Ecuador wildlife tours

Description of Ecuador wildlife tours

Travel into the depths of the Amazonian Rainforest in Ecuador and come face to face with Giant Otters, River Dolphins, dozens of Monkeys and possibly the elusive Jaguar.

Price Includes:

Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) where mentioned on the below itinerary. There will be bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private air conditioned vehicle to be driven by a local guide for all transfers. We use brilliant full time guides where available throughout the tour; first a professional zoologist (please check the availability of our zoologist specialist for this tour when enquiring) will escort you on all your excursions and also a very knowledgeable English speaking local naturalist as well as a local driver for all transfers. Your zoologist or naturalist escort is an expert in rainforest mammal (particularly the carnivores and primates) biology and behaviour and will be able to help you identify the different species as well as interpret you what behaviours you are seeing. For example there are very subtle differences between some of the small primate species such as marmosets and many people see mixed foraging groups of primates without ever knowing the difference or even that they have seen a few different species. One of the joys of having a zoologist or naturalist escort is that you will not miss these sightings. All our excursions including treks, guided walks, canoe trips, visits canopy towers and park entrance fees are also included. A comprehensive species list (which states the relative chances of seeing animals based on past tours) is included in the pre-departure pack. There is also a reference book library available for your use throughout the trip as well as some documentaries on Amazonian wildlife which are available to watch throughout the tour.

Seasons:

Late July to November – this is just a guideline based on the usual fruiting times of the spectacled bears favourite fruits which drastically increases the chances of seeing the bears on the tour. However with the ecosystems being equatorial there is a constant climate and the tree can fruit at any time of the year. It peaks in August and September usually but there is no way of predicting this. The outlined itinerary below can be done at any time of the year due to the tropical climate. The climate in Ecuador is remarkably stable (being right on the equator) however we recommend the months from August to November as the spectacled bears come out of hiding to take advantage of fruiting trees which only produce their fruit for about 3 months of the year and it starts at different times of the year with little way of predicting when; but it nearly always fruits within the above mentioned period. However it is possible to run this tour at any time of year if you do not want to gamble on the fruiting trees that the spectacled bears love.

Introduction:

Ecuador is home to one of the highest concentrations of life and one of the highest biodiversities in the world. Ecuador is home to the wildlife rich Andean cloud forests and Amazon rainforest are literally teeming with life and different species. The numbers of animals and plants in Ecuador is truly mind blowing, with over half of all South American birds recorded here and twice as many species that live in Europe; there are also more mammals per square meter here than any other country in the world. But the dazzling statistics do not end there, with more frog species than any other country in the world, 25,000 species of plant, 1250 species of fish, 350 species of reptiles and millions of species of invertebrate species any wildlife enthusiast will be more than happy exploring Ecuador’s forests; and it is some of these wonderful mammal species that we will aim to find and observe on this tour. During the proposed itinerary below (which can be amended and tailored to suit your ideal requirements) you will be taken to three of the best wildlife watching lodges in the world, two in the famous Amazon rainforest and one in the stunning cloud forest. The main focus of this tour (as most of our unique mammal watching tours) we will focus on finding some of the more elusive mammals which are often very hard to find; such as the spectacled bear, giant otter, Brazilian tapir, dozens of primate species and maybe even a puma, jaguar, ocelot or jaguarondi. Whilst most tours visit Ecuador to spot the plentiful birdlife here, this tour is dedicated to mammal watching. Having said that we do take time out to enjoy the bird, reptile and amphibian life which abounds throughout Ecuador. So if you are a general wildlife lover and would love the chance of seeing hundreds and hundreds of different species in stunning ecosystems and possibly get 4 or 5 big ticks on your mammal list then this is the perfect tour for you.

Why Choose this Tour:

• This tour is set up to maximise the chances of seeing the rare and endangered spectacled bear. This is a very rarely seen mammal and one that is incredibly difficult to see; but over the last few years sightings are becoming more common on one area of the Alto Choco cloud forest. This is because of the a particular fruiting tree which the bears love. This tree only fruits for a 3 month period each year and this period is not set in stone. Being a equatorial and steady climate here the tree can vary its fruiting period. We recommend August to November as this is when the tree usually fruits and therefore we aim to time this tour right and get there in time to see the bears aggregate here to take advantage of the food. If we get the timing right then bear sightings will be all but guaranteed and even outside of this fruiting period we have a decent chance of spotting a resident bear as they feed on bromeliads and other tasty plants.
• We take to you to two superb Amazonian lodges, giving you further chances to see Amazonian wildlife as not all species live around any one lodge. We have chosen the two lodges carefully as their most common fauna complement each other to give you a very good chance of seeing the widest range of rainforest wildlife. They are both excellent eco-lodges and are regarded as two of the best nature lodges in all of the world and have bird and mammal lists to make even the experienced wildlife watchers sit up and take notice.
• This tour allows you to take canoe rides through some of the many rivers and streams of the Amazon at night in search of the nocturnal wildlife such as night monkeys, caimans and maybe even jaguars. We take a high powered spotlight to aid in our nocturnal searches.
• At a request we can also bring thermal imaging and night vision equipment with us on this tour so that we can go one step further in our search for the elusive and wonderful nocturnal wildlife. We can also bring camera traps with us so we can try and get photographs and videos of the wildlife that is around after dark.
• Visit local villages and experience the real Amazonian culture and fall in love with the native people of the rainforest.
• Count up to 11 species of brightly coloured species of parrots and macaws at the mineral clay licks, which they visit to stock up on valuable salt and other minerals. We also stake out the mineral clay licks for tapirs, deer and primates as plenty of mammals also take advantage of these rich salt deposits.
• This is one of the first wildlife watching holidays of Ecuador which specialises in mammal watching and as a result you could count up to and over 50 different species of mammals in just 12 nights.
• Visit one of the largest and oldest market places along the Pan-American highway (Otovalo), this market has been used as a cultural and trade melting pot for hundreds of years.
• Stand with one foot in the northern and one foot in the southern hemispheres at the Mitad del Mundo Monument, built on the equator.
• As well as using the local guides we also have a zoologist (where available) who escorts the whole tour, this zoologist will help to interpret the behaviours seen in the species we observe.
• The zoologist escort (where available) that we have for this tour has spent time working with the Andean Bear Project in Ecuador and has first hand experience in rehabilitating former-pet and orphaned spectacled bears in order to release them back into the wilds of Ecuador’s national parks and cloud forests.
• We have an unrivalled network of experts and guides all over Ecuador that are able to find and observe animals like spectacled bears, giant otters, Amazonian manatee, sloths, macaws, Andean cock-of-the-rock, mountain tapir, monk saki, mantled howler monkey, jaguars, ocelot and hundreds other endangered, rare or endemic species throughout this magical land. Whether it is the Amazon, Cloud forests, Alto Choco, Cotopaxi, Cotocachi, Cambye, the Galapagos Islands and many other wildlife watching locations you want to visit we can arrange it. Please inform us if you wish to add a Ecuador or Galapagos Island extensions to the whale watching itinerary below and we can provide an excellent wildlife watching itinerary and quote for you.
• We are experts in arranging cruises and live aboard dive holidays of the Galapagos Islands as stand along holidays or extensions of the details itinerary below. So if you are interested in adding a trip to the Galapagos to this unique mammal watching itinerary then please contact us and we can get the itinerary and quote over to you.
• Unlike many tour operators we are willing to run this tour for a single person (on request).

Locations:

In the cloud forest we choose a lodge which boasts one of the best success rates in seeing spectacled bears in the world as they come here from all over the forest to feed on the fruit which grows here in abundance when the tree is fruiting. In the Amazon we visit two locations, both lodges are situated on different rivers in the Amazon and the wildlife that is regularly seen here offers a great overview of the Amazonian fauna as well as staying in three of the best wildlife watching lodges in the world.
Fitness Level:
There is a fair amount of walking involved in this tour, but it is all on pathways and only requires the participants to have experience walking; there are no strenuous activities during this tour. The guests can decide on how much or how little walking they conduct on the tour.

Equipment:

When you book onto the tour we will send you a comprehensive pre-departure pack which will include a full packing list of recommended equipment; but as a rule of thumb we recommend you bring along your own binoculars or spotting scope (although scopes are not great in the dense rainforest) as well as appropriate clothing; which should be everything from swimming gear and light and airy hot weather clothing to warm cloths and waterproofs for the cloud forests. The nights up in the cloud forests can be chilly so a fleece, long trousers and woolly hat are a good idea. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. Insect repellent is needed. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be very strong here during the day. If you add in the Galapagos Islands then you may want to bring snorkelling equipment, if you own your own mask, snorkel and fins it is always more comfortable to use your own.

Minimum age: 18 Years old

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made between August - November
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Ecuador wildlife tours

Environment

All the lodges and resorts that we use on this tour are careful with their waste management and they are very aware of their ecological responsibility. The lodges all use sustainable energy sources and conserve water where possible. We also donate to the World Land Trust which is focused on purchasing large amounts of rainforest to protect from deforestation throughout the world but particularly in South and Central America.
We also donate money to the Andean Bear Project (a project that our director and zoologist escort for this tour holds close to his heart as he has worked on this project at grass root level in the past). This project is concerned with the rescue, rehabilitation and release of bears that have been orphaned or captured for the pet trade, as well as research and conservation of this magnificent species to ensure their continued survival in the rapidly developing Andean mountains.
At the end of each we offset our carbon footprint (based on the number of tours we have completed and the number of passengers we have taken with us), with the Carbon Trust.

Wildlife Promise:
We monitor the rare and endangered wildlife we see whilst on the trip and hand this information over to the park and reserve authorities. We also donate annually (depending on how many tours and how many guests we have) to the Andean Bear Project and actively help the project find volunteers for their radio tagging and tracking projects in the Andes. We also donate our pictures to the researchers to aid in their photo identification studies.

Community

The local community benefits from this tour as we employ local guides in all the lodges we use. This ensures that the money we pay these guides, is invested directly back into the local economy. Thus generating a great financial option against illegal poaching and logging which used to be seen as a quick way to earn large amounts of money. The lodges we use are all eco-friendly which conserve their water use, only use locally produced food and other products look to employ as many local people as possible.
By participating in the cultural activities whilst at Napo and Sacha lodges you will be contributing to the income of the local people and helping to keep alive the traditional practices of the Amazonian peoples. Many of these cultures and traditions could be lost without people paying to see them and experience the wonderful way in which local people live in harmony with the forest that provides them so much.
We promote using locally produced foods and handicrafts in the Amazon and encourage our guests to participate in cultural tours and other community programmes.

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