This 4-day/3-night Ecuador adventure includes canoe trips along lakes and rivers, forest excursions and birding tours. On this unforgettable South American vacation, you will experience incredible adventures as you paddle a small canoe and hike along the forest trails. Also, while based at the Napo Wildlife Center Lodge, you’ll get a close-up view of the Amazon wildlife in the Yasuni National Park -- a sacred land considered one of the most diverse areas on the planet and possesses more than 550 bird species, which is about 40% of the bird species of the entire Amazon basin.
“I want to thank you for arranging a perfect tour for me. I know you did not have control over who the other people would be, but it all, on all fronts, was perfect. The itinerary was sensational and the boat fabulous.”
Departing from Quito, we will take a 30-minute flight over the eastern Andes mountain range to the Amazonian city of Coca to begin your amazing rainforest experience.
After landing, we will take a local "chiva" (an open-air bus) on a short 5-minute drive to the port on the Napo River. Once there, we will board a comfortable covered motorboat to begin the boat ride along the Napo River for approximately 2 hours, enjoying a box lunch and spotting aquatic birds like herons, kingfishers and others on the way.
After reaching the Napo Wildlife Center’s welcoming area, we will take a magical 2-hour dugout canoe ride along a narrow river that leads to the lake where the lodge itself is located. This ride presents great chances for more wildlife spotting, including sightings of various species of monkeys as well as large birds like toucans, parrots or even macaws. By the late afternoon, we will arrive at the lodge, where you will settle in, have dinner and spend the night.
We will get up early to reach the best and most assessable parrot clay lick in all of Ecuador. Located about an hour from the lodge, guests must reach the site just before the daily parrot activity commences -- at between 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. A total of 11 species of parrots, parakeets and macaws can be seen here. Though actual sightings depend on the weather conditions, these excursions are usually rewarding.
Later, we will hike through the forest along a trail that leads to the local Kichwa community of Añangu, where we will share some time with a family in their day-to-day activities. Then we will return to the river and hike through a terra firme forest for about 30 minutes until we arrive at a second parrot clay lick. If the weather conditions permit, we should be able to find different species of parrots, parakeets and macaws. A box lunch will be served at the parrot clay lick observatory. Late in the afternoon, we will return to the lodge.
After an early breakfast, we will head out from the lodge en route to the finest viewing experience at a canopy tower on the Napo. A 36-meter-high canopy tower opened to guests in November 2004 as a great way to experience the life above the forest floor. This is the second tower at the Napo Wildlife Center (the first is attached to the dining hall and allows great views of the lake). This other tower is located about 30 minutes from the lodge itself, deep within a terra firme forest.
As you ascend the 12-floor tower, you pass through different levels of the forest to reach the top of a huge ceiba tree. Here you cross onto a wooden platform, which is actually built into the tree, and experience the view formerly reserved only for birds. The galvanized metal tower was constructed to the highest standards, and is carefully inspected by engineers. Safety is the priority, as the platform at the top of the tree was constructed by tree platform specialists.
From top to bottom, there is no finer canopy experience in eastern Ecuador. Flocks of colorful tanagers pass right through the canopy, as do Blue and Yellow macaws, while Spider Monkeys search for fruit in nearby trees, and two species of large toucans call out in the early mornings and afternoons. Indeed, life of the forest canopy opens up before you. Birds that are virtually impossible to see from the forest floor far below are suddenly right beside you, oblivious to your presence.
Later in the afternoon, we will hike through a marvelous terra firme forest to learn about the ecology and the role of plants in the complex world of the tropical rainforest, where vines, primordial trees, bromeliads and orchids stand out in this extraordinary natural garden.
After the hike, we will explore surrounding creeks in which you have a good chance of running into a Giant otter family.
After an early breakfast, we will head out on our final excursion: canoeing back to the Napo River and the creek for more wildlife sightings of Giant otters, saki monkeys, hoatzins, black-capped donacobius birds and other wildlife.
The motorized canoe will then return you to the town of Coca for the flight back to Quito.
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