Have you ever wanted to explore the cloud forests of Ecuador, learn from experts about tropical ecology, or experience the beauty of the Andes mountains? How about all three? Well now is your chance to experience all of that and more! We invite you to join the 2019 SAVE THE FROGS! Central Ecuador Ecotour, which will take place March 17th to 22th, 2019.
The inaugural SAVE THE FROGS! Central Ecuador Ecotour will bring us to the tropical Chocó forest and the Laguna Quilatoa region on the western side of the Cotopaxi volcano. As on all our ecotours, we will have an abundance of opportunities to find and photograph amphibians.
Ecuador has an incredible array of biodiversity, landscapes and ecosystems, and is home to 617 known amphibian species, all within a very small geographical area. There are lots of frogs to be found, making Ecuador a perfect place for a SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotour.
Please complete the expression of interest form at the bottom of this page if you would would like to join the tour. If you have questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-878-6525 and leave a message. We will get back to you as soon as possible!
Please note that this Central Ecuador Ecotour is immediately preceded by the SAVE THE FROGS! Eastern Ecuador Ecotour and we encourage you to take part in both.
The SAVE THE FROGS! Central Ecuador Ecotour will truly be an experience of a lifetime. We carefully chose locations that are amazing, unique and thoroughly unforgettable, that offer the best in travel, wildlife, culture and education. The ecotour has a frog focus, but is much more than just frogs. We will visit Jardin de los Sueños, a beautiful reserve with tropical Chocó forest and abundant amphibian wildlife; and we will hike in the high Andes at Laguna Quilatoa, enjoying the scenery around Ecuador’s most spectacular alpine lake.
In 2016, 2017 and 2018, we led SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotours to other regions of the country, and they were huge successes. By popular demand from ecotourists hoping to return to Ecuador for more amphibious adventures, we created this brand new tour. We aim to make the 2019 SAVE THE FROGS! Central Ecuador Ecotour an equally amazing experience. We know that it will be incredible based on our years of experience in the country, and our increased knowledge of the country’s wildlife hotspots. This ecotour has been designed to be fun, safe and intellectually stimulating for all travelers enthusiastic about amphibians and tropical wildlife.
There will be lots of excitement through each place we visit as we learn about ecology, conservation, and environmental protection. And with a group of SAVE THE FROGS! participants and your tour leaders, there will certainly be lots of smiles, laughs, and learning going around.
We hope to see you in Ecuador!
- Experience the majestic Ecuadorian Andes and search for glass frogs, tree frogs, toucans and tanagers in the Chocó rainforest, one of the world’s most biodiverse but endangered ecosystems.
- Enjoy our smallest group size ever: only five participants, one tour leader and one amphibian guide, ensuring an intimate group atmosphere and minimal noise on the trails.
- Hike around Laguna Quilatoa, one of the most spectacular alpine lakes in the entire Andes range.
- Join a community of passionate, dedicated frog lovers for the experience of a lifetime
- Learn all about amphibians, tropical forests, environmental conservation and how ecotourism benefits the Ecuadorian flora and fauna.
- Your participation directly funds SAVE THE FROGS! worldwide amphibian conservation efforts and supports local communities in Ecuador that are dedicated to land and wildlife protection.
We will visit a variety of Ecuadorian ecosystems and stay in very pleasant lodges, as detailed below.
Our trip begins March 17th, 2019 at 10am in Quito, Ecuador, at Hotel Casa Gardenia. If you are a participant on our SAVE THE FROGS! Eastern Ecuador Ecotour, you will already be at the hotel. If you are just arriving to Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), we will arrange transport for you.
As soon as our group is together, we will leave Quito by private transport and drive southwest, about four hours to Jardin de los Sueños. During the drive, we will observe a beautiful transition of Andean landscapes, passing through the cloud forest and arriving in the tropical Chocó forest, one of the most biodiverse areas on Earth.
Jardin de los Sueños
Jardin de los Sueños is one of Ecuador’s best kept secrets. Located in the Chocó tropical forest, it is a true wonderland for amphibians. We will have this small reserve to ourselves, as the total capacity is only seven visitors! Our tour is perfectly timed because March is the best month to find frogs in this part of the world.
We will spend the nights of March 17th and 18th, 2019 here, enjoying the solitude and exploring the forests; and learning about amphibians and the history of the reserve. Upon our arrival at the lodge, we will enjoy a lunch and the hospitality of the place. After a welcome talk and a delicious dinner, we will enjoy the colorful sunset over the forest then put on our headlights and get to know the herpetofauna of the place.
The amphibian assemblage here is very different from what we find on our other ecotours, thanks to its position on the west side of the Cotopaxi volcano. Some of the frogs we are likely to see are:
- Hyalinobatrachium aureoguttatum (these glass frogs are often found guarding their eggs).
- Pristimantis ornatissimius
- Boana pellucens
- Smilisca phaeota
- Pristimantis labiosus
- Pristimantis latidiscus
- Epipedobates boulengeri
- Hyloxalus awa
- Scinax elaeochrous
- Leptodactylus melanonotus
In the morning, we will have the option to wake with the sun rising over the horizon so we can witness the arrival of the birds at the feeders located near the main house. If we are lucky, we could see the Araçari or the Chocó Toucan. After a tasty breakfast that will recharge our energy, we will walk through the forest to reach a beautiful waterfall and natural pool that is perfect for swimming.
In the afternoon we will have lunch, talking about amphibians and conservation, rest and relax, and then visit one of the reserve’s main attractions: “the hide”. This is a place with glass mirror walls that allows us to be close to the birds that come to eat and bathe, without ourselves being seen. Keeping silent is key, since the birds do not see us but they do listen to us. At night, before the night walk, we will have a talk by Christophe (the owner) who will tell us about his project to protect the Chocó forest.
On March 18th, 2019, we will get up early in the morning and enjoy the company of the birds while we are having breakfast. Then we will take a walk through the forest and practice our photography of the local flora and fauna.
After a final lunch at Jardin de los Sueños on March 19th, we will bid goodbye to our hosts and take a short drive to Laguna Quilatoa, watching the landscapes change from high tropical forests to the golden plains of the Andean grasslands.
Laguna Quilatoa & The Black Sheep Inn
The Black Sheep Inn is an ecologically-friendly hotel where we will spend the nights of March 19th and 20th, 2019. Located at 3,200m (10,400ft), the inn is surrounded by ample hiking opportunities, including close proximity to Laguna Quilatoa, one of the most spectacular lakes in the Andes. The Black Sheep Inn features gourmet vegetarian food with organic produce from their own gardens. We will arrive at the hotel in the late afternoon, and enjoy a relaxing night accompanied by hot drinks, local stories and the warmth of the place.
After breakfast on March 20th, we will go by truck 45 minutes to the Quilatoa lagoon. This is a caldera that was formed by the collapse of the volcano of the same name. It is considered one of the most beautiful lagoons of volcanic origin in the world. From the crater viewpoint (get your cameras ready), where we will start our descent towards the crater. Once we are there we will walk round the lake, passing the tiny Andean villages of Chugchilan and Guayama.
At night we will recharge a delicious dinner and if the sky allows, enjoy a starry night with clear mountain air far from the city lights.
After breakfast on March 21st, we will go to the moorland (savannah) of Chinalo Alto, where we will visit the local artisan cheese-factory, which has been managed by the community for 40 years, creating a livelihood for the locals who dedicate themselves to field work and livestock. This cheese shop receives milk every day from the small producers for making cheeses such as mozzarella, emental and the Andino cheese that is famous in the Ecuadorian highlands.
Then we will reach the entrance of the cloud forest that is in the “Sachapungo” zone. In this paradisiacal place you can appreciate a landscape that resembles a cloud mattress that covers the canopy of the forest.
After lunch at the Black Sheep Inn, we will pack our bags and head back to Quito!
Return To Quito
After lunch on March 21st, After lunch we will prepare our bags and return to Quito, or more precisely, Tumbaco, on the outskirts of the city, not far from the airport. After settling in to the Rukka Lodge, we will have our farewell dinner and reminisce about the great times we shared. On the morning of March 22th, we will arrange transportation for you to the airport (UIO) if you are leaving, and say our goodbyes!
Our group will consist of up to 5 participants, one tour leader and an amphibian guide. This is our smallest tour ever!
Meet Your Tour Leader
Hi, my name is Dr. Kerry Kriger and I am the Founder & Executive Director of SAVE THE FROGS!. I am an amphibian biologist and have helped coordinate over 2,000 educational events in 60+ countries to raise awareness of the threats amphibians face and ways people can help. I have also traveled to 60+ countries, including every country in Central and South America. My first visit to Ecuador was in 2015 to organize the first SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotour, and I returned in 2016 and 2018 to lead the ecotours. Ecuador has incredible wildlife, beaches, rainforest and volcanoes and I am very excited to introduce you to Ecuador’s amphibians as well as the country’s rich culture. Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet and a SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotour is something you will remember for the rest of your life. I look forward to frogging Ecuador with you!
Meet Your Your Amphibian Guide
Amphibian biologist Jaime Culebras will join us as our Amphibian Guide and be providing in-depth knowledge of Ecuador’s amazing amphibians as well as photography advice and a few laughs.
Photos & Stories From Past Years’ Tours
Please take a look at photos and read stories from our past SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotours to inspire you and give you a good idea of what you can expect on your tour:
- Photos from the 2016 SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotour
- Photos from the 2017 SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotour
- Read Stephanie Steelman’s account of her Ecuador Ecotour
- Read George Quiroga’s account of his Ecuador Ecotour
“I can honestly say it was the best trip of my life (and I’ve travelled a lot!)”
– Melissa Steele-Ogus, 2017 Ecuador Ecotour Participant
Prepare For Your Ecuador Ecotour
Traveling in Ecuador may be a different experience than what you are accustomed to, so we wrote this article with Ecuador travel tips! Please read it so you are well-prepared for your adventure in Ecuador.
Are you ready to join SAVE THE FROGS! in Ecuador? Fabulous!
The 2019 SAVE THE FROGS! Central Ecuador Ecotour pricing is as follows:
- Base cost for one frog enthusiast: $2,295
- Base cost for a party of two: $4,395
- Base cost for a group of three: $6,425
- Base cost for a group of four: $8,395
- Base cost for a group of five (a private trip!): $10,245
- Student Discount: Full-time students receive a $100 discount.
- Members Discount: SAVE THE FROGS! Members receive a $100 discount.
- If you are traveling alone and want a private room at additional cost, contact us to determine availability; otherwise we will pair you with a roommate at no additional cost.
All proceeds support SAVE THE FROGS! worldwide amphibian conservation efforts, enabling us to protect amphibians and promote a society that respects and appreciates wildlife and nature.
Your ecotour payment will cover:
- All lodging
- All meals
- In-country transportation and entrance to parks and reserves
- World-class tour guides and their scientific expertise
It is your responsibility to pay your own costs of:
- Airfare to and from Ecuador (recommended airport: Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport: UIO)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Travel insurance
- Optional adventure tourism activities
- Note again that you will be required to pay your own airfare to and from Ecuador.
Payment options & securing your space on the tour
- To secure your space on the tour, you can pay a $1,000 per person non-refundable deposit if you prefer not to pay in full all at once.
- Full payment is due by February 1st, 2019.
- Failure to pay in full by February 1st, 2019 may result in forfeiture of your deposit money and your space on the ecotour.
- We accept checks and credit cards.
- To cancel your tour, you must notify us directly.
- If you cancel on or prior to February 1st, your entire trip will be refunded, minus your deposit (as deposits are non-refundable).
- If you cancel after February 1st, you forfeit your entire trip fee.
- As such, we strongly recommend all ecotourists purchase travel insurance immediately after signing up for the tour, as such insurance generally covers unforeseen events that lead to cancellations.
Terms & Conditions
In order to take part on this trip, you will be required to sign a liability waiver acknowledging the inherent risks of ecotourism in Ecuador, and legally releasing SAVE THE FROGS! and affiliated trip operators and personnel from legal damages and consequences. Please click here for our full ecotour terms and conditions.
If you would like to join the SAVE THE FROGS! Central Ecuador Ecotour and have the trip of your lifetime, then you are in the right place! Please take a few moments to complete the Expression of Interest Form below, and we will be in touch with you soon to answer all your questions and help you register. We are looking forward to finding frogs and enjoying Ecuador’s spectacular scenery with you!
This tour was actually developed as an add-on trip for our SAVE THE FROGS! Eastern Ecuador Ecotour, which takes place from March 10th to March 17th. While it is not required that you take part in that tour, we certainly recommend it as we visit completely different ecosystems, in the Amazon and on the slopes of Volcan Sumaco – and it is immediately preceding this tour.
Thanks for your interest in SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotours and we hope to see you in Ecuador soon!