Birding Photo Expedition Ecuador

Birding Photo Expedition Ecuador 12 N / 13 D

Birding Photo Expedition Ecuador 12 N / 13 D

Join Freddy Madrigal, wildlife photographer and natural history expert with 33 years’ experience leading birding, photography, and nature expeditions in his homeland of Costa Rica and in Central and South America. Travel with Freddy to secret spots away from the crowd for a more relaxing and quality experience.

  • 2022/2023
  • Premium Services
Our Projects
Birding Photo Expedition Ecuador 12 N / 13 D


Years Experience

Join Freddy Madrigal, wildlife photographer and natural history expert with 33 years’ experience leading birding, photography, and nature expeditions in his homeland of Costa Rica and in Central and South America. Travel with Freddy to secret spots away from the crowd for a more relaxing and quality experience.
Join Freddy Madrigal, wildlife photographer and natural history expert with 33 years’ experience leading birding, photography, and nature expeditions in his homeland of Costa Rica and in Central and South America. Travel with Freddy to secret spots away from the crowd for a more relaxing and quality experience.

Explore through the eyes of a wildlife photographer and natural history expert our national parks’ natural beauties with their enormous variety of wildlife. Adventure into birding, nature photography, macro photo sessions, bird photo workshops and bird photo set ups. See why Costa Rica is believed to possess the highest density of biodiversity of any country worldwide. While encompassing just 0.03% of Earth's landmass - approximately the size of West Virginia - Costa Rica contains 5% of all the species estimated to exist on the planet. Our journey will take us to 2 different mountain ranges in Costa Rica – the Talamanca and Central Volcanic ranges - and 8 different life zones - Paramo, Oak Forest, Cloud Forest, Rain Forest, humid forest, Pre-mountain forest, mangrove forest and wetlands.

Highly suggested to arrive the day before starting date of the trip. Hotel own your own, not included in price, although we can book it for you, paid separately. Airport of arrival and departure, Mariscal Sucre International Airport, code: UIO.

Today no meals included.

Local flight to Sacha Ñampi Lodge. Quito – Coca. Overnight Sacha Ñampi Lodge. Meals included: B-L-D

Local flight to Coca in the Amazonia on day 2 will be at 9:20 am.
Limoncocha Lagoon on our way to photograph Harpy Eagle active nesting spot.
Our journey starts with a 50-minute flight from Quito to Coca, where 0ur staff will pick you up and transfer to the port along banks of Napo River. There, we will explain about safety before embarking for a 4 hours’ boat trip on the greatest Ecuadorian affluent of the Amazon, the Napo River. During the journey you get a taste of the amazing Amazon rain forest.

After 4 hours of fast boat trip we will arrive around noon, check in and enjoy a delicious lunch.

For the remaining of the day we will explore the flora and fauna of the Yasuni National Park, until we find the largest and longevously tree of the Yasuni National Park, to finish the day after dinner will be part of a cultural event dance Kichwa as a welcome act. On the walk you can make pictures of many more colorful Amazonian birds. Dinner and talk about next day activities, Macro photo as an optional free activity for tonight.
Sacha Ñampi Lodge. The indigenous community of Alta Florencia has specialized to manage its own self-sustainable eco-tourism project, managing to strategically couple nature and culture. Located in the center of valuable tourist resources such as the Yasuní National Park and the Cuyabeno Reserve.

Sacha Ñampi Lodge or similar. Meals included: B-L-D

In the morning after breakfast we will take our boat to the Yasuni National Park, one can Observe a majestic natural Paradise of its flora and fauna, once at Tambococha River let’s get our cameras ready for hundreds of bird species such as the Hoatzin, Parrot, Anhinga, Smoot billed Any, Cormorants, Macaws, Horner Screamer, as well as many species of monkeys.

Lunch will be taking at Alta Florencia Village.
For the rest of the afternoon we will gear up and get ready to take great pictures and videos of the beautiful and mystic PINK DOLPHIN, unique to the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Around 4:30 pm we start our way back to Sacha Ñampi Lodge, dinner and as an optional activity, macro photography of frogs and insects will be offer at no extra cost.

Transfer to Mandi Lodge or similar. Meals included: B-L-D

After Breakfast we all pack our bags to continue with our adventure, head back to Orellana – Coca, 2 hours transfer by boat until we get to Mandi Lodge, where the Kichwa members of the community will welcome us.

12:00 noon, Lunch.
1:pm, boat photo tour for about 45 minutes: Caracaras, Heron, Orioles, plovers, kingfishers, Many more.

We arrive at the Pompeya Community where we will take a car trip for 15 minutes to get to the limoncocha lagoon, here We can make Photographs of many colorful And unique birds: Snail Kite, Azure Gallinule, Horner Screamer, Little blue heron , Flycatchers , Jacanas , Any's ,Many more Birds .

4:30 Pm we will return to Mandi Lodge.

After dinner, another free optional macrophotography opportunity for frogs and insects.
Mandi Lodge is a community enterprise located on the banks of the Napo River in the buffer zone of the Yasuni National Park. We focus on the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism.

We have lodging and food service and jungle tours, bird watching and extraordinary bird photography.

Treetop Tower shooting. Overnight Mandi lodge or similar, meals included: B-L-D

After breakfast, experience the wildlife on the treetops from a tower. To get there our local guide will take you for 20 minutes by canoe ride, followed by a short 20-minute walk through the Amazonian forest, time to enjoy the wonderful sounds of the wildlife, colorful birds such as Parrots, Toucans, Tanagers, Macaws, Euphonias, Kites, Hawks, Fruitcrows, Woodpeckers, Woodcreepers, Caracaras and monkeys.

The tower gives you an amazing perspective, opening a whole new world of Amazon biodiversity that is often difficult and almost impossible to see from the understory. Then we will continue exploring the trails for Wire - Tailed Manakin, Golden Headed Manakin photographs, and many more bird species.

Then a small canoe to keep exploring the Chanw Chanha lagoon, where we can find Cocoi Heron, Tiger Herons, Agami Heron, Boat Billed Heron, Black Capped Donacobious, Hoatzin, Jacanas, among other species.

Our box lunch will be at 1 pm in the field, followed by a photographing session to the smallest monkey in the world the Pygmy Marmoset, then return to our boat and back to our lodge.

Mandi Lodge. Clay-leak and Canopy tower. Overnight Mandi Lodge or similar. Meals included: B-L-D

Vey early start, to visit the parrots clay-leak at Yasuní National Park for a wonderful view of hundreds of parrots searching for a gap to land and eat clay, a process to neutralize the toxins from ingested poisonous seeds. Birds to expect, Mealy Amazon, Yellow-Crowned Amazon, Orange-winged and Blue-headed Parrots.

7:30 am, visit another canopy tower where we can make photographs of bird species such, Lemon Throated Barbet, Lettered Aracari, Honeycreepers , Woodcreeper, Woodpeckers , Blue Throated Guan , Tanagers.

9: am, return to our boat and travel for 10 minutes to the entrance of the Scarlet Macaw observation clay-leak, Orange Cheeked Parrot some other surprises are possibilities at this location.

1:00 pm, Return to Mandi Lodge.
2:30 pm, Visit Mandi Cocha lagoon, along trail before the lagoon species such, Wire-Tailed Manakin, Antbirds, Antshrike, Chestnut Belted Gnateater and Monkeys can be photographed.
Mandi Cocha lagoon, species such Red Capped Cardinal, Jacanas, Donocabious, Tanagers, Herons, Cocha Antshrike, Giant Otters and much more are waiting for us.
6:30 pm, arrival time to Mandi Lodge, dinner will be served.

Optional activity In Afternoon: Visit to Pilche Community Center. Here you can learn how the community lives in harmony with the Amazon Rainforest. You will learn about their customs, drinks, food, and Kichwa culture, learn how local life is environmentally sustainable. You will know their conservation and entrepreneurship projects (CULTURAL HOUSE) along with an activity of handicrafts.

Lunch will be in the community and you will taste the traditional food of the area, then get ready to play with the blowgun, an ancient Kichwa weapon to hunt.
Lunch will be in the community and you will taste the traditional food of the area, then get ready to play with the blowgun, an ancient Kichwa weapon to hunt.
Free optional night photo session after dinner, night walk to see insects, spiders, snakes and frogs.

Flight back to Quito, Septimo Paraiso Lodge or similar. Overnight Septimo Paraiso Hostal, meals included: B-L-D

After breakfast head back to the Coca to on time to get your flight back to Quito.

Our ground transportation will be waiting for is at Sucre International Airport, 2.5 hours drive to Mindo area, a paradise for birders and photography waiting for us.

Septimo Paraiso Cloud Forest Reserve is a private protected area, created in 2001, with the aim of saving and preserving the forest and the diverse ecosystems that are contained within it. It is managed by the Green Mindo Foundation, which is in charge of the conservation and the study of its 420 hectares of pre-montane and montane cloud forest.

The Reserve has one of the largest bird counts of the north-western area of Pichincha, with 328 species of birds. Several species of mammal have been found; such as puma, spectacled bear, black howler monkey, capuchin monkey, Andean coati, armadillos, white tailed and brocket deer, two toed sloth to name just a few. Also an incredible number of reptile and amphibian species have been spotted, plus an overwhelming number of plant species. The altitude within the reserve drastically changes from 950 meters to 1650 meters above sea level. In addition, the isolation of the region has created one of the most delicate, but rich and complex ecosystems known in the Mindo region.

Visit local projects of Suamusa and Milpe private reserve, about 1-hour drive. Overnight Septimo Paraiso Hostal, meals included: B-L-D

AM: Early departure and breakfast at arrival at Suamusa Feeders, shooting at its gardens for the whole morning.
PM: Lunch at Milpe Cloud Forest Reserve and photographing its amazing species of birds all the way to 5:00 pm.

Milpe Cloud Forest Reserve. Both Club-winged and Golden-winged manakins are relatively easy to observe, photograph and enjoy. Seasonally, the White-bearded Manakin is here too, popping and whirring. The Bird Sanctuary covers an altitudinal range from 1020-1150m (3350-3770 ft). Birding guides consider this one of the finest sites in all of Ecuador and many of the most spectacular Chocó Endemics occur here: Plumbeous Forest-Falcon, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Glistening-green Tanager, Chocó Trogon, Club-winged Manakin and Long-wattled Umbrellabird to name just a few. This site is also known for having the rare Moss-backed Tanager!

Full day at Refugio Paz de Las Aves, Antpittas day and Cock of the Rock. Overnight Septimo Paraiso Hostal, meals included: B-L-D

AM: Start our day early in the morning by having our breakfast at our lodge.

5:30 am, departure time to Paz de aves to Cock of the Rock lek.

The Refugio Paz de Las Aves is a 25-hectare private nature reserve in the western foothills of the Ecuadorian Andes. It is located near the equator at 1,969 meters ASL, between Mindo parish and Nanegalito.
One of the best places for birdwatching in Mindo, here you can see 5 species of Antpittas, Antthrush, Woodquail, tanagers, quetzal, and others, be part of the family Refugio Paz.
PM: In the afternoon, we will continue photographing birds until approximately 4:00 p.m. and then head back to Septimo Paraiso lodge.

Amaguza Mashpi project, 1 hour 30 minutes, full day at this beautiful location. Overnight Septimo Paraiso Hostal, meals included: B-L-D

AM: Early departure to Amaguza Maspi, so many birds and later home-made lunch will be waiting for us.
PM: In the afternoon, we will continue photographing birds until approximately 5:00 p.m. then back to Hotel.

Amaguza Mashpi, if you are a photographer and want to get the best photos of Choco Endemic birds then you have come to the best place. Probably this is the only place in the world where you can see and photograph the Moss-back Tanager, the Glistening-green Tanager, the Black-chinned Tanager, and the Rufous-throated tanagers at close range.

Beside these four great birds there are multiple other birds that come to the feeders regularly such as the Golden-naped Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Black-winged Saltator and even the Orange-breasted Fruiteater!

Birdwatchers House & San tadeo Feerders. Full day, Flash is recommended for today. Overnight Septimo Paraiso Hostal, meals included: B-L-D

Start the day very early, breakfast at around 5:00 am.

AM: In the morning we will go to Birdwatchers House amazing project, home of the magnificent Plated-billed Mountain Toucan, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Yellow-bellied Antpitta and many wonderful species of birds

PM: Remaining of the afternoon we´ll stop at San Tadeo bird feeders on our way back to our lodge.

Both the Birdwatcher’s House and Lodge have moved from Mindo to a new location deep in the cloud forest. This new location has breathtaking views and incredible biodiversity right at its doorstep. It´s located at an altitude of 1800 m, just off of the world renowned Nono-Mindo Road, about 15 km from the town of Mindo, Ecuador.

This cobblestone road, also known as the “Paseo del Quinde” (Quinde means hummingbird in Quechua), has long been known by birders as being a legendary birding destination.

Alambi feeders and transfer to Quito. Overnight Hotel by International Airport, meals included: B-L.

Photographing all the way to the end of our trip, Alambi has an amazing array of hummingbird species plus tanagers and another chance for Torrent Duck and Dipper at the river running right by the project.

We will spend most of our day shooting at Alambi project.

Alambi Cloud Forest. The Forest and its Conservation is the heart of what Alambi is all about, through ecotourism we guarantee that we will preserve this beautiful cloud forest in the Ecuador’s Northwest for the future generations.

Alambi is a family home-style guesthouse set in 250 hectares (625 acres) of mostly primary cloud forest at the foot of the Tandayapa Valley, famed among world birders.

Transfer to airport / End of the trip



  • Professional trip leader and local guides.

  • Greet and transfer to hotel upon arrival by trip leader.

  • Meals and accommodation starting day one as indicated in your itinerary.

  • Admission to all proposed activities and events, including the entrance fees to National parks.

  • 1 bottle of water per person per day. You can refill your bottles of water in every hotel.

  • Private transportation 24/7.

  • Local flight Quito – Amazonia, round trip.


  • Airfare from and to Home and Local flights.

  • Airfare from and to Home.

  • Airline baggage charges.

  • Hotel accommodations near the airport upon arrival prior to the expedition start date.

  • Hotel accommodations near the airport if staying a day or more after the last day of the expedition.

  • Transportation from/to the airport, if arrival or departure is prior to or after the first or last day of the expedition.

  • Individual travel insurance (Highly suggested).

  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Sueños Natura FSM S.R.L offerings.

  • Alcoholic or soft drinks.

  • Covid19 test if required by country of destination.

  • Gratuities for lodge staff, restaurant waiters, driver & trip leader.

We recommend you have a medium fitness level to fully participate on this expedition. Most of our shootings are done from hides, photo platforms, or near our van.

We do not venture on long hikes along our expeditions but be prepared to walk up to a mile through thick muddy jungle terrain with heavy equipment in order to find a specific quality species of birds. Porter´s help will be offered when available at lodges.

Please keep in mind that we are venturing deep into nature areas to facilitate finding of most species possible, sometimes requiring long drives. If you have any medications, you must bring enough with you for the entire day. It is best to keep them sealed in plastic Ziploc bags.

In terms of disease risk malaria and zika are rare but present, therefore insect repellent and long sleeve shirts are required, especially at night. Travelers should consult their own physicians about potential preventative measures, including vaccines.

If you are visiting South American countries such as Colombia, Peru, or Ecuador please check with your home country´s health department regulations concerning any required vaccines, Yellow Fever vaccination is often required by country of origin.

  • Temperatures:

    most of the lodges visited will be in the lowlands, where the weather hot and humid. When in highlands, though, the temperature drops considerably, especially at night and in the early morning.

  • Lodging:

    we strive locate high quality species. This means we will travel far out in the countryside where many of the lodges provide limited amenities such as no air conditioning. Ceiling fans are always provided for your comfort if air conditioning is unavailable.

Crested Quetzal EC

Harpy Eagle Pan

Lesser Violetea

Masked Trogon

Rufous Motmot CO

Swordbilled Hummingbird EC

Harpy Eagle

Plate-billed Mountain Toucan EC

Project Name

White-bellied Hummingbird

Pinocchio Anole

Pinocchio Anole

Get In Touch

Costa Rica

+506 8446-1516

Popular Links

© Freddy Madrigal. All Rights Reserved. Designed by Omar Luna J.