9 recommended wildlife locations. The species listed below are just a selection of those you may see.

Galapagos Islands

Submarine volcanic activity caused this remarkable archipelago to rise from the seabed. Millions of years of isolation then allowed species to evolve through natural selection, creating a unique biological identity. There are no predators, so the animals know no fear – allowing close encounters.

  • Where: Galapagos
  • Ideal for viewing: Blue-footed booby, Galapagos penguin, Land iguana, Marine iguana, Giant tortoise
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Birdwatching

Ecuador Amazon Puyo Region

Puyo is the jumping off point for this part of the Amazon with most lodges being accessed by light aircraft from here. You can explore on foot and by boat with naturalist guides, learning about the rainforest and its prolific birdlife. In addition to a profusion of flowers, many medicinal plants are found here.

  • Where: Pastaza province
  • Ideal for viewing: Harpy eagle, Pink river dolphin, Osprey, Three-toed sloth, Coati
  • Excellent for: River safaris, Birdwatching

Ecuadorian Amazon

This vast rainforest east of the Andes protects more species of plant and mammal than any area of similar size. It is home to an astonishing repertoire of wildlife, including 15% of the world’s bird species. There are over 100 species of mammals, and a network of rivers, steams and lakes to explore by boat or canoe.

  • Where: Amazon
  • Ideal for viewing: Blue and yellow macaw, Harpy eagle, Jaguar, Three-toed sloth, Capybara
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Machalilla National Park

This Pacific Coast park became a Ramsar site in 1990, when recognized as a vital wetland. One third is ocean, a breeding ground for humpback whales, while the islands provide feeding areas for sea birds such as frigatebirds and boobies. On land you will find tropical dry forest, fog forest and coastal scrub desert.

  • Where: Manabi province
  • Ideal for viewing: Black howler monkey, Humpback whale, Brown pelican, Poison arrow frog, Waved albatross
  • Excellent for: Whale watching, Birdwatching

Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve

This private reserve is part of a bio-region that stretches along the Pacific slope of the Andes from Panama to Peru. Its rich ecosystem is home to 500 bird species, butterflies, amphibians and orchids which thrive in the moist conditions. An aerial tram offers a unique vantage point in the rainforest canopy.

  • Where: Pichincha Province
  • Ideal for viewing: Glass frog, Indigo flowerpiercer, Moss-backed tanager, Orange-breasted fruit-eater, Peccary
  • Excellent for: River safaris, Birdwatching

Mindo Cloud Forest

This area of primary forest is considered to be one of the finest birding areas in South America. The varied terrain supports more than 400 species of birds, including the elusive Andean cock-of-the rock. There is a remarkably high number of endemic plants, and orchids, bromeliads and heliconias grow in abundance.

  • Where: Pichincha Province
  • Ideal for viewing: Andean cock-of-the-rock, Club-winged manakin, Long wattle umbrellabird, Puma, Torrent duck
  • Excellent for: River safaris, Birdwatching

Napo River & Yasuni National Park

Coca on the Napo River lies around 1,000 kilometres upstream from its confluence with the main Amazon. The Napo River region and the biologically diverse Yasuni National Park lie at the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon. A motorised canoe down the Napo takes you into the heart of the rainforest and its creeks.

  • Where: Napo Province
  • Ideal for viewing: Sungrebe, Harpy eagle, Tropical kingbird, Howler monkey, Capuchin monkey
  • Excellent for: Vehicle safaris, Birdwatching

Papallacta & Antisana

Nestling at the foot of Antisana volcano, Papallacta’s scenery is spectacular with rocky peaks and a vast sweep of bleak páramo above the tree line. At Antisanilla you can see an impressive lava flow and a deep canyon where Andean condor are regularly sighted. Gentians and orchids surround the many lakes.

  • Where: Napo province
  • Ideal for viewing: Andean lapwing, Andean teal, Black-faced ibis, Black-winged dove, Carunculated caracara
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

The Cloud Forests

From the high mountain peaks down to the Pacific on the west and Amazon Basin on the east, the opposite slopes of the Andes form very different, yet diverse and ever-changing forest ecosystems. Both eastern and western slopes provide fascinating habitat for a great variety of birds and mammals.

  • Where: Ecuador
  • Ideal for viewing: Andean cock-of-the-rock, Glass frog, Rufous-tailed hummingbird, Howler monkey, Toucan barbet
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

3 recommended locations for extending your wildlife trip.

Cotopaxi National Park

This ecological sanctuary surrounds one of the world’s highest active volcanoes, whose permanent snowcap towers 5,897 metres above the valley. The rare Andean speckled bear is found on the eastern slopes, and birdlife is plentiful. We highly recommend a day trip from Quito, but why not overnight at a hacienda?

Otavalo

This beautiful area of lakes and mountains has colourful indigenous communities with a way of life that has changed little for centuries. While it makes a good day trip from Quito, staying overnight in a colonial hacienda allows you to explore the fertile countryside and its rich wildlife on foot or horseback.

Quito

Ecuador’s capital stands at an altitude of 2,850ms on the slopes of the active volcano of Pichincha, 25kms south of the equator. Founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city, Quito’s beautiful old town is perhaps the least altered and most atmospheric of the region.

4 recommended trips. All our trip ideas are offered to inspire you, but our strength is in tailoring your itinerary.

Galapagos & Ecuador in Style

Take a journey to the enchanting cloudforests of the Andes and the unique Galapagos Islands to see some of the best wildlife that Ecuador has to offer.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 14 days

Amazon & the Galapagos

Take a fantastic look at the wildlife of Ecuador by visiting its two foremost natural highlights; the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 16 days

Wildlife of Ecuador & the Galapagos

Travel to this outstanding region and combine two of South America’s finest wildlife destinations.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 11 days

Ecuadorian Odyssey

Take a journey through Ecuador’s varied topography to see the best of the country’s wildlife.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 13 days

When to go

You can visit Ecuador any time of year. The Andes can have “four-seasons-in-a-day” weather, with many micro-climates and the Pacific coast and Amazon are humid all year round.

Seasons

  • Year-round

    Jan to Dec: Ecuador can be visited year-round, with no discernable seasons

Wildlife events

  • Jul to Aug: Whales migrate along the coast, best time for whale watching

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