at Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary
Returning to Ecuador after a 15 year absence, we looked forward to assessing for ourselves the growing status of Wildsumaco as a legendary birding lodge. After 3 nights here, we can say with certainty that we're not disappointed. ! Spectacular lodge and spectacular birding... JR, MF
Now perhaps the best set of hummingbird feeders anywhere...IS Without any doubt, I think Wildsumaco is the best birding lodge I've stayed at in Ecuador...PH Someone finally got it right.. the lodge is gorgeous - setting & infrastructure & food & lighting - I can read in my room! CV. It' the one place on my trip I know I need to come back to! ... My favorite place of the trip and the best birding lodge I've visited in Ecuador. JL Great place for good old fashion neotropical birding! PS. Wildsumaco is so much better than your web site tells! KG
This is the most outstanding destination yet! - birds, best trails, best accommodation, best hosts. FJA Excellent, well-planned, well-run-wonderfully-hosted operation. Don't leave Ecuador without visiting. MM The place is so comfortable, so friendly, the trails superb, and the birds staggeringly wonderful! FW. The best showers in Ecuador! PVL. Finally a lodge in this altitude belt of eastern Ecuador - and what a lodge! I'll be back. KE. What a marvelous and ambitious set of goals, from restoration to preservation and research. BH. Wow!
Wildsumaco Lodge was originally intended to be primarily a birding lodge, but scores of non-birders have convinced us that it's a great destination for anyone who loves virtually any aspect of natural history. While today the vast majority of our guests are still birders, we're seeing increasing numbers of photographers, people interested mainly in butterflies or herps, botanists and mammalologists and hikers, as well as folks just wanting to get away from it all in a serene location completely different from anything back home.
Set on a ridge in the Andes' Eastern Foothills, Wildsumaco Lodge has panoramic views reaching across the Rio Pucuno Valley and to the Andes beyond (see photo at bottom of this page). On clear days the distant snow-covered heights of Volcanoes Antisana, El Altar and Tungurahua glow white against the brilliant blue sky. North of the lodge is Sumaco National Park, and often Sumaco Volcano can be seen peeking through the clouds and mist surrounding its heights.
From other parts of our reserve you can look out to the south and east and see Napo Galeras National Park, and let your eyes and imagination wander to the far-off Amazonian lowlands stretching out beyond. Wildsumaco Lodge is located at a comfortable elevation of about 1480m (4900 feet) and our forest reserve ranges from 1200 to about 1600m (3900 to 4900 feet).
Whether birding or butterflying, when you visit Wildsumaco, you'll probably spend most of your days walking our trails or along the road cutting through our property, soaking in the subtropical beauty of it all. You'll return to your room, take a hot shower, then head over to the main lodge.
Most people start the day early, and some of our trails are steep, and find the lodge is a perfect place to unwind.
You can relax with a drink on our huge, 72-foot long (22m) deck and gaze at the clouds drift past in the Rio Pucuno Valley below. Watch the hummingbird feeders, or browse our library for a while before dinner. The perfect spot to review notes or photos or to do bird lists, our dining room, sitting area and bar are well lit and comfortable. Should the weather turn rainy or cool, our fireplace will warm you. Wildsumaco Lodge serves comfort food, family-style cooking from around the world, and 3 meals per day are included in our rates. Soft drinks, wine and beer are available at our bar.
When you retire to your room in the evening, you'll have space to spread out your gear and plenty of light for reading. Your electronics can recharge overnight in your room while your personal batteries will recharge with a good night's sleep in one of our very comfortable beds.
What you won't find at Wildsumaco are the distractions from the Other World that you've escaped for a while; you won't find a blaring TV or Organized Fun at Wildsumaco, no swimming pools, playgrounds or football fields. Although some cell phones with roaming work here, there's no internet. You've managed to get away from it all!
What you will find at Wildsumaco is beautiful, intriguing subtropical forest with first-rate trails winding through it, flora and fauna you've probably never seen before, new birds and bird calls, spectacular views. We'll give you a trail map when you arrive and you can wander at will, following your particular Muse, and have a wonderful and relaxing experience at Wildsumaco - or, you can push hard, work our trails and feeders with your own or a local bird guide, and take full advantage of the opportunity to see a lot of very good birds!
Due to its location on the Equator, the steep Andean Foothills, and the close proximity of the Amazon, the Sumaco area holds one of the richest avifaunas in the world. A wonderful mix of cloudforest species, foothill specialties, and typically Amazonian birds share Wildsumaco's lush subtropical rainforest with a myriad of other animals. We've recorded an astonishing 500 bird species on our reserve and the immediately surrounding area, many of which are rare, endangered, or very difficult to see elsewhere.
From Wildsumaco's trails you might see Gray-tailed Piha, Blue-rumped Manakin, and Chestnut-crowned Gnateater. Short-tailed Antthrush and Wing-banded Wren often sing, while more uncommon species like Gray-throated Leaftosser and Plain-backed Antpittas are seen occasionally, and more often heard. The very rare Yellow-throated Spadebill has territories along several of our trails, and at any time the endangered Military Macaw or rare Spot-winged Parrotlet might fly by, or Black Hawk-Eagle soar overhead.
The road passing through our reserve offers great road birding, and this is one of many areas from which to see flocks. Possibilities here include Blue-browed Tanager, Yellow-breasted Antwren, and Coppery-chested Jacamar. Many colorful species of tanager may be accompanied by Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, the recently described Foothill Elaenia, and sometimes Scarlet-breasted Fruiteater joins in.
In season up to 20 migrant species from North America live in our forests, including the threatened Cerulean Warbler. At night Great Potoo, Band-bellied Owl, Rufescent Screech-Owl and Foothill Screech-Owl often call from near by.
We've had 27 species of hummingbird visit Wildsumaco's feeders to date, including sought-after birds as Lazuline Sabrewing, Ecuadorian Piedtail, Napo Sabrewing, Black-throated Brilliant, White-tailed Hillstar, Wire-crested Thorntail and Gould's Jewelfront. White-tipped Sicklebill frequents the heliconia that's abundant everywhere, and Gorgeted Woodstar, White-bellied Woodstar and Violet-headed Hummingbird can usually be found on the porterweed in front of the guest rooms.
Most of Wildsumaco's mammals are shy or nocturnal, and usually much more difficult to see than birds, but Napo (formerly Black-mantle) Tamarin comes in daily to feed on bananas we hang from trees off the deck, and is often seen from the road or trails.White-fronted Capuchin monkey has been seen a few times, and Red Howler Monkey and Wooly Monkey are recent additions to our list. Night monkey is occasionally heard or seen around the lodge.
Other large animals that have been seen here (albeit rarely) include Two-toed Sloth, Amazon Dwarf Squirrel, Black Agouti, Tayra, Collared Peccary, Kinkajou, Olingo, Greater Grison, Spectacled Bear, Puma, Jaguarundi and Margay. See photos in the "Who We Are" section of this website, others on the Rio Pucuno Foundation website, above. A complete mammal list is located at the end of the Wildsumaco Bird List.
Because forest conservation is the driving force behind Wildsumaco, we turn over most of the profit from the lodge itself, as well as all profits from our bar and gift shop, to the non-profit Rio Pucuno Foundation to help buy and preserve additional forest. Visitors have the satisfaction of knowing that their stay with us will help preserve the rainforest in a very real way.
You'll have a wonderful experience at Wildsumaco, and will thoroughly enjoy your stay with us. Wildsumaco Lodge is the perfect destination for anyone seeking great birds and new experiences in Ecuador's Eastern Foothills.
When planning to bird Ecuador, plan to bird Wildsumaco!
Visiting Wildsumaco Lodge
Wildsumaco Lodge is happy to accommodate either individuals or private groups, or tour groups. If you'd care to engage the services of either a local or professional bird guide during your stay at Wildsumaco, please inquire when you make your reservations.
We can also advise you about Wildsumaco's transportation options, including transfers from Quito or Amazonian lodges debarking in Coca. We can meet you in Coca from Quito flights, for the short 2-hour drive from there to the lodge.
Day visitors are welcome to use the Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary trails, gardens and sites of interest after checking in at the lodge for a pass. A day-use fee will be charged, and please note that no meals are available at the lodge with this pass.
Many of our guests will visit Wildsumaco with a tour company, visiting a number of birding sites and staying at several other lodges on their way to our location. These companies will provide you with a package that includes transportation and a guide familiar with Wildsumaco and its birds. Wildsumaco Birdtours (see link on this page) specializes in East Slope tours for groups or individuals at a highly competitive price, and is a great way to see our eastern side of the Andes.
Rates and Reservations, Wildsumaco Lodge
Rates and Reservations: email@example.com
2014 Wildsumaco Lodge Rates
1 person, double occupancy, $118.73 plus 12% government tax = $132.98
1 person, single occupancy, $130.71 plus 12% government tax = $146.40
Please note that all of our rooms are designed for 1 or 2 people only, we don't offer triples or family-style accommodations, and we have no play areas or special facilities for children.
All reservations should be made through our Quito office, preferably via email. No same-day reservations or drop-in visitors can be accommodated, and no pets are permitted.
All rates are per night, and include 3 meals per day plus full use of our trails and facilities.
Many of our birds are skulkers, as difficult to see as some of the Amazonian species, and you might want to use playback if you come without a guide. Services of a local or a professional birding guide may be available, but are not included in our rates. If interested, please inquire when you make your reservation.
Wildsumaco Trails, Day Use Fee: $20 per person per day; contact us for additional information, and please check in to the Lodge before using any part of our trail system. Day use passes are for the use of the Wildsumaco gardens and trail system only, and no meals are included or available at the lodge for day-visitors or people other than lodge guests. Viewing of Antpitta feeding sessions is available only to overnight guests of Wildsumaco Lodge.
For transfers to or from the lodge, or to Coca, please contact us.
**U.S. citizens traveling to Ecuador should note that to enter the country, their passports must be valid for 6 months beyond the date of their ticketed return. Citizens of other countries should check with an Ecuadorian consulate or online for entry requirements.
What to Bring
The US dollar is used in Ecuador, but currency in denominations larger than $20 is difficult to spend in outlying areas, and we suggest that you bring cash in small denominations to pay for laundry bills, bar tabs, and gift shop items at Wildsumaco and elsewhere in Ecuador. ATM machines accepting most bank cards are found in larger cities, but aren't in the remote areas where the birds are. Plan accordingly, as even on a prepaid tour you'll occasionally want to buy drinks, gift shop items, souvenirs, batteries, things you've run out of, lost or forgotten. Tips to lodge staff are always greatly appreciated.
Just as in the US, electric power in Ecuador is 110 volts, 60 Hz, and all guest rooms at Wildsumaco Lodge have outlets for recharging batteries and other electronics.
Located at an elevation of about 1500 m (4500 feet) the climate at Wildsumaco is usually quite moderate, fine for T-shirts during the day, and it cools off a bit at night to about 18 degrees Celsius (64 F). Although it can rain at any time, our wettest seasons tend to be May through July.
- Binoculars and a spotting scope, if you have one
- Flashlight for night birding
- Light day pack
- Sunscreen and insect repellent
- T-shirts and a long-sleeved shirt
- Jeans or other cotton pants are comfortable, as well as quick-drying nylon ones
- Sweater, jacket or fleece for night birding
- Light jacket, water resistant, or poncho
- Hiking boots or sturdy shoes
- Sandals for after hours
- Hat and umbrella
- Personal toiletries
Although our trails are well maintained and few require them, we can provide rubber boots in many popular sizes for rainy days.
Now you can travel with Wildsumaco!
Want to bird the Andes' eastern slope? After many requests, Wildsumaco now offers an East Slope Birdwatching Tour! Journey from Quito to the heights of Papallacta, then visit all the important birding locations and elevations in eastern Ecuador on your way to Wildsumaco Lodge. This comfortably priced 8-day tour may be taken with or without a professional bird guide. Join the East Slope Specialists for an unforgettable experience!
Join us for our Gran Sumaco Hiking Tour. This is as wild as it gets, with chances on large mammals and loads of birds that can't be seen at lower elevations. A Wildsumaco special, only for people who are physically very fit and who aren't challenged by very basic accommodations and sleeping bags.
See Birdtours page of this website for additional information.