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Arajuno River Team Expedition: A Thrilling Ecuador Amazon Tour

Rebecca's Team at Itamandi Lodge

In November 2023, the Rebecca Adventure Travel team embarked on an extraordinary Ecuador Amazon tour. This memorable adventure took them to uncharted destinations, where they learned from locals and soaked in the region’s stunning beauty. Departing at 7:00 a.m. from Quito, they traveled in a private bus to Itamandi Lodge on the Arajuno River. This comfortable ride filled them with anticipation for what lay ahead, marking their first stop with laughter and excitement.

The trip was full of remarkable discoveries and exhilarating exploration, including kayaking in the Arajuno River and exploring the rainforest’s natural caves. This transformative experience deeply immersed the team in the rich local culture and spectacular landscapes, leaving them with treasured memories. Join Rebecca Adventure Travel on a mesmerizing journey to discover the hidden treasures of the Ecuadorian Amazon!


Getting an Early Start to the Ecuador Amazon Tour

Early in the morning, the team departed from the colorful city of Quito on a well-planned expedition, overflowing with exhilarating activities and captivating places. The excitement was evident as everyone eagerly prepared for a day filled with adventure. The whole group was ready to dive into Ecuador’s marvels. With a range of locations and experiences on the itinerary, everyone was confident this would be a day to cherish. Moreover, everybody was committed to fully experiencing all aspects of this trip. From the scenic vistas to the cultural interactions, they wholeheartedly embraced each moment with wonder and gratitude.

Quick Stop: Witnessing the Majestic Antisana

The first stop on the first day of this incredible Ecuador Amazon tour was at the marvelous Antisana Volcano. This formidable stratovolcano is located in the Eastern Ecuadorian Andes. It stands at an impressive 18,714 ft (5,704 m) altitude, making it the fourth-highest volcano in Ecuador. Antisana is known for its striking glacial cover and is a key water source for the surrounding regions, as its glaciers feed into several rivers. Everyone was excited to take pictures of this astonishing view and some team members even used the view to record some fun and entertaining TikTok dances.

Arrival at the Arajuno River and Gear Setup

After a few hours on the road and many laughs among the team, the bus arrived at the Arajuno River to start this Ecuador Amazon tour. The Arajuno River is located in the Amazon basin of Ecuador. It flows through the province of Pastaza and Napo, playing a crucial role in the region’s ecology and supporting diverse wildlife and indigenous communities. The river is also a vital resource for local transportation, fishing, and tourism, offering opportunities for water sports and environmental exploration. Everyone was enthusiastic at the prospect of kayaking and paddleboarding along the river. But before getting in the water, the crew and guides had to complete a few tasks. It all begins with a safety briefing, including instructions on using the equipment and what to do in case of emergency or equipment failure. Following the briefing, a delicious meal awaited by the river: a picnic featuring a variety of fruits, nachos with guacamole, and other delicacies of this beautiful country.

Once everyone refilled their water bottles and finished the tasty meal, it was time to prepare the equipment for the adventure. Some team members helped the guide and crew by pumping up the kayaks and paddleboards to have them ready for everyone to use. This demonstrated great teamwork and how everyone actively participated in making this trip the best one yet.

Each team member either paired up or went solo on a kayak or paddleboard. The group was ready to head to the first destination along the Arajuno River, a native community full of surprises. Aware of the impending challenge and the mix of rapids and serene stretches ahead, the whole team was eager to paddle southward down the river. The guides divided the team into various groups to ensure no one was left behind and all could enjoy the river journey at their own pace.

Kayaking Down Arajuno and Visiting a Local Community

After a few hours of paddling, the group reached a local community where unexpected stories and delights awaited. As the team exited their kayaks, locals greeted them with a meal of local specialties and intriguing ingredients. They presented an array of new flavors, unfamiliar produce, and vibrant dishes for the team to sample and relish. Some adventurous crew members even tried chontacuro, a traditional Amazonian delicacy.

Upon completing the culinary exploration, the community then proudly showcased their local culture with various handicrafts, all of which were available for purchase at very reasonable prices. This encounter left the Rebecca Adventure Travel team delighted and eager for more cultural exchanges. Then it was time to continue paddling towards the finish line, Itamandi Lodge.

The Arajuno River basin is home to several indigenous communities, including the Kichwa, who are part of the larger Quechua-speaking population in Ecuador. These communities maintain a deeply rooted connection to their ancestral lands, relying on the river for transportation, subsistence fishing, and agriculture. They have a rich cultural heritage, with traditions and knowledge systems that reflect their profound relationship with the Amazonian rainforest and its biodiversity.

Following an informative Q&A session with the local community, the team was eager to resume their journey along the Arajuno River, heading towards their final stop at Itamandi Lodge. As the clock neared 4:00 p.m., they quickly reentered the water to paddle along the final segment of the river. This stretch proved to be the most exhilarating, as a sense of friendly competition emerged among the crew members. Each member tried to reach the lodge as soon as possible.

Arrival at Itamandi Lodge and Night Walk in Ecuador’s Amazon

Upon arriving at Itamandi Lodge, the team consequently felt both satisfied and invigorated by the day’s physical exertion. Itamandi EcoLodge is an eco-friendly accommodation located near the Arajuno River, offering guests an immersive experience in the rainforest. The lodge provides a variety of eco-tourism activities, including guided jungle walks, and cultural exchanges with local indigenous communities. Itamandi EcoLodge focuses on sustainability and conservation, aiming to educate visitors about the importance of preserving the Amazon’s unique ecosystems and supporting local conservation efforts. The next step after the arrival involved settling into their rooms and preparing for an evening meal, followed by an anticipated night walk around the lodge. The team looked forward to the potential wildlife encounters awaiting them in the rainforest.

After recovering from the travel and the paddling, the team then gathered to savor a delightful dinner, refueling for the upcoming night walk in the Amazon Rainforest. Subsequently, the local guide provided a safety briefing and overview of the potential wildlife sightings, sparking enthusiasm for the exploration ahead. The walk, lasting approximately 45 minutes, offered glimpses of a diverse array of insects and amphibians and sightings of massive tarantulas lurking in the forest’s shadows.

The striking sounds and vibrant colors of the nocturnal animals further gave a sense of the countless creatures dwelling in the forest, seemingly watching over and protecting their natural habitat. These encounters are unique to this Ecuador Amazon tour! The experience was extraordinary for the whole group, who captured several photos to commemorate the adventure. Once the walk was over, everybody returned to their room to rest before a new day full of adrenaline and exploration.


Sunrise Adventure: Visiting Parrot Clay Licks

The next day started bright and early, as the morning activity required getting up with the sun. The second day of this Ecuador Amazon tour began with a visit to the nearby parrot clay licks before breakfast. A motor canoe picked the team up at the lodge and brought them down another side of the Arajuno River. Getting to see the sunrise from the water surrounded by the jungle’s dense green vegetation and Amazonian wildlife noises under clear blue skies was the best way to start the day serene and energized. Upon disembarking, the guide provided tips to make the most of the experience before taking the group up the riverbanks and into the jungle.

Birds in the Amazon live on a mostly fruit-based diet, which comes with some digestive issues. Eating clay helps them neutralize toxins found in their food. The rainforest‘s natural riverbanks are where various species of colorful parrots and macaws gather to perform this activity, especially at dawn. These gatherings provide not only a spectacular visual experience but also insights into the complex dietary habits of Amazonian animals. Anyone fond of wildlife watching can enjoy a visit to parrot clay licks, especially birdwatchers. This is a highlight in any Amazon tour!

Departure From Itamandi and Cavern Exploration

Once the team returned from their visit to the clay licks. A substantial breakfast was waiting in the lobby to prepare everyone for the rest of the trip. Everyone departed from Itamandi Lodge, expressing gratitude for their hospitality and cherishing the memories collected during the trip. The destination experts left excited for the future guests who will be sent to the lodge. The first stop planned on the way back to Quito was the Elephant Caverns. These caverns are located under the hills in the Amazonian Rainforest. They are naturally formed and will be an interesting challenge if you like deep exploration and consider yourself an adventurer. This was an incredible activity full of adrenaline. The team considered this experience somewhat challenging, as it involved navigating tight spaces, crawling, jumping, and sliding. But everyone enjoyed it and was happy to have taken on this somewhat challenging adventure.

Visiting Providers and Community Delights

This Ecuador Amazon Tour adventure continued on the return journey to Quito. Along the way, the team made several stops to visit providers who are constantly collaborating with Rebecca Adventure Travel to deliver optimal service and hospitality in the Ecuadorian Amazon. These included El Jardín Lodge & Spa and Pacha Eco Lodge. These lodges are located in the Napo province and are very accessible for travelers who want an easy-going exploration not too deep into the Amazon. Upon arriving at each location, the team gained insights into their sustainability practices and engagement with local communities. The group was able to observe firsthand how these lodges prioritize excellence in both their accommodations and activities, thereby ensuring top-notch quality and community involvement.

The team made one last stop at the Archidona Local Market to sample various delicacies offered to those passing through the town. Among other dishes, the group enjoyed the remarkable Tilapia Maito (fish grilled wrapped in a leaf) and chontacuros once again. With a satisfying meal and lively discussions reflecting on the entire trip, the team was prepared to head back to Quito. They were grateful for the hospitality they received everywhere they visited, carrying with them a plethora of memories and stories to share.

The Rebecca Adventure Travel team looks forward to possibly returning on this Ecuador Amazon tour in the future. For now, the team is preparing for another exciting adventure, this time in a different location and different region, stay tuned!


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