13 - 28 March 2017: “Our southern Ecuador tour was a very good trip. We were very lucky with the weather. Mauricio did a great job of finding many birds for us. He is an excellent driver…and one of the best 'spotters' we've birded with. All the accommodations were very nice…” V&BM, Azle, TX, USA
16 October – 13 November 2016: “Our trip continued to go smoothly and the weather continued mostly warm (to hot) and dry. Each of the guides had the most amazing ability to hear birds - something I envy. Each of the lodges was very comfortable, with decent food. Our morning in Antisana park was blue sky. Marcelo and Milton took pictures of Cotopaxi and Antisana, saying how unusual it was to be able to see them. Plenty of paramo species were sighted. Marcelo and Milton searched for seedsnipe at the top of Papallacta Pass - twice. Marcelo could not believe they were not there. We ran into another birding tour and their leader had searched 3 times for the seedsnipe a day or two later and could not find them. No bears were sighted. However, this was made up for by a giant conebill seen near the pass after much work by Marcelo. There were almost no birds on the road above the Termas - even though we looked twice. At Guango and San Isidro it remained hot and sunny. We continued seeing birds, one at a time. Some of the normal birds were not to be found, but some unusual ones made appearances. We had a very birdy walk on the hillside below Baeza. Marcelo had a spot for Lyre-tail nightjar - and it did not disappoint - the male perched in front of us, sitting still for photos. The dry weather was broken by an all-day hard rain while at Wild Sumaco, so we got lots of use of the covered decks and hummingbird feeders. Their antpitta feeding did not bring in anything in the morning. The next afternoon there were two species of antipitta, a nightingale-thrush almost made an appearance (it was singing very close by), and a short-tailed antthrush also made quick dashes through the feeding site. The guides at Napo (another Marcelo) and at Sani (Olger) were very good, and very dedicated at finding each and every bird they possibly could. The weather continued mostly hot and dry. So the birding was not at its best, but we saw lots of interesting birds. The canoes were a great way to see birds and stay a little cooler. Olger and his nephew Jason (bird guide in training) spent quite a bit of time tracking down what sounded like a yellow-throated woodpecker, when they finally found it (high in a tree and hiding behind the narrow trunk), it turned out to be a golden green woodpecker (which sounds very similar apparently). They were very excited and digi-scoped it for back-up. It was only the third one Olgar had seen in 20 years of being a bird guide, and it was Jason's first. It's especially fun when the guides get really excited. The transfer back to Coca and the flight to Quito went well. Juan Carlos was waiting for us and delivered us to the termas. We had a great show by a trio of shining sunbeams there in the afternoon. Transfer to Su Merced and the airport went as planned. Great planning on your part. Thank-you for organizing the trip. It was what we wanted and it was thoroughly enjoyed.” SS&DL, Jackson, Wyoming, USA
12 Sept 2016: “Thanks for a truly memorable trip.” IW, London, UK
20 Sept 2016: “Thank you for organizing our trip to Ecuador. In was fantastic, everything went as planned. And Mauricio did again an excellent job in finding birds and taking care of us. I’m now sorting all our pictures and prepare a visit report that I’ll send you in due course.
Many thanks and hope to see you again. Greetings.” A&T Hendriks, Holland.
27 June 2016: “Thank you for an excellent birding holiday. We saw about 200 species and loved it all!” JS, UK and Washington, D.C.
27 June 2016: “Good guides, good views, good food, good company, and comfortable surroundings with birds, birds, birds!! Many thanks.” J&BV, Washington, D.C.
5 June 2016: “Thank you Jane and everyone else here for a wonderful time. You and your hard work and imagination have turned pasture into a remarkable place. We hope to be back soon.” C&TC, Arizona, USA
2-8 June 2016: “Splendid. Absolutely splendid. This is indeed a dream come true. We have loved every minute of our week here. Thank you so very much.” D&LB, Armidale, Australia.
14 May 2016: “We have had a splendid and entirely comfortable stay here, and have been most impressed by the facilities and the staff. The food has always been delicious, if occasionally rather too generous for our meagre appetites. Thank you very much for everything, even the Red-capped Manakin, and for all your superb organization of our visit to Ecuador.” AF, Paphos, Cyprus
8 May 2016: “THANK YOU!!! You always make my students and me feel so very welcome. You’ve managed to introduce 14 students to the culture and ecology of the cloud forest in a wonderful way. Muchas gracias!” ES, Grand Rapids, MI, USA
15-30 November 2015: “Sorry for the delay in contacting you. I have been catching up with Xmas preparations in between editing the 10000+ photos I took. Firstly I must thank you so much for the wonderful trip you arranged for me. I have memories which will last a lifetime. Marcelo was a brilliant guide always making sure I had a clear view of each new bird. I saw 468 new birds during our 15 days together which with the 307 birds I saw in my previous 2 weeks in Ecuador made a staggering total of 775. Please also thank Jorge who was a very good driver. I always enjoyed a safe and comfortable ride no matter what the road surface was like. Yourself and your staff were very welcoming at Las Gralarias and I particularly enjoyed the meals Rosa prepared.
You have a beautiful home and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay with you. The itinerary you composed for me was amazing. The lodges were all excellent as well as each having its own individuality. As always in Ecuador the food was very tasty and incredibly varied with some fruits and vegetables which were new to me. However the flora and fauna supplied my most vivid memories. Ecuador must be the only country where you can experience such a wide variety of habitats and ecological niches in such a small area. It took me two years to plan my trip and I did a large amount of research to ensure its success. After considering a number of companies I am so pleased that I chose Mindo Bird Tours - your flexibility to meet my varied needs, friendly and helpful advice, and your attention to detail made you the perfect choice. I can and will wholeheartedly recommend you to others. I am also happy to be contacted by email should any future clients wish further details. Many many thanks.” BR, London, UK.
16 October - 2 November 2015: “We had a great time - all the guides were great, including a great day at Antisana and you know we had a great list and time in the Mindo area to start things off. Mauricio knew all the birds and his knowledge was key at Guango and he found the Seedsnipe quickly in very poor weather for us, also insisting and pleading with me to continue on a trail or two that seemed "dead" and redundant, but only to see several target birds soon after listening to him and staying with it - Barred Fruiteater was an example. He also didn't give up on the Torrent Ducks, which he finally found at lunchbreak back at Guango on Papallacta day. He knew I really wanted to see one. The box-breakfast basket by Su Merced was bountiful and Guango on last day as well - very nice. Great staffs everywhere. I don't and won't hesitate to recommend Mindo and Las Gralarias.
At Sani, Churi Carlos is a great guide and took good care of us, along with his cousin, Julio…He had a good scope (the others didn't there), knew all the birds there well and by call, and he and Julio had built two blinds-one for feeding White-lored Antpittas, one for Wire-tailed Manakins - photos of each were had. We found numerous rarities, and they really can get the antbirds into view. Their ability to focus on scarce and rare paid off, although we missed a couple of more common showy ones, like Cream-colored Woodpecker. You can't see them all and I had indicated I wanted to see the less common ones whenever possible. Hiring a private guide there was quite worth it as I had suspected.
On our last am on our second visit to the Sani Tower, we saw the impossible-Harpy, Crested and Black and White Hawk Eagles-with photos of each, although the Harpy was quite far off and Crested not close. Larger birds, like Toucans, Trogons and Macaws that am. This was in stark contrast to the first day at the tower, when we had a mix, including many passerines, some migrating after some apparently scarce-of-late rainfall.
We had 50 hummingbirds, 6 Jacamars, numerous Toucans, Plate-billed Mountain-toucan, Macaws, Parrots. 9 Antpittas, 8 were seen and 6 photographed. If you include Bush-Tanagers and Mountain Tanagers (6) -we had 60 species of Tanager. 5 Barbets (Toucan).
Rarities: Crested Eagle, Harpy, Black & White Hawk-eagle, Bicolored Conebill, Red-masked Parakeets, Purple-throated Cotinga, Horned Screamer, Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon, Agami Heron-all photographed. White-capped Tanager, Cinerous Mourner, Short-billed Honeycreeper, citron-bellied Attila, Wattled Guan, W-B Purpletuft, Spot-winged and Dot-backed Antbirds, Barred, Cocha & Castlenau's Antshrikes, Amazonian-streaked, Ornate and Rufous-winged Antwrens, Giant, Yellow-breasted, White-lored & Ochre-breasted Antpittas, Red-hooded, Glistening and Grass Green, Scalet-browed Tanagers + Y-C Chlorphonia. Of course, we saw specialties like Capped & Cocoi Herons, Andean Condor, Oilbird, RB Seedsnipe, BB Peppershrike, Black-faced Ibis, B & Chestnut Eagle, etc and many Choco/ NW endemics, Am. Umbrellabird (I saw a second one fly over our motor canoe on the way upriver en route to Coca), Giant Conebill on way to airport-photos. I am sure I am leaving some goodies out.
We had 585 species and I had 405 lifers, which was an upside surprise, owing to the Amazon. Even experience in Mexico and Central America in maybe 7-8 locations could not possibly prepare me for the birds there, as it seemed everything was new and different.
The friendly and at times, very personable mascot (and escort to your cabin) at Sani -the Gray-winged Trumpeter was a favorite thing...
I am still downloading photos, with so far only 100 on flickr....Am planning to write up a summary report. You are welcome to use any info I write up or photos. I am also planning to look over some conservation sites and figure out how I can help out... To me, its almost a sin for us to come down and look at all this nature and not tip the birds and ecosystems.” JK, Warsaw, Indiana, USA
19 October – 1 November 2014: “Exceeded expectation, both in terms of birds seen and hospitality received. Dusan is a superb bird guide. Food wonderful. Very restful. Hope to be back.” RL, E. Lothian, UK
19 October – 1 November 2014: “Many thanks for the excellent food, hospitality and birding. It was great to feel so well looked after, in such a special corner of the world.” MH, Dorset, UK
6-13 September 2014: “We had an unbelievable stay at Las Gralarias. The staff looked after us very well, clean house, friendly and quiet. Many birds in the park and we made many pictures. Mauricio found them and we photographed. Also our tours out of the reserve were fantastic. A truly good stay. We can recommend to any bird lover.” A&TH, Netherlands
12 August 2014: “This has been the most amazing and wonderful ten days. Las Gralarias is a fabulous place to stay and bird and our guide was a marvel. We can’t wait to come back!” TD&AB, Los Angeles, CA, USA
·“London seems very strange after the beauty of the rain forest. But now that jetlag has faded, we wanted to thank you so much for a truly wonderful Ecuadorian bird experience. It was an amazing week and not just the birds (although they were incredible). But the lodge was so comfortable, the food really delicious and the walks around your forest so lovely. And what made the whole trip so memorable was Gabriel's charming company and vast knowledge of birds. He was kind, thoughtful and answered patiently all of our many questions about the birds we saw - and we learned so much from him about the beautiful country of Ecuador. Your organisation of our trip was efficient and without a hitch. It is always a bit stressful travelling such a distance but we felt very safe and secure in your hands which was a great reassurance. If you ever do come to London please get in touch and we can thank you properly over a glass of wine.” JC&DC, London, UK 26 July - 1 August 2014
“Thank you for arranging the Galapagos visit and great birding with Mauricio. It is always a delight to see you. Barbara loved the hummers. My best regards and many thanks.” RD & BP, Austin, Texas, USA 27 June – 8 July 2014
“Thank you for arranging the Galapagos visit and great birding with Mauricio. It is always a delight to see you. Barbara loved the hummers. My best regards and many thanks.” RD & BP, Austin, Texas, USA“I'm
sure that Dusan has probably told you that we had a wonderful time on
our adventure. Everything went flawlessly, from the way the lodges took
care of my dietary requests, to the superb birding. We dug out some
real rarities, and the photo ops were second to none. I ended up with
127 life birds out of about 430 (!) total in 10 days. I still have to
tally up the final count. Looking forward to birding with MBT again soon.”20-30 August 2013, BF, New York City, USA 27 June – 8 July 2014
“We are now waiting in Santiago for the long flight home.Just wanted to thank you for a really great trip! Both sites were beyond expectations. We saw almost all our targets at each. The Amazon was particularly good (really good local guide there) and we saw three new antpittas: ochre-striped, white-lored and thrush-like. The last few days were also good, of course we still could not get the crescent-faced antpitta, but got the rainbow-bearded at Yanacocha - this plus sunbittern and lyre-tailed nightjar near Mindo rounded things off! 78 lifers altogether!” 2 - 19 April 2013, S&TB, Australia
“We have been safely back home for just over a week now and it has taken that time to properly recover from jet lag and get back into the swing of life here in Scotland...It has also taken us about a week to actually begin to absorb and assimilate all the truly amazing experiences we had on our trip - we absolutely have very fond memories of our time in Ecuador from start to finish. We wouldn't have changed anything and everything went smoothly. Thanks for arranging a great trip for us and we loved Las Gralarias and found it very welcoming with great food and you were a wonderful host, and of course Tuomas was just fantastic and we really enjoyed his company.We were glad we opted for the private guide at Napo as it definitely benefited our species list and we had a great time there. The Papallacta hot springs was a great way to finish. The new airport was slightly chaotic as you forecast, but nothing too drastic, just a very slow moving queue, but we made our connection in Madrid with no problem.We were really happy with our species list as got almost everything we really wanted in each place.Many thanks again and keep up the GREAT work you are doing.” 2-21 Feb 2013, AG & DA, Scotland
"This is just a note to tell you how much I enjoyed my stay at Las Gralarias and the Mindo Tour with Dusan and "JC." I had a wonderful experience…Dusan is a remarkable birder, and a most enjoyable field companion. His scientific bent is a real asset, and adds to the credibility of what you are accomplishing. Meeting you and getting a glimpse of the wonderful work you are doing and facilitating was a treat…Please keep me informed of any new group tours you might develop.”16-25 Nov 2012, JR, Oregon, USA
·"The Galapagos went beautifully; all our transfers were perfect...The boat and the guide were top notch and I've got 1500 shots to go through. I had 51 species in the islands with 25 lifers, including 9 of the finches...even got some target species, including Short Eared Owl, Galapagos Flycatcher. and Galapagos Rail... Thanks to you, Dusan, and everyone at the Reserve for making us feel at home and for providing such an easy, hassle free experience. I'm going to arrange an east slope trip, either next year or early 2014, so I'll be talking to you. Thanks again for everything." 5-21 July 2012, B&JF, New York, USA
·"We had a great day en route and in Quito. The restaurant was great. Enjoyed the cathedrals. Juan Carlos was delightful. The adventure continues. We had a wonderful time at your place. You have a great staff who work with care and energy. I think that is because of your care and leadership. You create a great atmosphere where everyone is motivated and having fun. Take care." 23 June - 6 July 2012, C&F S, Austin, Texas
·"First of all a belated "thank you" for the great bird tour we had last November in Southern Ecuador with your expert guide Dusan. It was beyond our expectations. Not only did we see so many beautiful species but just viewing the scenery was amazing. Most of the lodges were beautiful with amazing grounds and views. Thanks for putting such a great tour together. Dusan is the nicest and one of most knowledgeable guides (persons) we have met. Numerous times he mentioned how much he enjoyed working for you. You took good care of us!!!" 25 November - 11 December 2011, R&NK, Oregon, USA
·"I thought I would send you a bit of feedback of our recent tour: Dusan was excellent!!!!!!!! His birding skills... are exceptional. His enthusiasm and conscientiousness were ever-present. He always went out of his way to make sure that each and everyone of us "got the bird" and he would remember who may have not gotten a good look the next time we saw it and made sure that they were first up that time!!! He is certainly a "serious birder" but he remains casual and with a good sense of humor at all times.... I could go on.....but I am sure you get the message!!! Oscar was a cautious and conscienctious driver. He always would make an extra effort to make sure everyone was comfortable and happy....The tour was very well planned...I would recommend Mindo Bird Tours without hesitation. Thank you for your efforts......and keep up the good work!!!!!!!!! 26 Nov-11 Dec 2011, DC & PMcC
·“I had a great time in Ecuador and the Galapagos and am very pleased with what I saw and how you arranged the trip. I was especially impressed that you had booked the hotel room for the whole day for me on the day I left, so I didn't have to check out until I was ready to go to the airport in the late afternoon. I spent much of that day in the Botanic Garden and saw one new species, Scrub Tanager, and photographed several others that I had seen but not got pictures of (or only poor shots) so I was quite pleased with myself. It was a long trip home as I had most of a day in Santiago at the airport. I think it was about 70 hours from waking up on my last morning in Quito to when I got to bed after getting home, though of course I had some quite good sleeps on flights in between. I do have one ID question: what is the name of the blue butterfly with orange wing spots that features on your new T-shirt design? I have some good photos of it but can't remember its name. Best wishes to you and all your staff for 2012 - I hope …your business continues to flourish.” 12 October – 12 November, 2011, MB, Australia
"Thank you for your wonderful trip report, it was comprehensive, full of great pictures and informative. We have just got through all of our pictures and have some unknowns that we are going to send you, yet all in all, the trip was a great experience for us both. We would like to send you and Jane trip a trip report so you may upload it on the MBT website, we can provide pics as well, but many are not as beautiful in the camera as they are on the computer screen! We look forward to touring with you soon, we were happy in all respects and want to make sure both you and Mindo Bird Tours get the credit for superior guiding, excellence in planning and attention to detail. As soon as I am ready to go with pics and all, I will send you a draft to upload to the website. Send my greetings to Lorena, Jane and Miguel.” 9-28 June 2011, AS, New Jersey, USA.
“What a wonderful time. The birding was matched only by the meals and the wonderful company! Thank you so much for putting together this tour for myself and my father.” 2 January 2011, GL, Urbana, Illinois, USA
·“It would be very difficult to exceed my expectations for this trip, but so far that has been the case. I expected great birds. But more than birds – great food! Great guests we have come to know, terrific guides, very comfortable lodging.Your hospitality made us feel at home immediately.You have been great to work with us in planning this trip of a lifetime.Many, many thanks!”2 January 2011, DL, Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA.
·“I would like to wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year and to thank you for an excellent trip. As I never got around to obtaining his email address, please would you pass on my best wishes for a very happy new year to Dusan and thank him for showing us the birds so successfully. He did a great job. We were both delighted with the trip and hope to travel again with you some time.” 27 December 2010, BP, Belgium
·"We had a wonderful trip to S. Ecuador. Everything you arranged worked out perfectly. Juan Carlos is wonderful and we really enjoyed meeting him. He was prompt, cordial, helpful, and very pleasant. The drivers to and from Copalinga were great, too. We loved Copalinga and enjoyed being able to stay put there for 11 days. Saw great birds. Catherine is the best and she cooked wonderful meals for us. My sister came back to El Paso with me for a few days, so we are going to start thinking about the next trip (probably Dec. 2011). Hope you have a very happy and healthy new year." 17-30 December 2010, JP, El Paso, TX, USA.
·“My apologies for taking so long to say a huge thank you for organising so much of the recent trip. There have been a number of things for me catch up on not least that I was very keen to assess the success of the trip ! It is ridiculous in more ways than one but I have doublechecked and the total number of lifers since first hitting Sao Paulo was exactly 800 ! And how about quality ?! And I have to take full credit for everything ! What an arrogant conceited young man will surely be your reaction. But think about it. I did recognise early on in our correspondence that you were perfect for the job, that you could be relied upon completely to make a thorough itinerary which would produce 300 of them in Ecuador plus another couple of hundred or so in Peru and Colombia (by the way I do not seem to have Diego's report ) and that arrangements would be practically flawless so yes all credit due to myself for making such a wise decision. HA. Between the two of us I have to admit that your selection of guides played a large part in the operation with Dusan of course being outstanding. With all sincerity I am very grateful to you for a heck of a lot. Many thanks indeed for everything. Let me wish you continuing success and that you will especially enjoy good health throughout the coming year.” 19 September - 16 December 2010, CC, South Africa.
·“Thanks for a wonderful week – warm hospitality, exciting “new” interesting birds, beautiful lodge & surroundings! Hope to come back again.” 26 November 2010, AM, Lafayette Hill, PA,USA
·“With much appreciation we had an excellent time in Ecuador. Thanks for making our stay comfortable and delicious. We´ve added hundreds of birds to our life list. ´Til next time!” 26 November 2010, JD´A & KH, San Mateo, CA, USA
"Just wanted to again thank you from both Marcia and I for arranging such a wonderful tour of Northwestern Ecuador - Dusan was a wonderful and knowledgeable bird guide - his expertise allowed us to identify approximately 350 birds during our week trip. Las Gralarias Guest House was very comfortable and the meals were great. We enjoyed all the different reserves and areas of birdings that were included in the tour. We will have many enjoyable memories of our stay and experiences during the week. We hope to be able to join another bird tour next year in Ecuador and will contact you to make those arrangements. In the mean time - Happy Birding - keep the bears away -." 25-31 October 2010, NR, New York City, NY, USA.
·“This has been a delightful trip, with the different lodges and habitats…The guide Dusan was a perfect fit for us…Thanks for putting all this together for us and –it was good to see you again!” 16 June 2010, K&DW, Panama.
·“Thanks so much for organizing our recent Colombia trip - it was a great success! Special thanks for re-organizing the last few days - all went smoothly and we had no hassles. Sorry for delay in emailing you, but we stopped in Chile on the way home to look for endemics! When we get sorted out will send you a list of sightings at the various places in s. Ecuador.” 27 May – 14 June 2010, S&TB, Queensland, Australia (See private un-guided Southern Ecuador trip report: at http://www.surfbirds.com/trip_report.php?id=1856
·"We had a fabulous time in Brazil. The birding was unbelievable, the lodging was just great and all the transfers, airplanes, and guides were perfect. We had great food in both places. We had not a drop of rain the whole trip. The Pantanal is a very special place and Cristalino Jungle Lodge is just an amazing place to stay. My Portuguese really came in handy during the trip and I was very glad I studied. Thanks for all your detailed work in putting the trip together for us. It was the best ever." 5-20 June 2010, JEP, Texas, USA
·"Thanks so much for organizing our recent rip - it was a great success! Special thanks for re-organizing the last few days - all went smoothly and we had no hassles. Sorry for delay in emailing you, but we stopped in Chile on the way home to look for endemics! When we get sorted out will send you a list of sightings at the various places in s. Ecuador." 27 May - 14 June 2010, S&TB, Queensland, Australia
·“Thanks for a wonderful experience. The birding was great, your facilities were exceptional, the transportation was excellent, and the guide was outstanding. Nancy wants to thank you for your adaptation to her special food needs. The food was also fantastic. We certainly will recommend your place to our friends. It will be our number one choice in the Mindo area. We are so glad you made our arrangements. We know at low season when we are the only ones it would have been easier to not have bothered. It certainly was one of the best experiences of our trip. “ 21 May 2010, JS, Illinois, USA
“Just wanted to thank you again for setting us up with such a great trip in Ecuador. Your planning came off with perfection. You did such a great job and are such a gracious hostess…Hope we can return…” 15 April – 1 May 2010, SS, Austin, TX
·“Just wanted to thank you again for you great facility and hospitality! I'll be mentioning Las Gralarias in some blogs I'll be doing on my Ecuador trip. And I may get in touch with you within the next year about a trip for my wife and I to Machu Picchu. I'll send you a picture of the screech and and maybe a few others after I get them processed.” 17 January 2010, BM, Helena, MT, USA
·"All went according to schedule for our return trip, even arrived early in Miami but that just meant that our six hour layover stretched to seven hours. Traveling on miles leads to some strange time tables. We certainly had a wonderful trip, thanks largely to your efforts. Our stay at Las Gralarias was special- you have done a superb job of providing what travelers want and need, making everyone feel quite at home. And spoiled. The accommodations are most inviting and comfortable, the food excellent, and the general atmosphere warm and welcoming. We are very glad we started our trip at your lodge. The other stops on our tour certainly lived up to expectations, but don't quite match the luxury you provide. Overall, our trip could not have been better. Dušan provided superb guiding, and his leadership fit our birding style very well. He could not have been more patient with my slow walking, which did at least speed up a bit over time. His interest in taping and photography allowed us the time to see birds well, not just a quick glance and on to the next. That's something that can be hard to do in a group when others are eager for the next tick. I particularly appreciated his habit of naming every bird he hears, every time he hears it. He has already sent us some photographs that we'll delight in showing. Too bad the umbrellabird went by too quickly for a shot but we had a very good look, and that bird is now at the top of my list! Our thanks for all your efforts in making our birding trip the delight that it was. We'd love to come back- there's always more to see in Ecuador!" 11 January 2010, R&SR, Tucson, AZ, USA
·"Our trip to Chile was just amazing. We saw wonderful birds, had fabulous weather, saw beautiful sights, and all your planning worked out just perfectly. Thanks so much for a great trip with such smooth and easy connections and transfers....I must say that our driver from Ruta 9 was exceptionally nice and accommodating. I always have a hard time picking one "best species". Some of the best were Green backed Firecrown; Moustached Turca; Chucao Tapaculo; Austral pygmy owl; Austral parakeet; Black throated Huet Huet; Magellanic Penguin; Chiloe Wigeon; Tawny-throated Dotterel; Yellow-bridled Finch; and more! Road conditions were very good (except the last few miles to Torres) and all the drivers were excellent, especially Alvaro...Thanks again for helping us put together a wonderful trip to a most beautiful country. I loved the Chileans! They have lots of spark and personality and a great sense of humor....We really did love Tinquilco! You are absolutely right, it was off the beaten path and we loved our little cabin...Carlos gave us the cabin that was farthest from the main lodge and it had a great view of the lake. ...Birding right on their property was good and the lake was very pretty. We had a resident Fire-eyed Diucon right outside our window -- that alone kept us warm on cold mornings. Also it had a little kitchen and we could make tea in the morning. .. Las Torres was great. Rooms were very comfortable and the location was great. They had huge buffets every morning and evening, so we had no problems eating. We had a very nice waiter who took special care of us and loved speaking Spanish with me! He only charged us half price for meals because we didn't eat any meat! ...You really picked perfect spots for us and got us right in the middle of the birds. We love that." 16-30 Dec 2009, J&MP, El Paso, TX, USA
·"Thanks for everything! All went very smooth, even Tapichalaca – I arrived earlier then expected, there was too much rain so no stops along the way. I did see many birds and even more important, photographed at least 130 species including 8 species of Antpitta! Not too bad. Have to come back to photograph the remainder of the 1600 species. Friends of mine will visit Ecuador next year, will recommend Mindo Bird Tours to them." 7-22 December 2009, MG, Holland
·"Sublime stay in a truly special place. A real sense of wilderness when out on the trails on my own. A great hostess who really knows the meaning of the word hospitality. Many thanks." 18-21 Nov 2009, RV, Aberlady, Scotland, UK
·"This has been a wonderful trip made more so by the professional nature of the owner and staff. I have been all over the world and yet this is my first experience in South America. It was wonderful." 9-18 Nov 2009, JS, Wilmot, Ohio, USA
·"Thank you for your love of nature and the fabulous job you have done in preserving a bit of paradise here at Las Gralarias. This has been a trip of a lifetime! The birds and the adventures have been wonderful. The food and the service have spoiled us, and Gabriel, Dusan and Jorge have become like family. Keep up the great work...Thanks you so much!" 9- 18 November 2009, VC, Wilmot, Ohio, USA
·"Sooo good to see you, Jane, after the passage of five years! Las Gralarias is a bit of heaven, whether the sun shines too much or the fog settles in for days. Everyone raves about the food! We do too, especially the brownies with strawberry ice cream...chicken curry, the crepes, the cobbler...I could go on... I had never been anywhere in Latin America where the moths were so abundant! We celebrated the list of (about) 30!! skipper species. It took work but it was worth it!! The TANAGER FINCH coup-de-grace! Dusan is a super guide, he´s interested in everything. We delight in your sense of humor and your dedication to protecting this place called Ecuador. Richard wants to thank you for the genuine quiet at night (his first good sleep in Ecuador since Sept. 28), the comfy beds, the large bars of soap, real wash cloths and space to lounge around in...Many thanks to you and your staff." 21-25 Oct 2009, SS&RL, Washington, USA.
·"Thanks for a great stay. Fine food, wonderful birds, and a gracious staff." 21 Sept 2009, J&SC, Medina, TX, USA
·"What a wonderful place, warm and caring people. The food was wonderful especially for a vegetarian. Thank you Jane and Dusan for a memorable trip. The photography was great!" Sept 2009, AM, Chicago, IL, USA
·"Enjoyed ourselves immensely. Great food and great birding." July 2009, M&JH, Danville, KY, USA
·“Thank you for a wonderful week! Good food, very comfortable lodging and BIRDS!! Unforgettable!” 28 July – “ August 2009, MS, Berkeley, CA, USA
·“We had a wonderful visit, so comfortable with great food and service… and of course great organization, advice and hospitality... We saw some great birds, including all the antpittas! Thanks so much – we really hope to visit again! Keep up the great work!” 20 May – 8 June 2009, S&TB, Brisbane, Australia
·“Thanks so much for your hospitality and all the marvelous food. The birds and their habitats were stupendous, breathtaking. Thanks also to Gabriel for all his patience and experience. We had a fantastic time.” 21-25 April 2009, TR&AW, New York City, NY, USA
"This was a good start to what looks to be an excellent tour of Ecuador. Wonderful food, outstanding birds and very pleasant people.” 27 January -15 February 2009, S&JD, Ontario, Canada
·“We have just returned from our Quito/Galapagos trip and I wanted to write and thank you for the excellent time we had in Mindo. We really loved all of it. The cloud forest was so beautiful and the hummingbirds were to die for. To tell the truth we wished we had stayed longer at Mindo and less at Otavalo. The latter was interesting and a very nice hotel but we would have liked to have had more time to look for birds at your place. I cannot thank you enough for the care you took over our stay and, in particular, about my diet. We thought the food was just wonderful and very much appreciated. I have to say that the Flamingo…was exceptionally well organised and efficient and also gave us excellent food…. We thought the islands were magic and, if anything, exceeded our expectations. None of us was seasick and we had a great bunch of fellow passengers. I hope we might make it your way again. We really did love Ecuador….We wish you very, very well in that lovely place of yours, happy Christmas, and we thank you again so very much for a great experience.” Dec 2008, S&DA, UK
·“We had a remarkable trip, and will always remember our first visit to Ecuador fondly….I'm sure that you've already heard from Charley, but we comfortably broke the 400 bird mark on our final day… Charley’s knowledge of the birds was remarkable, and his energy level was really something to see…Mynor and Juan Carlos were sure and reliable drivers, and made that aspect of the trip simple as well. We thought that Las Gralarias was a remarkable property and lodge. You have much to be proud of there.” 1-14 Nov 2008, M&TM, Elgin, TX, USA
·“Thank you for planning an extraordinary experience! I loved it all…I loved all the habitats we visited and cannot say enough about the experience at La Selva with Jose. This was my first trip birding outside of the US and I hope to visit you again. Great, great time! Many thanks.” 12-21 Sept 2008, LK, New York City, NY, USA
·“We had an excellent trip in the Mindo area during August and September….Our final count was 483 species including the Galapagos islands with 300 species seen during the Mindo leg…We are interested in another trip to Ecuador. We would like to go on the trip from Paramo to the Jungle this time…” 17 Aug-5 Sept 2008, W&KH, Canada