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Amazon Journey: 4 Days Exploring the Cuyabeno

Visit to Cuyabeno's Community.

In June, I (Patricia) went on a 4-Day Amazon Journey in Cuyabeno, staying at the Dolphin Lodge. Cuyabeno is a protected Wildlife Reserve in the northeast area of the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. So far, it is my favorite place in the Amazon. I have never seen that many wild animals all together in one place and out in the rainforest.

At 11 p.m., I began a comfortable semi-private bus ride from enchanting Quito to Lago Agrio, the meeting point for an eagerly awaited Rebecca Adventure Travel tour. The bus was comfortable and had refreshing air conditioning, and I quickly fell into a peaceful sleep aided by my cozy pillow and blanket. Throughout the trip, we made a few stops for snacks and bathroom breaks. The real excitement began upon reaching our 6:00 a.m. meeting point, where fellow travelers gathered, sharing stories and laughter, brimming with anticipation for the extraordinary adventures awaiting us.

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My Amazon Journey Day by Day

First Day of Adventure

After having a nice breakfast and resting a little, our driver, Jaime, came to pick us up at 9:30 a.m. sharp. Jaime has been working with Dolphin Lodge for three years. On our way, we saw the Copanes community, the Aguarico River (crossing possible by ferry), and Tarapoa town. It was a two-hour drive to reach the Cuyabeno Reserve, situated near the Cuyabeno Bridge.

Once we arrived at the bridge, Camilo, our English-speaking guide, warmly greeted us. Our companion throughout our Amazon Journey, Camilo hails from the indigenous community of Zancudococha near Perú, where Shuar and Kichwa are spoken. Notably, Camilo shared the extensive knowledge he’s gained after seven years of working as a guide. Unsurprisingly, Camilo proved to have a deep understanding of the region’s flora and fauna species in Cuyabeno.

Then our speedboat arrived. It has space for 12 people (10 passengers, 1 driver, and 1 guide) and takes two hours to get to the Dolphin Lodge. Furthermore, Camilo made stops whenever he spotted wild animals, allowing us to observe and appreciate the mesmerizing wildlife up close. On our way, we saw two-meter-long Amazon tree boas, anacondas, five species of monkeys, sloths, and mancuas, among others. The monkeys were of the black monton tamarin, black saki, squirrel, chorongo, and howler kind.

Upon Arrival

Once at the lodge, we had a delicious and substantial lunch consisting of a main dish (fish or chicken, rice, and salad) and a dessert. In the afternoon, we went to Laguna Grande for a swim with an amazing view. After dinner, Camilo briefed us on all the activities we would be doing the next day. Dinner consisted of the same plus a warm soup. That night we tasted two of the most traditional fish in Cuyabenotilapia, and cachama. They were both delicious!

Second Day

After a delicious breakfast, we set off on an invigorating three-hour hike through the captivating depths of the main Cuyabeno forest. Equipped with life vests and raincoats, we braved the rain-soaked trails and navigated through water-filled creeks. Each step was an opportunity to discover the diverse flora and learn about their medicinal properties while encountering fascinating creatures and insects along the way. Following a satisfying lunch, our hike continued downstream along the enchanting Cuyabeno River. We were eager to encounter more wildlife in the vicinity of the majestic Kapok Island.

Amazon Cuyabeno Caiman.

Caiman in Cuyabeno National Park.

Third Day

The day’s expedition took us to the Tarabeaya Community under the golden sun, surrounded by lush greenery. The area teemed with peculiar insects and beautiful flowers. There, we connected with the Baicoca-speaking community of around 90 people through a cooking class. We dove into their culture as Hilda taught us the art of crafting Cassava bread from yuca roots.

Additionally, we transformed precious cacao beans into delectable chocolate treats to indulge our taste buds. Furthermore, the village’s young artisans showcased their talent through exquisite handmade crafts and jewelry. Seeking wisdom, we had the privilege to meet Shaman Aldemar, a revered healer with 30 years of experience. With grace, he shared traditional medicinal techniques, curing ailments and dispelling negative energies. This enriching exploration left us with lasting memories of cultural immersion and profound insights.

Amazon Cuyabeno Hike.

Hike in Cuyabeno National Park.

Fourth and Final Day

At 5:30 a.m., we went to see birds migrate to the other side of Laguna Grande, where we witnessed many different species flying around us. After breakfast, we made our way back to the Cuyabeno Bridge. Subsequently, our driver took us to Lago Agrio Airport at 11:30 a.m., a 2-hour minivan ride. Once at the airport, we waited for the guests from other lodges to arrive. At 3:00 p.m., we boarded the semi-private bus back to Quito. Finally, we arrived in the Mariscal area (tourist district) at around 10:00 p.m., marking the end of the tour.

Amazon Journey through a canoe.

Canoeing through the Amazon River.

The Highlights of My Amazon Journey

    1. I was mesmerized by the spectacle of the famous pink dolphins, their graceful presence captivating my senses. During the cold and rainy season (June to October), the chances of encountering these enchanting creatures rise. This is a truly magical experience.
    2. Closer encounters with wild animals created memories to last for a lifetime. Heart-pounding moments sent adrenaline surging through my veins as I witnessed these majestic creatures in their natural habitats.
    3. I savored complete disconnection from the outside world. I unplugged from the hustle and bustle of daily life, surrendering to the tranquility of the untamed wilderness. Consequently, I experienced a profound sense of serenity. Furthermore, I embraced the untouched beauty of nature, rejuvenating my mind, body, and soul in this peaceful environment.
    4. Engaging with indigenous communities brought on captivating cultural immersion. I stepped into their world, learning about ancient traditions, customs, and rituals firsthand. I forged connections that transcend boundaries, gaining a deep appreciation for their rich heritage and wisdom.
    5. This thrilling Amazon journey took me into the heart of this captivating ecosystem. I explored a treasure trove of unrivaled flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world. As I traversed dense rainforests, I uncovered hidden gems at every turn, revealing the secrets of this extraordinary landscape. In a world teeming with vibrant colors, unique species, and extraordinary ecosystems, I couldn’t help but be filled with a sense of wonder and awe.

Don’t wait any longer and join this extraordinary Amazon journey, where adventure, beauty, and cultural enlightenment converge, creating an experience that will ignite your spirit of exploration and leave an indelible mark on your soul. Get ready to embrace the extraordinary and discover the true essence of the Amazon like never before.

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