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This Ecuador Photo Tour features 4 days of Spectacled Bear photography on private reserves in Ecuador.  At this time of year the Bears have recently had their young so it’s a very good time of year to photograph them with cubs.  About an hour walk each way down a fairly steep (but safe) ravine is required to photograph the bears so participants need to be in reasonably good shape.  The bears are typically at a distance of 20-40 yards and sometimes closer.  We will also visit two locations where they can be seen and photographed from the roadside but usually at much greater distances.  In addition to the bears we will photograph many beautiful birds including Booted Rackettail, Violet-tailed Sylph and many other hummingbirds, Toucans, Tanagers and many more.  Andean Condor and Long-wattled Umbrellabird are likely.  At Bellavista we will do some night photography of Kinkajous, and possibly Olingos and Olinguitos.
Maximum Participants: 5 participants 

Cost and Logistics

$6,950 per photographer with a $500 single supplement. Cost for a nonphotographer spouse/companion is $6,450.  Fly into and out of Quito, Ecuador.  The deposit is $2,500.  Cost includes all lodging, meals, in country transportation, guiding, instruction, entrance fees and drinking water.  Cost does not include flights to and from Ecuador, tips, drinks besides water and items of a personal nature.


February 6th – Arrival to Quito, Ecuador.  Transfer to Zaysant Ecolodge   

February 7th – This morning we will check out and visit a location where there are large numbers of Hummingbirds including the amazing Sword-billed Hummingbird as well as exciting other species such as Barred Fruiteater and Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager.  Then we will transfer to our lodge in the cloud forest, Bellavista.  This evening we will do some night photography of whatever mammals are coming to the banana feeding station.  Kinkajous are the most common but Olingos, Possums and the recently discovered Olinguito are all possible as well. Lodge: Bellavista

February 8th – Morning photography at Bellavista.  There are usually very tame Masked Trogons around the lodge and Plate-billed Mountain Toucans and Toucan Barbets are often in the garden.  Then we will transfer to our next lodge, Sachatamia Lodge.  Sachatamia is the premier bird photography lodge in Ecuador with blinds which attract Long-wattled Umbrellabirds, many woodcreepers and other ovenbirds, Trogons and more.  We will do some multi-flash hummingbird photography here.  There are many species of hummers, three of the most spectacular and common here are Booted Rackettail, Violet-tailed Sylph and Velvet-purple Coronet.  Lodge: Sachatamia   

February 9th – Full day of bird photography at Sachatamia Lodge.  In addition to the blind and hummingbird area there are fruit feeders which attract lots of tanager species including the beautiful Blue-winged Mountain Tanager.  Lodge: Sachatamia 

February 10th – Today we will visit a location where you can photograph Plate-billed Mountain Toucans and various tanagers at beautiful reflecting pools.  In the afternoon we will return to Zaysant Ecolodge near Quito.    

February 11th – We will spend today at the Antisana Volcano reserve.  At this reserve Spectacled Bears can sometimes be seen and photographed as well as Andean Condors, Andean Hillstar, Giant Humminbird, and many others.  The landscape here is very different with paramo grasslands dotted with small lakes.  In the late afternoon we will return to Zaysant Ecolodge.    

February 12th – Today we will visit the Papallacta area.  Here we have a good chance of seeing and photographing Spectacled Bears from roads in the paramo.  In this area they are generally at a distance.  We will be on the lookout for other birds and wildlife such as Carunculated Caracaras, Variable Hawks, Tawny Antpittas and more.  Then we will head to our next lodge near the bear location.  Lodge: A comfortable lodge in the country.

February 13th to 15th – We will spend three days photographing at the Spectacled Bear location.  You will get amazing up close images of these beautiful animals.  Most days we will spend the whole morning photographing bears then have lunch and return to our lodge, rest and do a bit of bird photography.  Lodge: A comfortable lodge in the country. 

February 16th – One more full morning photographing Spectacled Bears followed by check out and return to Zaysant Ecolodge in the afternoon.  Lodge: Zaysant Ecolodge

February 17th – Transfer to the Quito airport for your return trip home.

Bird Photo Extension

Cost: $2,950 with a $200 single supplement, $2,650 for a nonphotographer

February 17th – Today we will head out to Rio Quijose Lodge on the east slope of the Andes.  We will do some multi-flash hummingbird photography here for Green-backed Hillstar, Booted Rackettail, Tawny-bellied Hermit and other hummers.  Lodge: Rio Quijose Lodge

February 18th – We will spend the full day at Rio Quijose Lodge.  In addition to the hummingbird feeders, they have fruit and seed feeders here which attract Russet-backed Oropendolas, Inca Jays, Andean Motmots, White-throated Quail Dove and several tanagers.  Andean Cock-of-the-Rocks can often be found on the trails around the lodge.  Lodge: Rio Quijose

February 19th – Morning photography at Rio Quijose followed by check out and transfer to Ama Lodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon.  We will have an afternoon boat trip to photograph Hoatzins and other birds.  Tropical Screech Owl and Common Potoo are often found perched at day roosts here. Lodge: Ama Lodge. 

February 20th – This morning we will photograph from the tower at Ama Lodge.  The feeders here attract Purple Gallinule, Masked Crimson Tanagers and other species.  Masked Tityras, White-crowned Parrots and other birds perch on the palms surrounding the tower.  The spectacular Cream-colored Woodpecker is often seen here.  In the afternoon we will have another boat trip as well as have a frog macro photography session.  Lodge: Ama Lodge

February 21st – This morning we will visit a location where Spider and Tamarin Monkeys often come to feed, then we will spend some more time in the tower.  Next, we check out and head to Guango Lodge.  Guango Lodge is very good for highland hummingbird photography with chances for Sword-billed Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Collared Inca and others. 

February 22nd – Today we will do some hummingbird multi flash photography.  Walks along the river here often produce Torrent Duck, White-capped Dipper and other species.  Turquoise Jays and Grey-breasted Mountain Toucans are often found in the lodge garden.  In the afternoon we will return to Zaysant Ecolodge.  Good birds at Zaysant include Vermilion Flycatcher and Black-tailed Trainbearer.  Lodge: Zaysant Ecolodge

February 23rd – Transfer to the airport for your return trip home.

Jose Avendaño

Jose Avendaño is a full time photography and birding tour leader from Cusco, Peru. In addition to being a very good photographer and excellent birder, Jose is accredited as a cultural guide as well. Jose is known for his excellent sense of humor.

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