An Ecuadorian Rain Forest Adventure into Earth's Greatest Ecosystem—the Amazon Basin
LA SELVA LODGE ITINERARY
Day 1: Quito / Coca / La Selva
A transfer is provided to the Quito airport where you are met by a representative of La Selva Jungle Lodge who will assist with the check-in process for your flight to Coca. Though it's just a 30-minute journey, your flight over the Andes conveys you to an entirely different world, offering an aerial view of the Amazon rain forest
stretching to the horizon. Once you land in the jungle town of Coca, a lodge representative arranges a private transfer to the city dock on the Napo River. The adventure begins as you board a covered motorized canoe for the 2.5-hour journey downriver, with a box lunch provided. The Napo River is a major tributary of the Amazon, and its milk-chocolate color attests to the heavy silt load it carries, flanked by verdant rain forest
on either shore.
At your takeout point, guides assist with luggage while you take a short walk through the forest to reach Lake Garzacocha—the Heron's Lagoon—where a waiting boat whisks you across to the main dock at La Selva. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail on arrival during a short briefing on the lodge and activities to come. On a short introductory nature walk this afternoon, accompanied by both local and professional naturalist guides, you begin to learn about the flora and fauna of the rain forest, astounding in its incredible biodiversity.
Days 2–4: Exploring the Rain Forest
Spend three full days on guided excursions into the wonders of the Amazon rain forest, traveling on foot, by dugout canoe and on motorized skiff. The lagoon can be an enticing place for fishermen to cast a line as well. While the specifics of your visit may differ based on the number of guests at the lodge, weather and the specific seasons of the year, you can anticipate daily itineraries such as these:
Hiking & Canoeing
Rise with the sun in time for an early-morning medical botany hike along the Chaguamango Trail that leads from the lodge to the lake. Your guide reveals an impressive array of medicinal plants used by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon Basin to cure a host of ailments. As you return to the lodge by traditional dugout canoe, you may spy groups of squirrel monkeys approaching the water. After lunch and an afternoon siesta, take a loop walk on the Charapa Trail. Along the way, look for different mammals, monkeys and birds that come near the lakeshore in the afternoon to search for food. As the sun sets, you cross the lake once more by canoe to reach the lodge, where dinner awaits.
Once night descends, return to the canoes for a magical paddle through the darkness. With the help of a powerful spotlight, your guides scout the shores of the lagoon looking for caiman, boas, bats, owls, night mammals and other nocturnal wildlife. If the sky is clear, you also have the chance to do some stargazing.
Parrot Lick / Village Visit
Spend a day in the most biologically diverse spot on earth, Yasuni National Park. You reach the park via a 20-minute dugout canoe ride, followed by a 15-minute walk to the Napo River. From here, make a short journey by motorized canoe to see
one of the world's most amazing wildlife displays—a parrot clay lick. Hundreds of bright green parrots and parakeets flock to the treetops, then fly down to a clay bank to eat the soil, rich in minerals they need to help digest the fruits and seeds they consume daily. It is essential to have binoculars to enjoy the sight fully, as well as a camera with video to capture it.
Your naturalist guide helps identify the different species of parrots and parakeets while providing all sorts of interesting details about the habits and behavior of these birds. You'll return to the motorized canoe for more birdwatching along the riverbanks. Later, stop to visit a local Amazonian Quichua family living on the river. Your hosts receive you in their home and share aspects of their daily lives and customs during this fascinating cultural encounter. Return to the lodge via motorized canoe,
and on foot.
Sacha Hugra Trail / Garzacocha Canoe / Night Walk
For travelers seeking an active morning, head out on a guided walk through an amazing section of primary forest for 4 to 5 hours, though you may elect to just do a portion of it if you wish. During the hike, you'll have the opportunity to see the biggest mammals and trees of the rain forest. Return to the lodge for a 2-hour canoe ride around Garzacocha lagoon to see birds and troops of monkeys. Disembark for a 5-minute walk to a spot where we look for the pygmy marmoset, the smallest monkey in the world and one of the most exotic primate species in the Amazon.
As dusk falls, a twilight walk reveals the transformation of the forest into a mystical realm of sounds. With flashlights in hand, you get a fascinating perspective on the myriad amphibians, reptiles, insects, night birds and nocturnal mammals, before returning to the lodge for dinner. This evening, there may be a chance to enjoy a naturalist lecture along with a briefing about tomorrow's departure for Coca and Quito.
Day 5: Coca / Quito / Depart
An early wake-up call rouses you for a final breakfast in the rain forest prior to departing the lodge. The lodge staff assists with your checked luggage, loading it into a freight canoe to transport it back to Coca while guests ride upstream in a motorized canoe. On arrival in Coca, La Selva's representative escorts you to the airport and helps with your checked luggage and securing boarding passes.
The itinerary and activities for the
shorter 4-day extension will be similar to those described above, however, guests will return to Quito on Day 4.
Please Note: This itinerary is meant as a guideline only. While it represents a typical experience at the lodge, actual activities may vary according to season, weather and the daily agenda of offerings.