|Travel Ecuador : Rainforest :|
Ecuador has a good deal of its land in the Amazon jungle, and the rainforest supports a number of jungle lodges that the traveler can visit. Depending on where you stay, you may see wildlife, or you may not. A lot of the rainforest closer to Ecuador’s larger jungle towns such as Tena is secondary rainforest and no longer contains much wildlife. Further afield in lodges in the Cuyabeno reserve, you may observe a variety of wildlife.
Getting to Ecuador’s rainforest
If you are headed to a jungle lodge near Tena, the trip will take around five hours in a private car or van or closer to six hours on the public bus. If you go to the rainforest lodges further afield near Coca or Lago Agrio, there are flights available. This cuts down significantly on the journey time that you can expect. Flights take around an hour. It is also possible to get to these towns by bus, a journey that is perhaps best done on an overnight bus.
Once you get to Tena, Coca or Lago Agrio, you will often have to take a canoe onward to your lodge. For some lodges, this trip may take a number of hours. Don’t forget your sunscreen. For lodges near Tena, the ride may only take a few minutes. Some lodges are accessible by road.
A trip to an Ecuadorian jungle lodge is usually for around three or four days. While the lodges can be fairly expensive, the cost usually includes all meals at your lodge. Depending on the cost of your lodge, rooms can vary from basic to outright luxury. Some lodges have a pool while others have often have a spot in the river where you can take a dip to cool off.
Things to do at Ecuador’s rainforest / jungle lodges
Most jungle lodges in Ecuador offer a variety of different activities for their guests. Depending on where your rainforest lodge is, this may involve wildlife spotting. In the secondary rainforest areas this is less common. Other offered activities are:
Nature walks – all Ecuador rainforest lodges offer some kind of nature walk. For these jungle tours you will borrow rubber boots from the lodge and take a short walk, usually of an hour or so into the local jungle. Your guide will point out interesting medicinal plants and explain how the local people use them. They may also show you any wildlife that you come across.
Night time nature walks – night time nature walks are interesting because you can often see a variety of different insect life and interesting frogs. These walks are usually short.
Visiting a local village – jungle lodges in Ecuador will often offer a visit to the local village and include a trip to a local person’s house. In this instance you may get to observe the people making chicha, an alcoholic drink made from fermented yucca.
Tubing – this activity is a very pleasant way to spend an hour or so. Basically you sit in a big tube and float down the river.
Rafting – some of Ecuador’s jungle lodges offer white water rafting. This activity is not for the faint hearted, and is pretty adventurous. The currents of the rivers can be fairly strong and you can expect to be thrown around quite a lot.