My husband and I will be traveling to Quito in early November and we would like to go into the rainforest. Do you have recommendations for hiring a guide? Also, what amount of time should we allot for this?
Posted on Aug 21, 2011
I went into the rainforest at the Cuyabeno Reserve on a tour from Quito with a company called Dracaena. We stayed at the Nicky Amazon Lodge and there were very few of us there so we all had our own cabins (we were mostly solo travelers with one couple and one family). I did five days, but there was also a four day option. I think I would have been ready to go back after the four days. It is a bit of a roughing it experience. And you have large chunks of time without activities where you're just at the lodge (which, since I was alone, mean I spent a lot of time laying in a hammock reading). Although, we had some things cancelled because of rain so if you don't have a lot of rain you might have more things to do. Also, basically at least half of two of the days are spent just getting out there and back. It's a long bus ride from Quito (though I think there is also an option to fly?) and then a long bumpy ride in a truck, then a long boat ride.
The rainforest is cool, though, especially if you've never been at all. You do things like piranha fishing and night walks. You'll see all kinds of birds, caiman, snakes, lizards, frogs. If you're lucky you might see monkeys or something bigger, but you have to be *very lucky*. My biggest advice would be not to go into it expecting to see tons of wildlife. I had just come from the Galapagos so not seeing cool animals every five minutes felt a bit disappointing to me at first. But it's really just about the whole rainforest experience. (You can read about my experience here.)
While I didn't have any real problem with Dracaena, I was also on a backpacker budget and was limited in my choices. If you do have a bit more money to move around with, I would look into what other tour/guide options there are, as there might be other lodges or parts of the rainforest where they have better chances of animal sightings or more activities.
Posted Aug 21, 2011Add a comment
Thanks for the detailed info, especially about not expecting to see much wildlife and with some advice about how long to stay.
Posted on Aug 27, 2011
I lived in Ecuador for almost three years and would recommend Arajuno Jungle Lodge for your jungle trip (http://www.arajuno.com/index.html). Tom, an ex-pat, (who owns the lodge with his Ecuadorian wife) is one of the most knowledgeable men I know about the region and its resources. His enthusiasm about the area and its resources is infectious. The lodge is actually in its own nature reserve and they can provide pick up from Tena --and probably Quito if you asked. I would say a four day trip at the very least.
Posted Aug 26, 2011Add a comment
Thank you for this excellent info. I tried to access the site but it is down temporarily. I'll check again later. Did you take a bus from Quito to Tena? If so, do you recall how long the ride was?
Posted on Aug 27, 2011
I guide educational tours for US students in Ecuador. We enjoy the hospitality of many different kinds of accommodations in Ecuador. There's an Ecuador Jungle Cruise in a small 30-passenger river boat with full amenities or stay in jungle lodge as mentioned above and use as a basecamp. Ecuador has much to offer.
Posted Aug 30, 2011Add a comment