Amazon in Ecuador | The Lungs of the Planet
Visiting the Amazon in Ecuador is the perfect experience to add-on after a Galapagos trip, surrounded by such depth of biodiversity and beauty you can truly relax before heading back home. The lodges with which we work the jungle are not only comfortable but have superb locations deep in the Amazon.
As with any of the Amazon jungle trips we run in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, the journey just to get to the lodge is a great adventure in itself. We will transfer you from your hotel in Quito to the airport for the 30-minute flight to the jungle town of Puerto Francisco de Orellana known locally as “Coca”.
First day travel to the lodge
Upon arrival in Coca, our representative will transfer you to the city’s main dock on the Napo River. Now you will have yet another mode of transport, a motorized canoe ride downriver on what will be the start of a superb experience in the Ecuadorian Amazon. You will be dropped off at La Selva’s main dock on the Napo River and the final leg of the trip will be made in a paddle canoe. The manager of the lodge will be waiting to greet you with juice and snacks, and then assign you to your rooms.
4:30 pm | Introductory briefing
Our guides will give you some basic information about the Amazon, and how the lodge operates, you can ask any questions you may have and get to know which excursions will be enjoyed over the course of your stay. Each activity will be punctuated with meals and some downtime to just relax.
5:00 pm | Walk the Matapalo Trail
This short excursion carries the Spanish name of the famous Strangler Fig, one of many different trees you will see on this jungle walk. Centuries-old Mahogany trees will be seen and your guides will share their knowledge of the local Amazon flora and fauna. The time of day lends itself to providing lovely twilight and animals are beginning the transition from day into night.
7:00 pm | Snacks & Drinks then Dinner
At the bar, you can find snacks, beer, wine, and order cocktails from the bartender while you kick back. Also tea and coffee are available all the time free of charge. Dinner will be served at 7.30 pm so grab your seat and chat with other guests while our waiters serve you each course.
Excursions and Activities
Below we have an overview of some of the things that will be enjoyed during your stay in the Amazon in Ecuador. How many of these you can experience will depend on your length of stay. We recommend 3 nights as the minimum so you get the most out of your adventure.
Observation Tower & Tucaneta Trail
Getting above the canopy of the rainforest is something normally reserved for birds and drones. Some lodges have constructed observation towers allowing you to climb some 120 ft above the forest floor and have an unobstructed view over the jungle. Your naturalist guides will help you spot some colorful Amazon birds that you wouldn’t see from ground level, maybe also some monkeys.
The Charapa Trail
This walking trail starts at the lodge and ends up at the shore of a lagoon. While we walk we will possibly spot different mammals, monkeys and birds as they gravitate towards the lake looking for food and water. The site is also perfect for enjoying the sunset over the Amazon, perhaps from the vantage point of a canoe.
Night Walk and Canoe Ride
Being out in the Amazon jungle at night is a magical experience, every sound is magnified and you never know what will be picked up by your flashlights. Either as we walk or paddle in canoes your guide will shine his light into the trees and undergrowth trying to see the reflection in the eyes of some creatures. We personally never pass up the chance to go out at night.
Parrot Clay Lick and Mandi Wasi
It’s out onto the Napo River for this excursion as we take a motorized canoe ride to see a clay licks. A bank of exposed clay leads to a fascinating display as hundreds of parrots and parakeets gather to eat small amounts of the mineral-rich soil, which forms an important part of their diet.
Binoculars are essential to really capture the moment, remember to take some or you can borrow of course. After the clay lick, we will take you to experience a cultural activity whereby an Amazonian Kichua woman will welcome you at their community center and share some details of their daily lives. This provides a great opportunity to really get to know more about the people of the Amazon and their activities.
This is a lovely walk from the lodge to the edge of the Garzacocha Lake. Making this walk in the afternoon means that with the light behind us we can see things much more clearly and spotting wildlife is the name of the game. Monkeys should be seen along the way and maybe larger mammals such as the Tapir.
On all excursions, your expert native guides will always be explaining the different habitats and creatures that will be encountered. Plenty of info regarding the type and uses of plants will be gleaned too. At the end of this walk, a canoe ride back to the lodge makes for a relaxing end to this activity.
Mandi Forest Adventure
This is a walk exploring some tracts of primary rainforest for around 4 hours starting at our main dock on the Napo River. Going a little deeper into the jungle means that there are better chances of finding some bigger mammals of the rainforest, like monkeys, peccaries or wild pigs, deer, or tapir. When we reach the Mandi Cocha lake we will board fiberglass canoes and paddle through the lovely Igapo Forest. Here we should see many different species of birds and perhaps if we are lucky, the elusive giant otter.
Garzacocha Lagoon and Ceiba Trail
This lagoon is one of the most beautiful in all of the Amazon in Ecuador and there are great opportunities for wildlife spotting when we are on or around this lake. If we are lucky large groups of squirrel monkeys join families of capuchin monkeys to look for food around the water’s edge. Howler monkeys often spend late afternoon here and you can hear their loud calls echoing across the lake. We may even see the famous pygmy marmoset, the smallest monkey in the world. In addition to the mammals, there are plenty of birds such a the strange Hoatzin, plus toucans, macaws, and many other species.