This is **NOT** your average tour!
We're gonna put bugs on our face, get our hands dirty in mangrove muck, get lost in the clouds, and have our breath taken away by high altitude and stunning scenery.
Of course, with Nancy as an expert in Entomology and Jon as a master science communicator and evolution enthusiast, our days and nights will be filled with biology fun. Learn about the ecosystems in which we're trekking and come eye to eye with some of the most incredible examples of evolution.
Summary of Places
The heart of the Ecuadorian cloud forest. Situated between 4,000 and 6,000 feet your head will literally be in the clouds.
The cloud forest of the Choco-Andean region is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world! With over 600 recorded bird species, 102 species of reptiles and amphibians, 200 orchid species, and 300 butterfly species there's more to see here can can be possibly fit into a lifetime.
Aside from the staggering biodiversity the Mindo community has banded together to protect this fragile and threatened ecosystem by promoting ecotourism.
Visit thundering waterfalls, soar over the forest canopy, get up close and personal with the flying jewels of the cloud forest at the butterfly garden, and follow the process of chocolate from pod to bar.
The northern Ecuadorian coast in the province of Esmeraldas is arguably one of the most beautiful and most threatened places in Ecuador. Wild jungles stick their roots into titanium sand that glitters in the sunlight while whales greet small boats emerging from the mangrove labyrinths.
Due to the Humboldt current, Ecuador has lush tropical forest on the western side that abruptly stops at the ocean’s edge. This mega diverse area has been understudied and is relatively unknown in comparison to the Amazon and the Cloud Forest.
Learn about the conservation projects being spearheaded in this area to protect the tallest mangroves in the world, humpback whales, whale sharks, threatened birds, and monkeys. With these new projects there’s plenty to explore from titanium sand, secluded jungles, hidden beaches, and bug hunting.
Quito / Otavalo
The Andean mountains surround Quito and Otavalo in a warm embrace and the landscape is bedazzled by sapphire, shimmering, volcanic lakes. Hidden between their slopes are endemic flora and fauna just waiting to be studied and local people brimming with pride about their ancestral roots.
It's not just the high altitude and gorgeous views that will take your breath away. Apart from the wildlife, the Andes are alive and overflowing with culture spanning the ages from the Incans, the Conquistadors, and the locals today that have been influenced by all of these fascinating people.
Walk the dusty paths of the Páramo in Ecuador's national parks, enjoy the local artisanal market bustle, get a bird's eye view of the landscape with Ecuador's raptors, and listen to the traditional ways of the Ecuadorian people.