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Researching the rare and endemic Esmeraldas Woodstar
Machalilla National Park Esmeraldas Woodstar

Machalilla National Park is a preserve near Puerto Lopéz resting along the Pacific coast. It incorporates beaches, cloud forest, dry forest, small islands and two larger islands: Salango and Isla de la Plata. In 1990 the park was named an internationally important wetland under the Ramsar Convention. Machalilla National Park is the only habitat outside of the Galapagos Islands of waved albatross. There is a great diversity of more than 270 bird species in Machalilla National Park and its surrounding areas, including endemic of Chocó endemic tumbesinas that are typical of the andean cloud forests. In addition, there are a large number of globally endangered species and threatened species. Some of these species have significant populations in the area and others have additional populations in very few other locations in the country. Birds in this area include Esmeraldas Woodstar (of course), Pale-browed Tinamou, Rufous-headed Chachalaca, Grey-backed Hawk, Ecuadorian Ground-dove, Ochre-bellied Dove, Red-masked Parakeet, Pacific Parrotlet, Grey-cheeked Parakeet, Scrub Nightjar, Short-tailed Woodstar, Little Woodstar, Ecuadorian Piculet, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Pacific Elaenia, Pacific Royal Flycatcher, Grey-breasted Flycatcher, Baird's Flycatcher, Sooty-crowned Flycatcher, Ochraceous Attila, Collared Antshrike, Elegant Crescentchest, Watkins's Antpitta, Pale-legged Hornero, Blackish-headed Spinetail, Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner, Superciliated Wren, Plumbeous-backed Thrush, Ecuadorian Thrush, Saffron Siskin, Grey-and-gold Warbler, White-edged Oriole, Black-capped Sparrow and Crimson-breasted Finch.


Day 1 Arrival in Guayaquil

Arrival in Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city which is also the financial, commercial and industrial centre of the country and the country's biggest harbor. We will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Accommodation in Guayaquil.


Day 2 Birding along the Ecuadorian Pacific Coast

After breakfast you will travel to Salinas Beach and Ecuasal Lagoon to look for Chilean Flamingo, White-cheeked Pintail, Gray and Gray-headed Gulls, and many shorebirds such as Black-necked Stilt, Short-billed Dowitcher, and Willet. Lunch will be at the popular Salinas Beach. In the afternoon you will visit Cerro Alto, part of the dry forest home to such target Tumbesian endemics as Short-tailed Field-Tyrant, Tumbesian Tyrannulet, Elegant Crescentchest, Parrot-billed Seedeater, and Burrowing Owl. After a three-hour drive you will arrive at Mantaraya Lodge in Puerto Lopez where you will spend the next three nights. Accommodation at Mantaraya Lodge.

Day 3 Machalilla National Park

After an early breakfast you will hike along the Ayampe River, part of Machalilla National Park. This area is covered by a wet dry forest and offers the best chance to spot the rare and endemic Esmeraldas Woodstar. You will also search for Ecuadorian Trogon, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Necklaced Spinetail, White-backed Fire-eye, and Baron's Hermit, among others.
After an exciting morning of birding and a tasty lunch, you will head to the community of Aqua Blanca, whose people depend on ecotourism for their livelihoods. You will look for West Peruvian Screech-Owl, Red-billed Scythebill, Ecuadorian Piculet, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, White-edged Oriole, and other dry forest specialists. Accommodation at Mantaraya Lodge.

Day 4 Isla de la Plata (Silver Island)

After breakfast you will take a 1.5 hour boat ride to Isla de la Plata. On the way you will see Brown and Peruvian Pelicans, and further out to sea you will find Black and Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrels, plus other pelagic species. (An added treat from July to September is the migration of Humpback Whales!) You will make a "wet landing" on the island, enjoy a snack, and then take the Machete Trail, where you will enjoy Waved Albatross and three species of booby (Blue-footed, Red-footed, and Nazca). Potential songbirds on the island include Collared Warbling-Finch, Short-tailed Woodstar, and Gray-and-white Tyrannulet. Time permitting, we will also enjoy some snorkling. Accommodation at Mantaraya Lodge.

Day 5 La Ruta del Sol (The Route of the Sun)

Today you will travel along the Ruta del Sol (The Route of the Sun) along the Pacific coast of Ecuador, birding our way back to Guayaquil, trying to wrap up any missed species from previous days. Accommodation in Guayaquil.
Please note that this tour may be combined with our other birding tours, an extension tour to the Amazon Basin or the Galapagos Islands before or after the tour.

Prices 2019 per person (minimum 02 people)
In a double room: US$ 1860,- per person
Single room supplement: US$ 196,-

Please contact us for prices for the tour for 1 traveler or groups.

Tour prices include: all transfers in private transportation, excursions and overland tours as mentioned above accompanied by a specialist bilingual guide (English/Spanish – other languages upon request only), accommodation based on double rooms, meals outside Guayaquil, and entrance fees to all reserves visited.

Tour prices do not include: international airport taxes (Quito ca. US$ 43 per person; ca. Guayaquil US$ 28), personal equipment and items, travel insurance, extra charge for single rooms, tips, personal expenses, beverages, meals in Guayaquil, anything not mentioned in the program.

NB: Please read all itineraries as a guide only. All routes and programs can change without notice due to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety reasons and the wildlife encountered during the travel. Flexibility is the key to the success of any tour. Nevertheless the safety and the interest of our passengers is always our first priority.

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