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A Guide to Amazon Travel in Ecuador
     

Aqua-Firma's expertise in arranging travel to Ecuador's Amazon is the result of more than two decades of our team's work in conservation, research and expeditions to the area.

Below is a selection of just some of the experiences we can arrange in Ecuador's Amazon. A 4 -5 day lodge based trip is the classic way in which we can provide a fulfilling wildlife rainforest experience with expert local guidance. However, whether you expect this to be a once in a lifetime journey in the World's largest tropical wilderness, or you are seeking to experience or find something more specialist, please contact us to discuss.

 

Canoe & Lodge Safaris in the Amazon Flooded Forest

This experience combines lodge based accommodation with a dugout canoe journey which itself incorporates a night of fully catered 'fly camping' in the Amazon wilderness.  Our guides include an indigenous Siona Indian and expert natural history guides who can lead you through the heart of the 1.2 million acre Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.  The scenery here is an inspiring mix of lowland rainforest, lakes and rivers and is home to at least 515 species of bird, 12,000 species of plant, 15 species of monkey, Giant River Otters, Tapir and Pink River Dolphins.  This is what we would classify as an Adventure Class experience in terms of accommodation, whilst we offer a more premium version of Canoe & Lodge Safari based out of a lodge on the Rio Napo.

  Amazon Ecolodge Experiences
  Napo Wildlife Centre is an ecolodge owned by the the indigenous Quichua community of Añangu.  Set on the edge of a lagoon within the Yasuni National Park, this lodge is the best place in Ecuador to observe the Giant River Otter, as well as other mammals and birds at a salt lick and from a 50m watch tower set above the canopy.
  Kapawi Lodge is 100% owned by the Achuar indigenous people. Here you will have the opportunity to explore some of the country's finest Amazon River wildlife and learn how tourism, conservation and the rights of Ecuador's indigenous people are working together.  The journey to Kapawi is an experience in itself flying you over the heart of Ecuador's least disturbed lowland Amazon rainforests to the Pastaza River.  This experience provides you with probably the best combination of culture, wildlife, Amazon scenery and premium ecolodge accommodation.
  La Selva was Ecuador's first high quality jungle lodge and Aqua-Firma's first introduction to the Amazon when Director Ralph Pannell led a primate research expedition to forests in its vicinity.  It occupies a stunning position overlooking Garzacocha (Heron Lake).  The smaller Mandicocha lake to the north of the lodge is an excellent place from which to observe schools of freshwater stingrays and explore by dugout the narrow Mandiyacu river.
 

Indigenous Huaroani Canoe & Lodge Safari

Pockets of the Huaorani indigenous people of Ecuador to this day remain beyond contact of the outside world. Many of those who are comfortable with contact with outsiders still retain and use hunter and gatherer skills such as blow darting. This experience takes you to an area which one community of Huaorani have set aside as a wildlife reserve and a place where they can take the opportunity to introduce you to their culture and beliefs. This is a far flung part of the Amazon and your journey there involves a light aircraft flight and a canoe journey by power of paddle to basic, but comfortable lodge style accommodation. This is an award winning ecotourism project and one which will provide you with a rich experience of Amazon rainforest and people.

 

Huaorani Canoe Expedition

This privately guided Huaorani Canoe Expedition takes you on a journey staying at different Huaorani villages along the way. You will paddle along tranquil waters in the midst of some stunning primary rainforest. This is also the living home of Huaorani people whose company and humour you will be able to enjoy whilst seeing how they live day to day. Even though the canoeing is not technically difficult, your private guide will be a professional American Canoe Association qualified instructor, trained in wilderness rescue. This is a unique experience ideal for someone in search of a deep Amazon cultural adventure.

 

Indigenous Quichua Lodge

When Aqua-Firma Director, Ralph Pannell, first put together a primate research and medical expedition to Quichua indigenous areas of the Ecuadorian Amazon, the community of Sani Isla was a key beneficiary of medical support provided. The future at that stage was towards a loss of culture and impoverishment of forest resources through slash and burn agriculture and the hunting of wildlife. Two decades later and the community has its own lodge and wildlife preserve and an ecotourism project. The lagoon side setting of the lodge is stunning and whilst you can enjoy some excellent wildlife and birdlife, you are also helping the community to find a sustainable means of developing for the future.

 

Amazon Rafting & Lodge Safaris

There is some stunning mountain, rainforest and river scenery on the eastern slopes of Ecuador's Andes. You will be able to see some of this on flights to and from the start points of our Amazon lodge based and kayaking experiences. An ideal way  experience these landscapes in depth is for us to take you into the Amazon overland and by inflatable raft down rivers which vary from calm to Class IV rapids. These journeys incorporate a relaxing stopover in the hot springs area of Papallacta from where you can admire views of Antisana volcano above you and high altitude Amazon forests stretching out below.

 

Headwaters of the Amazon Rafting Expedition

There can hardly be a better pair of ingredients for rafting than the Andes and Amazon.  This journey incorporates the very best of Ecuador's eastern rafting rivers, from the cloud forests of Papallacta to the lowlands rainforests of the Jatunyacu.  The wilderness highlight of this trip is the Rio Upano river gorge in which we are locked for three days - in a lost world of waterfalls and forests inhabited by the indigenous Shuar - a people renowned for their head-shrinking past.

Amazon Tributary Wildlife Cruise

Go with the flow and experience Ecuador's amazon rainforests from onboard a very comfortable river boat, with regular landings to explore the forest.

 

Expert Led Private Amazon Birdwatching Trips

For someone whose focus is on seeing the widest possible variety of birds, and in particular, rare and endemic species, we recommend that you are accompanied by one of our specialist birding guides. These include some of Ecuador's very best bird watching guides such as William Perez whose enthusiasm, scope and local expertise can help you to see a vast array of Ecuador's 1,641 species. Some Amazon locations have as many as 700 recorded species within reach of a single lodge base.

By visiting the rainforests of Ecuador with us, we will automatically set aside £25 towards our Rainforest4Climate programme. This money is used to help purchase for permanent protection, rainforest in Ecuador via our partner charity, Rainforest Concern.  It also goes towards the charity's community environmental education and reforestation programmes in the cloud forest of the Choco Andes region of Ecuador. Aqua-Firma has been actively involved with these projects since 2000 and continues to provide consultancy advice and support.

 

 

     

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