Cabanas San Isidrio




Lodge Class

Program Duration

4-5 Days


Quijos Valley


San Isidro caters to a broad spectrum of guests; ranging from serious birders and researchers to the casual nature lover. Located in the pristine and peaceful Quijos Valley, the lodge can be reached from Quito in about 2.5 hours. We are at 2050m above sea level and flank the Amazon rainforest. The biodiversity is rich and the bird watching, amongst other activities, is phenomenal.

Cabanas San Isidrio


We depart Quito at 8:00AM with our direction set on the hillsides of the Amazon. A direct drive would have us arrive in about 2.5 hours, but we prefer to make some interesting stops along the way. We will first arrive to one of Ecuador’s famous rose farms. Ecuador is known for producing the world’s highest quality roses. A dozen farm-fresh roses for $2 anyone? We will ascend the Andes a bit, making a stop at the summit of Papallacta. On clear days we can amazing photo opportunities of nearby volcanoes. The late morning will have us descending into the subtropics, and we will make a stop at the Guango Lodge. Here we will be able to observe hummingbirds and enjoy a freshly prepared meal. In the afternoon we will head for the trails. We will observe the flora and fauna, and have a great chance to see colorful Toucans. In the late afternoon we will arrive to San Isidro. Lets get settled in while we still have some daylight left. We will enjoy a traditional meal, with the chance to try some Guinea Pig. After our meal we will have our first nocturnal excursion. We will search for owls, funky insects, and other night-stalking mammals.
We will endeavor in a bit of bird watching this morning. Many species come to feast upon the insects attracted to the lodge by the night’s lights. A mid-morning safari trek will have us searching for rare mammals. Pumas roam the hills, but an in-person sighting is quite rare. We will check the trail cameras along our trek and see what was lurking about just hours before us. The trek will take us to the bank of the Cosanga River, which we will follow to our picnic spot, Pumayacu Falls. In the afternoon we will take a trip to the Yanayacu Biology Station. We will take a look at ongoing research and gain an appreciation for the history of the area. We will enjoy another fantastic meal in the evening, with the option of another nocturnal trek for those whom wish to participate.
In the morning we will set off on a nearby trail arriving to the feeding area of the Antpittas, a very photogenic group of birds they are! Mid-morning we will visit some pre-colonial ruins. The former inhabitants of the area are still being studied. What we do know is that they were a mining community that was never conquered by the Incans. In the afternoon we will be back on the trail, heading to a mating area of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. Often times we get to listen in, as the males sing across the tree tops, looking to gain favor with the females. On the way back to the lodge we will check the trail cams again, you never know what might be stalking us!
We depart early morning from San Isidro, heading off towards Cascada San Rafael (Coca Falls). It will take us about two hours to arrive, followed by a 1-kilometer trail. This is Ecuador’s tallest waterfall, and if the waterflow is strong, one of its most forceful. Along the trail keep an eye out for Spider Monkeys and Capuchin. From here we head back to Quito.
We will depart Quito bright and early today, as we have a lot of ground and habitats to cover. We first set out for Guango Lodge, passing a dry valley, a variety of different agricultural zones, and a native chaparral forest. We will make a stop at a breezy paramo for our first viewing opportunity. In the morning we will have an opportunity to view the Carunculated Caracara, Andean Gull, Scrub, Tanagers, Southern Yellow-Grosbeak, Black-Tailed Trainbearer, and with a bit of luck the elusive Andean Condor. If it’s a clear day, we will also enjoy spectacular views of surrounding mountain peaks and snow-capped volcanoes. Before leaving the Paramo area, known as Papallacta Pass, we will have opportunities to view several other species of birds. We will then begin descending the eastern slopes of the paramo, towards Guango lodge. The ecosystem will change from arid to high elevation temperate forest. This quickly provides us with bird-dense late-morning photo opportunities. We will arrive to the lodge for a home-cooked meal. While dining we will be able to view a variety of hummingbird species. After lunch we will explore the grounds and trails near the lodge. The prime species we will be on the lookout for will be: Bar-Bellied Woodpecker, White-Banded Tyrannulet, Blue-Backed Conebill, Hemispungus, Brush Finch, Gray-Hooded Bush Tanager, Plushcap, and other Tanager. Local highlights also include the Gray-Breasted Mountain Toucan and the Mountain Avocetbill. We will depart in the afternoon towards San Isidro. We want to arrive before dusk to give us the best chance at spotting a Rufous-Bellied Nighthawk. We will then enjoy a finely prepared meal and then go for a short night walk for some owl-spotting.
After breakfast we start our birding at the lodge area. Within an hour we will be checking off several species. The most common morning visitors to the lodge are: Woodcreepers (Montane and Olive-backed), Rufous-Crowned Tody Flycatcher, Black-Billed Peppershrike, Inca Jay, Golden-Crowned Flycatcher, Subtropical Cacique, and the Bluish Flowerpiercer. The rest of the morning will have us on the local trails and visiting feeding areas. The Antpitta feeders usually provide us with up-close viewings of the White-Bellied Antpitta, and occasionally the Peruvian. After lunch we continue on the trails, most with walking distance, and others a short drive. Fruiteaters, Quetzals, Andean Potoo, and the Rufous-Banded Owl are some of our primary objectives today.
Today we set out early on the Loreto Road, or for a visit to San Rafael Falls. This is another amazing habitat for birding, one of the most biodiverse on earth. We will have a pack lunch today, as to maximize our time out on the trails. Today we are in search of: Golden-Collared Honeycreeper, Paradise & Golden Ear Tanagers, White-Backed Fire Eye, Coppery-Chested Jacamar, amongst others. In the evening we head back to San Isidro for supper.
A short morning drive to the stunning Guacamayos Ridge Trail and our birding begins. This is an amazing forest, with equally amazing bird watching. Common birds in the area include: Handome Flycatcher, Green-and-Black Fruiteater, Skulking Tapaculos, Northern Mountain-Cacique, Rufous Wren. Other more elusive species in the zone include: Greater Scythebill, Dusty Piha, and the Black-Billed Mountain Toucan. In the afternoon we continue on some trails near the lodge, looking for some of the species we may have previously missed.
After breakfast we set back towards Quito. There will be some stops along the way, hoping to catch some more birds commonly found along the route back. There may be an option for some last-minute birding near the lodge as well, we just need to coordinate your preferences with the allotted viewing time we have today.

Cabanas San Isidrio

-Rates & Inclusions-

Standard Itinerary 2 Days 3 Days 4 Days
2 Guests 640 850 1070
3-6 Guests 570 760 950



Birder’s Itinerary 2 Days 3 Days 4 Days
2 Guests 430 640 850
3-6 Guests 380 570 760

Cabanas San Isidrio


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