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Need advice on best areas for wildlife viewing

Los Angeles...
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Need advice on best areas for wildlife viewing

Hello members,

I am planning a trip to Ecuador next year and I need suggestions from the experts.

I would like to spend a total of 10 days including traveling time from Los Angeles. My top priority is immersion in nature and watching birds and wildlife. I want to include a 2-3 day in Galapagos as well.

About me, I am a single female, seasoned traveler, fluent in Spanish. I prefer to travel with a small group (no more than 8 people) for safety and company.

Any information on the Must See National Parks, best time to visit and reputable companies that can provide the services is welcome.

Thank you in advance!

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: Need advice on best areas for wildlife viewing

Galapagos Islands are 500 miles off the coast and may cost $600 for flights and park fees. It is such a unique area of the world, it would be a shame to go for so few days. Really, if your budget would allow it, you could spend the entire 10 days there. 2-3 days is pretty much a useless and expensive trip.

If that is the only time you have, then consider 'poor man's Galapagos' on the coast. Ecuador has hundreds of birds and some areas are quite easy to reach. Consider Mindo which is a 2 hour bus ride away from Quito. Getting around the country can be a little frustrating as it seems all buses leave from Quito and the city is long and narrow so can take some time to get across town to the bus depot for south of the city from the north.

If wanting a tour, then consider G Adventures, Intrepid, etc. The down side of tours is that it might be hard to find ones that are focused on the parks and birding/animals without being the Galapagos Islands.

Golden, Colorado
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2. Re: Need advice on best areas for wildlife viewing

I agree with the post above, spending only a few days would be a shame and cost a lot of $. The poor man's galapagos is Isla de la plata, its off the coast from Puero Lopez and from June to October, you can combine it with a whale tour (humpbacks).

I have used Gulliver's travel and had no problems.

Los Angeles...
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3. Re: Need advice on best areas for wildlife viewing

Thank you for the responses.

In reviewing further I see that Galapagos needs more time.

Back to the drawing board!

Tucson, Arizona
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4. Re: Need advice on best areas for wildlife viewing

You don't have a ton of time to do too much, but another suggestion would be a 4d/3n package (or even a little longer) at an Amazon lodge. For the amount you'd be saving on not going to Galapagos, you could book a top-notch lodge.

I love Puerto López, and always included Isla de la Plata whenever I visited. Don't expect the Galapagos, though you will be able to see the famous Blue-footed Boobies, as well as the Masked and Red-footed, and, at the right time of year, the Waved Albatross, which nests ONLY at this island and at one in Galapagos. Getting there takes some effort: from Quito, a 30 minute flight to Manta, then a 90 minute taxi ride to PL. I highly recommend Hostería Mandála, which can arrange a driver for you (about $80 RT). There is a bird guide for hire in the area near Ayampe.

Another good birding spot is very near Quito, called Yanacocha. It is in cloud forest on the flanks of Pichincha volcano. Among many hummingbirds and other birds, you can probably get a sighting of the Black-breasted Puffleg, which lives only here.

Brussels, Belgium
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5. Re: Need advice on best areas for wildlife viewing

Don't expect to see a lot of wildlife, EXCEPT FOR BIRDS, in the Amazonian jungle.

Los Angeles...
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6. Re: Need advice on best areas for wildlife viewing

Thank you everyone!

Based on comments about the time needed for Galapagos, the plan is to spend 4 days in the Amazon possible at Shaba Lodge or La Selva but I am still looking at all options (thank you azbuceadora for your suggestions!!). Either before or after I would go to Galapagos for 7 days on a small ship.

@ Pierre: Why do you say not to expect to see animals in the Amazon except birds?

Lastly, Mountain Travel Sobek has a new tour that includes both, but the Galapagos is done by Kayak. any comments on that?

Ottawa, Canada
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7. Re: Need advice on best areas for wildlife viewing

in some areas of the Amazon, the animals have been wiped out for food. However, there are areas where the animals are coming back as people are receiving income from tourism and hunting is less. However, they are wild creatures so sightings are bound to be few. Insects, bugs and birds will be more. Some areas have more monkeys.

Benson, Arizona
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8. Re: Need advice on best areas for wildlife viewing

We saw lots of birds , river otters(once), and about 3-4 different kinds of monkey's at NWC….as for the Black-Brested PufflegHummingbird sighting at Yanacocha , I believe the time to see them is in June and it is very difficult to find them…I would suggest a top notch bird guide for that….(we were about a week too early for it) :(

Tucson, Arizona
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9. Re: Need advice on best areas for wildlife viewing

The Pufflegs are present year-round. They don't migrate--the forest that includes Yanacocha is the only place they occur. The ones I saw (in March) were very much out in the open at the feeders set up along the trail.

Benson, Arizona
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10. Re: Need advice on best areas for wildlife viewing

AZ is there more than one kind of Puffleg that I might be thinking of...