5 days from £1245pp plus international flights.
The Amazon rainforest is one of the world's most precious environments and its richest ecosystem, filled with lush vegetation and teeming with wildlife. Within a few hours of leaving Quito you will find yourself in its midst, travelling by canoe towards Sani Lodge, your base for this adventure. From here you explore with your guide, with different activities planned for each day to make the very best of your time. Walk through the jungle marvelling at the diverse flora and fauna, take to the water by kayak to view wildlife in and by the lagoons and climb the observation tower for amazing views across the top of the canopy. You also go for hikes after dark to experience the sights and sounds on the nocturnal rainforest, and witness the dazzling display of parrots and parakeets converging on a clay lick.
On top of all this you get to meet members of the local Sani community, which has strong links with Sani Lodge. You learn about their way of life and cultlure, their use of local plants for food and medicine and even help to prepare a tradiitional lunch which you then sit down to eat in the village. It's a real and rare priivilege to be able to spend time with these people.
At Sani Lodge you stay in a comfy, en-suite cabin and enjoy meals made from local ingredients in the open-sided dining room looking out over the lake. Between trips into the forest you can unwind in the bar and lounge, and there are hammocks where you can lie back and listen to the evocative sounds of the rainforest as you relax.
Your Amazon adventure begins with a 35 minute flight from Quito to Coca and continues by motorised canoe on the Rio Napo. During the 2 and 1/2 hours you can watch birds, see life along the river and enjoy a packed lunch. A short forest walk then leads to Challuacocha Lake and the 20 minute canoe ride across to Sani Lodge, your home for the next 4 nights. After drinks and snacks you're shown to your cabin and then it's time for an introductory hike with your guide. Dinner at the lodge is followed by the opportunity to paddle out on the lake and look for nocturnal creatures such as black caimans. It's been a long and busy day and you should sleep soundly tonight in your cosy cabin. Lunch, dinner
A full day in the Amazon! The morning starts with a long hike in the rainforest as you learn about the indigenous vegetation and its medicinal properties, as well as seeking out frogs, insects and monkeys. Your guide will give you an introduction to Sani culture and you may get a chance to try out a blow gun! Lunch is a picnic in one of the guide's favourite spots. Later you kayak through waterways and across lagoons, gaining more glimpses of the fascinating world of the rainforest, arriving back at the lodge in time to change before dinner. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Take to the kayak for the trip to the observation tower. Standing 26 metres tall, this is quite a sight. Climb the stairway to the top for breath-taking viiews over the forest canopy. The is an excellent place to watch birds including macaws, as well as squirrel and howler monkeys, and you may even see a sloth. Back down on solid ground you are met by a member of the Sani community for an ethnobotanical walk and an insight into the daily lives and culture of the Sani people. Once at the vllage you can take part in a cookery lesson, helping prepare a traditional lunch which you then eat with your new friends. Afterwards you hike back to Sani Lodge, watching wildlife along the way. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Wake and breakfast early before departing from Yasuni National Park. This is the largest national park on the Ecuadorian mainland and harbours a diverse range of wildlife. The focus of the excursion is a viewing blind perfectly positioned to watch a colourful display of parrots and parakeets at the clay lick. Later you return to Sani Lodge and the rest of day is free. You might want to go out hiking or kayaking, or maybe take it easy and rest in hammock listening to the sounds of the rainforest around you. After dinner tonight you can take a nocturnal walk in the forest, looking and listening for the many creatures that come out at night. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
After breakfast it's time to pack you bags for the journey back to Quito, by water, land and air. During the canoe ride your guide explains about some of the challenges faced by communities in the Amazon and the issues with which ecotourism has to contend. It's a reminder that, despite its vast size, the Amazon is a vulnerable place and needs our help to protect it for future generations. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £1245 (ex. international flights)
4 nights accommodation at Sani Lodge on a twin share basis, meals as indicated, domestic flights from Quito to Coca and back to Quito, transfers and ground transport, English-speaking naturalist guide, use of boots and ponchos, activities and visits as described in the itinerary
International flights and taxes, drinks, extra optional activities, tips, items of a personal nature
Getting there: This trip starts and ends in Quito. Return flights from the UK cost from around £900 per person, according to season and availability. We normally book these flights for you.
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Time: GMT -5 hours
Flight time: There is an international airport at Quito and at Guayaquil. KLM and Iberia have routes via Europe to both cities. The flying time is about 14 hours. It is also possible to fly via America.
Language: Spanish is Ecuador's official language.
Visas: Not required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.
Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations, except yellow fever if visiting the rainforest. Malaria prophylactics are also recommended in the rainforest.