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  1. Cuyabeno or Yasuni? 10 distinctions

  2. Who proposed the Cuyabeno National Park to be protected?

  3. How is Parks and Tribes different from other eco-tour operators?

  4. Can a national parks tour be customized to my needs?

  5. There are many lodges. Why would I chose the Cuyabeno and Cofan Lodges?

  6. Why would I use a travel agency service if I can do it all myself?

  7. Can I book on line?

  8. How many species of birds have been registered for Ecuador?

  9. My eyes are good, why would I need binoculars?

  10. What about emergency situations?

  11. What about bugs, mosquitoes and malaria?

  12. Is it safe to tan in Ecuador?

  13. Is camouflage clothing better to see animals?

  14. What essentials to take along?

  15. How difficult are the tours?

  16. How does the local population benefit from the National Parks Tours?

  17. Are there biological reference books for the tour?

  18. How safe is Ecuador?

  19. What is Ecuador's climate like at the coast, the Andes and the Amazon?

  20. Why is Cuyabeno the best Amazon Jungle Park in the world?

  21. There are many lodges. Why would I chose the Cuyabeno and Cofan Lodges?

  22. Are all the programs to Cuyabeno the same?

  23. What is it that makes the Cuyabeno & Cofan Lodges so special?

  24. Is Cuyabeno right on the Equator?

  25. Do the Cofan en Cuyabeno Lodges have electricity and can we charge the batteries of our cell/mobile phones, laptops, cameras?

  26. Am I allowed to fish in the reserves?

  27. What choices do I have for booking Galapagos through Parks and Tribes?



Cuyabeno or Yasuni? 8 differences:

  1. Cuyabeno has 14 lakes vs Yasuni only 2, (but more along the Napo River);

  2. NEW Cuyabeno new daytrip;

  3. New Cuyabeno Loop vs Yasuni a New Napo River tour.

  4. Cuyabeno more economical vs costly Yasuní river transport;

  5. Cuyabeno narrow slow flowing creeks vs Yasuní faster rivers;

  6. Cuyabeno swamp forests vs Yasuní dry forests on the hills;

  7. Cuyabeno 1 medium tower vs Yasuní 2 50+m quality canopy towers;

  8. Cuyabeno 15 effordable lodges vs Yasuní 5 lodges.

We  originally selected Yasuní for being the largest mostly uninhabited Amazon area in Ecuador. The rivers are fast running upland streams that lack charming slow flowing creeks necessary for wildlife observation. Most probably you will get many more species on your bird list in Cuyabeno than in Yasuni as it is easier to observe birds and wildlife from the water than from the forest. Moreover, it takes much more time to enter Yasuni, as you have to travel to the border with Peru to get into the lakes. That makes it much more costly and time consuming than getting into Cuyabeno.


CUYABENO OR YASUNI & MANY OTHER FAQ:  Map for the Amazon Jungle Lodge Ecuador

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Who proposed the Cuyabeno National Park to be protected

In 1975, then junior wildlife ecologist Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil was part of the United Nations project for selecting the National Parks System of Ecuador, proposed the protection of Cuyabeno National Park, at the time about 150,000 hectares. In 1976, then junior wildlife biologist, Dr. Flavio Coello, was the first superintendent of the national park. When Cuyabeno was invaded by illegal settlers, he requested Daan Vreugdenhil to return from his native country the Netherlands to help solve the problem. Together they advised the government to correct the park boundaries by eliminating the invaded area. That is why the park has a "bottle neck" shape near the entrance of the park. They also recommended to compensate the lost area by expanding the park to the border with Peru. Flavio Coello succeeded in passing the proposal, thus growing seize of the Cuyabeno National Park from 150,000 hectares to 590,912 hectares (5,901 km2 or 2,330 square miles), quadrupling its total size. Read more about the Conservation History of Ecuador and other hidden places in Ecuador.


How is Parks and Tribes different from other eco-tour operators?

Parks and Tribes is a company owned and run by conservation biologists and a native Indian tribe. Our conservation biologists were part of the United Nations team that selected the national parks and protected areas of Ecuador. We know all the protected areas of the country and selected feasible modules to get you to the best areas. Our guides are hand-picked and selected on their knowledge of birds. We use that criterion, because if a guide knows the birds, he/she also knows about nature. If not, it is very unlikely he/she knows about nature. Their simply is no other tour-operator in Ecuador with so much knowledge about nature.


WHAT R THE MOST FAMOUS PLACES [ECUADOR 2020]?: Frailejones in El Angel Reserve.CUYABENO OR YASUNI & MANY OTHER FAQ: Exploring the Rainforest.

CUYABENO OR YASUNI & MANY OTHER FAQ: Ingapirca Temple of the Sun with inca wallsCUYABENO OR YASUNI & MANY OTHER FAQ: Vicuna at the Chimborazo Game Reserve.



The programs offered by Parks and Tribes are:










Routes of the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve and Yasuní programs of Parks and Tribes / Cofan Lodge:

  • Cuyabeno Lake Area including our new 1 Day Trip;

  • Lagarto Coche Expedition Leaving from Nuevo Rocafuerte at the border with Peru;

  • Cuyabeno Loop;

  • Yasuní - Napo River Expedition.

These National Parks tours are offered by Parks and Tribes

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Can a national parks tour be customized to my needs?

Yes, it is totally possible to customize a trip to your interests and available time. Just let us know how you want your trip and we look for ways to make it work.

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There are many lodges. Why would I chose the Cuyabeno and Cofan Lodges?

The mission of the Cuyabeno Lodge and Cofan Lodge, to which we are co-owner, is to make the jungle more accessible for more people. Cuyabeno Lodge was the first lodge in the Cuyabeno Lake, and in fact, in much of the Amazon of Ecuador. The Cabins have been designed to provide functional comfort to our guests, providing comfortable beds, mosquito netting and showers with hot water.


The lodge has been built within the reserve in an ecologically sound fashion: The wood for buildings has been brought in from outside the reserve. All the construction of the cabins and accommodations was done with maximum involvement of the Siona Indians and as many services as possible are carried out ty the Sionas.


The Cofan Lodge is entirely owned by the Cofan tribe and they maximize their involvement as an cultural emerging experience as well as ecotourism with native Indian guides.

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Why would I use a travel agency service if I can do it all myself?

Nowadays, you can make all your travel arrangements yourself, but it takes time to find your information and organize it, particularly if you don't speak Spanish.


How much can you economize and is it worth it? Most rental companies charge you about $100 per day, but then you still need to pay for your hotel. But then you have to do all the driving in a country for which no decent maps exist, lacking the small roads to the parks. When you finally made it to the park, their will be no English speaking guide who will know about the biology of the park, so you miss out on all the interesting information. If you think to go there by bus, it will take you much longer, and you will still need to get a taxi from your bus stop to the park, in which case you will end up paying just as much as renting a car.


When you are in the country, your time is limited and your individual travel in-country destinations have cost you much more than their mere costs alone. Your air ticket, your vacation time, etc. are all part of the cost of each destination module. If something goes wrong with the coordination of the local transportation you have arranged, you may miss out on an entire element of your trip or even miss your return plane. It will easily cost you $1000 to get yourself a ticket home.


If we organize your logistics and hotel, you have the peace of mind, that an organization takes care of your coordination and it doesn't costs you much extra and sometimes less. Parks and Tribes, finds your hotels and transportation to suit your specific needs: whether it is $25 or $125 per night hotel, we help you out.

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Can we book on line?

Our programs are rather customized and we try to accommodate your exact travel needs. To avoid misunderstandings, we don't offer an online credit card payment option. Just send an email to to make a reservation. For more details visit our reservations page.

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How many species of birds have been registered?

At the moment, there are just under 1650 bird species known to Ecuador, but the records are not so precise and the real number should even be higher. This brings Ecuador on the third position of the world's greatest bird diversity, directly after the much larger countries Brazil and Colombian.

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My eyes are good, why would I need binoculars?

The Tropical rainforests are particularly about the small mammals and birds that move about in the trees. You can't even half appreciate your stay in the national parks of Ecuador if you don't have a pair of binoculars around your neck all the time. You won't be able to get a good look at the beautiful colors of the orchids up in the trees and the hummingbirds in the bushes. You miss the baby monkey on the back of its mom; you just sit there while you friends with binoculars are awestruck when a King Vulture soars by.


Of course, without binoculars, you can ask a friend to share his/her binox, you think. Great, so when s/he first spots a bird, you still sit there waiting anxiously until s/he is finished looking. And your friend does not feel relaxed, knowing that you are waiting to get a peak at the bird as well! Finally s/he turns over the binox to you. Ahhhh, what a petty, the bird has just flown away. So do yourself and your friends a favor, rent a pair of binoculars and double your jungle experience. It really is worth the $15 (for the entire period) of the rental.

CUYABENO OR YASUNI & MANY OTHER FAQ: Binoculars available at the Amazon Jungle Lodge in Ecuador Cuyabeno

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What about emergency situations?

Ecuador has an effective emergency number, which - like in the USA - is 911, and they actually answer! In most locations, your vehicle will be within a driving distances of maximum 2 hours from the nearest hospital, usually much shorter. In Cuyabeno, the emergency situation may take longer, as it will take up to 2 hours by canoe to get a person to the road, but in the mean time, an emergency vehicle would already be waiting for arrival. In extreme emergencies, a helicopter services may need to be called in.

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What about bugs, mosquitoes and malaria?

In the towns and cities, mosquito densities are very low and nowhere are mosquito nettings being used. Mosquitoes are present anywhere in the tropical jungle, but strangely enough, rarely in large numbers. You are advised to use  DEED. See our packing list. According to the 2012 World Health Ecuador report, malaria is in the range of 1 - 10 confirmed malaria cases per 1,000 inhabitants per year. For prophylactic treatment you should consult your medical provider.

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Is it safe to tan in Ecuador?

There is more and more evidence that sunbathing may not be so good for you, BUT if you are Caucasian from Europe or North America, you will do it anyway, rightCUYABENO OR YASUNI & MANY OTHER FAQ: smilie? So we will only give you some tips.


You will be on the Equator, where UV radiation is extremely high. You need to protect your skin, even if you are dark-skinned. Where a hat, not just a baseball cap, but something to protect your ears and neck. Don't wear sandals or walk on bear feet. You may end up with horribly painful feet if you expose the to the sun. Your feet get the most direct sunlight as they are exposed horizontally to the sun!


Always put on high grade sun block (don't forget the edges of your ears).  Accustom your skin to the sunlight by exposing it for no more than an hour the first day and add another hour everyday afterwards. Don't be fooled by an overcast sky, you can still get sun burn. Be particularly aware in the highlands, where the UV is even higher! On the water (Cuyabeno, Galapagos) the UV effect is greater. Also beware of wind, as it also tends to increase the sun burning of your skin.

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Is camouflage clothing better to see animals?

Camouflage clothing is NOT the best for the jungle! Most animals notice you anyway. In stead, wear white or light cloths. Mosquitos ( and Tse Tse Flies in Africa ) avoid white cloths and are attracted by dark cloths. Moreover, white reflects heat best. It does help lightly spraying your cloths with DEED, but its effect will wear off after a few hours.

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What essentials to bring along?

For this question list we link to our special vacation packing list.

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CUYABENO OR YASUNI & MANY OTHER FAQ: Saddle-back Tamarin, Saguinus fuscicollis.

Homo sapiens is not the only monkey species that has taken the Cuyabeno Lodge as its preferred residence

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How difficult is it to move about?

Our tours are physically very demanding and can be done by anyone with a regular physical condition. Hikes are rarely more than one hour, although in collaboration with the guide physically more demanding hikes can be made. Normally, the tours are no designed to be carried out by persons with a walking disability, although most parks can actually be visited without leaving the car. For boat rides, if your condition is good enough to be able to get into the boat, then something can be arranged.

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How does the local population benefit from this Amazon Jungle Lodge?

Parks and Tribes is co-owned by the Cofan Tribe. They provide essential services in the Amazon, such as guiding and transportation.

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Are there biological reference books at the lodge?

We have the essential birding and zoological guide to be taken along.

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How safe is Ecuador?

This is a very important question, about which we have written a full page: Ecuador, kidnapping and travel safety. You will be surprised about what you will find out, and it will put you at ease.

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How is the climate of Ecuador at the coast, the Andes and the Amazon?

For detailed information on climate and weather conditions read: climate of Cuenca, Ecuador; climate Galapagos Islands in Ecuador; climate in the Amazon of Ecuador and climate of Ecuador. If you want to learn more about the country, read Ecuador Facts.

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Why is Cuyabeno the best Amazon Jungle Park?

Throughout the Amazon region, most national parks lack narrow rivers and can only be seen from very wide branches of the Amazon river and from trails through the jungle. When you are on a major branch of the Amazon River, you hardly feel you are in the tropical jungle because the shores are so far away.


If you walk on land in the Amazon jungle, you don't see very much. When looking up to the canopy, the contrast between the sky and the leaves are so intense, that the leaves almost seem black and animals are so high up in the trees, that you can hardly distinguish them.


In Cuyabeno, on the other hand, the rivers shores are so close on both sides that you really feel inside the jungle, while the narrow rivers still provide sufficient opening to see the trees with beautiful daylight lighting. In other words, in Cuyabeno you see both the forest and the trees; therefore, exploring the Amazon rainforest from the water is much easier in Cuyabeno! No other national park in the Amazon region from Venezuela to Bolivia offers this kind of jungle experience and wildlife visibility from the water! That is why the Cuyabeno Amazon tours are the best in the world!

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Are all the programs to Cuyabeno the same?

No, Check out our different programs with the most popular being:

  • Standard 4 day packages, like the standard Amazon visits; and

  • the Cuyabeno Ronde.

Additionally, one can have customized programs being developed for birdwatcher and other groups specifically interested in birds as well as other animals and/or plants.

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Is Cuyabeno right on the Equator?

Yes, one of the facts about the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador is that Cuyabeno is right on the equator. We looked it up on Google Earth and the equator runs a little bit north of the lakes, where the parks administration erected a little monument.

CUYABENO OR YASUNI & MANY OTHER FAQ: The marker of the Equator in Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.

CUYABENO OR YASUNI & MANY OTHER FAQ: Location of the Cuyabeno Amazon Jungle Lodge in Ecuador

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Am I allowed to fish in the reserves?

This used to be permitted, but recently the National Park Service of Ecuador prohibited the catch and release policy in most protected areas. Now, only the Indians are allowed to fish and keep their catch for personal use.

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Do the lodges have electricity and can we charge the batteries of our cell/mobile phones, laptops, cameras?

Yes, both lodges have electricity, although the power plant of the village sometimes fails at the Cofan Lodge.

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What is it that makes the Cuyabeno & Cofan Lodges so special?

CUYABENO OR YASUNI & MANY OTHER FAQ: Indians take you in their agile dug-out canoes along winding rivers.CUYABENO OR YASUNI & MANY OTHER FAQ: Children learning about the rainforest.

CUYABENO OR YASUNI & MANY OTHER FAQ: great wildlife exploring!CUYABENO OR YASUNI & MANY OTHER FAQ: Cofan lodge during your Amazon visit in Ecuador.

Check out these programs to see why these lodges are so special!

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What choices do I have for booking Galapagos through Parks and Tribes?

We can book any Galapagos program for you, be it island hopping or a yacht. In combination with another module we can give you an additional discount.

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Dear visitor, our website gives you info about our National Parks Tours, our Galapagos programs, the Cuyabeno Loop, as well as our Cuyabeno  and Cofan Lodges in the Amazon.   For those who want to combine the Exuberant Nature of Ecuador with the Famous culture of Peru, we even have a 7 days Highlights of Peru extension! Our website gives you the best information on the internet, because we are the only tour operator run by professional biologists. Take a look:



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Indians take you in their agile dug-out canoes along winding rivers.


Start your Cuyabeno journey on Ecuador's most scenic wide Amazon tributary, the Aguarico River. Spend 3 nights in the Cofan Lodge, exploring the lower Cuyabeno and Zábalo Rivers.



Price: $ 499

 4 days

Children learning about the rainforest.


The Cuyabeno Loop explores the breathtaking scenery of lower Cuyabeno and Zábalo Rivers and the Cuyabeno Lake. Watch the amazing birds and wildlife. Pass 2 nights with the amazing Cofan Indians in the Cofan Lodge and enjoy 2 nights of comfort in the famous Cuyabeno Lodge.

Price: $ 799

5 days


Birdwatching by visitors of the Amazon in Ecuador


The Lagarto Cocha Expedition on hidden creeks and lakes is the best Amazon journey in Ecuador! Discover Indian tribes in Ecuador, Monkeys, Sloths, Dolphins. No other Amazon rainforest in any of the Amazon-Andean countries can match the wildlife viewing of Cuyabeno and it is far better than Yasuní!


Price: $ 1099

7 days

excursion on Lake Cuyabeno


The Cuyabeno Lake Program explores all the wild places surrounding the Cuyabeno Lake. Bonsai-shaped Macrolobia trees with the whispering of the mysterious prehistoric Hoatzin birds and the noisy Blue and Yellow Macaws. Our Cuyabeno Lodge is on the best location, because we were the first and chose the best location on a seasonal island in the Cuyabeno Lake itself.

Price: from $ 410

4 - 5 days


Alpacas in Chimborazo Wildlife Reserve are the domesticated form of the vicuñas.


Our Northern Andes Tour lets you get a taste of some of the best Andean National Parks, visiting the highest groves in the world: the Polylepis trees, the highest mountain in the world calculated from the center of the Earth, the Chimborazo with Vecuñas and Lamas, the highest active volcano in the world, the Cotopaxi.



Price: from $1149

5 days

San Rafael Falls


Our National Parks Tours take you on a fantastic journey along the best possible sample of Andean and coastal parks. They have been designed to complement Galapagos and/or Amazon cruises. They can start from different places, particularly Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca. While the full program lasts 9 days, it is possible to make a limited selection of parks, like the 6 days' "Andes and Coast" module.

Price: $ 1999

9 days


Bartelome Island at Galapagos National Park


We have a fabulous selection of Galapagos programs, including cruises, island hopping, scuba diving or relaxing on one of the many different hotels varying from modest inns to deluxe resorts.



Price: from $ 550

from 3 days

Inca wall in Cusco.


A fabulous program for visiting the most famous cultural highlights Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. At the same time it serves as the Lima hub for the Peru National Parks Tour. This module is an extension to our National Parks Tour Ecuador and/or Galapagos National Park and/or Amazon Cruises.

Price: $ 1199

7 days


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PARKS & TRIBES Travel Agency

Street: Las Casas, Side street: Jose Coudrin, 2 blocks above the Occidental Highway

Cantón Quito, Prov. Pichincha, Parroquia Belisario Quevedo

Tel: (++593)(02) 2 2324 4086, Cell phone: (++593) (0) 99 283 2187 Whatsapp: (++)1 304 901 0718

Email: info@parks-and-tribes.com