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Birding & Photography


Oct. 2 to 18, 2021

This trip is for bird lovers, simple as that! Ecuador boasts an amazing number of birds, and our goal is to help you see and photograph as many species as possible on this Foto Verde Tours adventure. With a fantastic photographer, ecologist, and birder as your leader, a great local photographer/birding guide, and a lengthy and diverse all-inclusive itinerary, this trip offers amazing value for the quality.



Oct. 2 to 18, 2021





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

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About the Workshop

Birding & Photography

About the Workshop

Birding & Photography


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

Paulo Valerio

Paulo Valerio

Costa Rican born and raised, Paulo Valerio is an ecologist, tourism entrepreneur, and nature photographer. Paulo graduated as a tropical ecologist from the Biology School of the National University. During his graduate studies, he specialized in the development of sampling and research methods for high-flying bats in the rainforest canopy.

Involved with ecotourism since 1992, Paulo has worked as a naturalist guide and field instructor for several companies, has developed and directed field study programs and taught tropical ecology at various universities in Costa Rica and the US.. He is also a nature photographer and birdwatcher. Paulo recently also decided to pursue a long time interest and passion and obtained his PhD in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

You can see Paulo´s photography at his website.

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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.



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



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



Though Ecuador does not require any vaccinations, 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.


Internet Access

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



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 400 mm or longer

  • Binoculars

  • Camera body or bodies

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

  • Macro lens

  • Wide angle lens

  • Cable release

  • Flash

  • Rain cover for camera

  • Small pack or shoulder bag for daily shooting/birding

View the full Itinerary +


Day 1, Airport/Quito

Arrivals to Quito at different times and transfer to our capital city hotel in the heart of Quito's business district.


Day 2, Quito Area

Day visit to the Metropolitan Park and Pululahua Reserve for birdwatching. This day of birding will focus on the dry highland species, including the very much sought-after Green tailed Trainbearer. Lunch at local restaurant. Dinner at the hotel or at local restaurant.

Day 3, Sumaco Volcano

Morning transfer to Sumaco Wildlife Refuge. Arrival for lunch and afternoon birding on local trails. There are good chances of finding ground dwellers like the Spotted Nightingale Thrush and the Plain-backed Antpitta. On the late afternoon, we bird from the deck, waiting for the Guans and Toucanets to arrive.


Day 4, Sumaco Volcano

All day for birding and bird photography in Wild Sumaco’s trails and feeders. The trails offer good opportunities for some of the region’s specialties, including the Golden Winged Manakin, and the Eastern Andean Cock of the Rock. From the deck and open areas is possible to observe the Lettered Aracari, Crimson Crested Woodpecker, Collared Toucanet and Chestnut Fronted Macaw, and hummingbirds like the Golden Tailed Sapphire, Booted Rackettail, Napo Sabrewing and Wire Crested Thorntail are frequent visitors to the feeders. Guided night walk after dinner, to search for the Band Bellied Owl.

Day 5, Sumaco Volcano

All day for birding and bird photography in Wild Sumaco’s trails and feeders.  Today morning we will bird along the road and trails, searching for more species like the Coppery Chested Jacamar and the Maroon Tailed Parakeet. On the afternoon, we will visit the woodland hummingbird feeders, where other species like the Goulds Jewelfront, Green Crowned Woodnymph and Many Spotted Hummingbird.

Day 6, San Isidro

Transfer to San Isidro area. Arrival for lunch and afternoon birding and bird photography in local trails and feeders. Guided night walk top search for the famous San Isidro Owl.

Day 7, San Isidro

All day for birding and bird photography in San Isidro’s trails and feeders.  Birding at higher elevation we expect to find different species, including Grey Breasted Mountain Toucans, Blue and Black Tanagers, Blue Backed Conebills, and of course Spectacled Whitestarts. Guided night walk.

Day 8, Guango Area

Morning transfer for Guango Reserve. Arrival for lunch and Afternoon for birding and bird photography in local trails and feeders. The perfect location for the famous Swordbill Hummingbird, which visits the feeders regularly, along with the Collared Inca, Gorgeted Woodstar Long Tailed Sylph and Tourmaline Sunagel. Guided night walk.

Day 9, Guango Area

Morning birding in Guango. Along the trails we will look for the local specialties, like Andean Guan, Masked Trogon, Turquoise Jay, and red Hooded Tanager, while keeping an eye on the sky for birds of prey like the Black and Chestnut Eagle. Afternoon visit to the Papallacta heights to look for highland species, including the Shining Sunbeam, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Glossy Flowerpiercer and Black Chested Buzzard Eagle. Afternoon visit to Papallacta Hot Springs before returning to the lodge for dinner.

Day 10, Guango Area

Day visit to the Antisana reserve to look for Andean Condors and paramo birds, like the Andean Gull, Carunculated Caracara, Ecuadortia Hillstar and Tawny Antpitta. Return to Guango for dinner.

Day 11, Mindo Area

Transfer to Sachatamia near Mindo. Lunch en route. Arrival in mid afternoon, followed by birding and bird photography in local trails and gardens. Guided night walk to look for Black and White Owls.

Day 12, Mindo Area

All day for birding in Sachatamia and surrounding areas. The local feeders are commonly visited by Velvet Purple Coronets, Violet Tailed Sylphs, and some of Ecuador’s most amazing Tanagers, like Beryl Spangled, Flame faced and Golden Naped, amongst others.

Day 13, Mindo Area

Early departure for day visit to Angel Paz’ Bird sanctuary for the well-known observations of up to five species of Antpittas and of course the western Cock of the Rock, as well as walking along the trails to look for Fruit Eaters, Tanagers and Toucanets. Breakfats and lunch at Angel Paz’. Afternoon return to the lodge for dinner.

Day 14, Tandayapa Valley

Transfer to Bella Vista. Arrival for lunch and afternoon birding in the property’s feeders and surroundings. Optional nightwalk.

Day 15, Tandayapa Valley

All day for birdwatching and bird photopgraphy in Bella Vista. This location offers a great opportunity to observe birds such as Montane Woodcreeper, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Toucan Barbet, Blue-and-black Tanager. Also common are hummingbirds like Purple-throated Woodstar, Fawn Breasted brilliant, tawny Bellied Hermit and Gorgeted Sunangel.

Day 16, Quito

Mid-morning retun to Quito with lunch en route. Afternoon arrival to the hotel for final bird count. Farewell dinner.

Day 17, Quito/Airport

Transfers out to airport.

Itinerary includes

  • Lodging in DBL occupancy, taxes included

  • Meals as described, taxes included

  • Private transportation on A/C bus

  • Professional bilingual bird guides

  • Photo instructor throughout the trip

  • Entrances and fees to described activities

  • Private transfers to and from airport

Itinerary does not include

  • International airfare

  • Dinner the first night

  • Alcoholic Drinks

  • Tips

  • Non-mealtime snacks and drinks

  • Single room supplement - $tbd

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!


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


4. Send us your traveler info form.


2. Send us your reserve deposit.


5. We will send you your final invoice.


3. Book your international air travel.


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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