From the moment we stepped off the plane in Coca we were hit with a rich earthy smell unlike anything I've experienced before. Here my daughter and I learned we were the only two guests arriving that day so making our way to the dock to begin the journey downstream took no time at all. Now the audio of life here can be as interesting as the visual and the Latin pop music competing with the telenovela playing on a big screen TV at mid day at the hotel were we boarded the motor boat added to the strangeness of this place not the least of which was the carcass of a commercial jetliner and a London double deck bus serving as boogie barges tied alongside the vacant party patio and swimming pool. At night on weekends filled with locals and workers from the jungle oil rig camps this place must be fascinating.
For the next two hours or so the roar of the outboard motor dominated our senses and except for a brief break to eat lunch and a bit of a rain storm, the zig zagging down the river with the odd village and field camp staging area dotting the banks was little distraction from the sound.
Arriving at the river dock we were met by Ricoh a friendly little dog and then set off for a fifteen minute walk to the edge of the lagoon to board a canoe for a paddle across to the lodge. Rodrigo our guide paddled the two of us and one other staff member through the flooded jungle as March being the start of the rainy season had seen the lagoon level rise significantly over the past few weeks. Barely into our adventure and before reaching the lodge we came across a Tarantula, an immature Green Anaconda and a Wood-creeper that apparently had alluded a group of bird watchers the week before.
For the next day and a half, after a briefing on what to avoid when we were in the jungle, we had a tour with Rodrigo all to ourselves exploring. The night we arrived there had been an incredible rainstorm, the sound in our cottage was so loud I grabbed my camera to record video just for the audio. Our trek the next morning, while the sun was shining, was met with very wet vegetation and the sound of tall trees, whose roots were weakened by the dampness in the earth, crashing to the ground with branches breaking and smaller trees being knocked over. This trail through the swamp to a neighbouring farmer's home was my daughter's favourite, walking on fallen tree trunks to keep out of the muck. Don't thick twice about not wearing the Wellingtons supplied! There we met a husband and wife and their two year old granddaughter, shared some food and learned a little about life on the Rio Napo.
That evening at dinner we were joined by two other guests who arrived that evening and came to the table at about the same time that the chef delivered a pan fried Piranha that Rodrigo caught while we tried our luck fishing during a late afternoon canoe ride were we had also encountered a troupe of maybe 50 Squirrel Monkeys noisily feeding in the high canopy on the lagoons south east bank shortly before sunset.
Each guide eats his meals with their particular tour party and it's during this time the coming activities are discussed along with more general conversation.
The following day we had an early 6am wake up call, which is exactly that with Luis calling out good morning at our doorway, for a river ride upstream to the clay lick frequented by parrots at the Yasuni National Park followed by a healthy hike looking for toucans and macaws in the highlands south of the river.
Time spent is not all active as I treated my daughter to a massage in the spa during siesta which left her far too relaxed to take part in the afternoon walk to the 40m high lookout in a tree which allows a totally different perspective of the jungle from high in the canopy. Once again we encountered a large number of Squirrel Monkeys this time while standing beneath them as they bashed through the trees picking fruit. A word of caution if you find yourselves in the same situation and you think it is raining, it's not, so don't be standing looking up in awe with your mouth open.
Our trip back to Coca was a bit more crowded as seven bird watchers on a longer stay also left with us and the boat driver gave them ample opportunity to tick more species off their lists by slowing the boat near sand bars and along the river's banks.
In all a tiring four days which was packed with dozens of lasting memories.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- La Selva Amazon Ecolodge offers wildlife tours, special birdwatching programs, honeymoon trips and family excursions, all in harmony with the rainforest around you. At La Selva, guests are given the opportunity to explore intricate trail systems led by both a local Native Guides and a bilingual Naturalist Guides divided into small groups in order to maximize overall experiences. La Selva’s guides are the key to fulfilling and captivating outings because they already know the area well by seeing, and hearing things guests cannot. They are passionate about the jungle and their years of experience make all the difference between an acceptable tour and an astounding tour in the Amazon. Native guides are from the local communities and behold an awesome amount of ancestral knowledge about the Amazon. The Naturalist Guides that lead guests through the Amazon are bilingual and have studied and trained for many years in order to become a Naturalist and National Park certified guide. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- La Selva Jungle Hotel Yasuni National Park
- La Selva Amazon Ecolodge Ecuador/Yasuni National Park