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Puembo is a town a few miles outside of Quito and 20 miles away from the airport.
I returned from Ecuador in September after recording more than 300 species in 11 days. Ecuador has more species per square mile than any other country in the world, plus many very good lodges and guides to help you find the birds.
My birding friends and I arrived at the Quito airport near midnight after flights that began in Eugene. This is a normal arrival time when traveling from Oregon. Our return flights also departed the Quito airport near midnight. Arriving and departing in the middle of the night makes it important to find a good place ahead of time for spending your first and last nights.
We discovered the Puembo Birding Garden in 2015. This lodge is 25 minutes from the Quito airport, in a quiet neighborhood with lots of birds you can watch from the breakfast table. The owner, Mercedes Rivadeneira, is an avid birder. She sent a driver to meet us at the airport, then greeted us at the door slightly after midnight. It was a good thing we had arranged for a 7:30 breakfast, as we were too excited to sleep late. We saw Scrub and Blue-and-yellow Tanagers, Croaking Ground-Doves, Golden-rumped Euphonias, many hummingbirds, and more, all before breakfast—eggs any way you wish, fruit, cereal, yogurt, coffee, juice, and lactose-free milk for me.
We also arranged to stay at the Puembo Birding Garden the night before leaving Quito. We were able to use the same rooms to shower and rest before being driven to the airport for our middle-of-the-night flight back to Eugene.
The Puembo Birding Garden is an eBird hotspot. Mercedes, was one of the discoverers of the reclusive Jocotoco Antpitta. She can arrange for your whole tour of Ecuador, if you wish, as well as and other destinations, such as Peru, Bolivia, Costa Rica, and Spain.
This place was so much better than arriving in Quito and staying in a noisy, busy city hotel, so I thought I ought to share this gem.
FMI: firstname.lastname@example.org, puembobirdingarden.com, or WhatsApp: +593 997591313.
By Dennis Arendt