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1 KIDNAPPING 6 yrs ago, NEVER casualties in 40 yrs. Chicago has 500 KILLINGS PER YEAR but no USA travel alert!


Kidnapping in Cuyabeno

Over a decade ago, two foreign tourists were kidnapped in Cuyabeno from their canoe. Thanks to an incredibly rapid response and a massive input of soldiers and army helicopters, the next day, both tourists were released, unharmed. The Ecuadorian President himself was directly involved in the rescue effort and  after their liberation, the presidential plane flew both women to Quito, where they were welcomed on the airport by the Vice President. Since then, numerous measures have been taken by the security forces to increase safety in the area.


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 Facebook Like


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AMAZON RIVER CRUISE ECUADOR: In Ecuador, birding is for all ages.


For those that are limited in time, we are now organizing the Cuyabeno Day Trip that takes you at 9 AM from the park entrance to the surroundings of Lake Cuyabeno, to the Siona village and back by 5 PM.




Price: from $ 99

 1 día

RÍO NAPO LODGE TOUR, ECUADOR: La plataforma en el árbol de Ceibo de la comunidad Kichwa Añagu.


Lodges along Yasuni ­ National Park are excessively expensive and excursions are just organized close to each lodge. We developed a fabulous and affordable tour to all the highlights along the Napo, while staying in 2 different decent Quichua lodges.



Price: from $ 450

3 days

viaje a Cuyabeno


The most remote part of the Amazon is the Lagartocoche lake system at the border with Peru. Hosted in a Secoya Indian Village.


Price: from $ 450

 4 days

admirando la increíble vida silvestre


The Cuyabeno Loop explores the breathtaking scenery of the lower Cuyabeno and Zabalo Rivers and the Cuyabeno Lake. Watch the amazing birds and wildlife. Pass 2 nights with the amazing Cofan Indians in the Cofan Lodge and enjoy 2 nights of comfort in the famous Cuyabeno Lodge.

Price: from $ 799

5 days


admirando las increíbles aves


Located in Southern Cuyabeno, the Cofan Lodge is the only lodge in that part of the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve with quality programs and great facilities. It is owned by the Cofan Indians and provides a totally different experience from any other lodge in Cuyabeno.



Price: from $ 450

4 days

Laguna Cuyabeno


The Cuyabeno Lake Programs explores all the wild places surrounding the Cuyabeno Lake. Bonsai-shaped Macrolobia trees with the whispering of the mysterious prehistoric Hoatzin birds and the noisy Blue and Yellow Macaws. Our Cuyabeno Lodge is on the best location, because we were the first lodge and chose the best location right on a seasonal island in Lake Cuyabeno.

Price: from $ 390

4 - 5 days


Chimborazo con Lamas


Our Northern Andes Tour lets you get a taste of some of the best Andean National Parks, visiting the highest groves in the world: the Polylepis trees, the highest mountain in the world calculated from the center of the Earth, the Chimborazo with Vecunhas and Lamas, the highest active volcano in the world, the Cotopaxi.


Price: from $750

5 days

Cascada San Rafael


Our National Parks Tours take you on a fantastic journey along the best possible sample of Andean and coastal parks. They have been designed to complement Galapagos and/or Amazon cruises. They can start from different places, particularly Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca. While the full program lasts 9 days, it is possible to make a limited selection of parks, like the 6 days' "Andes and Coast" module.

Price: from $ 1999

9 days


Bartelome ent Galapagos


We have a fabulous selection of Galapagos programs, including cruises, island hopping, scuba diving or relaxing on one of the many different hotels varying from modest inns to deluxe resorts.



Price: from $ 550

From 3 days



A fabulous program for visiting the most famous cultural highlights Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. At the same time it serves as the Lima hub for the Peru National Parks Tour. This module is an extension to our National Parks Tour Ecuador and/or Galapagos National Park and/or Amazon Cruises.

Price: from $ 1199

7 days

Continuación del presente tema



Obviously, some people have become concerned about safety in Cuyabeno. So how safe is Cuyabeno? Including the last incident (2012), we are aware of 2 armed robberies having been reported since I visited the area in 1975 for the first time. Now, lets be very outspoken about this:

Every occasion of petty theft, robbery or kidnapping in Cuyabeno is one too many!


But let's also put safety into perspective. The rate of homicides in Washington DC at a population of less than 1,000,000 inhabitants was at its top in the 1990, close to 500 killings per year! Thank Goodness it has gone down to around 100, but still the numbers are unacceptably high, in fact, much higher than the horrible massacre recently, in Kenya! And yet, THE USA GOVERNMENT NOR ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT HAS DECLARED A TRAVEL ALERT for Washington DC. I personally lived and worked there for years and never felt unsafe.


Safety has 2 elements:

  • The chance of an violation of one's property (theft) or health (accident, robbery, sexual or other) or one's freedom (kidnapping) actually takes place based on statistical data; and

  • Your personal perception of concern.


Some of the operational risks to Cuyabeno include:

  • Incidents involving wild animals (snake bites, alligator attacks, electric eel);

  • Diseases (malaria, infections);

  • Transportation accidents.

We take safety very seriously and we have taken all the measures we can think off, such as a cellular phone antenna at about 30 m above the surrounding area, an emergency book, etc.


Risk statistics are always difficult to interpret. Should one determine the risk as the number of incidents per visit, or per visitor day? Or the number of incidents per year? In the case of Cuyabeno, the latter would, make the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve one of the safest places to visit in Ecuador and in all of Latin America, much safer than Quito or Guayaquil!


KIDNAPPING IN CUYABENO, R U WORRIED? Quito's tourism police.KIDNAPPING IN CUYABENO, R U WORRIED? In Quito center, tourism police is everywhere.

Quito has a specialized tourism police which heavily patrols the old center. They are literally everywhere.


Then there is the perception of risk

We personally don't think that the safety risks are any higher than traveling to any other destination in rural area in South America, which would make them safe enough for any traveler who chooses to travel to the continent. That would make Cuyabeno in the category of "safe for traveling" for nationals of most countries, but maybe not for citizens of the USA. The USA Embassy and most countries of the European Union and the UK have issued a travel safety alert for the entire border with Colombia, from the coast to the east, just for the mere fact that it borders with Colombia. But what is the border area? On Google Earth, the distance from Cuyabeno Lake to the border with Colombia measures about 40 km as the bird flies, but  it is almost impossible to get to and from the border directly traveling through the virgin jungle and extended swamps. Even the most hardy Indians would find it extremely difficult to wade and crawl through those swamps, while there are no navigable creeks coming from the border. From the entrance of the park (Puente), it is Google Earth measures about 50 km and from Cuyabeno Lake to the entrance it is about 2 hours in motorized canoe over the Cuyabeno River, which would be another 40 - 50 km (It is not possible to measure the exact distance given the winding nature of the river). So effectively the visitation area of the reserve is at an travel distance of somewhere around 100 km from the border.


It is interesting to note that the USA Embassy staff has visited Cuyabeno, while the safety alert was out, and it is financing a development cooperation project for the area, for which it is necessary that contractors visit the area. So the Embassy does not seem so much concerned about the reserve as it does not stop its own staff from going there!


Did you know that grandparents often are more worried about the safety of their grandchildren than parents? So did I take my grandkids (4 and 6 yrs) to Cuyabeno? I most certainly did, and they loved it!


We have read on line about some incidents of disappearing credit cards from different lodges. While we try to prevent such events, all the lodges have light and open structures to which breaking in is not difficult. While there is a general traditional value among the inhabitants about respect of other people's properties, it just takes one person with different moral values, to make properties disappear and so can other visitors. So, if possible, leave unnecessary valuables (ipads, iphones, laptops, etc.) in Quito, but always travel with your passport! On our side, we have done what we could to prevent theft at the lodge, including: Safety boxes in our rooms for your valuables.


KIDNAPPING IN CUYABENO, R U WORRIED? Visitors with children feeling totally at easy in Ecuador.KIDNAPPING IN CUYABENO, R U WORRIED? Most visitor feel perfectly safe.

At the lodges, our visitors feel safe totally safe and relaxed and many bring their children.

On excursion watching wildlife: Visitors without safety concern.


We feel that flying from Quito to Lagoagrio is the safer way to travel and it is far more convenient, but of course, it is more expensive. Over the years, a number of bus robberies have been reported between Quito and Lagoagrio, but we don't know as a proportion of how many passenger movements. Whatever websites statement can be found, they always make generic claims without ever giving details about frequencies and in such absence there is a good reason to be suspicious about the severity of such claims. I personally would not feel that this would make traveling by bus inhibitive for foreign travelers, but once again, this is not an issue on which a company should have an opinion.


In general, the greatest safety risk you run during your vacation is traffic. Just look at the figures. The USA worries about terrorist attacks. During 9/11, less that 3000 people were killed. Horrible? Absolutely!


And yet, every year more than 33,000 people are killed in traffic accidents in the USA. If we look at the statistics ever since 2001, and average of 150 people per year have been killed (the only ones being the 9/11 victims averaged over the following years) versus the yearly tens of thousands traffic fatalities. It is safe to assume that in Ecuador, the likeliness for you to get involved in a traffic accident, is far greater than you getting kidnapped or robbed at gunpoint in Cuyabeno or anywhere else in Ecuador.


Again, we can't make your choices regarding safety. We just gave you some considerations to put the concept of safety in perspective. You may be interested in reading our "Do and Don'ts in Ecuador".



Street: Calle Las Casas, Side street: Jose Coudrin, 2 blocks above the Occidental Highway

Cantón Quito, Prov. Pichincha, Parroquia Belisario Quevedo

Tel: (++593)(02) 2 2324 4086, Cell phone: (++593) (0) 99 283 2187 Whatsapp: (++)1 304 901 0718

Download:Cofan Lodge brochure.


Skype: daanvreugdenhil