species and of course, unique to the choco andino. The Birdwatchers feeding stations have been professionally designed for the expert photographer, particularly of birds. Before returning to your lodge you will continue your photography at Mirador Rio Blanco and enjoy a visit to Sendero Frutti.

Chocó Bird Reserve and Punto Ornitologico Mindo

Another highlight in the area is the Choco Bird Reserve, followed by Punto Ornitologico in the Mindo Valley. It is a fascinating spot for bird enthusiasts! Located in the heart of Mindo, Ecuador, this reserve is dedicated to bird tourism and serves as the habitat and sustenance for many avian species. Highlights include hummingbirds, tanagers, toucans, kingfishers, and between anther 70-90 different species.

Recinto de Junio & Milpe Reserve

We’ll make time to visit Recinto de Junio for long-wattled umbrellabird, followed by the Milpe Reserve. Recinto is a magical place dedicated to the conservation of this bird’s habitat. Their conservation area has been blessed with a stable population of the long-wattled umbrellabird. They have a lodge and a 20-hectare reserve with trails and hummingbird feeders where you can feast on the great biodiversity in this Choco endemic region. In the 300-acre Milpe Reserve, you will truly discover why this area of upper tropical forest is world-famous for its birding. There are large flocks of tanagers everywhere, along with a variety of birding excitement with the presence of the Choco trogon, Pale-mandibled aracari, Yellow-collared chlorophonia and Broad-billed motmot. Overnights Sachatamia (B, box L, D each day)

May 30: Quito-Home or on to the Eastern Anders

After a leisurely breakfast photograph amidst the grounds of your lodge and trails throughout the reserve. Those not on the extension will be taken to a Quito airport hotel for check-in. You will have the late afternoon and evening to rest, relax, re-pack and enjoy dinner on your own. The hotel provides an airport shuttle for you to check-in for your late evening flight home. Landing home May 31. (B)

Post-Trip Extension

Extension Name

Eastern Andes Extension




May 31-Jun 3 2025


3 days

* Based upon minimum of 4 participants. Single room surcharge is $245.

You can then extend your stay on the optional extension with Kathy seeking out and photographing the different species of birds and wildlife in the Eastern Andes.

May 30-31: Papallacta - Guango

After dropping others at their airport hotel, continue with Kathy and your local guide to the Eastern Andes. Your drive to the east slope cloud forest will initially lead through the drier central valley where you will pass through a mix of agricultural zones and native forests before rising up steeply to the high and windswept paramo. Papallacta Pass is a transition ecosystem between the Andes and the cloud forest, perfect for mixed flocks and paramo hummingbirds. You’ll reach your next lodge late this afternoon, having another full day tomorrow to enjoy the lodge trails, hummingbird feeders, and grounds. Photograph as a group or wander on your own. Your birding guide will walk with those interested in photographing forest dwelling birds such as Rufous-breasted antthrush, Moustached, Scaled, and Ochre-breasted antpittas, Dark-backed wood-quail, and White-throated quail-dove.

Examples include hummingbirds such as the four-inch-long Sword-billed hummingbird, Tourmaline sunangel, Collared inca, Chestnut-breasted coronet, and Long-tailed sylph. Garden birds of particular interest include the Turquoise jay and Glossy flowerpiercers. Surrounding grounds are home to Grey-breasted mountain-toucan, Buff-breasted and Hooded mountain-tanagers, Grey-hooded bush-tanager, and Slaty brush-finch. Overnight Guango (D; B, D)

June 1: Cosanga-Wild Sumaco Wildlife Sanctuary

Depart after breakfast toward the Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary where you will have the day and evening to enjoy additional photography. The lodge is in the Upper Amazon region, located between Sumaco National Park and Narupa Valley, a transition tropical zone towards the Lower Amazon Basin. You will have a private birding reserve with several pristine trails and 628 registered bird species. Overnight Wildsumaco (B, box L, D)

June 2: San Isidro

Your last lodge is in the East cloud forest slopes. This excellent lodge is located near Cosanga Valley and close to Guacamayos Ridge Trail. One of the specialities is their Mountain tapir feeder and White-bellied antpitta hide. The lodge also features a pool and excellent suites with views to the cloud forest, a private birding reserve with over 550 registered bird species. There is also an observation deck and night owl viewing. Overnight San Isidro (B, D)

June 3: Quito - Home

Enjoy your last day exploring the grounds with your guides in the local forest. After checking out there will be a wonderful photography stop at the La Brisa Hummingbird Garden in Braeza. Continue your journey, returning to the Quito Airport for check in. Flights depart for home around midnight, landing at home the next day, June 4. (B)