Staying at Sani Lodge is something only the world's leading explorers experience. This jungle lodge is 100% owned and operated by an indigenous community, making for a unique, special and unforgettable trip. Within the comfort of your thatched roof wooden hut, you are surrounded by pristine rainforest on the banks of a picturesque lagoon. It's simply not possible to be more immersed in Ecuador's exotic wild than this! Wake to the sounds of birds calling and resident monkeys and sloths rustling in the trees. If you are seeking an authentic Amazon adventure, then this is the place for you!
This morning, you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport in Quito in good time to board your domestic flight to Coca, where your Amazon Adventure will kick off! (This service is on a private basis).
Your journey today begins with a short 35 minute flight from Quito to Coca. Upon arrival in Coca, you will be greeted by a staff member and transferred to the banks of the Napo River. There, your bilingual guide will give you a safety precautions briefing, before taking off on a 2.5 hour boat trip on the largest Ecuadorian affluent of the Amazon, the Napo River! As you cruise the waters, you will get your first real taste of the Amazon as you admire the passing ancestral communities and fascinating flora and fauna. Observe the birds flying overhead, herons, egrets, vultures and mire, while enjoying delicious packed lunch. Your motorized canoe ride will be followed by a 15 minute walk through flooded forest and 20 minute canoe paddle across the beautiful Challuacocha Lake. Once you have arrived at the lodge, you will be greeted with refreshing cold drinks and snacks, before you are welcome to get settled in your cabin.
After getting settled in, you may want to take off on a short hike on the nearby trails. This will allow you to get acquainted with the sights, smells and sounds of the Amazon jungle. As you enter the forest, sunlight is immediately filtered and you are faced with a million shades of green. A symphony of insect song fills the air, and our senses are instantly heightened. You might see one of the forest’s 13 species of primate, birds, frogs, or extraordinary flora. The walk is one of discovery, and immediately tunes us in to the richness of Amazon ecosystem. After plenty of time to explore, you will return to the lodge, where a delicious dinner will be prepared for you. A bilingual guide will present a briefing tonight about Amazonia, while you enjoy Ecuadorian beers, spirits and cocktails. You may want to head out onto the lagoon later this evening too, in search of the nocturnal wildlife, paddling silently through the black waters! (This service is on a group basis.)
After breakfast at the lodge, you will set out for a full day of adventure in the rainforest. You will embark on a morning hike to learn about the plants, animals and people of the Amazon. During the hike, you will discover medicinal uses for the rainforests many plant species, search for impossibly small species of frog, observe startlingly large insect species and learn about the Sani culture. Keep your eyes open for primates high in the forest canopy! You will also hone your blow gun skills to understand survival hunting techniques. After a full morning, enjoy a picnic lunch in the forest in a special spot chosen by your guide. Following lunch, you will make your way to the lagoon system, where you will set out on kayaks for an afternoon of paddling, stopping at Sani Lodge observation tower.
A highlight of any trip to Sani Lodge is the opportunity to experience life among the tree tops from the observation tower. You will wind your way up a 36 meter (108 ft) high staircase to the wooden observatory perched at the top of the forest canopy in majestic kapok (aka ‘God’s Hand) tree. The exhilaration of standing above the entire forest is quickly overtaken by the excitement of spotting some of the 565 registered species of birds. With some luck, there is also a chance to spot howler or squirrel monkeys or even sloths resting high in the canopy. The wildlife viewing from above is an entirely different perspective, and gives a chance to discover some of the Amazon’s biodiversity that can be difficult if not impossible to see from the ground. After marveling at the wildlife from the tower, you will head back to your kayaks for a (1 hour) recreational paddle back to the lodge. Upon arrival, enjoy another delicious chef-prepared dinner before retiring for the night. (This service is on a group basis.)
After an early breakfast, you will depart for a visit to Yasuni National Park. This 9,620 sq km park is Ecuador’s largest mainland park and is a Unesco designated international biosphere reserve. The park was untouched by the last ice age, resulting in a thriving and diverse pool of species, and it is one of the last true wildernesses in Ecuador. You will hike through the park, observing its flora and fauna as you make your way to a viewing blind near one of the park’s famous clay licks. There, you might catch a glimpse of the colorful parrots and parakeets. The birds visit most mornings to eat clay that aids their digestion of unripe seeds and fruits. Keep your eyes out for mealy Amazon, yellow-crowned, orange-winged and blue-headed parrots among others.
Following your morning adventure in Yasuni, you will visit the local Sani community. Here, you will have the opportunity to learn about and support their women’s project, the community turtle breeding work and also participate in a cooking class, which will become your traditional lunch. Spending time with the Sani women in the kitchen allows for a special glimpse into their culture and customs, and also insight into the many commonalities. Enjoy a very special, lunch in the local community before continuing onward.
Your cultural exchange and exploration continues after lunch, when you will hike back to the lodge on a “camino vecinal” (community path) accompanied by your guide and a member of the local community. On your hike, you will get first-hand insight into local life while the Napo River flows by your side towards the Atlantic Ocean. Observe the local’s architecture, see their farming activities, their lifestyle and discover plants in the rainforest that are used for medicine. You will return to the lodge in the late afternoon for a well-deserved dinner. Spend the remainder of the evening relaxing or take an optional night walk in the rainforest to see myriad insect, spider and frog species come to life in their nocturnal habitat. (This service is on a group basis.)
Following breakfast this morning, you will head back to Coca to catch your flight back to Quito. You will be transferred to the Napo River where your boat journey awaits. Board the boat and cruise up the calms waters as you take in every last bit of the grandeur of the Amazon! During the boat ride, you will learn about some of the challenges that local communities face and how they effect ecotourism ventures. Afterwards, you will be returned to the airport in Coca, with plenty of time to board your onward flight. (This service is on a group basis.)
Upon arrival back in Quito, you will be greeted at the airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel, to spend the rest of the day at your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)
Sani Lodge is the only jungle lodge in Ecuador that is 100% owned and operated by the indigenous Kichwa community of Sani Isla. On the banks of a stunning lagoon, and surrounded by pristine rainforest, packed with monkeys, manatees, sloths, and over 550 types of birds, this superb jungle lodge is a perfect base to explore the Amazon jungle by day and enjoy some real comfort by night. Sani Lodge emphasize quality rather than quantity, and thereby offering you a more intimate experience with the amazon rainforest. Sani Lodge is attended by its owners all the time, so profits stays in the community and it helps to improve in healthcare and education! This will guarantee that all the visitors have a real cultural experience with much more wildlife all while helping the local community.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.