COFAN LODGE & CUYABENO LOOP

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CUYABENO RIVER TOUR [200 km LOOP]

 

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: A 200 KM Cuyabeno odyssey takes you on Lake Cuyabeno, Aguarico and Zabano Rivers & sleeping in a Cofan village.

But wait, we have a variety of programs for which we have different pages:

Are these Cuyabeno River Tours really the best Amazon tours in Ecuador to seewildlife?

WELL YES! This is why...

When one walks in the forest, the animals above you in the the crowns are difficult to observe. Looking up you hardly see anything. The contrast between the sky and the leaves is so overwhelming, that they appear almost black.  The light breaks through the canopy though, along narrow rivers. So, from the water you see the birds, flowers and mammals much better, as they frolick through the shrubs and lower trees along the shores.

fSo what makes Cuyabeno so special...

  • It's the only Amazon park in all Amazon-Andean countries with wide flat plains. Slow-flowing narrow creeks, rivers and many lakes can only develop in flat lowlands; not in hilly terrain. This makes Cuyabeno so unique!

  • In the dryer sections, one gets to see the terrestrial animals and birds. With so much water, one also gets to see water animals like: Dolphins, Manatees, Capybaras, Cayman, Ducks, Cormorants, Herons, etc.

  • Spotting wildlife from a canoe is much easier than when walking on a trail. You have your birding and wildlife books, your binoculars and your camera all close at hand.

 

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!

 

5 DAYS' CUYABENO LOOP

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve with Cuyabeno Loop route.

The first 2,5 days are shared in the Cofan area of the Aguarico and Zábalo Rivers of the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.  On  the third day, the Cuyabeno Loop continues to the Cuyabeno Lake region of the park, while the standard program remains in the Zábalo region.

 

Day 1

Our transport meets you in Lagoagrio to take you in about 1 hour 30 minutes to the the canoe landing location Nuevo Unión, on the Aguarico River.

 

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Aguarico River landscape.CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Cofan tourist canoe.

Cuyabeno Loop route takes you on a 200km odyssey through the Western Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.

The tourist canoe of the Cofan Lodge.

 

Upon arrival in Zábalo, you will be shown around in the village and taken to your cabins to freshen up and rest, as it has been a long day since your departure from Quito.

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Cofan Lodge Restaurant.CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Cofan Lodge Cabin.

The restaurant of our Cofan Lodge.

One of the cabins of the Cofan Lodge.

 

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Resting in hammocks at the Cuyabeno Lodge when visiting the Amazon in Ecuador.CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Zábalo village

Relaxing in one of the fun hammocks in our restaurant.

A view of our Zábalo village.

 

In the evening, you will be taken on a night excursion to discover the critters of the night.

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Tree Frog of the Amazon Jungle seen on a night excursion when visiting the Amazon in Ecuador.CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Nocturnal amazon animal found on an Amazon visit in Ecuador

Tree frogs are everywhere, but it is a bit difficult to spot them. The moment you think you finally have one in your camera, they leap away to never be found again smiley. On a rare occasion, with lots of luck you may catch the green eyes of a wandering Ocelot Cat in the beam of your flash light.

 

Day 2

Early in the morning, we take on one of the few Ecuadorian black water rivers, where the clear water provides an ideal conditions for Giant Otters. Black water gets it color from decaying leaves fallen in the forested lowlands and swamps, while there are little or no sediments. There is also a vivid population of Scarlet Macaws as well as a great variety of tropical birds and monkeys.

 

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Cuyabeno Lodge welcome sign welcoming you on your Ecuador Amazon visitCUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Black water of the Zabalo River mixes with white water of the Acuarico.

The Zabalo River is one of the few clear black water rivers in the Amazon of Ecuador.

The clear black water of the Zábalo river mixes with the sediment loaded water of the Aguarico River.

 

Day 3

The day starts out with a discovery of the Cofan ways. You will be taught how to use a blowgun, and

get to see the traditional Cofan dresses.

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Cuyabeno Entry station for Amazon Visitors in EcuadorCUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Children of visitors and of the village with the Cofan Shaman.

Learning how to shoot with a blowgun.

The shaman with some of the children of the village and of visitors.

 

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Zábalo vegetable garden.CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Turtles in the turtle captive breeding coral.

The traditional Cofan vegetable garden produces a part of your food.

The Cofan turtle breeding program has restored the turtle population in the Zábalo River.

 

After breakfast, we take you to the mouth of the Cuyabeno River, where usually some river dolphins hang out. From there you will be taken to the Canopy tower, to have an impression of the natural canopy.

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: The mouth of the Cuyabeno River.CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: The Cuyabeno Canopy Tower.

The Cuyabeno River Mouth is frequented by Amazon Dolphins

The highest canopy tower in Cuyabeno takes you all the way into the crown of a gigantic tree.

 

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Canopy tower platform.CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: view from the canopy tower.

Admiring the view from the canopy tower platform.

The tree canopies are where the Amazon jungle has most of its species.

After the visit to the canopy tower, the programs split into:

  • Cofan standard program and the

  • Cuyabeno Loop

4 DAYS' STANDARD COFAN LODGE TOUR

The Cofan standard program will take you on a fabulous excursion into the Amazon jungle, after which it takes you back to the Cofan Lodge.

 

Day 4

On day four, the standard program takes you back on a ride on the Aguarico River, and from there back to Quito.

 

5 DAYS' CUYABENO LOOP CONTINUATION

The Cuyabeno loop continues its journey upstream to the Cuyabeno Lake, from where the program will be taken over by one of the lodges at the Cuyabeno Lake, of which the most famous is the Cuyabeno Lodge.

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Port of Entry for a visit of the Amazon in Ecuador at CuyabenoCUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Macrolobium trees at Lake Cuyabeno.

Continuing the journey upstream the Cuyabeno River.

The Macrolobium trees at the border of the Cuyabeno lake are like giant Bonsai trees and full of epiphytes.

 

Upon arrival at the lodge, you can take a hot shower and rest up a bit and take a swim in the lake at sunset.

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Swimming at the Cuyabeno Lake during your Amazon visit in EcuadorCUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Make great friends at the Cuyabeno Lodge when visiting the Amazon in Ecuador.

A swim at the lake is always wonderfully refreshing and a lot of fun.

Dinner in the restaurant of the Cuyabeno Lodge.

 

At night you can take an night excursion at the lake to look for the orange eyes of caymen and other nocturnal animals that hide in the Macrolobium swamps.

 

Cuyabeno loop, day 4

After a well-deserved night's rest, you will explore the Cuyabeno Lake and its surrounding Macrolobium swamps.

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Amazon Manatee at Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Amazon dolphin on an Amazon visit in Ecuador

Most of the time you will be able to spot a Amazon Dolphins (of course no we can never guarantee this) or maybe if you are very lucky, even a Manatee.

 

 

Blue and Yellow Macaws fly noisily across the Cuyabeno Lake, while Hoatzins whisper their hoarse sounds as they scope the Macrolobium trees for food. 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.

Bird and wildlife watching

 

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Amazon visitors enjoy orchid at Cuyabeno, EcuadorCUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Cactus flower at the Amazon in Ecuador.CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Amazon rainforest plants include the Orchids growing in Cuyabeno. CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Heliconia in the Amazon tropical Rainforest seen when visiting the Amazon in Ecuador.

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Blue and Yellow macaws can be frequently seen when visiting the Amazon in Ecuador.CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Black Mantled Tamarins at Cuyabeno Lodge, your comfortable hotel when visiting the Amazon in Ecuador.

Blue and yellow Macaws are fairly common in Cuyabeno.

Black-Mantled Tamarins live in groups of up to 200.

 

CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Swamp trees, Macrolobiums, at Cuyabeno are frequently seen on Amazon visits in Ecuador.Epiphytes in the Amazon Jungle

 

Cuyabeno loop, day 5

On day five, 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 Lagoagrio. You will ride the canoe up the Cuyabeno River to the main entrance of the park, the "Cuyabeno Bridge", where your transport will be waiting for you to bring you to the airport or to the bus station to take you on your trip back to Quito.

 

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. It costs about $ 46 for the round trip and you have to leave from your hotel in Quito to the terminal  an hour before departure. 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 disembarking, will be more or less 15 hours.

  • Fly with Tame Quito - Lagoagrio. You can book your ticket at https://www.tame.com.ec, which costs about $ 220 round trip per person, but additionally you have to consider the cost of a taxi that costs 2X25; Then it actually costs $ 270. 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.

  • A great alternative is taking our Private Trans-Andean Transportation to the Aguarico River, which costs $300 per party which will be shared among the participants in your group. We will pick you up at your hotel early in the morning and take to the Aguarico  or Cuyabeno River in about 8 - 9 hours depending how much time we spend on the way at the overlooks into the Cayambe - Coca Ecological Reserve.

PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION QUITO - AMAZON REGION

Very early in the morning you will be picked up at your hotel in Quito to travel along the scenic road to the Aguarico River, passing through Ecuador's most striking waterfall, the San Rafael Waterfall, as well through the paramo (Andes meadows) of the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve.

Lake Papallacta.San Rafael Waterfall overlook.

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 hotsprings, near Papallacta.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 seen from the flight to Lagoagrio.

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. On the way in, chose a window on the right and on the way back on the left of the plane.

WHAT IS INCLUDED?

Amazon Tours

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

Transportation between Lagoagrio and the access rivers.

Transportation between Lagoagrio and the river(s).

 

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 and 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.

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.

 

 

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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