PARKS AND TRIBES

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6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES TRAVEL AND TOURS [REVIEW]

 

  1. 4 DAYS CUYABENO LAKE TOUR;

  2. 5 DAYS CUYABENO LAKE TOUR;

  3. 4 DAYS' STANDARD COFAN LODGE TOUR;

  4. 5 DAYS' CUYABENO LOOP;

  5. 7 DAYS' LAGARTO COCHA EXPEDITIE;

  6. PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION QUITO LAGOAGRIO.

Are these really the 6 best Tropical Adventures Tours and Travel to explore the Amazon Jungle in Ecuador?

YES! This is why...

When walks through the jungle, wildlife overhead in the canopy are difficult to distinguish. When you look up there is not much to see. The leaves are dark against the light sky, appearing almost black.  Along narrow rivers though, light can penetrate through the forest allowing you to see birds and other animal. This allows you to watch birds, flowers and mammals much better, from the comfort of your canoe.

 

So what makes Cuyabeno so special...

  • The only nature reserve in the Amazon-Andean countries with plains in the near-Andes Amazon region. Slow-flowing rivers and abundant lakes can only occur in flat terrain; not in hills. This makes Cuyabeno so unusual!

  • While there are some well-drained forests, you may see some land-bound animals and birds; but with such abundance of water, you will get to see lots of water-bound animals like: Dolphins, Manatees, Capybaras, Caymans, Ducks, Cormorants, Herons, etc.

  • Watching animals from a boat is much more comfortable than  on foot. Your birding and mammals books, your binoculars and your camera are all easily at your disposition.

 

But there is more...

  • Getting from Lagoagrio to Cuyabeno is (mostly) over an asphalt road. Distances over water are much shorter than to other reserves, like Yasuní National Park;

  •  Our programs are organized by or in collaboration with small Indian tribes, the Cofans and Sionas;

  • All programs are so child friendly, I took my grandchildren (3,5 & 6) there. Wao, did they love it!

4 DAYS CUYABENO LODGE TOUR

Day one

Our vehicle meets you in Lagoagrio to bring you to the main entrance of the park "El Puente".

 

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Transportation from Lago Agrio to Cuyabeno.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Cuyabeno Park Entrance, "The Bridge".

Our transport meets you in Lagoagrio to bring you in about 2 hours to the main entrance of the park.

Main entrance ranger station "Cuyabeno Bridge", where visitors enter the canoes to the Cuyabeno Lake area.

 

Upon arrival, your adventurous Amazon journey really takes off, as we take you along the beautiful winding Cuyabeno River to reach our Cuyabeno Lodge. It's a fascinating ride on this tributary of the Amazon River, that will take you  first to the largest lake in the reserve, the Laguna Cuyabeno also known as Laguna Grande. This is the perfect place to spot wildlife on our Tropical Adventures Tours and Travel, as our Cuyabeno Lodge is one of the few accommodation located on any of the seven lakes of the Cuyabeno river system.

 

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Visitors on their way to the Cuyabeno Lodge. 6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Navigating down the upper Cuyabeno River.

Our canoe takes you down the winding, narrow upper Cuyabeno River.

 

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Cuyabeno Lodge seen from the air.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Cuyabeno Lodge welcome sign.

Until you reach the Cuyabeno Lodge at a seasonal island in Lake Cuyabeno.

The welcome sign of the Cuyabeno Lodge.

 

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Modern showers at the Cuyabeno Lodge. 6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Looking down at the Cuyabeno Lodge from the canopy tower.

Upon arrival you can take a refreshing shower in your cabin.....

and take a look over the premises from the Cuyabeno Lodge Canopy Tower.

 

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Relaxing on the deck of the Cuyabeno Lodge.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Taking a plonge at the Cuyabeno Lake.

After which you can relax on the deck, or....

take a refreshing swim in the lake.

 

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: the cosy restaurant of the Cuyabeno Lodge.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Comfortable rooms at the Cuyabeno Lodge.

At night enjoy a delicious meal in the Cuyabeno Lodge restaurant.

All beds have mosquito netting.

 

 

Days 2 and 3

As birds are most active at dawn, you may start out your day with birdwatching before or right after breakfast with our experienced guide. Blue and Yellow Macaws fly noisily across the Cuyabeno Lake, while Hoatzins whisper their hoarse sounds as they brows the leaves of the Macrolobium trees. You may also hear the mysterious swelling sound of the Howler Monkeys or see a troop of squirrel monkeys bouncing through the treetops. In fact, 10 species of monkeys have been recorded in the reserve.

 

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: In Ecuador, birding is for all ages.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: The electric excursion canoe of the Cuyabeno Lodge.

Birdwatching early in the morning.

Exploring Lake Cuyabeno from a dugout canoe. For the short distances we like to use peddles instead of a motor or use our brand new whispering electrical motor.

 

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Chesnut-fronted Parrots are common in the Amazon.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Patoos are so well-camouflaged, they are rarely flushed from their roosts.

Chestnut-fronted Parrots are among the 550 species known to Cuyabeno.

The Common Patoo is so well camouflaged, it hardly ever leaves its day-roost when approached by visitors.

 

After breakfast explore the Amazon Jungle of Ecuador in the "terra firma" forest with your naturalist guide where you can learn about the forest's medicinal plants and traditions. There are many colorful flowers in the Cuyabeno Nature Reserve, but it takes a bit of an effort to find them. Orchids and Heliconias are among the more spectacular Amazon Forest Plants.

 

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Panama Flame tree Brownea macrophylla have their flowers come straight out of the trunc.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Pink flowering bush at the Cuyabeno Lodge.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Pink flowers along the Cuyabeno River.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Bright orchid are very popular among the Amazon rainforest plants.

Some of the spectacular flowers of Cuyabeno.

 

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Giant hollow fig tree.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Amazon fresh water crab.

A giant tree in the better-drained "tierra firma.

At a distance of 3000 km from the sea, there are fresh water crabs, high up in the Amazon watershed. Are they there from ancient days when the Amazon was under the Atlantic Ocean, or did they adapt to fresh water and migrated upstream? Any way, they now live on land in the tierra firma.

 

One of the afternoons, you will be taken to a Siona village, where you will learn about Siona cooking and traditional food from their kitchen garden. Each time a different woman of the community will give an explanation so that they will all get a turn.

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Kitchen gardens of the Sionas have many stapel food crops, like cacao.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Siona woman cooking on traditional fire box.

A visit to the Siona community: The Siona Kitchen garden includes all sorts of staple food, like manioc and even cacao.

Siona woman showing the traditional way of cooking on a fire in a fire box.

 

 

At night you will be taken on night excursions, some - by canoe - to look for nocturnal animals in the swamps, like Caymans and frogs. Other excursions are on  foot to look for the critters of the night in the forest, to complete your Tropical Adventures Tours and Travel experience.

 

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: on a night excursion in Cuyabeno.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Amazon whip spider Amblypygi are clawed spiders without scorpion tail or poison

A night excursion to explore the critters of the night.

Whip spiders are related to the spiders, but but still very distinct. They are among the many critters of the jungle you only get to see at night.

 

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Enjoying the view from the Cuyabeno Lodge landing dock.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Bonsai shaped Macrolobium trees at sunset.

The Cuyabeno Lodge landing dock offers a fabulous view over the Cuyabeno Lake and is a favorite hangout for many of our guests.

The famous bonsai shaped Macrolobium trees of Cuyabeno Lake at sun set.

 

6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Anacondas are infamous Amazon Jungle animals6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: There are 3 species of Caiman in the Amazon.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Yellow butterflies swarming around a salt lick.6 BEST TROPICAL ADVENTURES [REVIEW]: Ring-tailed Coati, Nasua nasua, is a common inhabitant of the Amazon.

Some of the fascinating wild animals of the Cuyabeno Lake area.

 

Day 4

 

On day four you will experience the feel of so many of our visitors: "It all went by too quickly". Maybe you will become one of our frequent visitors that keep coming back for a special program of one or two weeks. Anyway, you will have to leave in the morning to get back on time to catch the plane or bus in Lago Agrio. You will ride the canoe up the Cuyabeno River to the bridge, where your transport will be waiting for you to bring you to the airport or to the bus station for your return to Quito.

 

5 DAYS CUYABENO LAKE TOUR

Days 4 and 5

Days 4 and 5 are like days 3 and 4 if the 4 DAYS CUYABENO LODGE TOUR. The 5 DAYS CUYABENO LODGE TOUR offers a fantastic opportunity to really explore the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador and get to know the Cuyabeno Lake area more thoroughly while spending a bid more relaxation time at our wonderful lodge.

 

CUYABENO, GETTING THERE AND BACK

There are 3 options to travel to the Amazon Lowlands:

  • Take the night bus from Quito to Lagoagrio (usually leaves at 11 at night) from the "Terminal Norte" in Quito and arrive in Lagoagrio at dawn, which takes about 7 hours. It costs about $ 25 for the round trip and you have to leave from your hotel in Quito to the terminal  an hour before departure (by taxi). Alternatively, you can take a day bus, but then you will have to spend the night in Lagoagrio. We will pick you up in Lagoagrio in combination with arriving passengers by plane, departing generally at 10:30 (depending on the arrival of the plane), to Nuevo Unión (2 hours), where we embark in our canoe at about 12:30. Between your departure from your hotel at night at 10 at night until boarding the our motorized canoe, will be more or less 15 hours. The same applies for the Lake Cuyabeno accommodations which pass through the main park entrance on the Cuyabeno River.

  • Fly with Tame Quito - Lagoagrio. You can book your ticket at https://www.tame.com.ec, which costs about $ 150 round trip, but additionally you have to consider the cost of a taxi that costs 2X25; Then it actually costs $ 200. Your flight usually leaves at 9 in the morning, and takes 30 minutes to arrive. As many times the flight is delayed, count on arriving around 10, and after getting your luggage, it will be 10:30. We'll pick you up at the airport. From there it takes two hours to arrive in Nuevo Union, where we leave in our canoe at 12:30. Thus flying takes a total of 5, 5 - 6 hours from your hotel until you can embark on the Rio Aguarico. The same applies for the Lake Cuyabeno accommodations which pass through the main park entrance on the Cuyabeno River.

  • Take our Private Trans-Andean Transportation to the Aguarico or Cuyabeno River, of which you can read the details below. We will pick you up at your hotel early in the morning and take to the Aguarico River in about 8 - 9 hours depending how much time we spend on the way at the overlooks into the Cayambe _ Coca Ecological. The same applies for the Lake Cuyabeno accommodations which pass through the main park entrance on the Cuyabeno River.

MAP CUYABENO WILDLIFE RESERVE: LAKE CUYABENO LAKE AREA. MAP CUYABENO WILDLIFE RESERVE: CUYABENO LOOP ROUTE.
MAP CUYABENO WILDLIFE RESERVE: LAGARTO COCHA ROUTE.

The different Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve programs organized by Parks and Tribes / Cofan Lodge:

  • Cuyabeno Lake Area;

  • Cuyabeno Loop;

  • Lagarto Coche Expedition with optional additional Cuyabeno Lake area.

 

PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION QUITO - AGUARICO

 

Lake Papallacta.San Rafael Waterfalls.

Near the mountain pass you pass by beautiful paramos and some of the highest rainforests in the world along Lake Papallacta.

The virgin cloud forest San Rafael waterfall is the most beautiful waterfall of the country.

 

Jamanco Spa at Lake Papallacta LakeThe Reventador Volcano pouring out lava.

Bordering Lake Papallacta is the Jamanco Spa with great mineral water without prior filtration as done in the Papallacta resorts. As a result, the mineral quality is supposed to be better, while resort prices are a fraction of the spas in Papallacta.

The Reventador is Ecuador's most active volcano and frequently runs of down-pouring can be seen glowing in the night.

  • It is possible to arrange for spending the night at either a Papallacta (costly) or Jamanco (friendly and much more economical) Spa, but then another day is needed.

  • Many passengers who take the private transportation, chose to fly back or visa versa.

Lagoagrio airport.Cayambe Volcano right on the Equator.

Arrival at the airport of oil-boom town Lagoagrio.

At a clear day you can see the Cayambe exactly on the equator, as you fly around it. It is the only major volcano as well as the only glacier in the world precisely on the equator. On the way in, chose a window on the right and on the way back on the left of the plane.

WHAT IS INCLUDED?

 

National Parks Tours

  1. All hotels and lodges;

  2. Transportation: All ground transportation on the National Parks tours;

  3. In-country flights where included in the national parks tour program, but NOT to/fro Galapagos or Lagoagrio;

  4. An English speaking naturalist guide. A German or French speaking guide may also be available, but can't be guaranteed.

  5. All entry fees.

Amazon Tours

  1. Lodging;

  2. Excursions with professional nature guides;

  3. All Amazon programs include all meals, and fruit juices served with the meals. Our restaurants serve a mix of international cuisine and occasionally, the Cofan Lodge offers  a sample meal of traditional Cofan dishes.

  4. Meals include coffee, tea and bottled water, while additional bottled drinks and alcoholic beverages can be bought.

  5. Transportation between Lagoagrio and the access rivers.

COMBI-DISCOUNTS

Depending on the program you selected, we always try to give you a discount on combined modules. Groups above 4 passengers will receive discounts, depending on group size.

 

HOW TO BOOK A TOUR?

Our programs are rather customized and we try to accommodate the travel needs of our customers. To avoid misunderstandings, we don't offer a prepaid travel option. Just send an email to or contact us through our contact data below. 

 

From Abroad:

Sending money from abroad is rather costly and we try to minimize money going to bank transfers. Once your schedule has been worked out, we kindly request you to make a reservation guarantee transfer of only $100 by Western Union or Moneygram. The balance you pay in CASH in Quito upon arrival (we don't take credit cards!) This way you don't lose a lot of money sending money. The $100 is NOT recoverable upon cancelation.

 

Why we don't accept credit cards in Ecuador either? The credit card services charge 7%! We would have to charge you for that, making your trip more expensive. We do everything to make your trip as cost effective as possible.

 

Already in Ecuador?

You can pay in our office mentioned below. We apply a cancelation fee of $100.

 

WHAT IS ESSENTIAL TO BRING?

For this question we link to our special vacation packing list.

2017 PARKS AND TRIBES PRICES

 

NATIONAL PARKS TOUR PROGRAM

OPTION A: Complete national Parks Tour (10 days)

$1999

OPTION B: After Machalilla return to Quito (6 days)

$1349

OPTION C: After Machalilla return to Quito (6 days) via Chimborazo Wildlife Reserve (7 days)

$1399

OPTION D: Start and finish in Guayaquil (5 days)

$1149

OPTION E: Start in Cuenca and Finish in Guayaquil (5 days)

$1149

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers and apply to EACH passenger.

 

GALAPAGOS TOURS

GALAPAGOS TOURS

starting at for island hopping (Read details)

$520

Individual bookings are WELCOME

 

LIMA CUSCO MACHU PICCHU

LIMA - CUSCO MODULE (Read detailes)

$1149

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers and apply to EACH passenger.

 

ZABALO STANDARD PROGRAM

DURATION STAY

PRICES IN US$

4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS

 

Standard room

$ 540

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers and apply to EACH passenger.

 

 

CUYABENO LOOP

DURATION STAY

PRICES IN US$

5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS

 

Standard room at the Cuyabeno Lodge part (nights 3 &4)

$ 850

Standard room in the Cofan Lodge (nights 1 & 2) and Deluxe room at the Cuyabeno Lodge (nights 3 & 4)

$ 910

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers and apply to EACH passenger.

 

 

LAGARTO COCHA EXPEDITION

DURATION STAY

PRICES IN US$

7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS

$ 1080

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers and apply to EACH passenger.

 

 

CUYABENO LODGE PROGRAM

DURATION STAY

PRICES IN US$

4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS

 

Standard room

$ 380

Deluxe room

$ 440

5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS

 

Shared budget room

$ 390

Standard room

$ 475

Deluxe room

$ 550

Single occupancy

$100

Individual bookings are WELCOME

 

 

QUITO - LAGOAGRIO (or visa versa)

PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION

One way per party price

$ 300

Group Price for parties of 2 - 7 (minivan).

 

 

 

PARKS & TRIBES has its sales office in:

Calle Mariano Cardenal N74-153 &

Calle Joaquín Mancheno Carcelen,

Alto Quito

Email:

niks

Talk or chat with us on Skype:

ecotravelworldwide