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PARKS AND TRIBES

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]

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

 

Are these really the Top Yasuni Lodges and Napo River Lodges?

YES! This is why...

There are some 8 lodges along the Napo River. While most lodges provide nice programs, each of them accommodates 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.

 

With 2 great indigenous Napo River lodges, the Pashpanchu Lodge and  Pilche Lodge offering an affordable tour along all great Napo River & Yasuni sites. Having known the Napo River since 1975, we are the most knowledgeable people to organize tours along the Napo 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 IN YASUNI / NAPO LODGES

Yasuni / Napo Lodge, 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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: covered motorized canoe to protect you from the sun.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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.

 

To avoid a rather boring first stretch over the river from Coca, in stead you will be taken to Puerto Pompeya over land, where you will enter your motorized canoe  to Pashpanchu Lodge across the River Napo. This is 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 spot wildlife, birds and plants.

 

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: The entrance to the Pashpanchu Lodge.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: The area map of Pashpanchu Lodges surroundings.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: on a night excursion.

The area map of Pashpanchu Lodge's surroundings.

A night excursion after dinner.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: A jungle tarantella spider.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: Amazon whip spiders Amblypygi are clawed spiders without scorpion tail or poison

A night excursion to experience the critters of the night. Tarantulas crawl out of their burrow 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.

 

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: Squirrel Monkey at Isla de los Monos.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: Brown Woolly Monkey at Isla de los Monos.

A Squirrel Monkey.

Brown Woolly Monkey.

 

Yasuni National Park Lodge, 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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: Challwuacocha is a beautiful black water lake.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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, highlighting the Water Hiacynth shores and the Araceae Lily shrubs and palm swamps.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: An Araceae Lily shrub lines the shores of the Challwuacocha lake.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: Water Hiasynths cover the far end of the Challwuacocha Lake.

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

Water Hiacynths 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. These intriguing giants owe their air breathing ability to their primitive lung and gill system, which also allows them to breathe underwater. This is a developed ability, as they tend to live in areas with water that contains poor concentrations of oxygen.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: “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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: On the way to the Sani Lodge canopy tower.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: Paddling through the swamps.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: The Challwuacoche Lake surroundings map.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: View from the Sani Lodge over Lake Challwuacoche.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: Contrary to its name, the Black Cayman is not black at all.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: A Spectacled Caymen at Lake Amandi cocha.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: Kitchen gardens of the Kichwa have many stapel food crops, like cacao.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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.

 

 

 

Yasuni / Napo Lodges Tour, 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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: Scarlet Macaw.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: The 54m high canopy tower at the the Kichwa Añagu community.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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 Yasuni/ Napo lodges tour, and you get to visit them both.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: Buttress roots of the 55m high Ceibo tree measure some 10 m wide.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: The platform in the Ceibo tree at the the Kichwa Añagu community.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: Bromelias are mostly epiphytes.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: Bromelia in bloom.YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]: 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.

 

YASUNI NATIONAL PARK TOURS / NAPO RIVER LODGES [2024]

PARKS & TRIBES Travel Agency in Quito
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