- Duration: 4-5 Days
- Intensity: Easy to Difficult
- Season: Year round
- Begins In: Quito, Ecuador
- Airport: Quito, Ecuador
Napo Wildlife Center
This is the the newest lodge in Amazonian Ecuador and this ecotourism project includes the conservation of approximately over 52,000 acres (over 21,400 hectares) of the most pristine Amazon Rain Forest within the Yasunì National Park, an important biosphere reserve and the largest tract of tropical rain forest in Ecuador.
From Quito you fly to Coca and then travel by motorized canoe to Anangucocha lake. From here you access the lodge on a guided 1.5 mile hike or paddle a dugout canoe ride with staff for about two hours through the forest. With luck you will see monkeys of several species and most likely, plenty of colorful birds.
Lodging at NWC has been designed to offer maximum privacy and comfort with lake and forest views from private porches. There are 10 luxury cabanas designed to also preserve one of the most pristine spots of Amazon forest in Ecuador. Rooms include one king and two twin size beds, private bathrooms with on-demand hot water, a multi-speed ceiling fan, electricity provided by silent generators supplemented by solar panel power system, plenty of lights and 120 v outlets, screened windows and mosquito nets.
Buildings keep the traditional native architecture with a harmonious modern mixture inside providing cool shaded terraces with inviting hammocks and ample space to relax and observe the surroundings. While resting from activities people may get to see a group of giant otters investigating near the lodge dock or a large black caiman crossing the lake or a capybara looking for rest near the lake edge, or experience the graceful often flights of blue and yellow macaws over the lodge area. The hall has a library with books on local birds and tropical ecology. Next door, the bar provides ice-cold beer, wine, soft drinks and other liquor selections. Meals are carefully prepared to delight the variety of tastes and desires of the international visitor, including traditional Ecuadorian dishes and vegetarian or special meal requirements can be accommodated. There is a reverse osmosis water filtration system used for drinking water.
Guests are welcome to use the observation tower next to the dinning hall during free time or simply relax with the great view of the Anangu lake. There is a second, even taller observation tower that is a 20-minute walk from the main lodge. Both of these provide excellent views of the surrounding forest canopy and the possibility to see flocks of parrots and troops of howler or spider monkeys.
Each day different excursions are offered. Visitors are divided into small groups and lead by a native Anangu guide, and also an official Yasuni Park Ranger. S/he is bilingual and an expert on the forest's secrets about medicinal plants and other useful items of the rain forest For those that want, there are excursions before sunrise that often offer some of the best wildlife sightings. Afternoon and evening outings are also offered.
One of the highlights at NWC is an early morning excursion to reach two of Ecuador's most accessible parrot clay licks along the Napo region. These parrot clay licks are part of the reserve and lodge territory. These licks are reached by canoe and there are well established and comfortable blinds at each parrot lick to provide visitors the best viewing and high quality photo/video opportunities. At the lick you are likely to see Mealy, blue headed, yellow crowned, orange winged and orange cheeked parrots, cobalt winged, dusky headed and white eyed parakeets, with the occasional rarities like scarlet shoulder parrot and scarlet macaws. In best weather conditions at least 800 individuals of most species can be spotted and on other days of rain one could still see a few dozens. This is available as a full day excursion visiting both blinds equipped with a nice freshly made box lunch, or a half day returning for lunch at the lodge.
NWC has a large lake with two creeks that can be easily explored quietly while sitting on a dugout canoe paddled by our expert guides and staff eager to spot and show you wildlife. You have a good chance of finding troops of other species of monkeys like squirrel, saddle-backed and white fronted capuchins. You might also see monk saki, woolly and golden mantle tamarind monkeys. NWC is home to a total of 11 species of monkeys. You may also see giant otters, a three-toed sloth or anaconda in the creeks or flooded forest.
There are also hikes available through a variety of forest types. On these trails you’ll appreciate riches of the tropical forest, discover new plants and colorful or well-camouflaged insects. You might also see monkeys, lizards, tortoises, frogs and army ants in addition to an array of birds, including toucans, macaws, parrots, manakins and hummingbirds. The NWC staff is constantly aware of wildlife movements and they share this information with each other and guests. Over 568 species of birds have been recorded at the Napo Wildlife Center, more than one third of all of Ecuador`s bird species.
Anangu is not only home to the great NWC lodge, it has been the ancestral territory of a Quichua indigenous community that has the same name. Anangu people are active participants of the conservation and management of a large territory within the park as well as partners with NWC in tourism. During your stay, you can join some families in their daily activities when harvesting bananas, coco, manioc, a starchy jungle root, staple food for Amazonian people, or maybe helping preparing chicha, a traditional drink based on cooked and fermenting manioc. If you like to fish, try catching your own in Amazon rivers helped by the local natives and their particular techniques.
Visit www.napowildlifecenter.com to learn more and feel free to call us for more information as well.
The Kapawi Project
Kapawi is located near the Ecuadorian and Peruvian border, in the Southern Ecuadorian Amazon Basin on the Pastaza River, a major tributary of the Amazon. It is one of the most pristine and isolated points in the Amazon Basin and accessed only by air. The closest town is within ten days walking distance. The area surrounding Kapawi has one of the highest biodiversities on Earth, with 10,000 different species of plants and more than 540 different species of birds.
The Kapawi Project began in 1993 with the leadership, guiding vision and investment from a company called Canodros. The goal was to start a new trend in eco-tourism by providing economic support and jobs to the local indigenous people, the Achuar.
This area is the traditional homeland of the Achuar, consisting of some 5.000 square kilometers with a population of 4,500 people in 56 communities. From the beginning, the Achuar have been involved in all aspects of the project which was built of native material and in traditional style. Currently around 70% of all employees that work at the lodge are Achuar. In 2011, the lodge (which accommodates up to 50 people) and related infrastructure will be transferred at no cost to the Achuars.
Kapawi has also provided a launching platform for the Achuar as it has brought the area to the attention of many people from non governmental organizations that invested money and time to develop projects parallel to ecotourism such as health, communications, transportation, and education for the entire Achuar territory.
Achuar is the name of one of the four groups of the linguistic family Jivaro, (Achuar, Shuar, Aguaruna and Huambisa). With a global population of about 80.000 people, the Jivaro group is by far the most important homogeneous culture on the Amazon Basin. Well known in the past for their internal wars, the Achuar live today in peace, mostly in small villages, a way of living suggested by the missionaries, wherein they obtain their products produced in small plots -"chacras"- and from hunting, fishing and gathering in the rain forest. At the beginning of the 1970's the Achuar were the only Jivaros who had not suffered any loss of culture due to contact with the western world.
Kapawi is a place of multiple choices and is characterized by its flexibility. Programs are not fixed, but rather, designed with your guide and your group, based on your interests and physical condition. In Kapawi you can do many activities and the most of the itineraries will include visits to the Achuar communities. Possibilities include sharing part of a day with Achuar families, hikes in the rain forest, canoeing in rivers and lakes, swimming, watching piranhas, pinks dolphins, caimans and other animals of the area, as well as birdwatching.
One thing that should be kept in mind during your stay here at Kapawi is that you are in the "jungle". Insects are by far the most numerous life form in this habitat so even though the rooms are screened through the walls and floors, you may have some unwanted "guests" in your cabin. In addition, you are miles away from what you know as civilization. The nearest town being a 2 week walk through the forest for the local people. Please remember that because the only way in and out of the area is by air, schedules are 100% reliant on the weather. It is best to leave an extra day after your stay at Kapawi as a buffer day in case an act of God prevents your departure. This remoteness is what makes Kapawi such a special and unique place.
Three alternatives programs are available, according to your physical condition:
Programs that include short hikes in the rainforest (up to 3 hours) on well defined trails, visits to the Achuar communities as well as trips in canoes. Meals are served in the lodge or light meals are taken for the trip. Typical Achuar meals are also offered in their communities. During overnight stays in the lodge or in tents.
Programs that include medium-distance hikes in the rain forest (up to 5 hours), sometimes crossing flooded areas. Trips in canoes and visits to the Achuar communities are also covered. Light meals are taken for the journey or typical Achuar dishes are served in their communities. Overnight stays include the lodge, in the Achuar communities and occasionally in tents.
Demanding hikes of many hours or days in poorly defined and often flooded trails. Porters will carry food and supplies. Overnight stays are in tents or in the Achuar communities. Exploration journeys to virgin areas are occasionally offered. Trips on inaccessible rivers are done in inflatable rafts. Excellent physical condition is required!
The lodge is powered by solar energy. Tap water is filtered through charcoal filters and purified with UV rays. Bottles of drinking mineral water are available in your room. Solar showers provide 5 gallons of hot water per person each day. For your convenience we recommend that you take showers at the end of the day.
Each room is provided with an umbrella that you can use to go to different areas of the lodge. Swimming can be safely done in lakes and calm rivers. Nevertheless, as the water level goes down in the dry season, this activity is not always available.
Kapawi serves a tasty combination of international food and traditional plants. A wide variety of exotic fruits is also available. Soft drinks, snacks and hot water for coffee and tea are available all day.
Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-451-6034 with any questions or to check availability. You can also visit www.kapawi.com for more information.