I visited Ecuador in August 2009, with Michael and Jessie, and again in October 2010, with Michael. The area we visited is essentially the Old Nono-Mindo road, also known as the Ecoruta 'el Paseo del Quinde' (the hummingbird journey - Quinde is the native Quechua word for hummingbird). This old unpaved road was once the connection between Quito and the Pacific coast. Nowadays, there is a new paved road, often referred to as the highway.

It's not easy to find a good map of the area. I took the one as published by Bellavista Lodge, but I edited it a bit to indicate the places I visited, marked in blue on this version of the map; note that the locations are my best guesses, not necessarily very correct. You can see that two of the places (Milpe and Rio Silanche) do not really belong to the Ecoruta area.

Being rather high up, (the Ecoruta places ranging from 1400 to 3500 m) the climate is cool and the forest not terribly dense, high, or dark, while preserving many of the wonders of tropical forests. Tropical lushness minus the terribility of being hot and sweating continuously. And you can see the stuff. It is an excellent place for birds, especially hummingbirds.

My favorite pictures of this area are here. Mostly hummingbirds, a few other birds and landscapes.

Hummingbirds argue and fight a lot, see here for a few examples. They are quick movers so it's difficult to get reasonable pictures of those episodes.

I've sorted the pictures by place: Yanacocha (3500m), Verdecocha (3000m), Bellavista (2250m), Las Gralarias (2000m), Tandayapa Lodge (1750m), Mindo Loma (1400m), Paz de les Aves (1400m), Milpe (1100m), and Rio Silanche (450m).

The pictures are also sorted by species, for those species of which I have more than 2 pictures: Violet-tailed Sylph (19), Velvet-purple Coronet (13), Buff-tailed Coronet (9), Sparkling Violetear (7), Gorgeted Sunangel (7), Sword-billed Hummingbird (6), Andean Emerald (5), Booted Rackettail (5), Buff-winged Starfrontlet (5), Collared Inca (5), Great Sapphirewing (5), Brown Inca (5), Green-crowned Woodnymph (4), Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (4), Tyrian Metaltail (4), Sapphire-vented Puffleg (4), Golden-breasted Puffleg (3), Empress Brilliant (3). Western Emerald (3),

If you want to go through all the pictures in the above, then go here.

The name Chocó refers to an area that spans more or less the Western parts of Colombia and Ecuador, from the Pacific up to the tops of the Andes. It is defined as an 'important bird area' by Birdlife International. Some of the bird species on these pages are endemic to Chocó.

See the links page for descriptions of various touristic possibilities in the region. Note, that page was made during the preparations for the 2010 trip.