Ecuador - Napo Headwaters
Mariposa Butterfly Tours Itinerary
Day 1 (September 1, 2018) - Into the Cloud Forest
We'll spend today making the drive from Ecuador's capital city, Quito, to San Isidro Lodge. If we're leaving Quito in the morning, we'll probably spend most of the day at Guango Lodge, just below the treeline on the E slope. If the weather's good, we can hope to find a good hairstreak or two among the more typical high Andean butterflies, such as various Leptophobia mountain-whites, Pedaliodes mountain-satyrs, and various skippers probably including some nice Dalla skipperlings. In the afternoon we'll arrive at San Isidro Lodge.
Days 2-3 - San Isidro Lodge
San Isidro is perfectly placed as cloud forest lodge, at around 2000 m. elevation. In the Andes, this means a LOT of satyrs, of all kinds - Lymanopoda, Corades and the other big genera, of course, but also the interesting smaller genera like Pseudomaniola, Daedalma, and Corderopedaliodes. For some reason, this is also one of the best places for Andean clearwings, including the spectacular Veladyris pardalis and plenty of others. We will also hope for various high-elevation metalmarks, skippers, and if we're lucky a few great hairstreaks!
Day 4 - To the Lowlands
Depending on how we've done at San Isidro - and the weather - we'll decide on a departure time for the two hour drive to Tena. There are some sites en route, but we will likely spend our butterflying time at one end or the other - these are two top-notch sites!
Days 5-8 - Tena Area
We'll be staying in a pleasant hotel in town and making day trips to several excellent butterflying sites around Tena. We're right on the edge of the Amazon basin, and there is a huge range of butterflies from all families to enjoy. In particular, we can expect a nice variety of leafwing-types (Memphis, Prepona, Fountainea), Heliconius longwings, Adelpha sisters, and plenty of other Nymphalids. However, for many (including me!), the top attraction is the metalmarks - Euselasia and Caria are especially diverse and exciting in this area. And with a lot of luck, we can also hope to find some wonderful Evenus hairstreaks; even if we don't, there should be other neat hairstreaks around. Also, skippers of all kinds should be in evidence, hopefully including some nice firetips. We'll have many forest trails to work, as well as roadsides, and stream and river edges... all in all, this should be among the best 4 days of butterflying anywhere - just pray for perfect weather!
Day 9 - Uphill again!
At some point today, we'll tear ourselves away from Tena and head back up into the Andes. Part of the pain of leaving the wonders of the lowlands will be eased by the beautiful surroundings - and butterflyies, of course! - at WildSumaco, our final destination.
Days 10-11 - WildSumaco Lodge
WildSumaco is our "in-between" lodge at the fascinating elevation of 1000 m. - just high enough to get interesting Andean bugs, but still low enough for Amazonian variety. We'll spend a lot of our time along forested stretches of road here, but there are lots of trails to explore as well. As usual, there are butterflies of all stripes to find here, from the rare and gaudy Prepona praeneste to cute little spreadwings like Potamanaxas latrea. In particular, there are some unexpected hairstreaks to be found - on my 2016 visit we found an undescribed Camissecla, for exapmle. If the weather turns bad - or even if it doesn't! - we can enjoy the view from lodge balcony and the hummingbirds buzzing at the nearby feeders.
Day 12 (September 12, 2018) - Back to the airport
Today we'll bid farewell to Ecuador and make the drive to the Quito airport in time to catch evening international flights. Depending on the weather, we might spend the morning at WildSumaco, or perhaps visit some high elevation site along the drive.
Price per person depends on group size, and includes: all in-country transportation, all meals and drinking water, lodging (does NOT include a night in Quito; depending on international flights you may need one or two, which we can arrange for you), guiding, and entrance fees. Not included are tips, laundry, and extra drinks.
Group of 4 USD$3675 per person | Group of 6 USD$2950 per person
Single Supplement: USD$490 (regardless of group size)