Napo Wildlife Center Itinerary
Day 1: Quito, Ecuador / Coca / Napo Wildlife Center
Depart Quito this morning on a short flight over the Andes to the town of Coca on the Napo River. Transfer to the pier to board a motorized canoe for the 2.5-hour trip downriver. The Napo, Ecuador's major river, runs 550 miles from its source in the volcanic highlands to its juncture with the Amazon. Packed lunches are provided for your river journey. Within two hours you arrive at the boundary of Napo Wildlife Center, where you switch to smaller dugout canoes. Local guides paddle you quietly up the blackwater Añangu Creek to the lodge, surrounded by jungle wildlife. You may catch glimpses of 150-pound giant otters fishing along the shore, kingfishers perched in the overhanging branches, hawks soaring overhead, or any of 11 monkey species swinging through the trees in search of tropical fruits.
The lodge, tucked deep within the rain forest, is owned and operated by the local Añangu community. It was developed as a sustainable commercial venture that allows the Indigenous residents to share the wonders of the rain forest with visitors while preserving the environment upon which their sustenance and cultural integrity relies. The project is impressive in its comforts and commitment to sustainability. Each of the 16 cabanas has a shaded porch, private bathroom with on-demand hot water, electric lights, screened windows and mosquito nets. At dinner this evening, learn about the center's efforts to preserve the land and the traditions of the Añangu people.
Days 2–4: Yasuni National Park—Exploring the Amazon Rain Forest
From its location inside Yasuni National Park, the lodge offers adventures for travelers of all physical abilities. Spot toucans and scarlet macaws from well-maintained trails and boardwalks, watch as flocks of colorful tanagers fly by at eye level, and search for the three-toed sloth from atop a 120-foot canopy tower. Scan the lakeshore for glowworms and the twinkling eyes of black caiman on a moonlight canoe trip. From accessible blinds, watch as thousands of brilliant parrots and parakeets flock to the nearby licks in a squawking frenzy to eat clay that aids in their digestion of toxic seeds. And while sightings are very rare, you might even spy a jaguar or puma moving stealthily through the forest. Exceptional lodge guides, fluent in both English and Spanish, share all they know about the amazing wealth of flora and fauna you'll encounter on your excursions. Native Quichua guides, who also accompany each day's activities, enjoy sharing stories of the rain forest spirits and illustrating how they make use of natural resources in their everyday lives. Each evening, return to the comfort of your jungle ecolodge for fine meals sourced with local ingredients from the forest, including fresh fruit, and complemented with fresh-baked bread.
Day 5: Coca / Quito / Depart
After a last lavish breakfast buffet, make a final canoe excursion downstream to the Napo River as the rain forest awakens and wildlife becomes active for another day. At the rivers' confluence, board a motorized canoe and cruise upstream to Coca where you will meet your return flight to Quito.