La Selva Lodge - 5 Days
Day 1 Quito/Amazon rainforest (1L,1D)
Transfer to the airport with a local representative for the morning flight to the Amazon Rainforest. At the Quito International Airport you will be met by La Selva representative in the National departure area in order to assist you with the check-in process and give you a short briefing about the journey. After a 30 minute commercial flight to Puerto Francisco de Orellana “El Coca”, our representative will transfer you by private transportation to the city's main dock. Our representative will take care of your luggage and will provide you with life vests and fresh water bottles. An amazing fluvial journey of approximately two and a half hours in a motorized canoe will be the beginning of a great experience in the tropical rainforest. A delicious boxed lunch will be provided. At the end of the motorized canoe ride, you will be dropped off at La Selva's main dock. After using the facilities and putting mosquito repellent on, a short 15 minute jungle walk will lead you to a creek where a small canoe will be taken to enjoy an unforgettable 20 minutes paddle canoe ride across “Garzacocha” (the heron´s lagoon) in order to reach the lodge area. Do not forget that the only thing you must take care of is your carry-on and camera equipment. Your other luggage will be transported by our lodge´s staff. Approximately 15 minutes later, the resident manager will greet you with a delicious welcome cocktail. From there you will continue on to relax in the bar area with a fresh tropical fruit snack and a short briefing with general information about the lodge and activities, provided by one of our bilingual naturalist guides. 16H30 - MATAPALO TRAIL: This trail was named after the Spanish name of the famous Strangler fig (Ficus sp) one of many remarkable trees that you will find during this short introductory walk, where your native and naturalist guides will start to share with you part of their knowledge about flora and fauna of the tropical rain forest. 18H40 - NIGHT WALK: A flashlight and a camera will be the most important tools you will need to enjoy all of the insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals that you might see during an hour walk in the darkness of the forest. 19H30 - DINNER La Selva has been in successful operation for about sixteen years. One of the first Amazon rainforest lodges in Ecuador, the award winning La Selva was completely remodeled and reopened in July of 2012, and has become the premier eco lodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The cabanas are inspired by native bamboo design: authentic, airy and comfortable with unexpected amenities including private bathrooms, hot showers, electricity, ceiling fans, and are immaculately cleaned daily. The cozy private bungalows are made entirely of secondary growth rainforest materials and designed to blend with the surroundings. Each one has a private bathroom, a hammock and mosquito netting for each bed (although you will be surprised at what little need you will have for this item due to the lack of insects). There are 12 thatched cabanas of varying sleeping configurations and several public gathering spots, including the spacious dining room with a rooftop lookout point, an open-air combined bar and a lounge with a wrap-around view of the lake. In an effort to conserve the authentic Amazon experience and for ecological reasons, please note that there is no air conditioning in the rooms at La Selva. However, for your convenience and comfort there are fans for use 24 hours a day, and after a short period you will be surprised at how quickly your body will adapt to the change of climate. The open design of the rooms allows you to listen and enjoy the sounds of the jungle, while maintaining an genuine jungle experience in maximum comfort.
Days 2-4 La Selva Lodge (3B,3L,3D)
See the canopy of the rainforest from a tower, 43m in height (141 ft), and choose from dozens of walks of varying lengths and difficulty; several routes can only be accessed by canoe. Choose from a variety of activities: wake up early for some bird watching or stay up late and go out on a boat to view caimans by flashlight. Learn about the environment and wildlife from your naturalist guide, who accompanies you to ensure you get the most out of your excursions. The opportunities for birding, botany, hiking, herpetology, canoeing, photography, entomology, fishing, relaxing and swimming at La Selva Lodge are boundless. You decide which paths to explore and which adventure to experience, according to your own ability and interests. Below is a sample of what you may do: DAY 2 06H00 - WAKE UP CALL 06H30 – BREAKFAST 07H00 – CHAGUAMANGO TRAIL:This trail begins behind the lodge and finishes at the edge of the lake. During the walk your guides will talk about the neo-tropical pharmacy that we find in the rainforest. Many plants have been used by the indigenous groups of the Amazonia to cure different ailments, some of them will be spotted on the way. At the end of the walk, we will head back to the lodge by canoe. If you are lucky, you might see big troops of squirrel monkeys approaching the water, allowing you to take the best photos of wildlife. 12H30 – LUNCH 16H30: CHARAPA TRAIL: This trail lasting one and a half hours, starts at the butterfly farm and ends on the edge of the lake. It's a wonderful loop that begins with a walk, returning to the lodge by canoe. Along the way we will try to sight different groups of mammals, monkeys and birds that in the afternoon hours get close to the lakeshore to look for food. Apart from a clear afternoon, you can also enjoy a beautiful sunset from the canoe. 18H40: NIGHT CANOE RIDE: With the help of a spotlight, your guides will take you in a paddle canoe around the lagoon looking for caimans, boas, bats, owls, night mammals and more nocturnal wildlife. If the sky is clear, we might have the chance to do some star gazing. 19H30 – DINNER ________________________________________________ DAY 3: 06H00 - WAKE UP CALL 06H30 – BREAKFAST 07H00 – PARROT CLAY LICK: A 20 minute canoe ride and a 15 minute walk will head you back to the Napo River. A motorized canoe ride lasting 10 minutes will let you enjoy one of the most amazing displays of the wild world. Hundreds of parrots and parakeets will approach the treetops and later will come down to a clay bank to eat this soil rich in minerals. It is essential to have binoculars to enjoy it. Once you identify the different species of parrots and parakeets, your naturalist guide will provide a lot of interesting information about this spectacular birds´ behavior. The motorized canoe ride will continue for approximately 30 more minutes of birdwatching along the river banks. It has been a wonderful morning, full of parrots, parakeets and other birds. Now it is time to enjoy a CULTURAL ACTIVITY. An Amazonian Kichwa family will receive you in their home. A visit to the garden “chacra” followed by a visit to the house is going to show you that part of the Amazonia that you do not find on the maps: the Amazon people. Motorized canoe ride, walk and a paddle canoe ride will lead you back to the lodge 12H30: LUNCH 16H00 – BUTTERFLY FARM: It is the moment to learn about the biology of this amazing insect. Our farm will show you the different stages of the butterfly complemented with important information provided by your naturalist guide. You will not want to leave the flying area without taking your best photos of our colorful butterflies. Now that you have enchanting photos for your album, the adventure continues with FISHING FOR PIRANHAS in the Garzacocha Lake. Fishing lines will be provided by your native guide, to let you catch your own piranha. Depending on the size of the fish, you will put it back in the water or if it is big enough you can give it to our gourmet chef and enjoy a tasty fish dinner. Keep in mind that the fish is much more delicious when you catch it yourself. 18H30:LECTURE: A cup of coffee, a piece of paper and a pencil will help you to take note of important extra details provided by your naturalist guide in an interesting nature lecture. 19H30: DINNER ______________________________ DAY 4: 06H00 - WAKE UP CALL 06H30 – BREAKFAST 07H00 – MANDI?AN AND COTO TRAIL: We do a combined route of these two excellent trails. The Coto trail, like the charapa trail begins next to the butterfly farm and ends on the edge of the lagoon. It is also a loop where you start out walking and come back to the hotel by canoe. With luck we will have mammal and bird sightings close to the lake. These trails last three to four hours depending on the animal sightings that happen along the way. We observe flora and fauna typical of the tropical rainforest. 12H30: LUNCH 16H30: GARZACOCHA LAKE: 2 hour canoe ride around Garzacocha Lake, waiting for the chance to spot herons, flycatchers, birds of prey, the famous Hoatzin, troops of squirrel monkeys, red howler monkeys perched on the top of the highest trees, among other interesting fauna you might see during your lake trip. Do not forget your binoculars and your camera. 19H30: DINNER 20H30: DEPARTURE BRIEFING:Your naturalist guide will provide all the necessary information for your departure to Coca and flight back to Quito. In the 16th Century, Spanish conqueror Francisco de Orellana ventured from Quito into the eastern jungle, in search of El Dorado, a mythical stash of Inca gold hidden away in the jungle. While he didn't find gold, he did discover Ecuador's Rio Napo which, along with Peru’s Marañón, combines to create the mighty Amazon. He followed the Napo into the Amazon mainstream and travelled all the way through the dense jungle to the Atlantic Ocean on Brazil’s coast. Consider the variety of mammals living in Ecuador's Amazon: armadillos, honey bears, sloth, 60 varieties of bats, tapirs, peccaries, jaguar, monkeys, manatees and much more. Birds are the richest group of Amazon vertebrates, at approximately 1000 species. Visitors will see hummingbirds, toucans, macaws and tanagers on land, and darters, herons and gulls on water. If fortunate, you may catch a glimpse of the prehistoric looking Hoatzin, with its brightly coloured feathers and sharp talons. Over 500 species of trees per acre have been recorded in the jungles of the upper Amazon. If this doesn’t seem particularly astonishing, consider that this is ten times greater than either Europe or North America, and you will begin to appreciate the significance of the conservation of this area and others like it. The rainforest is also the traditional home of many indigenous communities, whose traditional homelands and way of life are threatened by the encroachment of 21st Century industries like mining, petroleum exploitation and large-scale cash-crop farming.
Day 5 La Selva Lodge/Quito (1B)
The lodge staff will assist you with your checked luggage. Motorized canoe ride upstream to go back to Coca, where our representative will take you to the airport to help you with your checked luggage and boarding passes. Your trip ends at the airport in Quito. 06H00 - WAKE UP CALL 06H30 – BREAKFAST 07H00 – DEPARTURE FOR COCA: In accordance with your last night briefing, you will have an early wake up call, breakfast and departure from the lodge.