Ecuadorian Amazon

12th February 2011

We were soon speeding down the Napo River after a 30 minute flight from Quito [2] into the small town of Coca [12] in the Ecuadorian jungle.  The Napo River eventually empties out into the Amazon further south in Peru.  After 2 hours on the river, a short trek through thick forest and a canoe ride across a tranquil lagoon, we reached Sacha Lodge [13] (listed in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveler’s Life by Patricia Schultz and possibly one of the most bio diverse places in the world).


The eco lodge lies on 1800 hectares of privately owned undisturbed primary forest with most of their employees being from the nearby indigenous Quichua communities.  The guides are expert on the flora and fauna around the lodge.  We had many opportunities to view the wildlife by walking or canoeing either in the early morning or late in the afternoon when there was more activity.  We spent the midday hours lazing in hammocks. 


The highlight was a boat trip to see the parrot licks within the nearby Yasuní National Park.  Every morning, thousands of bright green and blue parrots come to eat clay deposits on the Napo River.  The parrots live by eating nuts from a variety of trees some of which have a toxin in the nut.  Certain minerals in the clay are able to neutralize the toxins in these nuts.  The male parrots guard the nests and young whilst the females gorge themselves on the clay which they regurgitate when they return to their nests up to 50 kilometres away.


Click to compare with Peruvian Amazon, the Bolivian Amazon or the Amazon River to Santarém & Amazon River to Manaus.


Sacha Lodge reflected in the lagoon

200 species of tree per hectare

Black Agouti near our cabin

Nocturnal owl monkey

Snail kite

Squirrel monkey

Sunset over the lagoon



Green lizard

Our local guide Ernesto explains the medicinal use of a jungle plant

Howler monkey

A pair of Many Banded Aracaris

Green lizard hugs the tree

Marco, our guide, paddles us up a creek

Whip snake

Giant ceiba tree

Boardwalk to the lodge



Poison dart frog

Jungle canopy


Shaman from a nearby village

Village women

Chicha brewing in ceramic pots

Canoeing in the rain

Parrots on the clay lick

Really tall tree

An F28 became a floating disco on the Napo River at Coca after crashing there