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Napo Wildlife Center - Birding Tour 4-Night Itinerary

Among the most exciting Ecuadorian birding tours are those in the country’s Amazon; a place whose name alone evokes images of pre-historic looking hoatzins on ox-bow lakes, or antbirds, antthrushes, small flycatchers and ground-cuckoos feasting on swarms of ants.

The beauty is that all of these images — as numerous as they are — can be found in the Ecuadorian Amazon at the Napo Wildlife Center, a real paradise for nature lovers.

On the 5-day/4-night birding tour overviewed here, you will be introduced to this magical place where you can revel in the wide range of natural habitats that provide ideal conditions for the highest diversity of birds.


“Everything went off without a hitch. Accomodation was just what we wanted. Clean, great location and within our budget. The dive master was great. ”Sarah Darwin


Ecuadorian Amazon, Kichwa Anangu Community, Canopy Observation Tower, Hiking, Paddle-Canoe Exploring, Parrot Clay Licks, Wildlife Watching

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Quito – Coca – Motor/Dugout Canoe Rides – Napo Wildlife Center
Day 2: Observation Tower – Alternative Birding Activities
Day 3: Rainforest Birding Trek – Parrot Clay Lick – Canoe-ride Birding
Day 4: Kichwa Añangu Interpretation Center – Birding on the Napo River Islands
Day 5: Wildlife Hike – Paddle Canoeing – Presentation
South America Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Quito – Coca – Motor/Dugout Canoe Rides – Napo Wildlife Center

A 30-minute flight from Quito over the eastern Andes mountain range to the Amazonian city of Coca is the beginning of your amazing rainforest experience.

After landing, we will make a short 5-minute drive to the port on the Napo River. Once there, we will board a comfortable covered motorboat to begin the ride by boat along the Napo for approximately two hours, spotting aquatic birds and other wildlife on the way.

After reaching the lodge's welcoming area, we will take a serene and magical 2-hour dugout canoe ride along a narrow river that leads to the lake where the lodge itself is located. This ride presents great chances for more wildlife spotting, including sightings of various species of monkeys as well as large birds like toucans, parrots or even macaws. By the late afternoon, we will arrive at the Napo Wildlife Center's lodge, where you will settle in, have dinner and spend the night.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2
Observation Tower – Alternative Birding Activities

Over the next three full days or more, you will begin to scratch the surface of the avifauna in western Amazonia, as well as get a feel for the complexity of rich habitats and microhabitats within easy reach of the lodge.

After a buffet breakfast, you can experience life above the forest floor by climbing the 36-meter-high observation tower that rises above the jungle canopy. This tower is located about 30 minutes from the lodge, deep in the rainforest. You'll have a very good view at some of the 567 bird species recorded in this area so far, as you get a close look at colorful tanagers, macaws, toucans and flycatchers, as well as Spider and Howler monkeys feeding in nearby trees. The canopy tower opens up a whole new world to travelers who stay at the Napo Wildlife Center, as flocks of oropendolas, aracaris, tanagers, and euphonias roam the canopy in search of fruit, Spangled and Plum-throated Cotingas glow from the treetops, raptors perch on vantage points to dry off in the morning sun, White-browed Purpletufts and Crowned Slaty Flycatchers sally for insects, numerous parrots and macaws fly by or drop in if there is a fruiting tree nearby, and many other species wander past (and through!) the tower tree.

Later, we will return to the lodge for a typical Ecuadorian lunch. After eating, you'll have a number of early afternoon birding options from which to choose – from looking for more birds from the observation tower or trekking along the trails around the lodge.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3
Rainforest Birding Trek – Parrot Clay Lick – Canoe-ride Birding

Early this morning, we will head out on a rainforest birding trek through good forest trails that offer access to another component of the avifauna. Woodcreepers, antbirds, and tinamous are particularly well represented, though we should also encounter the vocally striking Screaming Piha and the visually prominent Blacknecked Red Cotinga.

Later this morning, we will visit one of the best parrot clay licks in Ecuador! After an early start, we will paddle downriver on the Añangu Creek as far as the welcome area. We will then take the motorboat for a 10-minute ride for a breathtaking view of up to hundreds of parrots — such as Amazon-Mealy, Blue-headed and orange-cheek parrots — which assemble here daily. These parrots and cobalt-winged parakeets come here for the salts, chemicals and minerals contained in the organic clay matter.

After lunch, you can enjoy one of the numerous canoe rides around the lake by the lodge and along adjacent creeks, where the songs of Silvered and Plumbeous Antbirds reverberate through the flooded forest. Birds we’ll be seeking here include the poorly known Zigzag Heron, the habitat specialist Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Orange-crested Manakin, and the striking Long-billed Woodcreeper, plus several species of monkeys and the impressive Giant River Otter.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4
Kichwa Añangu Interpretation Center – Birding on the Napo River Islands

The river-edge forest, we will visit the interpretation center to learn about the traditions of the ancestral Kichwa Añangu community, the local group that built and so ably runs the lodge. This area is also home to numerous species such as Turquoise and Magpie Tanagers, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, and Swallow-winged Puffbird.

And then there are islands in the Napo River, which, depending on their age, support a varied avifauna distinct from that found on the “mainland” only a few hundred yards’ distant! Island specialties we hope to see include Black-and-white Antbird, Olivespotted Hummingbird, and at least three species of spinetails, plus more “expected” river birds such as Capped Heron, Collared Plover, and Yellow-billed Tern.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5
Wildlife Hike – Paddle Canoeing – Presentation

This morning we will go on a wildlife hike along the Tiputini Trail and its terra-firma forests and swamp forests in search of more wildlife, such as Golden-mantled tamarins, White-faced capuchin monkeys, Two- and Three-toed sloths, and Pigmy squirrels.

Later, we will return to the lodge for lunch and a well-deserved rest. In the afternoon, we will go paddle canoeing to explore areas deeper in the flooded forest, seeking more chances to observe the unique wildlife there. After dinner, a presentation will be made about the Napo Wildlife Center and the local community.

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Price per person
5US$ 2,741 PPUS$ 1,746 PPUS$ 1,746 PPUS$ 3,249 PPUS$ 2,087 PPUS$ 2,087 PP
*Price per person based upon double occupancy.
*PP (per person)
Included in the price:
  • Accommodations at the Napo Wildlife Center
  • All meals indicated in the itinerary
  • River transportation to/from Coca – Napo Wildlife – Coca
  • Yasuni National Park entrance
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish-speaking) naturalist guide
  • All excursions and visits, indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance to parrot clay licks
Not included in the price:
  • Airfare (Quito – Coca – Quito), with assistance at the airport in Quito and Coca
  • Check-in and transfer services arriving in and departing from the city of Coca
  • Bottled drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Tips (i.e. for the guides and lodge staff)
  • Internet services
  • Laundry services

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Traveler Reviews

“I was very happy in every way with your booking and Cuyabeno Lodge. It surpassed my expectations in every way. No hitches with flights and transportation. The lodge was beautiful. The staff was professional and friendly.”Tim Matheson