Amazon region is a fantastic place for wildlife viewing vacations. One
can experience life in Ecuador's amazon jungle in relative luxury by
staying at one of the many jungle ecolodges that are a short flight
plus a couple of hours travel by boat from Quito. This is a visitors
chance to practice responsible tourism in Ecuador: there are various
Amazon lodges that all claim to practice "ecotourism" - in reality only
a handful are genuine ecotourism lodges. Many of the lodges are foreign
owned - we won't even be mentioning these as there equally good, if not
better, community run ecotourism projects in Ecuador's Amazon. A stay
at any of the following Amazon lodges helps preserve the rainforest
you'll be visiting - practice responsible tourism on holiday.
Ecuador's Best Amazon Lodges
Napo Wildlife Centre
- Napo wildlife centre is a community run ecotourism project with 10
individual thatched cabins with private bathrooms with hot water.
Electricity is solar powered, and an observation tower provides good
views of the nearby lake and the jungle canopy. The nearby dock is
perfect for spotting giant otters and caiman and the lodge is a great
place for wildlife viewing in general. Various rainforest and wildlife
viewing excursions can be organised locally.
- A visit to Kapawi ecolodge is more about experiencing local
indigenous culture rather than wildlife spotting, as many of the
animals are still being hunted by the local Indigenous Achuar. That's
why your visit helps - to persuade the indigenous local Indians to seek
sustainable alternatives for their Amazon rainforest. Having said this,
there's plenty of wildlife and rainforest still left! Kapawi has 20
rooms with private balconies overlooking the nearby lagoon. Hot water
and lighting are supplied by sustainable power sources. Jungle
excursions, nature hikes, camping treks, fishing for piranha and
kayaking can be arranged locally in this fascinating, remote part of
Yachana Ecolodge - located on the banks of the Napo
river, Yachana Lodge has won numerous prestigous ecotourism awards. The
area is very biodiverse and indigenous guides offer rainforest tours,
canoeing trips and there are also plenty of opportunities to learn
about Amazonian culture (eg. by visiting traditional shaman healers).
There is also a butterfly house and tropical gardens to explore.
Other rainforest lodges in Ecuador
plenty of scope for wildlife viewing and rainforest tours elsewhere in
Ecuador. Lodges that aren't in the Amazon region of Ecuador are often
more easily accessible and not as expensive. Consider visiting Mindo, or alternatively:
Piedra Blanca Ecotourism Project
- Piedra Blanca is a pioneering community run ecotourism project on the
other side of the Andes (the West). The region is spectacularly
beautiful but rarely visited by tourists. Piedra Blanca provides a
great opportunity to get off the beaten track in Ecuador. In addition
to rainforest tours and nature hikes, there are various other trekking
routes into the Andes that can be arranged. Horseback riding tours and
visits to small village communities and markets are done with local
guides. Rafting in ancient design (Kon Tiki style) rafts can take
tourists as far as Guayaquil if they are truely adventurous in spirit.
See www.piedrablanca.org for info.