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NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: EXPERIENCE THE AMAZON AT YASUNI NATIONAL PARK. Tripadvisor: BEST PLACE FOR WILDLIFE: Best Choice + Price

 

Is this really the Top Napo River Tour in Ecuador?

YES! This is why...

There are some 8 lodges along the Napo River. While most lodges provide nice programs, each of them accomodates its guest primarily in its own cabins and provides excursions within its own parameters, usually no further than 1 or 2 km away. Moreover, most lodges along the Napo River are rather expensive. We felt however, that our guests, should be able to see all the best highlights of the Napo River at an affordable price.

 

So this is what we did: We made agreements with 2 indigenous community owned lodges, the Pashpanchu Lodge and the Pilche Lodge, to both host and guide our guests. But in stead of offering excursions just located near the lodges, we selected the most scenic and the best sites to see birds and wildlife along the Napo River and within the Yasuni National Park. In order to offer a program at an affordable price, our tour stays at the upper part of the Napo River downstream from Coca. Yes there are a few more highlights along the Napo River, but to get there, one must travel much further, thus sacrificing excursion time for travel time at considerably higher costs. Having known the Napo River since 1975, we are the most knowledgeable people to organize tours along the river.

 

So what makes the Napo River so special...

  • The Napo River is located along the Yasuni National Park, the most diverse jungle in the world, and you willl be visiting its highlights!

  • Along the Napo River, you will find land-bound mammals, like monkeys and birds, belonging to well-drained forests; but with such abundance of water, you will also get to see lots of water-bound fauna like: Caymans, Ducks, Cormorants, Herons, etc.

  • There are a variety of indigenous Kitchwa communities along the Napo River and you will be visiting several of them.

But there is more...

  • You can fly from Quito to Coca on the Napo River in no more that half an hour;

  • Alternatively, you can take a comfortable bus at night, arriving in Coca early in the morning;

  • Our programs are organized in collaboration with small Kichwa Indian communities;

  • All programs are so child friendly, I took my grandchildren (3,5 & 6) there. Wao, did they love it!

 

3 DAYS NAPO RIVER TOUR

Napo River tour, Ecuador, Day one

You will be picked up from the airport or the bus station, from where you will be taken directly to our roofed motorized canoe.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: covered motorized canoe to protect you from the sun.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: interior of the canoe can seat 10 passengers comfortably.

Your transport consists of a covered motorized canoe to protect you from the sun.

The interior of the canoe can seat 10 passengers comfortably.

 

After departure from Coca, you will first visit “Isla de los Monos” (Monkey Island), a 7 hectare island in the Napo River with troops of Woolly and Squirel Monkeys, that were released half a century ago. They are totally wild and live off the natural food from the jungle. However, in absence of predators, their populations grow rapidly. From time to time, parts of these troops are caught and released in Yasuní National Park across the river as to avoid overpopulation.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Squirrel Monkey at Isla de los Monos.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Brown Woolly Monkey at Isla de los Monos.

A Squirrel Monkey at Isla de los Monos.

Brown Woolly Monkey at Isla de los Monos.

 

From Isla de los Monos, you travel to Pashpanchu Lodge, a pleasant lodge owned by the Pashpanchu Kichwa indigenous community. After enjoying lunch at the lodge, a local naturalist guide will take you on a nature walk to the Pashpanchu Lake, to watch wildlife, birds and plants.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: The entrance to the Pashpanchu Lodge.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: The restaurant of the Pashpanchu Lodge.

The entrance to the Pashpanchu Lodge.

The restaurant of the Pashpanchu Lodge.

 

As you will spend the night in Pashpanchu Lodge, you will have dinner at the lodge, and enjoy a night excursion to watch nocturnal animals.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: The area map of Pashpanchu Lodges surroundings.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: on a night excursion.

The area map of Pashpanchu Lodges surroundings.

A night excursian after dinner.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: A jungle tarantella spider.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Amazon whip spiders Amblypygi are clawed spiders without scorpion tail or poison

A night excursion to experience the critters of the night. Tarantulas crawl outof their burrowss at night, but as soon as you approach them, they withdraw.

Whip spiders are related to the spiders, but but still very distinct. They are among the many critters of the jungle you only get to see at night.

 

Napo River Tour, Ecuador, Day 2

The following morning you will have an early breakfast at the lodge, to depart for Challwuacocha Lake. After a 20 minutes walk, you will board a paddle canoe to look for birds, and wildlife.

 

In fact, the ending "Coche or Cocha" in Kichwa means "lake". So speaking of Challwuacocha Lake is a bit double, but this is a common practice.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Challwuacocha is a beautiful black water lake.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Dark clouds forming over Lake Challwuacocha.

Challwuacocha is a beautiful black water lake surrounded by marshes and swamps. At the far end it is covered with Water Hiacynth.

Dark clouds forming over Lake Challwuacocha.

 

 

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: An Araceae Lily shrub lines the shores of the Challwuacocha lake.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Water Hiasynths cover the far end of the Challwuacocha Lake.

An Araceae Lily shrub lines the shores of the Challwuacocha lake.

Water Hiasynths cover the far end of the Challwuacocha Lake.

 

The lake is teeming with fish, and of particular interest are the “Paiches” the largest fish predator of the Amazon, which can grow up to 3,5 m long. This fish has the habit of hunting for other fish right from the surface of the water, with its back emerged, so you can actually see it stalking along the marsh shrubs.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: “Paiches”  are the largest predator fish of the Amazon, as they can grow up to 3,5 m long.

“Paiches”  are the largest predator fish of the Amazon, as they can grow up to 3,5 m long.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: On the way to the Sani Lodge canopy tower.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Paddling through the swamps.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Punting through the marshland.

On the way to the Sani Lodge canopy tower, one has to pass through a very narrow and shallow creek.

After passing through the swamps and marshes you reach a huge canopy tower, next to an even taller Ceibo tree with an umbrella shaped crown. As you climb the 35 m high canopy jungle tower you get a marvelous view over the jungle and the part where most life of the jungle takes place: the tree crowns, covered in epiphytes.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: The Challwuacoche Lake surroundings map.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: The Sani Lodge built at the shore of Lake Challwuacoche.

The Challwuacoche Lake surroundings map.

The Sani Lodge built at the shore of Lake Challwuacoche.

 

You will have lunch at the Sani Lodge restaurant, from where you have a beautiful view over Lake Challwuacoche.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: View from the Sani Lodge over Lake Challwuacoche.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: The restaurant at the Sani Lodge.

View from the Sani Lodge over Lake Challwuacoche.

The restaurant at the Sani Lodge.

 

 

The lake also has a great population of Black Caiman, one of which has the habit of resting at the landing of the Sani Lodge. Please note, as this is a wild animal, there is no guarantee it will do so during your presence.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Contrary to its name, the Black Cayman is not black at all.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Black Cayman eyes.

Contrary to its name, the Black Cayman is not black at all. This particular 3.5 m female frequents the landing of the Sani Lodge.

It is so tame that you can use a normal camera taking a picture of its eyes, while it is just below the deck.

 

After your visit of Lake Challwuacoche, you go to the Pilche Lodge across the Napo River - owned by another Kichwa community - to have dinner and stay the night.

 

After dinner you will be taken on night excursion to look for nocturnal animals in the forest, like lizards, insects, spiders and frogs.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: A Spectacled Caymen at Lake Amandi cocha.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: The mouth of a Spectacled Cayman is narrower than that of a Black Cayman.

A Spectacled Caymen at Lake Amandi cocha.

The mouth of a Spectacled Cayman is narrower than that of a Black Cayman and it only grows to about 1.5 - 2m.

 

While, the tour has a rather limited time, in one of the villages, you will learn about the Kitchwa way of life.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Kitchen gardens of the Kichwa have many stapel food crops, like cacao.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Kichwa woman cooking on traditional fire box.

A visit to a Kichwa community: The Kitchwa Kitchen garden includes all sorts of staple food, like manioc and even cacao.

Kichwa woman showing the traditional way of cooking on a fire in a fire box.

 

 

Napo River Tour, Ecuador, Day 3

The following morning, before breakfast, you will visit a salt lick of green parrots along the Napo River, which usually – but not always - get down to the salt lick between 5:30 and 6:30. So you will have to be at the canoe at 5:00 AM. After watching the birds, you will return to the Pilche Lodge, to have breakfast and gather your luggage.

 

You will then be taken to the Kichwa Añagu community which manages Lake Añagu and surroundings. You will visit Lake Añagu, where the famous Napo Wildlife Center is located, the Red and Yellow Macaw salt lick and a 54 m high canopy tower along an even taller Ceibo tree with an observation platform in its crown.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Scarlet Macaw.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Chesnut-fronted Parrots are common in the Amazon.

Scarlet Macaws have a salt lick at the Añangu community.

Green parrots have their own salt lick along the Napo River.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: The 54m high canopy tower at the the Kichwa Añagu community.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Canopy tower, built along side of a 55m high ceibo tree

The 54m high canopy tower at the the Kichwa Añagu community.

Built along side of a 55m high ceibo tree, the tower gives access to a platform in the crown of the tree, as well as an even higher platform looking down at the crown of the tree.

 

Most live of the jungle evolves among the forest canopy. This is the home of birds, monkeys, sloths, insects, as well as the majority of plant species and flowers. Difficult to watch from the forest floor, there are 2 canopy towers along the our Napo River Tour Ecuador, and you get to visit them both.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Buttress roots of the 55m high Ceibo tree measure some 10 m wide.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: View over the palm swamp forest from the tree platform.

Buttress roots of the 55m high Ceibo tree measure some 10 m wide.

View over the palm swamp forest from the tree platform.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: The platform in the Ceibo tree at the the Kichwa Añagu community.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: the top platform of the Kichwa Añagu community tower.

The platform in the Ceibo tree at the the Kichwa Añagu community is in built in the fork of the tree crown at a height of 45 m.

Looking down at the tree platform from the top platform of the Kichwa Añagu community tower.

 

NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Bromelias are mostly epiphytes.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Bromelia in bloom.NAPO RIVER TOUR ECUADOR: Epiphyte clad branches in the jungle canopy.

Epiphyte clad branches in the jungle canopy.

 

After visiting Añagu, you will be taken back to Coca, where you will be dropped off at floating landing of the Mission Hotel (not included) on the Coca boulevard.

 

 

PARKS & TRIBES and the COFAN LODGE have their sales office inside:

Hotel Balmoral, Address: Calle Moreno Bellido E6-57 & Avenida Amazonas, Quito

Telephone: (++593)(02) 2 50 5310, Cell phone: (++593) (0) 96 29 35 271

Email: [email protected]

Skype: ecotravelworldwide

Parks Man Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil is author of this website and founder of Parks and Tribes. He dedicated his life to the conservation of nature. https://www.facebook.com/DrDaanVreugdenhil, https://www.linkedin.com/in/drdaanvreugdenhil/. He was part of the team that selected the first 39 protected areas of Ecuador, including. Yasun?and Cuyabeno, the latter of which he he later recommended to be expanded from originally 150,000ha to 600,000ha, together with then Cuyabeno director Prof. Dr. Flavio Coello and Parks and Tribes partner. Daan is also the founding father of the Cuyabeno Lodge and co-manager of the Cofan Lodge. This website and its programs have been created by the renowned conservation biologist "Parks Man" Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil

This website and its programs have been created by the renowned conservation biologist "Parks Man" Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil