About our expeditions

Joining a TH field expedition is totally different from joining a tour. All our expeditions are part of long-term projects (see a list below) seeking to preserve biodiversity or increase our understanding about it. Each one has a specific objective, such as rescuing a species at the brink of extinction, generating data for a book or research article, or discovering new species.

Unlike a tour, expeditions take place in extremely remote localities. Usually, the only way to reach the destination is walking long hours along forest trails or be transported by helicopter or dugout canoe. At the sampling location, sleeping is usually in tents. Expedition teams are composed of biologists, photographers, and members of local communities. Team members spend the majority of the time in survey mode, looking for the target species. Other activities include setting up traps, gathering data, collecting and processing samples, and generating photographic material.

If you would like to support and join an expedition, use the booking forms within each expedition’s listing to let us know your desire to take part in them.

Image of a researher sampling a pond
Image of a biologist holding a frog
Image of a biologist climbing the canopy
Image of a researcher holding a snake
Image of a camera showing and a field notebook
Image of a researcher in the rainforest
Image of two biologists exploring the understory
Image of a researcher extracting DNA
Image of a biologist observing a frog
Image of a person holding a turtle hatchling
Image of a biologist sampling along a stream
Image of a researcher setting up pitfall traps
Image of a biologist observing an anole
Image of a researher sampling a pond
Image of a group of biologists cooking at a campsite
Image of a biologist holding a bagged snake
Image of an expedition team on a motorized canoe
Image of a field house
Image of a nanopore DNA sequencer
Image of an expedition team in the forest
Image of a photographer documenting a gecko
Image of a tent
Image of a computer running DNA analyses
Image of a dugout canoe

Projects you’ll support

Cover of the Reptiles of Ecuador book

Reptiles of Ecuador book
Learn about this project

Logo of the RRDR project

Rapid-response Discovery of Rainfrogs
Learn about this project

Logo of the GPL project

Guardians of the Pinocchio Lizard
Learn about this project

2021 expedition calendar

Image of the Chocó rainforest canopy

Chocó rainforest
February 26, 2021

Image of the landscape at Cordillera del Cóndor

Cordillera del Cóndor
March 19, 2021

Image of the landscape at Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve

Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
April 7, 2021

Chocó rainforest

This expedition will take place in one of the last large remaining wild strongholds of Chocó rainforest. The goal is to survey the buffer zone of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve in search for “lost” species of frogs as well as to discover new ones. Overnight will be in an abandoned campsite.

Expedition map

Expedition details

Entire expedition cost: $9,300.

Cost per participant: $2,980.

Expedition leader: Jose Vieira.

Starting date: February 26, 2021.

Duration: 16 nights.

Team size: 4–10 people.

StartQuito
Nights 1–16Chocó rainforest
EndQuito

or call +1-786-753-7899

How to reserve your spot?

1. Read our booking policy below.

2. Complete our contact form in the next step to let us know about your interests and so we can check availability and give you further information about the expedition.

3. Review and approve the itinerary, invoice, and release of liability form we will send you.

4. Make payment to confirm your booking.

Booking policy: If you are unable to attend this expedition, you are welcome to send someone in your place, apply to another Tropical Herping expedition, or request a total refund less a handling fee of 5% or $100, whichever is more. We can accept credit or refund requests, but only less than 30 business days prior to the start of the event. After that, if you cannot join the expedition, you can allocate 100% of the deposit towards another expedition.

Important! Make sure to read all the documents under our policy and standards section.

What to bring? Check out our suggested packing list.

What is included?

Basic accommodation in cabins.

All meals and water.

All project-related road transfers.

Field equipment related to surveys.

What is not included?

Lodging not related to expedition.

Alcoholic beverages, bottled water and snacks.

Health insurance.

International and domestic airfares.

Laundry.

Phone calls or messages.

Photo equipment.

Personal expenses in Ecuador.

or call +1-786-753-7899

Booking form

Cordillera del Cóndor

This expedition will take place in the unexplored Cordillera del Cóndor in southeastern Ecuador. The goal is to survey the cloudforest of an isolated tepuy in search for “lost” species of frogs as well as to discover new ones. Overnight will be in tents in the forest.

Expedition map

Expedition details

33.3% funded of $12,000 total cost.

Cost per participant: $3,960 (1 spot left).

Expedition leader: Jose Vieira.

Starting date: March 19, 2021.

Duration: 14 nights.

Team size: 4–10 people.

StartQuito
Night 1Macas
Nights 2–10Cordillera del Cóndor
Night 11Macas
EndQuito

or call +1-786-753-7899

How to reserve your spot?

1. Read our booking policy below.

2. Complete our contact form in the next step to let us know about your interests and so we can check availability and give you further information about the expedition.

3. Review and approve the itinerary, invoice, and release of liability form we will send you.

4. Make payment to confirm your booking.

Booking policy: If you are unable to attend this expedition, you are welcome to send someone in your place, apply to another Tropical Herping expedition, or request a total refund less a handling fee of 5% or $100, whichever is more. We can accept credit or refund requests, but only less than 30 business days prior to the start of the event. After that, if you cannot join the expedition, you can allocate 100% of the deposit towards another expedition.

Important! Make sure to read all the documents under our policy and standards section.

What to bring? Check out our suggested packing list.

What is included?

Lodging in Macas.

Campsite at Cordillera del Cóndor.

All meals and water.

All project-related road transfers.

Field equipment related to surveys.

What is not included?

Lodging not related to expedition.

Alcoholic beverages, bottled water and snacks.

Health insurance.

International and domestic airfares.

Laundry.

Phone calls or messages.

Photo equipment.

Personal expenses in Ecuador.

or call +1-786-753-7899

Booking form

Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve

This expedition will take place in one of the most iconic landscapes in the Amazon: the seasonally blackwater-flooded forest. The goal is to survey a poorly-explored area in the south-central part of the Cuyabeno Reserve in search for snakes and lizards that are still missing for the Reptiles of Ecuador book. Overnight will be wood cabins in the forest.

Expedition map

Expedition details

Entire expedition cost: $8,800.

Cost per participant: $2,890.

Expedition leader: Jose Vieira.

Starting date: April 7, 2021.

Duration: 10 nights.

Team size: 4–10 people.

StartQuito
Nights 1–10Cuyabeno Reserve
EndQuito

or call +1-786-753-7899

How to reserve your spot?

1. Read our booking policy below.

2. Complete our contact form in the next step to let us know about your interests and so we can check availability and give you further information about the expedition.

3. Review and approve the itinerary, invoice, and release of liability form we will send you.

4. Make payment to confirm your booking.

Booking policy: If you are unable to attend this expedition, you are welcome to send someone in your place, apply to another Tropical Herping expedition, or request a total refund less a handling fee of 5% or $100, whichever is more. We can accept credit or refund requests, but only less than 30 business days prior to the start of the event. After that, if you cannot join the expedition, you can allocate 100% of the deposit towards another expedition.

Important! Make sure to read all the documents under our policy and standards section.

What to bring? Check out our suggested packing list.

What is included?

Lodging in cabins.

All meals and water.

All project-related road transfers.

River transfers.

Field equipment related to surveys.

Park entrance fees.

What is not included?

Lodging not related to expedition.

Alcoholic beverages, bottled water and snacks.

Health insurance.

International and domestic airfares.

Laundry.

Phone calls or messages.

Photo equipment.

Personal expenses in Ecuador.

or call +1-786-753-7899

Booking form

Flexible booking policies

To provide you with peace of mind and flexibility to travel during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you can book any of our expeditions with fully refundable deposits up until 30 days prior to departure. Furthermore, if you cannot travel during the expedition dates, you can allocate 100% of the deposit towards another expedition.

COVID-19 protocol

Expedition teams will be composed only of members having a negative COVID PCR test taken shortly before the start of the expedition. Additionally, all operations will be carried out following our COVID-19 action plan.

Become a patron of an expedition

Regardless of whether you want to participate in an expedition, you can still help fund it in whole or in part by becoming a Maecenas of it. In addition to funding a worthy cause, TH’s patrons obtain recognition ranging from having new protected areas created in their name to having newly-discovered species named in their honor.

While doing research to step into a field expedition, I wound up on the Tropical Herping website and I quickly knew that they were the group I wanted to join. They seemed accessible, professional, and open to more than just a touristic relationship. You can be part of their work, learn, and participate as you spend time in incredible places all the while helping them further their conservation efforts and feel like you are making a difference.

Rodolphe Jouxtel, France

Frequently asked questions

Am I supposed to pay the reservation price at once?

You can confirm your participation in the expedition by making a 50% deposit and pay the remaining balance at least 60 days before departure.

How do I reserve my spot?

The first thing you need to do to reserve your spot is contact us using the booking forms under each expedition. Second, you will need to review and approve the itinerary, invoice, and release of liability we will send you. Finally, you will have to make a deposit to confirm your booking.

Can you get rubber boots for me?

We suggest you bring your own rubber boots as you should test whether they fit comfortably before arriving in Ecuador, where you will use them every night.

Is there any chance to borrow a snake hook?

Yes, we can provide you with a snake hook that you can use during the expedition.

What herping gear do you recommend I bring?

We recommend that you bring a durable waterproof headlamp, a rain poncho, and a DSLR camera, ideally one with a macro lens and off-camera flash.

What kind of trouser is needed?

You can bring any durable but lightweight trousers that are easy to dry.

Which vaccination certificates do I need?

The three most important vaccines to get before visiting the tropics are against yellow fever, tetanus, and hepatitis. However, you do not need a vaccination certificate to access any reserve or national park in Ecuador besides Yasuní National Park.

Will you pick us up at the airport upon arrival?

The expeditions starts at Tropical Herping’s office in Quito. This will be the meeting place, not at the airport. However, we can arrange to have a transport waiting for you at the airport.

Will there be laundry service, electricity, and wifi at all?

Only in cities, but not in the field localities.