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DISCOVERY OF THE AMAZON RAINFOREST, ECUADOR [6 TOURS]

  1. 4 DAYS CUYABENO LAKE TOUR

  2. 5 DAYS CUYABENO LAKE TOUR

  3. 4 DAYS' STANDARD COFAN LODGE TOUR

  4. 5 DAYS' CUYABENO LOOP

  5. 7 DAYS' LAGARTO COCHA TOUR

  6. PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION QUITO LAGOAGRIO

Are these really the 6 best Tours to discover the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador?

YES! This is why...

When walks through the jungle, wildlife overhead in the canopy are difficult to distinguish. When you look up there is not much to see. The leaves are dark against the light sky, appearing almost black.  Along narrow rivers though, light can penetrate through the forest allowing you to see birds and other animal. This allows you to watch birds, flowers and mammals much better, from the comfort of your canoe.

 

So what makes Cuyabeno so special...

  • The only nature reserve in the Amazon-Andean countries with plains in the near-Andes Amazon region. Slow-flowing rivers and abundant lakes can only occur in flat terrain; not in hills. This makes Cuyabeno so unusual!

  • While there are some well-drained forests, you may see some land-bound animals and birds; but with such abundance of water, you will get to see lots of water-bound animals like: Dolphins, Manatees, Capybaras, Caymans, Ducks, Cormorants, Herons, etc.

  • Watching animals from a boat is much more comfortable than  on foot. Your birding and mammals books, your binoculars and your camera are all easily at your disposition.

 

But there is more...

  • Getting from Lagoagrio to Cuyabeno is (mostly) over an asphalt road. Distances over water are much shorter than to other reserves, like Yasuní National Park;

  •  Our programs are organized by or in collaboration with small Indian tribes, the Cofans and Sionas;

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

4 DAYS CUYABENO LODGE TOUR

Discovery of the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador, Day one

Our vehicle meets you in Lagoagrio to bring you to the main entrance of the park "El Puente"; the "Bridge".

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Transportation from Lago Agrio to Cuyabeno.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Cuyabeno Park Entrance, "The Bridge".

Our transport meets you in Lagoagrio to bring you in about 2 hours to the main entrance of the park.

Main entrance ranger station "Cuyabeno Bridge", where visitors enter the canoes to the Cuyabeno Lake area.

 

Upon arrival, your adventurous Amazon journey really takes off, as we take you along the beautiful winding Cuyabeno River to reach our Cuyabeno Lodge. It's a fascinating ride on this tributary of the Amazon River, that will take you  first to the largest lake in the reserve, the Laguna Cuyabeno also known as Laguna Grande. This is the perfect spot for the discovery of the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador, as our Cuyabeno Lodge is one of the few accommodation located on any of the seven lakes of the Cuyabeno river system.

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Visitors on their way to the Cuyabeno Lodge. Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Navigating down the upper Cuyabeno River.

Our canoe takes you down the winding, narrow upper Cuyabeno River.

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Cuyabeno Lodge seen from the air.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Cuyabeno Lodge welcome sign.

Until you reach the Cuyabeno Lodge at a seasonal island in Lake Cuyabeno.

The welcome sign of the Cuyabeno Lodge.

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Modern showers at the Cuyabeno Lodge. Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Looking down at the Cuyabeno Lodge from the canopy tower.

Upon arrival you can take a refreshing shower in your cabin.....

and take a look over the premises from the Cuyabeno Lodge Canopy Tower.

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Relaxing on the deck of the Cuyabeno Lodge.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Taking a plonge at the Cuyabeno Lake.

After which you can relax on the deck, or....

take a refreshing swim in the lake.

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: the cosy restaurant of the Cuyabeno Lodge.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Comfortable rooms at the Cuyabeno Lodge.

At night enjoy a delicious meal in the Cuyabeno Lodge restaurant.

All beds have mosquito netting.

 

Discovery of the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador, Days 2 and 3

As birds are most active at dawn, you may start out your day with birdwatching before or right after breakfast with our experienced guide. Blue and Yellow Macaws fly noisily across the Cuyabeno Lake, while Hoatzins whisper their hoarse sounds as they brows the leaves of the Macrolobium trees. You may also hear the mysterious swelling sound of the Howler Monkeys or see a troop of squirrel monkeys bouncing through the treetops. In fact, 10 species of monkeys have been recorded in the reserve.

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: In Ecuador, birding is for all ages.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: The electric excursion canoe of the Cuyabeno Lodge.

Birdwatching early in the morning.

Exploring Lake Cuyabeno from a dugout canoe. For the short distances we like to use peddles instead of a motor or use our brand new whispering electrical motor.

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Chesnut-fronted Parrots are common in the Amazon.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Patoos are so well-camouflaged, they are rarely flushed from their roosts.

Chestnut-fronted Parrots are among the 550 species known to Cuyabeno.

The Common Patoo is so well camouflaged, it hardly ever leaves its day-roost when approached by visitors.

 

After breakfast explore the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador in the "terra firma" forest with your naturalist guide where you can learn about the forest's medicinal plants and traditions. There are many colorful flowers in the Cuyabeno Nature Reserve, but it takes a bit of an effort to find them. Orchids and Heliconias are among the more spectacular Amazon Forest Plants.

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Panama Flame tree Brownea macrophylla have their flowers come straight out of the trunc.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Pink flowering bush at the Cuyabeno Lodge.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Pink flowers along the Cuyabeno River.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Bright orchid are very popular among the Amazon rainforest plants.

Some of the spectacular flowers of Cuyabeno.

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Giant hollow fig tree.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Amazon fresh water crab.

A giant tree in the better-drained "tierra firma.

At a distance of 3000 km from the sea, there are fresh water crabs, high up in the Amazon watershed. Are they there from ancient days when the Amazon was under the Atlantic Ocean, or did they adapt to fresh water and migrated upstream? Any way, they now live on land in the tierra firma.

 

One of the afternoons, you will be taken to a Siona village, where you will learn about Siona cooking and traditional food from their kitchen garden. Each time a different woman of the community will give an explanation so that they will all get a turn.

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Kitchen gardens of the Sionas have many stapel food crops, like cacao.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Siona woman cooking on traditional fire box.

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

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

 

At night you will be taken on night excursions, some - by canoe - to look for nocturnal animals in the swamps, like Caymans and frogs. Other excursions are on  foot to look for the critters of the night in the forest.

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: on a night excursion in Cuyabeno.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Amazon whip spider Amblypygi are clawed spiders without scorpion tail or poison

A night excursion to explore the critters of the night.

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.

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Enjoying the view from the Cuyabeno Lodge landing dock.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Bonsai shaped Macrolobium trees at sunset.

The Cuyabeno Lodge landing dock offers a fabulous view over the Cuyabeno Lake and is a favorite hangout for many of our guests.

The famous bonsai shaped Macrolobium trees of Cuyabeno Lake at sun set.

 

Discovery of the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador, Day 4

On day four you will experience the feel of so many of our visitors: "It all went by too quickly". Maybe you will become one of our frequent visitors that keep coming back for a special program of one or two weeks. Anyway, you will have to leave in the morning to get back on time to catch the plane or bus in Lago Agrio. You will ride the canoe up the Cuyabeno River to the bridge, where your transport will be waiting for you to bring you to the airport or to the bus station for your return to Quito.

 

5 DAYS CUYABENO LAKE TOUR

Days 4 and 5 are like days 3 and 4 if the 4 DAYS CUYABENO LODGE TOUR. The 5 DAYS CUYABENO LODGE TOUR offers a fantastic opportunity to really explore the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador and get to know the Cuyabeno Lake area more thoroughly while spending a bid more relaxation time at our wonderful lodge.

 

In the morning you will be taken to a little visited swamp to look out for reptiles and birds and depending on the season an egret nesting colony. In the months of April - May, we may stumble upon nests of Huatzins.

 

Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Anacondas are infamous Amazon Jungle animalsDiscovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: There are 3 species of Caiman in the Amazon.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Yellow butterflies swarming around a salt lick.Discovery of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador: Ring-tailed Coati, Nasua nasua, is a common inhabitant of the Amazon.

Some of the fascinating wild animals of the Cuyabeno Lake area.

 

After lunch you can enjoy a last swim in the lake.

 

In the evening there is a last evening excursion and/or a review of what you have been able to enjoy during your stay and an exchange of digital pictures.

 

Discovery of the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador, Day 5

 You will have to leave in the morning to get back on time to catch the plane or bus in Lago Agrio. You will ride the canoe up the Cuyabeno River to the bridge, where your transport will be waiting for you to bring you to the airport or to the bus station for your return to Quito.

CUYABENO, GETTING THERE AND BACK

There are 3 options to travel to the Amazon Lowlands:

  • Take the night bus from Quito to Lagoagrio (usually leaves at 11 at night) from the "Terminal Norte" in Quito and arrive in Lagoagrio at dawn, which takes about 7 hours. It costs about $ 25 for the round trip and you have to leave from your hotel in Quito to the terminal  an hour before departure (by taxi). Alternatively, you can take a day bus, but then you will have to spend the night in Lagoagrio. We will pick you up in Lagoagrio in combination with arriving passengers by plane, departing generally at 10:30 (depending on the arrival of the plane), to Nuevo Unión (2 hours), where we embark in our canoe at about 12:30. Between your departure from your hotel at night at 10 at night until boarding the our motorized canoe, will be more or less 15 hours. The same applies for the Lake Cuyabeno accommodations which pass through the main park entrance on the Cuyabeno River.

  • Fly with Tame Quito - Lagoagrio. You can book your ticket at https://www.tame.com.ec, which costs about $ 150 round trip, but additionally you have to consider the cost of a taxi that costs 2X25; Then it actually costs $ 200. Your flight usually leaves at 9 in the morning, and takes 30 minutes to arrive. As many times the flight is delayed, count on arriving around 10, and after getting your luggage, it will be 10:30. We'll pick you up at the airport. From there it takes two hours to arrive in Nuevo Union, where we leave in our canoe at 12:30. Thus flying takes a total of 5 - 6 hours from your hotel until you can embark on the Rio Aguarico. The same applies for the Lake Cuyabeno accommodations which pass through the main park entrance on the Cuyabeno River.

  • Take our Private Trans-Andean Transportation to the Aguarico or Cuyabeno River, of which you can read the details below. We will pick you up at your hotel early in the morning and take to the Aguarico River in about 8 - 9 hours depending how much time we spend on the way at the overlooks into the Cayambe _ Coca Ecological. The same applies for the Lake Cuyabeno accommodations which pass through the main park entrance on the Cuyabeno River.

CUYABENO WILDLIFE RESERVE MAP: Lake area tours. CUYABENO WILDLIFE RESERVE MAP: Cuyabeno Loop.
CUYABENO WILDLIFE RESERVE MAP: Lagarto Cocha Expedition.

Routes from the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve programss of Parks and Tribes / Cofan Lodge:

  • Left above: Cuyabeno Lake Area;

  • Right above: Cuyabeno Loop;

  • Left: Lagarto Coche Expedition with the Cuyabeno Lake area as an additional option.

 

PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION QUITO - AGUARICO

 

some of the highest rainforests in the world along Lake Papallacta.The San Rafael waterfall surrounded by virgin cloud forest is the most beautiful waterfall of the country.

Near the mountain pass you pass by beautiful paramos and some of the highest rainforests in the world along Lake Papallacta.

The San Rafael waterfall surrounded by virgin cloud forest is the most beautiful waterfall of the country.

 

Bordering Lake Papallacta is the Jamanco SpaThe Reventador is Ecuador's most active volcano

Bordering Lake Papallacta is the Jamanco Spa with great mineral water without prior filtration as done in the Papallacta resorts. As a result, the mineral quality is supposed to be better, while resort prices are a fraction of the spas in Papallacta.

The Reventador is Ecuador's most active volcano and frequently runs of down-pouring can be seen glowing in the night.

  • It is possible to arrange for spending the night at either a Papallacta (costly) or Jamanco (friendly and much more economical) Spa, but then another day is needed.

  • Many passengers who take the private transportation, chose to fly back or visa versa.

Lagoagrio airport.the Cayambe exactly on the equator

Arrival at the airport of oil-boom town Lagoagrio.

On a clear day you can see the Cayambe exactly on the equator, as you fly around it. It is the only major volcano as well as the only glacier in the world precisely on the equator. On the way in, chose a window on the right and on the way back on the left of the plane.

 

WHAT IS INCLUDED?

Amazon Tours

All Amazon programs include all meals, and fruit juices served with the meals. Our restaurants serve a mix of international cuisine and occasionally, the Cofan Lodge offers  a sample meal of traditional Cofan dishes. Meals include coffee, tea and bottled water, while additional bottled drinks and alcoholic beverages can be bought.

Transportation between Lagoagrio and the access rivers.

Transportation between Lagoagrio and the river(s).

 

National Parks Tours

  1. All hotels and lodges;

  2. Transportation: All ground transportation on the National Parks tours;

  3. In-country flights where included in the national parks tour program, but NOT to/fro Galapagos and Lagoagrio;

  4. An English speaking naturalist guide. A German or French speaking guide may also be available, but can't be guaranteed.

  5. All entry fees.

COMBI-DISCOUNTS

Depending on the program you selected, we always try to give you a discount on combined modules. Groups above 4 passengers will receive discounts, depending on group size.

 

HOW TO BOOK A TOUR?

Our programs are rather customized and we try to accommodate the travel needs of our customers. To avoid misunderstandings, we don't offer a prepaid travel option. Just send an email to or contact us through our contact data below. 

 

From Abroad:

Sending money from abroad is rather costly and we try to minimize money going to bank transfers. Once your schedule has been worked out, we kindly request you to make a reservation guarantee transfer of only $100 by Western Union or Moneygram. The balance you pay in CASH in Quito upon arrival (we don't take credit cards!) This way you don't lose a lot of money sending money. The $100 is NOT recoverable upon cancelation.

 

Why we don't accept credit cards in Ecuador either? The credit card services charge 7%! We would have to charge you for that, making your trip more expensive. We do everything to make your trip as cost effective as possible.

 

Already in Ecuador?

You can pay in our office mentioned below. We apply a cancelation fee of $100.

 

What is essential to bring?

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

 

2019 COFAN LODGE / CUYABENO LODGE / PARKS AND TRIBES PRICES

 

COFAN LODGE PROGRAMS

COFAN LODGE STANDARD PROGRAM

DURATION STAY

Prices in US$

4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS

 
Standard room

$ 499

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers.

 

CUYABENO LOOP

DURATION STAY

Prices in US$

5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS

 
Standard room at the Cuyabeno Lodge part (nights 3 &4) $ 799
Standard room in the Cofan Lodge (nights 1 & 2) and Deluxe room at the Cuyabeno Lodge (nights 3 & 4) $ 899

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers.

 

LAGARTO COCHA EXPEDITION

DURATION STAY

Prices in US$

7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS

$ 1099

Including Extension Cuyabeno Lake from where returning to Lagoagrio.

$ 1349

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers.

 

CUYABENO LODGE PROGRAMS

CUYABENO LODGE STANDARD PROGRAM  
DURATION

Prices in US$

4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS  
Shared budget room (Dormitory shared among 4 people, shared bathrooms) $ 270
Standard room (17 m2, private bathroom, shared balcony) $ 410
Standard room Plus (±20 m2, private bathroom, shared balcony) $ 430
Deluxe room (25m2, private bathroom, private balcony in the tower) $ 480
Suite (36m2, private bathroom, private balcony) $510
 
CUYABENO ADVENTURE  
DURATION

Prices in US$

5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS  
Shared budget room (Dormitory shared among 4 people, shared bathrooms) $ 340
Standard room (17 m2, private bathroom, shared balcony) $ 510
Standard room Plus (±20 m2, private bathroom, shared balcony) $ 535
Deluxe room (25m2, private bathroom, private balcony in the tower) $ 595
Suite (36m2, private bathroom, private balcony) $635
Single occupancy surcharge (for the entire trip) $100

Individual bookings are WELCOME

 

QUITO - LAGOAGRIO

(or visa versa)

PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION

 

Prices in US$

One way per party price

$ 300

Group Price for parties of 2 - 7 (minivan) who share the costs.

 

NATIONAL PARKS TOUR PROGRAM

DURATION STAY

Prices in US$

OPTION A: Complete national Parks Tour (10 days) $1999
OPTION B: After Machalilla return to Quito (6 days) $1349
OPTION C: After Machalilla return to Quito (6 days) via Chimborazo Wildlife Reserve (7 days) $1399
OPTION D: Start and finish in Guayaquil (5 days) $1149
OPTION E: Start in Cuenca and Finish in Guayaquil (5 days) $1149

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers.

 

GALAPAGOS TOURS

GALAPAGOS TOURS

For island hopping starting at  (Read details)

$520

Individual bookings are WELCOME

 

LIMA CUSCO MACHU PICCHU

DURATION STAY

Prices in US$

6 or 7 days (subject to flight itineraries)  
LIMA - CUSCO MODULE (Read details)

$1149

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers.

Discovery of the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador Tour

 

COFAN LODGE and PARKS & TRIBES sales office:

Calle Mariano Cardenal N74-153 y Joaquín Mancheno; Carcelen Alto District (Barrio)

Download:Cofan Lodge brochure.

Phone: (++593) (0)(2) 252 7314

Email: [email protected]

Skype: ecotravelworldwide