COFAN LODGE & CUYABENO LOOP

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25 FACTS ABOUT THE AMAZON JUNGLE  OF ECUADOR YOU NEED TO KNOW [FAQ]:

  1. Why is Cuyabeno the best Amazon Jungle Park in the world

  2. There are many lodges. Why would I chose the Cofan Lodge?

  3. There are many lodges. Why would I chose the Cuyabeno Lodge?

  4. Why would I use a travel agency service if I can do it all myself?

  5. Are all the programs to Cuyabeno the same?

  6. Can we book on line?

  7. Am I allowed to fish in Cuyabeno?

  8. Cuyabeno or Yasuni?

  9. What is it that makes the Cofan Lodge so special?

  10. How many species of birds have been registered?

  11. My eyes are good, why would I need binoculars?

  12. Is Cuyabeno right on the Equator?

  13. Does both lodges have electricity and can we charge the batteries of our cell/mobile phones, laptops, cameras?

  14. What about emergency situations?

  15. What about bugs, mosquitoes and malaria?

  16. Is it safe to tan in Ecuador?

  17. Is camouflage clothing better to see animals?

  18. What essentials to bring along?

  19. Why don't we have air-conditioning?

  20. How difficult is it to move about?

  21. How do the Cofans benefit from the Lodge in Ecuador?

  22. Are there biological reference books at the lodge?

  23. How safe is Cuyabeno?

  24. What is the climate like at in Cuyabeno?

  25. Can we bring our children?

Dear visitor, our website gives you info about the Cuyabeno Park, our Cofan Lodge, our Cuyabeno Loop and our Cuyabeno-Zabalo tours. Our lodge is located in the famous Cofan Zábalo village in the most beautiful Amazon park in all of South America.  Here you can find our prices. Our website has hundreds of high-resolution pictures of Cuyabeno and Ecuador, with thumbnails that open by clicking on them. If you love our pictures or find our info useful you can help others finding our pages too you can share them from the mobile menu bar with a

 

25 ANSWERS

Why is Cuyabeno the best Amazon Jungle Park

Throughout the Amazon region, most national parks lack narrow rivers and can only be seen from very wide branches of the Amazon river and from trails through the jungle. When you are on a major branch of the Amazon River, you hardly feel you are in the tropical jungle because the shores are so far away.

If you walk on land in the Amazon jungle, you don't see very much. When looking up to the canopy, the contrast between the sky and the leaves are so intense, that the leaves almost seem black and animals are so high up in the trees, that you can hardly distinguish them. When you are on a major branch of the Amazon River, you hardly feel you are in the tropical jungle because the shores are so far away.

 

In Cuyabeno, on the other hand, the rivers shores are so close on both sides that you really feel inside the jungle, while the narrow rivers still provide sufficient opening to see the trees with beautiful daylight lighting. In other words, in Cuyabeno you see both the forest and the trees; therefore, exploring the Amazon rainforest from the water is much easier in Cuyabeno! No other national park in the Amazon region from Venezuela to Bolivia offers this kind of jungle experience and wildlife visibility from the water! That is why the Cuyabeno Amazon tours are the best in the world!

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There are many lodges. Why would I chose the Cofan Lodge?

The Cofan Lodge:

  • The Cofan Lodge is the only lodge in the reserve right in an indigenous community;

  • It is the only lodge near the Zábalo River, thus providing the opportunity to explore 2 very different river types, with the Zábalo river having black water, while the Cuyabeno River is much more sediment rich. As a result different species of animals reside in both rivers;

  • Is supported by conservation biologists who pioneered conservation and ecotourism in the reserve and in the country;

  • All services are carried out by members of the Cofan Indians, thus sharing the tourism revenue benefits with the community.

  • is great value for money: Check our Check our Cofan Lodge rates.

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There are many lodges. Why would I chose the Cuyabeno Lodge?

The Cuyabeno Lodge:

  • built in 1989, it was the first lodge in the reserve. As we had the first choice, we chose the best spot;

  • is one of the the very few lodges located on the Cuyabeno Lake, where most of the excursions take place. Most other lodges are 30 - 45 minutes away from the lake and for each excursion they have to first travel to the lake in a noisy outboard propelled canoe, while we can run an whispering electrical canoe from our lodge on the lake;

  • is one of the few lodges providing 24 hour solar energy;

  • with a mobile phone (cell phone) antenna rising from our canopy tower on top of a hill, it has the best reception of all lodges, which facilitates emergency communication;

  • is located on one of the highest points around the lake and never gets flooded;

  • is the only lodge with a canopy observation tower on the lake;

  • is supported by conservation biologists who pioneered conservation and ecotourism in the reserve and in the country. Having started with our tours in 1986, they developed the best programs for the park;

  • hires all internal transportation and a variety of other services from the Siona Indians, thus sharing the tourism revenue benefits with the entire Siona community.

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Why would I use a travel agency service if I can do it all myself?

Nowadays, you can make all your travel arrangements yourself, but it takes time to find your information and organize it, particularly if you don't speak Spanish.

When you are in the country, your time is limited and your individual travel in-country destinations have cost you much more than their mere costs alone. Your air ticket, your vacation time, etc. are all part of the cost of each destination module. If something goes wrong with the coordination of the local transportation you have arranged, you may miss out on an entire element of your trip or even miss your return plane.

If a travel agent organizes your logistics and hotel, you have the peace of mind, that an organization takes care of your coordination and it doesn't costs you much extra and sometimes less. Cuyabeno Lodge, finds your hotels and transportation to suit your specific needs: whether it is $25 or $125 per night hotel, we help you out.

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Are all the programs to Cuyabeno the same?

No, we have a variety of possibilities with the most popular being:

  • Standard 4 day package, like the standard Amazon visits; and

  • the Cuyabeno Loop.

Additionally, one can have customized programs being developed for birdwatchers and other groups specifically interested in other animals and/or plants. as well as visitors more interested in an Amazon cultural experience.

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Can we book on line?

Our programs are rather customized and we try to accommodate your exact travel needs. To avoid misunderstandings, we don't offer an online credit card payment option. Just send an email to make a reservation. For more details visit our reservations page. Prior to departure, visit our office in Quito at this location where you can proceed your payment.

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Am I allowed to fish in Cuyabeno?

This used to be permitted, but recently the National Park Service of Ecuador prohibited the catch and release policy. Now, only the Indians are allowed to fish and keep their catch for personal use.

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Cuyabeno or Yasuni?

Amazon Jungle Lodge, Ecuador: Amazon Rainforest Map for the Amazon Jungle Lodge Ecuador

With 14 lakes, Cuyabeno is more scenic, has better wildlife viewing, less travel time and is cheaper. Yasuni was originally selected for being the largest mostly uninhabited Amazon area in Ecuador. However, it is mostly hilly upland Amazon park. The rivers are fast running upland streams that lack charming slow flowing creeks necessary for wildlife observation. Cuyabeno has 14 lakes versus Yasuni only 2, none as charming as the Cuyabeno lakes. Most probably you will get many more species on your bird list in Cuyabeno than in Yasuni as it is easier to observe birds and wildlife from the water than from the forest. Moreover, it takes much more time to enter Yasuni, as you have to travel to the border with Peru to get into the lakes. That makes it much more costly and time consuming than getting into Cuyabeno.

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What is it that makes the Cofan Lodge so special?

Our mission is to make the jungle more accessible for more people. One of the reasons why the Cuyabeno jungle was still natural when selected for conservation was that before the construction of the present road to the border with Colombia, the region was totally  isolated from the outside world.

 

Our Cabins have been designed to provide functional comfort to our guests, providing comfortable beds, mosquito netting and showers. Sleeping in Cuyabeno is in fact quite pleasant, as the reserve is still so close to the Andes, that the nights cool down to very comfortable temperatures. In fact, one needs sleeping under a light blanket, to be comfortable. 

 

Our lodge has been built within the reserve, and as we have been very ecologically aware: none of the wood for the cabins and other accommodations has come from ecologically sensitive areas. Every piece of building material came from a great distance from the reserve and had to be trucked  in to the entrance of the reserve and transported by canoe to the building site. Particularly the last part was a logistical nightmare and involved the skilled operations of our the Cofan. All the construction of the cabins and accommodations was done entirely by members of the Cofan community.

 

Cuyabeno Amazon Jungle Lodge, EcuadorCuyabeno Amazon Jungle Lodge: birdwatching Ecuador

Terrace of the Cuyabeno Amazon Jungle Lodge, EcuadorJungle photography at Cuyabeno Amazon Jungle Lodge, Ecuador visit

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How many species of birds have been registered?

At the moment, there are about 580 species bird known to the reserve, but nobody keeps records and the real number should be much higher. Of the other animals, there are no records at all. The guides of our  rainforest lodge, the Cuyabeno Lodge, are widely known for the knowledge about birds as well as other Amazon Jungle Animals and Amazon Rainforest Plants.

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My eyes are good, why would I need binoculars?

The Tropical rainforest is particularly about the small mammals and birds that move about in the trees. You can't even half appreciate your stay at Cuyabeno if you don't have a pair of binoculars around your neck all the time. You can't see the beautiful colors of the orchids and the hummingbirds, you miss the baby monkey on the back of its mom; you just sit there while you friends with binoculars are awestruck when a King Vulture soars by.

 

Without binoculars, you can share binox with a friend, you think. Great, so when s/he first spots a bird, you still sit there waiting anxiously until s/he is finished looking. And your friend does not feel relaxed, knowing that you are waiting to get a peak at the bird as well! Finally s/he turns over the binox to you. Ahhhh, what a petty, the bird has just flown away.

Binoculars available at the Amazon Jungle Lodge in Ecuador Cuyabeno

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Is Cuyabeno right on the Equator?

Yes, Cuyabeno is right on the equator. We looked it up on Google Earth and the equator runs a little bit north of the  Cuyabeno Lake. Zábalo, however is about 30km south of the equator.

 

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Does the lodge have electricity and can we charge the batteries of our cell/mobile phones, laptops, cameras?

Yes, our lodge has electricity from the village, but occasionally the village generator it is not functioning.

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What about emergency situations?

We have a mobile/cell phones and are only half an hour away from the nearest emergency post.

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What about bugs, mosquitoes and malaria?

Mosquitoes are present, but strangely enough, rarely in large numbers and with the mosquito netting they rarely affect your sleep. You are advised to use  insect repellent. See our packing list. According to the 2012 World Health Ecuador report, malaria is in the range of 1 - 10 confirmed malaria cases per 1,000 inhabitants per year. For prophylactic treatment you should consult your medical provider. In general, the Cuyabeno Lakes are much better off than some of the areas farther to the East. (For instance, near the border with Peru, a lake is  called Zancudo Cocha, which means Mosquito Lake).  So we do have insects and mosquitoes, but as the lodge is elevated, mosquitoes are not as abundant as in the lower areas, while  other nocturnal insects are often beautiful and extremely interesting!

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Is it safe to tan in Ecuador?

There is more and more evidence that sunbathing may not be so good for you, BUT if you are Caucasian from Europe or North America, you will do it anyway, rightsmilie? So we will only give you some tips.

 

You will be on the Equator, where UV radiation is extremely high. You need to protect your skin, even if you are dark-skinned. Where a hat, not just a baseball cap, but something to protect your ears and neck. Don't wear sandals or walk on bear feet. You may end up with horribly painful feet if you expose the to the sun. Your feet get the most direct sunlight as they are exposed horizontally to the sun!

 

Always put on high grade sun block (don't forget the edges of your ears).  Accustom your skin to the sunlight by exposing it for no more than an hour the first day and add another hour everyday afterwards. Don't be fooled by an overcast sky, you can still get sun burn. Be particularly aware in the highlands, where the UV is even higher! On the water (Cuyabeno, Galapagos) the UV effect is greater. Also beware of wind, as it also tends to increase the sun burning of your skin.

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Is camouflage clothing better to see animals?

Camouflage clothing is NOT the best for the jungle! Most animals notice you anyway. In stead, wear white or light cloths. Mosquitos ( and Tse Tse Flies in Africa ) avoid white cloths and are attracted by dark cloths. Moreover, white reflects heat best. It does help lightly spraying your cloths with DEED, but its effect will wear off after a few hours.

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What essentials to bring along?

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

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Amazon Jungle Lodge, Ecuador: Amazon Jungle animals include Black Mantled Tamarins at Cuyabeno

 

Why don't we have air-conditioning?

 

Very Simple: because you don't need it. The Cuyabeno lakes are still so close to the foothills of the Andes, that the nights cool off considerably and in fact, usually they are quite comfortable. Most of the time, our visitors prefer sleeping under a light blanket.

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How difficult is it to move about?

Occasionally we get requests from visitors in a wheelchair. The Cofan Lodge is not accessible for fully walking impaired visitors. As the water table in the village may occasionally reach the facilities, they are all raised on pilars. while the cabins are accessed by stairs. Moreover, it impossible to make the motorized canoes wheelchair accessible.

 

Having said that, we went at great length to make our Amazon Jungle Lodge accessible for most visitors, by building a network of stairs and trails between all the buildings.  As the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve is located in an extremely flat region, none of the trails involve strenuous climbing.

 

For those who prefer to do so, we can arrange all our excursions within the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve from motorized canoes only, thus limiting walking to no more than 100 meters per day for visitors with limited walking abilities. Our guides are trained to be helpful whenever a visitor has some walking limitations.

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How does the local population benefit from this Amazon Jungle Lodge?

The Cofan Lodge is a cooperative effort in which both conservation biologists and Cofans are shareholders. In fact, it is the only Ecuadorian tourism company operating in Cuyabeno with indigenous people as shareholders. The lodge is located in the Cofan village of Zábalo, and provides employment to the members of the community.

 

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Are there biological reference books at the lodge?

Yes, there are biological reference books in the lodge available for consultation, including the Birds of Ecuador and other famous top quality field guides.

 

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How safe is the Cuyabeno Nature Reserve?

This is a very important question, about which I have written a full page: Cuyabeno, kidnapping and safety.

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Cuyabeno climate

For detailed information on climate and weather conditions read: climate in the Amazon of Ecuador.

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Can we bring our children?

We would love you to bring your children. Children love our village, our jungle and our own children. Nothing is better than children learning about other cultures and nature. Please bring them along!

 

The COFAN LODGE has its sales office in:

Mariano Cardenal N74-153 y Joaquín Mancheno; Carcelen Alto District (Barrio)

Phone:

(++593) (0)(2) 252 7314

Email:

niks

Talk or chat with us on Skype:

ecotravelworldwide

Download Brochure:

Cofan Lodge brochure.

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