Neblina Forest Birding Tours



November trip: eastern andean ridge

Orchid Fever Satisfied: Helge and a Telipogon af maldonadoensis

By Gustavo Cañas-Valle


  • Number of ORCHIDS seen during the trip: 127 species
  • Average expected number of PLANTS with flowers seen during the trip: 370 to 400 species
  • Families Represented: 73 families (minimum)
  • Vegetation Types Visited: 10 out of 16 Ecuadorian Vegetation Types.
  • Total habitats visited: 10 out of 20.
  • Altitude Range: 981 to 4000 m (3218 to 13,123 ft)

A General Description of plants Photographed by habitat follows:



Top Ten Highlight Birds

North Ecuadorian Grassland and "Quebrada" vegetation (Interandean Valleys)

Machachi – Cotopaxi Road

Oxalis cf peduncularis (Oxalidaceae), Prunus capuli (Rosaceae), Brugmansia sanguinea, Brugmansia nubigena (Solanaceae), Coriaria ruscifolia (Coriariaceae),

Eastern Cordillera Paramo (Grass, shrub and cushion, and Desert paramo) Phytogeographically known in South America as Puna.

Cotopaxi National Park

Aa sp. (Orchidaceae), Chuquiraga jussieui (Asteraceae), Coriaria ruscifolia (Coriariaceae), Halenia weddeliana, Gentiana sedifolia (Gentianaceae), Hypericum laricifolium (Hypericaceae), Tristerix longebracteatus (Loranthaceae), Ribes sp. (Saxifragaceae) Brachyotum sp. Possible: Brachyotum gleasonii (Melastomataceae)

Eastern Cloud forest


34 spp seen in 22 families: In the Orchids, the family with the most species recorded: 7 species, three genera: Epidendrum, Maxillaria and Phragmipedium. Epidendrum was the most numerous with 5 spp.

Eastern Cloud forest and Eastern Low montane forest


66 spp seen in 18 families: Orchid family presented 34 species in 21 genera, dominating the group Maxillaria (4 species) and Phragmipedium and Gongora, with 3 species each.

South Ecuadorian shrub vegetation and Dry scrub vegetation of southernmost Ecuador (Chinchipe Valley)

La Toma – Loja Road

Loja County Botanic Garden: 54 spp in 5 families. Orchids were the most frequently seen organisms there: 50 species in 29 genera. The dominant genera were Epidendrum (8 species), Oncidium (7 species) and Maxillaria (4 species).

Southern Cordilleras Paramo (Grass, shrub and cushion paramo)

Cajanuma Area (PNP)

9 spp in 7 families e.g: Gaulteria revoluta, Bejaria sp. (Ericaceae), Oreaocallis grandiflorum (Proteaceae), Streptosolen jamesonii (Solanaceae) Most numerous family: Ericaceae (3 species). No orchids recorded.

Savanna and Deciduous Forest; Semi-deciduous Forest

Catacocha – Macará Road

7 spp in 7 families: Most interesting plants were one Cucurbitaceae and several Bombacaceae including Ceiba trischistandra. Most species did not have flowers to be used as a trait for identification

Dry scrub vegetation of southernmost Ecuador (Chinchipe Valley)

Vilcabamba (PNP Western Limit)

Yangana and Cerro Toledo: 38 spp in 23 families. Most frequently seen in this area: Ericaceae (5 spp), Compositae (3 spp) and Orchidaceae (3 spp).

Eastern Cloud Forest

Tapichalaca Reserve (PNP Southwestern Limit)

Tapichalaca Reserve: 9 spp in 7 families, e.g.: Oncidium macranthum (Orchidaceae), Guzmania sp. (Bromeliaceae), Centropogon sp. (Campanulaceae). Dominant families: Onagraceae and Orchidaceae, with 2 species each.

Eastern Cloud forest and Eastern Low montane forest

Loja – Zamora Old Road (PNP Northern Limit)

San Francisco on the road to Zamora: 10 spp in 9 families. Orchidaceae: only family with more than one species (Epidendrum spp).

Eastern Cordillera Paramo (Grass, shrub and cushion paramo)

Papallacta, Lava Flow and Termas de Papallacta

Papallacta Pass and the Lava Flow: 50 spp in 13 families. Orchids: 16 species in 8 genera. Genera with the most species: Pleurothallis (5 spp) and Epidendrum, Odontoglossum, Pterichis y Stellis (2 species each.)

Eastern Cloud forest and Eastern Low montane forest

Baeza – El Chaco – Cosanga Area

45 spp in 19 families: 13 spp in Orchidaceae, the one with the most species seen in this section. From the 11 genera seen in the family, the two more numerous, Elleanthus and Odontoglossum, presented 2 species each.

Eastern Cloud Forest

San Isidro and Cosanga Area

San Isidro and Cosanga: 29 spp in 15 families. Orchids presented the most records with 8 species: 4 Epidendrum and 2 Maxillaria. On the way back to Quito, before Baeza: five (5) orchid species from: Elleanthus, Epidendrum, Lepanthes, Pleurothallis, and Trychoceros.


Day 1

Transfer to Hotel Sebastian[1] upon arrival to Quito "Mariscal Sucre" Airport (2800 m, 9,186 ft.). Overnight in Quito (Hotel Sebastián)

Day 2

Pick up time, 6:00 am. Our goal for the day is botanizing the morning drive through Limpiopungu plateau at Cotopaxi National Park (4000 m / 13,123 ft) on our way to Baños (1800 m / 5,906 ft). Overnight in Luna Runtun Resort & SPA

Day 3

Botanizing the Baños area. Overnight in Baños (Luna Runtun Resort & SPA).

Day 4

Botanizing the road from Baños to Puyo (981 m / 3,218 ft). With emphasis in the Puyo area. Overnight in Baños (Luna Runtun Resort & SPA)

Day 5

Botanizing the road from Baños to Rio Negro. Transfer back to Quito. Overnight in Quito (Hotel Sebastián).

Day 6

Pick up time, 4:30 am for transfer to Loja Flight. Departure time from Quito "Mariscal Sucre" Airport is 5:45. Scenic flight depending on weather through the Volcanoes Avenue to La Toma "Camilo Ponce Enríquez" Airport (1532 m / 5,026 ft). Scenic drive towards Loja (2150 m / 7,054 ft). Botanizing de Cajanuma Area (2550 to 3700 m / 8,366 to 12,139 ft) on the Northwestern limit of Podocarpus National Park[2] and the Loja County Orchid Garden. Overnight in Vilcabamba (1500 m / 4,921 ft) (Hostal Jardin Escondido)

Day 7

Botanizing the drive from Vilcabamba to Jocotoco Foundation's Tapichalaca Reserve[4] (2800 to 3100 m / 2,953 to 10,171 ft),with selected stops. Overnight in Vilcabamba (Hostal Jardin Escondido).

Day 8

Transfer from Vilcabamba to Loja. Botanizing the Loja – Zamora Road (2800 to 900 m / 9,186 to 2,953 ft). Overnight in Loja.

Day 9

Botanizing the scenic drive of the Catacocha (1800 m / 5,906 ft) – Macará Road (450 m / 1,476 ft). Overnight in Loja.

Day 10

Early morning flight to Quito "Mariscal Sucre" Airport. From the airport, we will start the day with a scenic drive towards Papallacta (3071 m / 10,078 ft). We will botanize the Papallacta Area Overnight in Termas de Papallacta[5], a mountain resort and spa. There, after an intense day looking for flowers, a series of natural hot spring water pools will welcome you.

Day 11

Botanize the eastern slope of the Andes while driving from Papallacta down to Baeza (1796 m / 5,892 ft). Overnight at San Isidro Lodge

Day 12

Botanize the San Isidro premises and Cosanga (2,075 m / 6,807 ft). Overnight at San Isidro Lodge.

Day 13

While driving back up to Papallacta, check for plant species that we might have missed on the way down to Baeza. Botanize the old Baeza – El Chaco (About 1500 m / 4,921 ft) road. Overnight in Termas de Papallacta for a last comforting dip into the hot-spring water.

Day 14

Early morning drive to Quito finishing up with the last flowers available on the Papallacta – Quito Road. Transfer to flight back home.

Include / Not Include

Price Includes:

  • All transfers to and from airports and hotels
  • All accommodations throughout
  • All box lunches
  • Private transportation and driver
  • Specialized birding guide
  • Meals while at lodges
  • Flight to and from Loja

Price Includes:


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Orchid Tours are planned three times a year based on availability of flowers

  • January Trip: Coastal Region
  • February Trip: Southern Dry Forest and Interandean Vegetation
  • August Trip: Amazon Region

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