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“Much more, and better, than expected” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Paz de las Aves Bird Refuge

Paz de las Aves Bird Refuge
Ranked #3 of 26 things to do in Mindo
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
137 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
“Much more, and better, than expected”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2014

I just read the review from JS, and can understand the frustration. I had read negative reports for February birding viewing on other sites and had concerns when my private bird guide recommended this place. I was concerned about the number of people, that it would be overly 'touristy' and that the rain and mud would make birding miserable. My guide called ahead and there were only 8 people booked for the day we discussed. I think that even 15 would be too many for prime viewing. Something Angel might want to consider.
I felt he was not as monetarily driven as my initial worries prior to the visit. I learned to trust my private guide and she and Angel know each other well and I felt he showed good concern for his birds.
There was road work going on, so getting up the slopes in the mud was messy. One really needs rubber boots in the cloud forest in February. It is their rainiest month. Regardless, boots made it passable. Those who insisted on using their hiking boots had a lot of cleaning to do. This day, those who had vehicles, piled folks in and drove them to relevant places.
One needs to be prepared for mud, wet, and inclines at any time when birding in the cloud forest reserves during their rainy season.
I happened to have seen a cock of the rock by chance the day before, but we did see them at the lek. The low lighting did not make this the highlight of the day. I really enjoyed the other areas where they put out fruit for the barbets, toucans and toucanettes; also the hummingbird feeders. The later breakfast of coffee, cheese empanadas and Bolons (green plantain fried dumplings/croquettes) were excellent. Freshly made.
When the mist rose, the views (particularly for birders) from the breakfast area deck were amazing.
There is a lot to do on this property. Several areas for antpittas, the bird and hummingbird feeders and the leks. As I had paid my guide for transport and guiding, the actual entrance fee was only $25. I was happy to find it much less commercial than the impression I developed over a very few reviews. Most birders give this property a high mark. I agree. If not a birder, it might be a bigger slog in less than ideal conditions to see a funny looking bird with a red head. If a birder, there is an advantage of bringing your own bird guide and transport.
As to toilets, when I was there, there was a block with two toilet rooms - with flush toilets. The sink, however, was external.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank Quiltingmamma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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134 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brookville, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Big Rip-off”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 26, 2014

We went on a 1/2 day trip with high hopes of seeing the Cock-of-the-rock lek. The morning we went, there were WAY too many people at the lek! I estimate thirty birders were vying for the prime positions to see and photograph the lek. It was especially annoying that there were a large number of tall (6-foot +) people in the front row. Even after asking politely, they refused to step aside to allow other shorter people to see, presumably because they got there first and had the "right" to stand in front of others. We all paid to get in but only some were able to see. The number of birders should have been limited to a reasonable amount. Perhaps 15 could have been accommodated, but not 30! We waited for about an hour and I heard that ONE bird finally did show up. I didn't actually see it my self, of course. One bird, in my opinion, does not constitute a lek anyway!

Next, we walked/slid our way a quarter of a mile down the hill in 6-inch deep mud (I'm not exaggerating, bring boots or you'll be sorry!) to see an antpitta come out of the woods across the river. At least we did get to see it.

Finally, we all drove to Angel's house to hike down a trail into the forest to attempt to see another species of antpitta that he would call in. I understand some folks DID see it but I didn't. Once again, the 20 birders who shoved their way ahead of me on the trail got a seat on a bench at the viewing spot under a roof. I and others were left standing around behind the shelter, craning our necks to try to get a look at anything. After 45 frustrating minutes of seeing nothing, I headed back up the hill to the parking lot.

After another 30-minute wait, the herd of big-shot birders came up the trail and immediately went to the table and took all of the seats where we were supposed to be served a wonderful home-cooked Ecuadorian breakfast. It actually wasn't so wonderful standing by and watching them eat. My daughter and I finally got to sit down and eat the scraps when they were done. There was no coffee or tea left for us though. That was probably a blessing in disguise since the toilets didn't flush. They were basically just a toilet bowl sitting there without plumbing. Oh, and by the way, the men's urinal is outside, beside the entrance to the toilets. So, women, be careful or you will walk right up on a guy who is using it like I did!

All in all, this 1/2 day trip was expensive ($100 apiece) for my daughter and myself and it was definitely NOT worth what we paid. My advice is to ask how many people will be along on the trip before you shell out the big bucks. If there will be more than 15, save your money.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Jocelynn S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chico, California
Level Contributor
30 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Don't miss this if you are a Birder!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2014

Excellent opportunity to see normally hard to find birds! Just going out with Angel Paz is an experience in itself. He has a wonderful relationship with the animals on his land. We saw many shy and secretive species in our morning there. After birdwatching, you enjoy a home cooked Ecuadorian breakfast cooked by his family. It's also nice to know that the money we paid for our morning is going directly to his family and to support the use of their land as a refuge for wildlife.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank kacondor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Birding visit July 2013”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 14, 2014

Visiting the Paz de las Aves Refuge was one of the highlights of our birding trip to Ecuador in July 2013. You need to get there early to see the display of the Cock of the Rock, since they only gather at dawn and are gone within 30 minutes, but it is well worth it. Then you have the chance to see the antpitta. We were lucky enough to see three species - the Moustached, the Ochre-breasted and the Yellow-breasted, but unfortunately the Giant didn't show. The feeding station draws in various barbets and toucans, and we had good views of the Sickle-winged Guan. There is also a good collection of hummingbird feeders. Our main interest is bird photography and we found many of the feeders were is rather gloomy locations, but that was the case at many of the other reserves we visited in Ecuador. Overall an amazing experience if you are a birder. This place should be in the list of 100 places to go birding before you die!

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank JT_777777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Vito, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
45 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Former hunters turned bird whisperers”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 1, 2014

Two brothers and their father have learned where to find some very secretive and rare birds, and they don't stop until the birds are seduced into becoming visible. Really great experience because we successfully saw four different Antpittas as well as various other must-see birds. The Paz family is enjoying financial rewards because they are respectful of the habitat they are now protecting and sharing with others. They assiduously cut up worms to lure the Antpittas and Ocellated Tapaculo out of hiding.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Gail H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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