Yanacocha and tandayapa valley

Day trip or 2d1n all inclusive package

  • This trip takes place along the first 40 miles of the pioneer birding project Ecoroute called “El paseo del quinde” (The hummingbird promenade). It consists basically on an old secondary road that joins extremely good birding areas and reserves like Yanacocha Reserve, Tandayapa pass, and Bellavista Reserve which are famous for the endemism level and the great diversity of hummingbirds (over 40 possible species).

    Gunnera leaves; Gunnera sp.; Ecuador, Prov. Pichincha, Yanacocha Reserve

    Gunnera leaves; Gunnera sp.; Ecuador, Prov. Pichincha, Yanacocha Reserve


    Day 1 Yanacocha: Leave Quito early to Yanacocha Reserve, birding there for 3 to 4 hours.

    Yanacocha, is located on the northwest flank of Volcán Pichincha at ca. 3200-3400 m above sea level on the northwestern flank of the volcano remained one of the more reliable remaining locations for  the Critically Endangered hummingbird, the Black-breasted Puffleg (Eriocnemis nigrivestis), who has a tiny world range centered on and near Volcán Pichincha, the volcano that towers over Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. In 2005 the puffleg was adopted as the ‘emblematic bird of Quito’ and the reserve declared as a ‘natural patrimonio’ of the city. This forest has provided water for Quito since pre-Columbian times, and today it remains an important source of water to northern Quito and the town of Nono.

    aetathus-sp-img_6395On the way raptors are regularly seen, and watch for the scarce Curve-billed Tinamou in the pastures – being along a main trail that actually is on top of the aqueduct and therefore is essentially level (a rarity this high in the Andes!).  This trail extends for more than two kilometres, with flocks of birds being regularly encountered. Visitors can obtain point-blank views of the extraordinary Sword-billed Hummingbird, Great Saphirewing, Sapphire-vented and Golden-breasted, a couple species of flowerpiercers (e.g., Glossy and Masked).  Unfortunately the sought-after Black-breasted Puffleg is not seen regularly, and researchers are continuing to try to figure out why.  The Andean flora which provides normal provisioning (nectar) for the hummingbirds is very evident along the trail, with genera such as BomareaCentropogon, FuchsiaMacleania, and Palicouria being especially prominent.  Giant Gunnera plants with their huge but prickly leaves are very obvious beside the trail.


    Many birds besides hummingbirds are also to be seen, with mixed species flocks of tanagers including mountain tanagers (Hooded, Scarlet-bellied, Black-chested, and Buff-breasted), Barred Fruiteater, Pearled Treerunner and many others.  Pairs and family group of notably tame Andean Guans are also regular.  A recent addition is a worm feeder for the Tawny Antpitta; in addition Rufous Antpittas are now increasingly often seen hopping on the trail itself. Three globally near-threatened species are present at Yanacocha: Andean Condor (mainly in the high páramo, but also sometimes flying high above the trail), Imperial Snipe (wait for it at dusk), and Giant Conebill (with mixed flocks).  Side trails down into the valley below the wide level trail can be taken to get a more intimate view of the forest interior, and provide a better chance to see shy species such as the Undulated and Chestnut-naped Antpittas and Ocellated Tapaculo.

    In the evening we arrive at Tandayapa Bird Lodge. Dinner and lodging.

    Day 2: Lower Tandayapa Valley. You will take the breakfast very early in the morning. Then you will start enjoying feeders with huge amount of hummers, this is THE place for hummers. The lodge feeders are the best in the world, with up to 20 species in an hour, and often 10 species at the feeders at once. The great thing about the hummers is the action is non-stop all day long. This means we can spend the early morning hours birding the forest trails and platforms and save the hummers for the afternoon, comforted by the knowledge that all the species will still be present.


    Directions and Route: Leave Quito early to Papallacta area with several stops as we go birding for 4 to 5 hours. Continue to Guango Lodge for checking the very concurred hummingbird feeders, having lunch and birding on the afternoon. Return to Quito with some eventual stops.

  • Tour Includes:

    • Lodging in comfortable hotel/lodges
    • All meals as indicated
    • All land transportation
    • Local flights (if needed)
    • Airport transfer
    • Entrance fees
    • Expert bilingual birding guide

    Price does NOT Include:

    • International airfare
    • Airport departure tax (if required)
    • Expenses of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, extra drinks and snacks, souvenirs, etc.
    • Tips

    Emergency phones:

    Conventional 2 505 212 / 2 505 841. Jocotours direct 2 505 129