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Canoeing in cuyabeno rainforest ecuador
Amazing Tour

Cuyabeno Expeditions

Cuyabeno Expeditions

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Rainforest Expedition to Aguarico, Cuyabeno and Lagartococha Rivers

In 1979 the Cuyabeno Nature Reserve was founded between the rivers Aguarico and San Miguel, which are in the province of Sucumbios. This spectacular expedition into Cuyabeno introduces the visitor to the complex system of tropical lagoons, swamps and flooded areas inhabited by the Siona Indian Community. Cuyabeno’s abundant aquatic and land habitats are home to fresh water dolphins and turtles, anacondas, crocodiles, monkeys, ocelots, sloth and birds such as hoatzins, arras and kingfishers. A huge range of vegetation flourishes in this tropical rainforest: plants such as palms, bromeliads, ceibos, helicons, macrolobium, wild roses, and orchids are frequently seen. This once-in-a-lifetime expedition will definitely be a memorable experience for everyone who is fortunate enough to participate.

This expedition has been designed to give biologists as well as interested travellers the opportunity to explore the rainforest and Cuyabeno with its maze of waterways provides you with ample opportunities to experience this wet and wild green world in a way that is intimate and highly rewarding. You are guided through the forest by an indigenous guide from the Siona Indian community in his canoe, as well as a bilingual naturalist. Activities include canoeing in motorized and dugout crafts, hiking, bird watching and night walks and can be adjusted to your requirements and interests.

Services included in the price

1 night accommodation in Quito (Hotel Mercure Alameda or a similar hotel of the same category)
Transfer hotel – airport day 02
Flight Quito – Lago Agrio – Quito
Private transport from/to Lago Agrio
(Tourism Ministry Licensed) bilingual naturalist guides trained in biology and Eco-tourism
Native guide
High Quality Camping Equipment, tents, sleeping pads, mosquito nets, rubber boots, raincoats and lifejackets.
All equipment is of high quality and in good condition.
Three nutritious meals a day (including purified bottled water)
Catering for vegetarians (please advice with the booking)

Not included in the price

Cuyabeno Park Entrance fee US $20 Dollars to be paid in cash at Lago Agrio
Additional beverages and tips
Travel insurance
International flights
Anything not mentioned in the program

  • Destination
  • Departure
    Hotel Mercure Alameda - Quito
  • Departure Time
    This expedition is organized upon request only as a private tour and can start any day from Monday to Saturday.
  • Return Time
    This expedition is organized upon request only as a private tour and can start any day from Monday to Saturday.

Tour Plan


Day 01: Meeting in Quito

We will organize a hotel reservation for you in Quito in the hotel Mercure Alameda where your guide will meet you according to your arrival times in the afternoon or in the evening. He will give you an introduction to the expedition as well as answer any last questions before the expedition starts the next morning into the Amazon rainforest. The rest of the day will be at your own disposal in order to prepare for the jungle adventure

Day 02: Into the Amazon Rainforest

In the morning your guide meets you at your hotel and together you drive to the national airport. You fly from Quito down the Andes to the jungle town Lago Agrio where you will arrive at ca. 11.00am. From Lago Agrio you travel by bus/truck to Chiritza (1 ½ hour ), where you start your canoe journey down the Aguarico river and continue along the Cuyabeno black water river, to your first campsite. This canoe trip takes about 3 ½ hours and already provides you with many impressions of the surrounding rainforest. After dinner your naturalist bilingual guide gives you a captivating lecture and takes you on an adventurous night walk, where it is possible to observe nocturnal animals and giant insects. Meals: B/L/D

Day 03: Parrots Island

Today you start the early travelling by motorized canoe down the Aguarico River deeper into the dense jungle to your second campsite located on Parrots Island. After reaching the second campsite you pitch your tents. Meals: B/L/D

Day 04: Lagartococha

Today you spend the whole day exploring the rainforest. The early morning hours are the best time to observe the rainforests thriving activity. Therefore you make a canoe ride at sunrise to observe the abundance of birds and wildlife. After breakfast you head to your third campsite situated deep in the remote jungle in the Lagartococha area near the Peruvian border. Before dinner you can enjoy swimming in the Delfin Cocha Lake surrounded by breathtaking tropical scenery. Meals: B/L/D

Day 05: Lagartococha

In the morning, you trek into pristine primary rainforest. Your native guide shares his wealth of knowledge, showing you the medicinal and practical uses of the rainforests flora that his ancestors have taught throughout generations. After lunch, you explore different habitats looking for further species. Here amongst the spectacular scenery you have good chances to observe the Amazonian Freshwater Pink and Grey River Dolphins (Inia geoffrensis and Sotalia fluviatilis). After dinner, we venture out on a night excursion to search for Caimans (alligator family) and nocturnal birds. Meals: B/L/D

Day 06: Tierra Firme Forest

After breakfast, your native and naturalist guides take you to a different ecosystem: the Tierra Firme forest, where they explain the difference between this area and the locations you have explored previously and you learn a lot about the typical Flora of this ecosystem. Later you return to your campsite for lunch before you try your luck fishing Piranhas in the afternoon. In the evening enjoy a relaxed dinner at the campsite. Meals: B/L/D

Day 07: The Quichua

In the early morning, you travel by motorized canoe up the Lagartococha River to observe the species-rich bird- and wildlife. After breakfast, you continue along the Lagartococha River and navigating to the Aguarico River you finally reach your fourth campsite located in the local Indian community of the Quichua. Meals: B/L/D

Day 08: Birdwatching

After breakfast you visit the Quichua Birdwatching Tower. Here above the canopy you have a breathtaking view on the surrounding rainforest and often a variety of species including toucans, parrots, monkeys and many more con be observed. After lunch, you travel by canoe up the Cuyabeno River to your final campsite. Along the way you make a stop to observe a salt lick (an exposed clay bank) where colourful Parrots and Parakeets feed on the clay to neutralize toxins from poisonous plants that are part of their diet. In the late afternoon we relax, reflect and enjoy the sounds of the surrounding rainforest. Meals: B/L/D

Day 09: From the Amazon Rainforest into the Andes

After breakfast, you travel by canoe down the Cuyabeno River and back along the Aguarico river to Chiritza where your bus/truck will take you back to Lago Agrio. A short flight (ca. 35 minutes) will bring you back from the Amazon rainforest up into the civilisation in Quito in the middle of the Andes. You will be back in Quito at ca. 05pm. End of our services. According to your travel plans we gladly help you with the organisation of transfers, hotels, national flights or further travel services e.g. a cruise in the Galapagos (optional). Meals: B/L/-

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IN THE RAINFOREST: The Area that we visit has a very marked dry season starting from December until March. The temperature in the Amazon rainforest is most of the year stable going from 25ºC to 28ºC during the day, there is a change during the night when temperatures can drop down to 15ºC. HEALTH ADVICE: If you are going to the jungle you will need a yellow fever vaccination. Otherwise there are no vaccinations mandatory when entering Ecuador. However, we recommend the following vaccinations: Tetanus and Polio Typhoid (if you stay for longer periods in the jungle) Hepatitis A+B Malaria prophylaxis (if you stay in the coast areas and Amazon Basin) Cholera NB: Please contact your doctor to make all the necessary arrangements before coming to Ecuador!   GROUP SIZE: We realize the extreme importance of small groups, not only because we want to ensure our visitors experience the jungle and all its splendour without being overcrowded but also to reduce our impact on the unique ecosystems we observe. Therefore we organize this expedition for maximum 8 participants. If you have a bigger group, please consult with us about the options in the desired travel period (e.g splitting the group using two or more canoes during all transfers and excursions uniting the group only in the campsites). When travelling into the Orient, don’t forget to bring your passport!   EQUIPMENT NEEDED ORIGINAL PASSPORT Long‑sleeved cotton shirts shirts material sleeved cotton shirts Cotton socks Shorts Sandals or walking shoes Light wind‑breaker and sweater First aid kit Toilet Kit (biodegradable soap and shampoo) Swimming suit and towel Hat or cap Sunglasses with a strap One small waterproof daypack Insect repellent Sun block lock plastic bags Camera High speed film 400 ASA and spare camera batteries Flashlight (torch) with spare batteries Binoculars (10x40 are better) Notebook Swiss Army Knife Wet wipes Books to read

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