This classic tour covers all the important birding sites found north-west of the capital city of Quito. This area is part of the Chocó bioregion that hosts a great number of endemics and specialities that are only shared with neighbouring areas of Colombia to the north. We will be based in the Tandayapa and Mindo valleys from where we will set out to bird the various renowned private reserves, affording us an outstanding opportunity to support local conservation projects for long-term habitat protection. A wide array of habitats will be birded, starting with the mystical elfin forest of the temperate zone, followed by bird-rich subtropical cloud forests. We will also venture deeper into tropical foothill forests to reach the mega-diverse lowlands. Iconic species that we will be searching for include Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Giant Antpitta, Plate-billed Mountain and Chocó Toucans, Toucan Barbet, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Club-winged Manakin, Glistening-green Tanager, Orange-breasted and Scaled Fruiteaters and Velvet-purple Coronet, to mention but a few. In case rarities such as Banded Ground Cuckoo or Rufous-crowned Antpitta show up in the area, we will do our very best to fit in a twitch. A great network of birding reserves together with excellent infrastructure, unsurpassable scenery and friendly people make the Northwest of Ecuador one of the planet’s most delightful birding destinations.
Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Dark-backed Wood Quail, Dusky Pigeon, Pallid Dove, Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove, Pacific Parrotlet, Rose-faced Parrot, Cloud-forest Pygmy Owl, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Purple-chested Hummingbird, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Empress Brilliant, Brown Inca, Velvet-purple Coronet, White-booted Racket-tail, Violet-tailed Sylph, Golden-headed Quetzal, Chocó Trogon, Broad-billed Motmot, Rufous Motmot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Barred Puffbird, White-whiskered Puffbird, White-faced Nunbird, Orange-fronted Barbet, Toucan Barbet, Pale-mandibled Aracari, Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, Chocó Toucan, Olivaceous Piculet, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Pacific Tuftedcheek, Uniform Treehunter, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Northern Barred Woodcreeper, Black-striped Woodcreeper, Black-crowned Antshrike, Uniform Antshrike, Checker-throated Antwren, Pacific Antwren, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Black-headed Antthrush, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Giant Antpitta, Moustached Antpitta, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Nariño Tapaculo, Ocellated Tapaculo, Chocó Tyrannulet, Black-capped Pygmy Tyrant, Tawny-breasted Myiobius, Masked Water Tyrant, One-colored Becard, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Scaled Fruiteater, Golden-winged Manakin, Club-winged Manakin, White-bearded Manakin, Beautiful Jay, Black Solitaire, Ecuadorian Thrush, White-capped Dipper, Chocó Warbler, Yellow-tufted Dacnis, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Glistening-green Tanager, Moss-backed Tanager, Grey-and-gold Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Blue-whiskered Tanager, Black-chinned Mountain Tanager, Scarlet-browed Tanager, Ochre-breasted Tanager
Olingito, Tayra, White-fronted Capuchin, Spectacled Bear (rare)
temperate tree line forest, subtropical cloud-forest, tropical foothill forest and tropical lowland forest all in the Chocó bioregion
chilly to hot and humid (very pleasant temperatures on most days)
What our clients say about tours to Ecuador
Dušan Brinkhuizen is a wonderfully skilled birder and he readily shares his enthusiasm for birds and their environments. He is also skilled in Spanish and knowledgeable about the country.
Perfect Guide! Good staff, very good organisation. I would like to travel with Rockjumper again.
Our guides, Dušan Brinkhuizen and Andrés Trujillo, are excellent in their jobs. They are very helpful and kind. All our tour members were very happy with them.
Dušan Brinkhuizen is a fantastic guide! He is incredibly talented as a birder but equally important, he is very patient and he managed our group perfectly. We had a great time together based on his leadership. He is an asset to Rockjumper.
The tour was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Dušan Brinkhuizen is an excellent guide, a superb birder whose enthusiasm is infectious. We had members of our group with differing levels of birding skills, fitness and expectations. Dušan showed a high level of professionalism and went out of his way to meet everyone’s expectations…
This was my first Rockjumper experience and it was excellent. Dušan Brinkhuizen was amazing at finding birds.
Well, we have just returned from 2 wonderful weeks in Ecuador led by the best guide of any other trip we have taken for bird watching. Forrest is a true asset to the Rockjumper organization. On behalf of Kim and I, and I’m sure I can also speak for the rest of our group, please pass along our comments to Forrest. Forrest has taken birdwatching to a much higher level with his energy and knowledge, both of the area and his wealth of knowledge of the natural world. It is people like him that help make Rockjumper a Cadilac in the Birdwatching field.
You have a stellar guide in Dušan Brinkhuizen… he is a fantastic asset!
We really enjoyed the tour and being with Dušan again, as we were in Argentina with him in July of this past year. He was one of the good reasons for taking this tour. He is a great guide and fun to be with.
We were so fortunate to be able to experience the top notch birding skills of Dušan. He is very professional but also so personable. It is a tricky thing to manage many different personalities and keep everyone happy but Dusan made our trip so enjoyable.
Dušan Brinkhuizen is an awesome guide. Very knowledgeable, patient, never got tired and made sure everyone got the bird. You are fortunate to have a guide like Dušan.
The guides, Dušan Brinkhuizen and Andrés Trujillo, conducted the tour very professionally. They were meticulous in what they did and took care of us, seeing to our every need.
[To Dušan Brinkhuizen] Truly, it was the very best birding trip I have ever been on, including several other Rockjumper trips which have all been great. As I think back on it, I can only marvel at your amazing ability to hear and identify the “chips” and “tsits” of birds calling or singing from deep…
Dušan Brinkhuizen is an excellent birder and leader with an excellent temperament to handle diverse personalities. I look forward to birding with him again.
I really enjoyed this trip, it’s probably the best one I’ve been on! I loved the knowledge and personalities of both our guides, Andrés Trujillo & Dušan Brinkhuizen, as well as the naturalist guides and the boat crews.
Dušan is an excellent field ornithologist with an encyclopaedic knowledge of bird song, taxonomy, and field identification marks. Ornithology is Dušan’s passion. He is also excellent with the clients – friendly, courteous, patient, and anxious that everyone sees all the birds and enjoys the tour. It was a great tour!
We had a great time, both Dušan Brinkhuizen (all 4 trips) and Andrés Trujillo (Galapagos) were excellent. We were very happy with the accommodation, transport and the variety of wildlife that we saw.
It was a well-oiled machine. Dušan Brinkhuizen is an excellent guide. It goes without saying he knows his birds and he kept the whole adventure moving smoothly. I would hope Dušan would be the guide on my next Rockjumper tour.
Dušan Brinkhuizen is great bird master, very friendly and helpful. The trip was brilliant.