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Andes to Amazon!

Ecuador

Feb. 25 to March 6, 2024

We've designed this trip to visit Ecuador's most amazing places for bird and wildlife photography. We'll help you take your photography to the next level so that you bring home a stunning and diverse portfolio. In addition to amazing birds and monkeys, we'll do some fantastic macro work as well. And, unlike other tours to Ecuador, you have 2 award-winning photographer leaders with you full-time plus a local naturalist/culture guide, making this a fantastic value!

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Date

Feb. 25 to March 6, 2024

$

Price

$6,499

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Difficulty Level

Moderate

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Available Spots

Contact us to get on the wait list.

View the itinerary below, read more about the tour, or sign up now!

Go to sign-up form

About the Workshop

Andes to Amazon!

About the Workshop

Andes to Amazon!

Leaders

Frank Pichardo

Frank Pichardo

Frank Pichardo is a Peruvian wildlife photographer and tour leader with a strong passion for nature, most of his experience in the field comes from his seven-year work as a naturalist guide for the prestigious lodges of Rainforest Expeditions leading people and teaching about the flora and fauna since 2009. Frank obtained his degree from the Tourism School in Lima, where he also became fluent in English and German. This was the beginning of a long term work in the ecotourism industry.

 

At the moment, he is part of Tropical Herping, contributing for the “Reptiles of Ecuador”, “Reptiles of Galapagos” and “Amphibians if Ecuador” books, joining also scientific expeditions into remote areas to understand better this group of animals, leading workshops and photo tours. Frank’s work has been featured in National Geographic and BBC Wildlife Magazine.

Follow Frank on Instagram -- @frank_pichardo

Greg Basco

Greg Basco

Gregory Basco is a professional nature photographer based in Costa Rica. After completing graduate degrees in political science and tropical ecology (his doctoral dissertation focused on the politics of ecotourism in Costa Rica), Greg worked in conservation before turning to photography full-time in 2006. His images have been awarded in the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Nature's Best Windland Smith Rice competitions and have appeared in numerous magazines and books around the world.

 

His latest major project is the second edition of the large format printed book National Parks of Costa Rica in conjunction with Zona Tropical and Cornell University Press. His popular e-books include The Guide to Tropical Nature Photography, the mega e-book Flash for the Nature Photographer, and the new Complete Video Guide to Lightroom for the Nature Photographer.

You can see more of Greg's work at his website.

Follow him on Instagram @gregbascophotography

Follow him on Facebook @deepgreenphotography

Watch his YouTube channel @DeepGreenPhotography

Sign up now!

Gallery

Info

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Airport

You should arrive to and depart from Ecuador's Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO). Our driver will be waiting to provide your private transfer to our capital city hotel.

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Electricity

Electrical outlets are US-style. Those coming from Europe or Asia may need travel adapters. We will send more info after signup.

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Insurance

We strongly recommend you purchase trip insurance that includes trip cancellation and medical coverage while overseas.

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Medical

Though Ecuador does not require any vaccinations besides Covid-19, we suggest you stay up to date on routine travel shots. Some countries may require that you have proof of yellow fever vaccination upon departing from Ecuador.

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Internet Access

All of our hotels have free WIFI. We will also have cell data coverage for most of the trip.

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Certified

All of our services are conducted by fully licensed travel, lodge, and transport operators. This is part of our commitment to providing a professional travel experience.

Camera Gear

Recommended gear

  • Tele lens 500 mm or longer

  • Teleconverters

  • Camera body or bodies

  • Medium zoom lens, e.g., 70-200 mm, 100-400 mm

  • Macro lens

  • Wide angle lens

  • Cable release

  • A flash with TTL functionality

  • Off-camera TTL flash cord

  • Telephoto flash bracket

  • Flash plus Better Beamer for birds and wildlife

  • Rain cover for camera

  • Small softbox or diffuser

  • Small pack or shoulder bag for daily shooting

View the full Itinerary +

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Day 1, Arrival/Quito

 

Arrival to Ecuador. Meet our representative at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport and transfer to our hotel in the heart of Quito's vibrant business district. For those who have arrived a day early, we may have an optional afternoon jaunt to explore the city.

 

Day 2, Amazon Lowlands

 

After breakfast, we depart for the airport to fly to the Amazon city of Coca. We transfer from there to the boat that takes us to our amazing luxury lodge in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon. We arrive late afternoon with time to photograph birds on the ground and the sunset over the rainforest. During our boat ride, we may be able to photograph the prehistoric hoatzin.

 

Day 3, Amazon Lowlands

 

After a great breakfast this morning we head to a nearby clay lick that attracts dozens of parrots and parakeets, as well as the occasional macaw. This is one of our Amazon highlights as the clay licks of the western Amazon are one of the planet's true natural wonders. We photograph all morning and return to our lodge in the afternoon. We then gear up and head out on private boats into the nearby lagoons and jungle canals in search of the ancient hoatzin bird, caimans, and giant river otters. We enjoy a fantastic dinner after this busy day.

 

Day 4, Amazon Lowlands

 

After breakfast, we explore the lagoon and surroundings by canal to photograph the giant river otter. After lunch, we have the afternoon to photograph monkeys on the lodge grounds, to head out again to photograph otters, or to visit a nearby canopy tower for a bird's-eye view of the rainforest.


Day 5, Amazon Lowlands

 

After breakfast, we check out and head to our second Amazon lodge. We arrive for lunch and then have time to practice our macro flash techniques and explore the grounds for macro subjects.

 

Day 6, Amazon Lowlands

 

Today is macro day, and we'll be photographing a number of cool lizards, insects, tree frogs, and poison frogs. You'll learn my best macro techniques, and we'll even give you a taste of wide angle closeup photography with flash.

 

Day 7, Cloud Forest

 

We depart early this morning for our trip back to Coca and then our plane back to Quito. Be sure to have a camera handy as the dawn light can be inspiring! We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then arrive to our cloud forest lodge in late afternoon with time to relax and photograph hummingbirds right outside the lodge restaurant. 

 

Day 8, Cloud Forest

 

We leave early this morning for a fantastic opportunity to photograph the beautiful plate-billed mountain toucan! This will be an unforgettable experience. After lunch back at our lodge, we visit a local house to photograph tanagers and toucanets and hummingbirds.

 

Day 9, Cloud Forest

 

Today we work all day with our multiple-flash stations to photograph hummingbirds such as the amazing violet-tailed sylph and booted racket-tail among many others. Our lighting, backgrounds, and flowers are second to none, and you will take home some fantastic images. As a bonus, when you're not on the multiple-flash setup, you'll be photographing cool macro subjects such as frogs, snakes, lizards, and insects. We visit our favorite wood-oven pizzeria in the town of Mindo for a special dinner. What a way to end a day of great cloud forest photography!


Day 10, Cloud Forest/Quito


We leave early this morning for a fantastic day trip – a visit to the highland home of the iconic sword-billed hummingbird and black-tailed trainbearer. This new spot is amazing! We return to Quito in the early evening to rest up after this busy day. Dinner will be on your own this evening. There are a number of fast-food and finer casual dining options immediately surrounding our hotel.

 

Day 11, Airport

 

Private transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Itinerary includes

  • Lodging as specified in DBL occupancy

  • Meals as specified

  • Transportation w/private driver in spacious air-conditioned tour bus

  • Internal flights

  • Boat transport in Amazon

  • Private transfers to and from airport

  • Professional, full-time photo instruction from your leaders Greg and Doug

  • Full-time guide services from local guide Frank Pichardo

  • Multiple-flash setups for hummingbird photography

  • Entrances and fees for all described activities

  • Taxes for all specified services

Itinerary does not include

  • International airfare

  • Dinner the first and last nights

  • Alcoholic Drinks

  • Tips

  • Non-mealtime snacks and drinks

  • Single room supplement - $1293

Sign-up Form

Name *

Are you registering for one person or more? *

 

Please provide names of additional people signing up with you, and please indicate if the additional people are photographers or not. We offer discounts for non-photographers on some trips.

Booking a tour with us is easy!

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1. Register for your tour using the form at the end of each workshop page.

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4. Send us your traveler info form.

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2. Send us your reserve deposit.

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5. We will send you your final invoice.

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3. Book your international air travel.

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6. We´ll send you everything you need to know before you hop on the plane!

  • + Will someone be there to meet me at the airport?
    Certainly! We take care of you from the moment you step off the plane until the moment you leave to return home. We'll send you all of the info you need to know regarding arrival in a final info message before the trip.
  • + I plan to arrive a day early. Can you help?
    Definitely, we'll be happy to make your reservations to ensure that you get to the same hotel that we have booked for the official first night of the tour. By the way, private transfers to and from the airport are always included in our tours, and you can use this transfer whether you arrive early or depart later than the official dates.
  • + What kind of clothes should I bring?
    In general, your best choices are lightweight garments that breathe and dry quickly, and you'll want a mix of long sleeves and short sleeves. A light polar-tec and a good rain jacket are also good to have. For meals, it's informal at the lodges and in the region in general. A pair of jeans, tennis shoes, and a clean shirt are just fine for dinner, even in the capital city hotels. Lightweight hiking boots are fine for your photography out in the field, and if you're visiting a beach area, you will want sandals or aqua shoes as well. Of course a good hat and sunscreen are important. We will send you clothing information specific to your trip after you've signed up.
  • + Can I have laundry done?
    Many of the lodges we use offer laundry service for a cost of approximately $1 per garment with same or next day service. We will indicate to you which lodges have laundry service after you've signed up for a given trip.
  • + Can I drink the water?
    This is probably the question that our clients ask us the most. And it’s the one for which we have the least definitive answer, except to say that beer is always a safe choice!. Water in and around capital cities is treated with chlorine and generally can be consumed with no worries. The lodges that we use for our photo travel often have their own well water, which is tested regularly by the Ministry of Health. Nonetheless, upset stomachs do occur as a result of change in diet or simply bacteria different from those to which Northern stomachs are accustomed. Serious disorders such as Giardia or amoebic dysentery are virtually unheard of. Bottled water is very widely available at our hotels and lodges, and a conservative strategy would be to use it as often as possible when outside the capital. As with travel to any foreign country, immodium pills are good to have along, and some of our clients also bring along Cipro or other broad-spectrum antibiotics. Some go so far as to begin taking antibiotics before arriving in-country. For antibiotic use, we suggest you consult with your physician. That said, we have very very few problems with water and food-related issues on our tours. During the tour, we will indicate to you where and when it might be better to stick to bottled water.
  • + I'd like a single room. Can that be arranged?
    Certainly. Simply indicate your rooming preference on the workshop signup form. There may be an extra for the single room supplement. This is simply the difference due to what our hotels and lodges charge us. We do not take a commission for single room supplements.
  • + I'm traveling by myself but would like a double room. Can that be arranged?
    It depends. If we can match you up with a suitable solo traveler who also wants to share, we will be happy to place you in a double room.
  • Should I bring a tripod?
    Yes, you always want to bring a tripod. We will advise your each trip of any need for specialized heads or flash brackets.
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