Tours: Coastal Ecuador
Birding off-the-Beaten path


This new tour focuses on the coastal plain giving one a mix of Chocˇ as well as Tumbesian endemics as well as an opportunity to visit some out of the way places. In some cases the accommodation may be more rustic than on our other tours. However, these less visited areas should provide some avian surprises! Spring and fall provides an abundance of migrant shorebirds.

Tour Itinerary

Masked Water-Tyrant
Photo by Charlie Vogt

Day 1.
  Depart early for the drive down the breathtaking Toachi Canyon to Tinalandia which is well-known and well-worth the visit. We will bird until lunch looking for White-tipped Sicklebill, Violet-tailed Sylph, Green Thorntail, Chocˇ Toucan, White-whiskered and Barred Puffbird, Pacific-streaked Antwren, Esmeraldas and Immaculate Antbird, Masked Water-Tyrant, Gray-and-gold Tanager and Blue Seedeater. After lunch we drive toward the coast with late afternoon birding in the lesser-known Chindul coastal range, south of Bilsa, where we might see Gray-backed Hawk, Dusky Pigeon, Ecuadorian Trogon, Pale-mandibled Arašari. This is the only place in Ecuador where one can see howler monkeys from the road! Short drive to dinner and overnight at Caba˝as Puerto Escondido just inland from Pedernales.


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Chestnut-throated Seedeaters
Photo by Charlie Vogt

Pacific Pygmy-Owl
Photo by Charlie Vogt

Pearl Kite
Photo by Charlie Vogt

Day 2.
  Early-morning we bird at low elevation on the Chindul coastal range on the road towards Muisne, then drive to Hacienda Don Juan for lunch where we stay for the next two nights. The Hacienda contains 1400 hectares of which 400 have been declared the Tito Santos Dry Forest Biological Reserve which protects a unique remnant of coastal ecosystems including Tropical Dry, Semi-Deciduous and Humid Forest. Birding in the afternoon for Ecuadorian Trogon, Blue-crowned Motmot, Black-cheeked, Red-rumped and Guayaquil Woodpecker, Black-and-White, Cinnamon, and One-colored Becard, Yellow-tailed Oriole, and Peruvian Meadowlark, and in the evening we will try for Chocˇ Screech-Owl, Black-and-White Owl, as well as Anthony's Nightjar.

Zone-tailed Hawk
Photo by Janos Olah Jr.

Day 3.
  Birding the varied ecosystems of Hacienda Don Juan for Pale-browed Tinamou (often heard but hard to see!), Hook-billed Kite, Rufous-headed Chachalaca, Scaled Pigeon, Croaking Ground-Dove, Red-masked Parakeet, Blue-fronted Parrotlet (rare, and the only locality for ManabÝ province), Striped Cuckoo, Pacific Pygmy-Owl, Violet-bellied Hummingbird, and a chance of the endemic Esmeraldas Woodstar.

Pinnated Bittern
Photo by Charlie Vogt

Day 4.
  Early-morning birding around the Hacienda for species we might not have seen such as Black-striped Woodcreeper, Elegant Crescentchest, Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Brownish Twistwing, Tumbesian Pewee, Gray-breasted Flycatcher, Speckle-breasted Wren, Gray-and-gold Warbler, Lesser Seed-Finch, Parrot-billed Seedeater, and Scarlet-rumped Cacique. Mid-morning we head off for the Chone Marsh which supports some interesting species such as Least Bittern, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Masked Duck as well as Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. Later we have a long but beautiful drive through altered Dry Forest and farmlands till we climb the low but impressive coastal ridge constantly swaddled in clouds. In the dry season you can see one of the most drastic ecosystem changes in the world. In less than 1km you go from bone-dry wood land to dripping, ridge-top humid forest! After birding the ridge we continue south along the beautiful coast drive through Machalilla arriving for some late afternoon birding at the Hotel Atamari near the ornithologically and archeologically famous Rio Ayampe. Overnight at hotel.

Esmeraldas Woodstar
Photo by Roger Ahlman

Horned Screamer
Photo by Janos Olah Jr.

Day 5.  We start birding early along the Rio Ayampe looking for Necklaced Spinetail, Collared Antshrike, Long-tailed Mockingbird and Short-tailed Field-Tyrant, then proceed south along the coast stopping for lunch at Cabanas Ayangue. After lunch we will bird Monteverde Saltlakes for Snowy Plover, Gray and Gray-hooded Gull, Gull-billed Tern, as well as many migrant shorebirds in spring and fall.  On to Engunga for late afternoon to evening birding for, Snowy-throated Kingbird, White-tailed Jay, Collared Warbling-Finch, Anthony's Nightjar, and West Peruvian Screech-Owl with overnight at Punta Carnero.

West-Peruvian Screech-Owl
Photo by Roger Ahlman

White-tailed Jay
Photo by Janos Olah Jr.

Masked Duck female
Photo by Charlie Vogt

Day 6. 
We start birding leisurely at the hotel for pelagic seabirds and the nearby salt pans of Ecuasal for Chilean Flamingo, Peruvian Thick-knee, Kelp Gull, Peruvian Tern as well as some Tumbesian endemics such as Sulphur-throated Finch. Lunch at hotel then drive to Manglares Churute where we will bird for Horned Screamer, as well as some of the Tumbesian endemics which we may have missed. Overnight at hotel in Guayaquil.

Peruvian Thick-knees   Photo by Roger Ahlman

Gray-and-white Tyrannulet
Photo by Charlie Vogt

White Ibis
Photo by Charlie Vogt

Day 7.
  Early-morning birding at Cerro Blanco where we will bird for the scarce Great Green Macaw, other Tumbesians such as Short-tailed Woodstar, Pacific Elaenia, Superciliated Wren, Black-capped Sparrow as well as Pacific Royal-Flycatcher, the threatened Saffron Siskin, and Blackish-headed Spinetail, Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner, White-backed Fire-Eye.

Transfer to Guayaquil airport for midday or evening international flight home.

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Tour Information

Price per person: Click here for prices
Included: All lodging, meals, expert bilingual birdguide, transportation, hotel transfer and entrance fees.
Not included: Last night dinner; drinks; tips.
See our Payment and Cancellation Policy page for important information.

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