top of page

Ecuador: Quito - Single Day Tours

Tour Overview:

Many people arrange their own trips to Ecuador, to visit the Galapagos, Amazon or Andes, and then find themselves with single days to fill. These day trips have been designed to fill in those gap days. Tropical Birding have a series of guides based in Ecuador and are connected to a network of guides in country, so usually have people available for these single day tours. 


These day trips from the Ecuadorian capital Quito highlight some of the key sites that you can visit in a single day tour. The sites can be visited for birders, looking to see the most species, for Birders With a Camera, looking to see plenty of species and photograph them too, or Photographers looking to focus on shooting a selection of photogenic species only. If you are interested in any of these, please contact the office and we can doctor the day to suit your individual needs. They can be taken by advanced and beginner birders/photographers alike. All of the trips, except trip 5, include visits to sites with hummingbird feeders. It should be noted, if you have more than one day, it is recommended that you spend a night or more at Tandayapa Bird Lodge, where some of these and others sites can be covered better over several days, in order to expand the possibilities of what you can see or photograph. If you wish to see some of the options for several day tours in Ecuador, please check out the Tandayapa Bird Lodge packages.

Tour 1: The High Andes - Antisana

This is one of the most popular day trips, as it combines easy birding in the open grasslands of the high Andes, with some of the most dramatic landscapes close to Quito. While the birding is at high altitude, at around 3800m/12,470ft, this is done along paved roads, at slow pace, with only short walks from the vehicle, and is therefore not physically challenging. Birding will be in high grasslands, known as paramos, and lunch will be taken at a local café with hummingbird feeders in the garden, and views of the Andean Condor roosting cliffs nearby. On clear days, amazing views of the 5,753m/18,875ft-high Antisana Volcano are possible too. This day trip offers some of the easiest birding of all the day trips, and along with Papallacta some of the best scenery of them all.

Target Species:

Andean Condor (this is Ecuador’s most reliable site for the species), Variable Hawk, Black-faced Ibis (one of the only sites in the country for this species), Carunculated Caracara, Andean Lapwing, Andean Gull, Silvery Grebe, Andean Teal, Andean Duck, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Giant Hummingbird, Shining Sunbeam, Tyrian Metaltail, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Chestnut-winged and Stout-billed Cinclodes, Plain-capped Ground-Tyrant, and Plumbeous Sierra-Finch.

Tour Information:
Price: - Please inquire

Pick-up Location: Any Quito hotel (usually around 5:30am - 6:00am)

Drop-off Location: Any Quito hotel (usually around 5:30pm - 6:00pm)

Included Meals: Lunch

Also Included: Bird/Photo guide (with spotting scope for birding trips), transport with a local, licensed tourist driver, checklist to keep track of your records.

*Note: If focused on birding (over photography), then BINOCULARS are an essential item. If you do not have a pair, then please contact the Tropical Birding office in order to hire a pair for the day.

Tour 2: Papallacta and Guango Lodge

Our second high Andean site, Papallacta combines a visit to the wet high Andean paramo grasslands around Papallacta Pass with a visit to a cloudforest lodge lower down for a heady selection of hummingbirds. Lunch will be taken at Guango Lodge, surrounded by hummingbirds. Even though the altitudes reached on this day are high, they can all be reached by car, and little walking is required at the highest points. Altitudes between 2700-4200m/8860-13,780ft may be reached on this day (the higher parts are optional). This reaches wetter and higher altitude paramo than at Antisana, offering some alternative species, like Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Blue-mantled Thornbill and others not possible/unlikely on the Antisana day trip, and a different selection of hummingbirds. On clear days, this Papallacta day trip offers some awesome views of the surrounding volcanos and high Andean landscapes.