5 DAY ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS
Arrive in Yachana / Short Hike to a high viewing point
Your journey into the Amazon jungle starts in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, where you will take a 30 minute flight to the jungle town of Coca. You will enjoy amazing views of snow covered mountains and volcanoes and the endless green expanse of the rainforest as you begin your descent into the Amazon. At Coca airport you’ll be greeted by your Yachana guide and transported on a quaint open-sided wooden-benched little bus to the river port. You will board our covered and comfortable motorized canoe for the three tour trip up river. A box lunch will be served and life vests are provided so you can fully relax and enjoy your ride along one of the largest tributaries of the legendary Amazon river. At Yachana Lodge you will receive a warm welcome with hot face towels, drinks and snacks and a talk by your guide introducing you to Yachana Lodge facilities. Alter you have rested your guide will take you on a short hike to a spectacular high viewpoint where you can see the splendor of the rainforest reach out as far as the eye can see in every direction and you will watch the first of several beautiful Amazon sunsets. On clear days you can even see the snow-clad Gran Sumaco volcano rising up in the distance.
Journey into the rainforest / butterfly house
Your guide will lead you on an amazing journey into the rainforest where he’ll explain the medicinal and cultural uses of various plants and amaze you with the diversity of birds and animals that inhabit the rainforest he calls home. This is truly a wonderful and fascinating experience for all the senses accompanied always by the sounds of the jungle orchestra! Visit the Butterfly House on your return to the Lodge where you can learn about the fragile symbiosis between the species and the plants they rely on to survive. In the afternoon there will be a visit to the thatched home of a traditional healer where you’ll take part in a traditional cleansing ceremony and learn to practice your skills at using a blowgun and spear.
Take a night walk with your guide and discover a totally different side of the forest. On this walk you’ll experience the insects, amphibians, reptiles and other animals that only come out at night and your ears and eyes will quickly start to pick up on sights and sounds that which you would never have noticed without your guide’s acute senses showing you how.
Bird watching / indigenous handicraft
Go bird watching before breakfast to an island upriver and see over 30 species of birds in one hour! Visit a lagoon down river and go on a hike in search of the endemic hoatzin, a large prehistoric-like bird only found in select areas of the Amazon. Visit Yachana High School and take a tour of the campus including a permaculture and organic farm. Interact with the students who are learning to be the next generation’s community leaders. This visit will give you a chance to find out first-hand how meaningful education is making a difference in the lives of many young people from the Amazon region. Take part in a cooking class before lunch with our Yachana chefs showing how to cook wrapped fish over an open fire and other delicacies straight from the forest. Eat this lunch traditional on banana leaves followed by a delectable Amazon desert. In the afternoon learn about the traditional making of highly decorated ceramic bowls called “mocaua” from an indigenous girl from the local community and then learn how to make a natural fiber basket from a freshly cut rainforest plant. Watch a stunning sunset before dinner and stargaze from our fabulous riverside deck after dinner. Catch a Yachana DVD about the work of the
Yachana Foundation and sample taste our very own Yachana chocolate!!
Yachana reserve hiking / gold panning
Have a hearty breakfast and travel by canoe downstream from Yachana to Coca with your guide who will accompany you to the airport where you will catch your flight back to Quito. Or travel upstream with your guide to the tiny port of Comuna Los Rios where you will take a bus to begin an adventurous journey back to Quito. Or, if you are staying on at Yachana, take a wonderful long hike with your guide to the Yachana Reserve which is on the other side of the river. The Reserve is an area of Protected Primary Forest and your guide will show you native flora species that have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds if not thousands of years and also for building homes, making baskets, twine, weapons, clothing and food. Here you can see and hear many bird species and you can discover insect and animal delights as well as tasting and touching your guide’s various finds. In the afternoon visit a local family up river panning for gold and then float down river taking in all the sights and sounds of the rainforest and the tranquility of being in the middle of the Amazon in the middle of nowhere! In the evening watch a stunning sunset and later on stargaze from our fabulous riverside deck whilst sipping a drink and taking in the beauty of this rainforest area.
Visit to local community / travel back to Quito
Either travel back to Quito or stay on at Yachana and take a day to relax, stroll nearby paths in the forest or our marmoset walk along the river, visit the community of Mondaña, swim in the river, lie in a hammock, sit and watch the ever-changing landscape of the meandering River Napo from our fabulous deck and bar. Or just take a while and sit and listen to the extraordinary mix of sounds that is the jungle orchestra and maybe play with our rescue parrots! This is an example of a Yachana Lodge itinerary - the full range of activities will depend on your length of stay and the abilities of your party
Relaxation and self-guided paths and hikes as from Summer 2008
Gastronomy tours (as from Christmas 2008) – one or two exclusive days - collection of foods in the forest and harvesting produce on the permaculture farm with practical cooking sessions with the Yachana chefs – and of course the eating of these delicious meals!
Spanish classes - learn intensively with fully-qualified Spanish teachers and practice with the Yachana High School students
Slow Travel - let Yachana High students be your guides for lots of interesting activities including helping in our Botanical Gardens, in the Butterfly House or in our reforestation seedling nursery etc (Slow Travel stays always include and start with the 3 day program outlined above unless its not your first stay at Yachana. Subsequent visits are programmed with you ahead of your visit.).
*You may be traveling to Comuna Los Rios (2 hours from Tena) then to Yachana Lodge in a 35 minute canoe trip downriver on Day 1 in which case you would arrive in time for dinner the first evening.