A truly wonderful experience! Some primary reasons for travelling to Ecuador was to watch humming birds and venture into the Amazon. Seeing any other birds would be a bonus, especially the myriad of colorful varieties, including the toucan. We were treated to many species. We especially loved two of the Eco lodges, the result of a man's dream (the owner Jorge, who most enthusiastically was our tour guide for a couple of the ten days). Tandayapa and Milpe lodges are fantastic. The tour guides were mostly bi-lingual, but we realised the importance of asking for a daily download of the program. A couple of times were uncomfortable as a result. We didn't know that there'd be no toilets for hours whilst travelling on public roads with fenced off private properties either side; hence nowhere to go (awkward for women especially). And a night walk through the rain forest for an unexpected three hours, until 11.45pm, after 5am starts. The cooks at each lodge were amazing. Three course Ecudorian meals, three times a day! - much walking was in order. The only disappointment was Borja. We travelled for hours on treacherous roads towards the Amazon (roadworks throughout) weaving between huge trucks and lorries, in heavy mist and wet roads. We arrived to find accommodation the equivalent of Soweto (South Africa). This was quickly resolved with the owner, Jorge, who immediately granted our request to return to Tandayapa and Milpe. Albeit exhausting in the treacherous conditions, and we lost a day, it was worth it. Jorge explained that he is currently developing his own lodge in the area, and we wish him and his excellent team the best. Ecuador's outdoors is very beautiful and highly recommended.
San Jorge birding tour was a wonderful experience. Tailored for serious twitchers Jorge owns 3 lodges each with its own charm, Quito hacienda, tandayape hummingbird haven, Milpe tropical rain forest. Lodging and Ecuadorean food were much better than expected. Guides and San Jorge staff were very good; however Spanish is the primary language so communication issues can result. Itinerary and days are full with early starts and late nights, full of wonderful sights, sounds and birds.
Ecuador is currently going through an industrial revolution with roads and infrastructure upgrades so be prepared for difficult travels through wet, cloud, mountains, roadworks with crazy driving. First world prices for first world goods and third world prices for third old goods. From Quito altitude to cloud forest insects, to tropical rain and mists, be prepared for a true experience back to nature.
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