Go deep into one of the most biodiverse spots on earth, the Yasuní National Park. Located in the heart of the Amazon, you'll explore pristine forests, rivers and lagoons while keeping an eye out for different species of monkeys and birds, as well as endemic insects and plants. You'll also have the opportunity get to do a cultural exchange with the native Kichua people to learn about their history and culture.

Highlights

  • Explore the biodiversity of the Yasuní National Park
  • Ride canoes to discover riverside flora and fauna
  • Walk on bridges suspended along the rainforest canopy
  • Visit a native community from the Amazon
  • Go on night excursions to spot nocturnal animals

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Quito Quito
Day 2 Arrival at Yasuní National Park Yasuni National Park
Day 3 Adventure Day at Yasuní National Park Yasuni National Park
Day 4 Nature & Culture Day at Yasuní National Park Yasuni National Park
Day 5 Depart from El Coca  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Quito

View of Quito and the Cotopaxi Volcano
View of Quito and the Cotopaxi Volcano

When you arrive at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), your bilingual driver will be ready to welcome you and take you to your accommodation.

The entire city of Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, standing at an altitude of 9,350 ft (2,850 m). It welcomes visitors with its picturesque plazas situated between mountain peaks. The city has an abundance of market stands, shamanistic healers, and fourth-generation hat makers, as well as a vibrant and sophisticated culinary and nightlife scene.

Day 2: Arrival at Yasuní National Park

The Yasuní National Park
Dock at Yasuní National Park

Head back to the airport for a short, early-morning flight to Puerto Francisco de Orellana, locally called "El Coca." A representative will take you by private transportation to the city's main dock at the Napo River.

Here, you'll hop on a motorized canoe and head down the river towards your lodge's main dock.  The final leg of the trip to the lodge will be completed in a paddle canoe. The only thing you must take care of during this part is your carry-on and camera equipment; staff will transport all other luggage. The manager will be waiting to greet you with a refreshing juice, snacks and a short briefing with general information.

After a short rest, you'll participate in some exciting activities:

Intro to The Rainforest
A naturalist guide will give you basic information about the Amazon, its peoples, and its species. The idea is to begin your activities with a little bit of background knowledge on the amazing place you have just arrived in.

Matapalo Trail
This trail was named after the famous strangler fig, one of the many remarkable trees that you will find on this two-hour walk. Your guides will share their knowledge of the flora and fauna, such as the majestic mahogany trees that are over 400 years old. At this time of day, there is great natural light, and you'll be able to witness diurnal and nocturnal animals beginning their daily transitional activities.

Once back at the lodge after your hike, you'll be able to enjoy some delicious dinner. During your free time in the lodge between activities, you can use the kayaks, swim in the lagoon, have a massage, or just relax in your room.

Day 3: Adventure Day at Yasuní National Park

Observation Tower canopy walk
Observation Tower canopy walk

Today, you'll rise for an early breakfast to get a start on a jam-packed adventure day. You'll be completing the following activities:

Observation Tower/Tucaneta or Mandi Forest
The first activity of the day will be taking a short 20-minute walk to the national park's Observation Tower. This amazing construction will allow you to climb 120ft (36.5m) above the forest. You'll be accompanied by a naturalist guide and a native guide; they will help you spot colorful birds, and maybe even certain primates.

On the way back from the tower, there is the option of taking the Tucaneta Trail. Your native guide will show you some of the medicinal plants still in use today, and your naturalist guide will provide you with interesting information on the ecology and natural history of the Amazon.

You can also opt to visit the beautiful lagoon of Mandi Cocha. A one-hour hike takes you to an igapó forest, or a forest that is temporarily flooded by blackwater. Different species of birds and even giant otters can be seen here.

Charapa Trail
After lunch at the lodge, you'll head out on this one-hour trail to the edge of the lagoon. The loop provides numerous wildlife-watching opportunities, as different mammals, monkeys, and birds come closer to the lagoon at this time looking for food. It is also the perfect place to witness an Amazonian sunset.

Night Canoe Ride
Your guides will take you around the lagoon on a canoe looking for nocturnal wildlife. You'll get to see animals many visitors are unable to see. This is also a great opportunity for star gazing!

Once back at the lodge, enjoy dinner and get some rest.

Day 4: Nature & Culture Day at Yasuní National Park

Traditional body coloring of the Kichua people
Traditional body coloring of the Kichua people

Get ready for another day of thrills in the Amazon. Today will be all about wildlife and culture. 

Napo Wildlife Center and Mandi Wasi
Make your way back to the Napo River and take a motorized canoe ride to the Napo Wildlife Center. Here, you'll be able to witness the fascinating parrot clay licks. The result of erosion, the clay licks attract hundreds of parrots daily who come here to feed on their mineral-rich soil. Binoculars are essential to really capture the moment.

Afterward, you'll participate in an enriching cultural activity. A Kichua woman will welcome you at the community center to share the life of her people in the Amazon. This is quite special, as this part of the Amazon is so remote that it is not usually found on maps. The activity provides a unique opportunity to learn more about the people of the region.

Coto Trail
After the cultural exchange with the Kichuas, you'll enjoy some lunch back at the lodge. You'll then start off on a walk to the edge of the Garzacocha Lagoon. Groups of black-mantled tamarin monkeys and tapirs can be spotted on this walk. Your naturalist guide will introduce you to the different creatures that can be found on the trail, while your native guide shows you some millenary medicinal plants. A canoe ride back to the lodge provides the perfect ending for this activity.

You'll have dinner when you return to the lodge.

Day 5: Depart from El Coca

Small Amazonian crocodile
Small Amazonian crocodile at Yasuní National Park

On your last morning in the Amazon, you'll have an early breakfast before departing from the lodge. You'll take a motorized canoe ride back to El Coca, where representatives will take you to the airport to help you with your checked luggage and boarding passes.

Map

Map of Ecuadorian Amazon Adventure: Yasuní National Park - 5 Days
Map of Ecuadorian Amazon Adventure: Yasuní National Park - 5 Days