We compacted what we needed for four days into our small packs and headed for the Ecuadorean Amazon, locally known as the Oriente. The trip involved an overnight bus from Quito to Lago Agrio, an oil town with not much happening besides being the gateway to the rainforest. After meeting the rest of our tour group at a hotel, we all jumped into a shuttle and drove for 2.5 hours to the river. We broke here for lunch but it was not very appetizing as we had a group of boney dogs drooling at us while we ate. For dessert, we tried this fruit called granadilla (type of passion fruit). It was interesting as it was mainly seeds with each seed in it’s own gooey pouch. It felt like eating a brain. Shortly after, we went in our canoe and rode for 3.5 hours to our lodge.
As we followed the wooden pathway into Nicky Lodge, I was very happy with our accommodations. There were 6 wooden cabins with hammocks on the front porch. Right after dropping off our stuff, we changed into swimsuits and jumped into the water. It felt great but I admit I was nervous about the possibility of caimans being in the water. Luckily, we were only attacked by sun flies.
We had a total of 10 people in our group and it was quite international. There were several activities each day to keep us busy. Every morning started early with a cruise on the river, the afternoon required hiking through the jungle, and nighttime was left to explore nocturnal living. When we were not being active, we crashed in our hammocks, waiting for food, hoping it was super yummy quinoa soup or chocolate cake.
For the most part, the animals were hard to spot right away and many times, they were far away from us. Luckily with my new eyes (Lasik, see our previous post), I was able to spot many of them. The toucans were wonderful to see as they flew over us. There were many types of monkeys and our guide could tell just by looking at the tail. There was even a white owl camouflaged on the white birch tree. When we found movement in the water, it turned out to be pink dolphins coming up for air. Our favorite moment was when we saw the tiniest monkey in the world, a marmoset. It was so small and adorable. At night, we saw a tarantula, scorpion spider, more spiders, and tons of bats. Too bad we never saw a tapir, just its footprint in the mud.
What I didn’t expect from our trip in the primary jungle was staying up late hours playing cards with spoons! With Doro screaming “monkey shit”, Boris and Michele fighting over the same spoon every time, Patrick always smiling, and me pounding the table, there was great chemistry among us. Maybe it was the alcohol, but there was definitely something special about being in the jungle.
|What We Paid:||USD eRate||0.7
|– Cuyabeno Amazon 4 Days, 3 Nights Tour||220||154|
|– Night Bus From Quito To Lago Agrio: 7 hours||8||5.5|