"Provincia de Napo -- The Ecuadorian Amazon" Provincia de Napo by kucha
Provincia de Napo Travel Guide: 169 reviews and 784 photos
Getting there is part of the excitement!
In Quito you will board the 38-seat Avro twin prop plane for 40-minute flight from Quito to Coca. You will, if they have not improved the planes, be able to see daylight out of the cracks in the fuselage. This does not seem to have a particularly negative impact on the aerodynamics, so not to worry.
When you land, you will be met by La Selva staff and transfered to the river port to board your motor launch for a two hour ride down the wide adn muddy Napo River to the La Selva boat dock.
After a brief 20 minutes walk on a boardwalk through the rainforest, you will reach a small stream where dugout canoes take you to Garzacocha (Heron) Lake and the La Selva Lodge.
You've made it!
La Selva offers a unique jungle program: the "Light Brigade". This special camping adventure uses the lodge as its base of operations andis for people with a passion, for people who want to explore their personal frontiers as well as those of the rain forest. It should be for everyone, but it probably is not - in any case our slogan for the Light Brigade is "The only equipment you need is passion."
There is walking, hiking, trekking, canoeing, camping in tents and yet, the gourmet food and service as normally given at the lodge itself.
All campsites have rustic kitchen/dining area in the traditional style of the jungle, but provisions come form the lodge itself. The toilet facilities are latrines.
Each tent is placed on a bamboo platform with a thatched roof and has a camping mattress (one inch thick with a built in pillow) with clean sheets. Clean towels are provided daily. Kerosene lamps light the campsite.
A logistical team of 15 makes all of this possible - taking a different route, they arrive before you do to set up camp. They carry your belongings and all the provisions so you are unburdened to discover the jungle in all its glory.
There are a variety of activities, tailored to the abilities and desires of the participants, and labeled from easy to moderate to challenging.
These activities include:
* Walk to Silverio's House: Cross the lake by canoe for 2 1/2 to 3 hour walk on a purposely undeveloped trail with some physical challenge. Half the walk is in primary forest and the other half passes the huts of indigenous neighbors along the Napo
* Mandicocha Trail: An easy trail close to the lodge which is filled with wildlife no matter what hour of the day. This walk can last as long as you want.
* Mandicocha-Mandiyacu: A 3 to 4 hour trip following the trail to Mandicocha Lake with a completely different eco-system than Garzacocha Lake. Board paddle canoes for 1 1/2 hour glide down the stream with a myriad of wildlife.
* El Salado: It's a 2 hour excursion combined with a picnic lunch and trips across the Napo to visit a site with a little luck parrots, parakeets and macaws can be seen in great quantities.
* High Forest Trail: This 3 to 4 hour excursion crosses the Napo River and uses a rather challenging mountainous trail to explore yet another eco-system with a chance to see birds and other wildlife. Also a chance to eat lemon ants.
* Pedro's Trail: Two versions available: cross Garzacocha Lake for walk through the virgin forest to the observation tower (4 hours) or pass by the butterfly farm and join the trail in the middle.
* Little Chawamango: Short trip by foot around the edge of Garzacocha Lake with return to the lodge by canoe.
* Challuacocha Lake: A motorized canoe trip down the Napo River followed by a walk and paddle canoe trip to Challuacocha for a picnic at a shelter overlooking the lake with time to relax, canoe, fish before return two hour walk through yet another unique forest.
* Pilche Trail: Gross Garzacocha Lake for a walk along the trail to see whatever wildlife happens along, and a huge colony of leafcutter ants.
* Observation Tower: Not far from the lodge is the 135 tall observation tower which you can visit as often as you wish for a true bird's-eye view of the forest canopy.
* Butterfly Farm: Just 5 minutes from the lodge, the farm breeds 30,000-35,000 butterflies each year from egg to caterpillar to pupa (or chrysalis and cocoons as they are commonly known) and sells them all over the world. The farm is staffed by 15.
* Chawamango's Trail: Take the Mandicocha trail and walk parallel to the lake to arrive at the Napo River and then return by elevated walkway and paddle across the lake, for a total of about 3 hours.
This is a fantastic place, though getting here is tough. For an ideal experience, plan on three days at the main lodge... more travel advice
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