Sacha Lodge

Destination overview

This Amazon lodge is located in the province of Sucumbios, northeast of Ecuador. A 40 minute flight will take you from Quito to Coca. Then you travel by motorized dugout canoe for approximately 2 hours down the Napo river, after which a 30 minute walk will get you to this comfortable lodge.

The lodge is located in a beautiful area surrounded by primary forest. The program consists of a combination of jungle tours and walks down narrow trails which take you through different types of forest (primary, secondary, etc) and canoe rides on local lakes and rivers. In addition, an observation tower enables visitors to climb 130 feet into the canopy for a spectacular view of intact Amazon Rainforest, where you may come into close contact with mammals, plants and dozens of different species of birds.

Groups of 5 to 8 people at the most will be formed and led by an English/Spanish naturalist guide plus a locall native guide. At the lodge you will find comfortable accommodation in rustic cabins of native design that blend in with the surrounding rain forest. At the same time you will enjoy the comforts you would expect of a first class hotel: modern bathrooms with hot running water, screened rooms with magnificent views of the rain forest; complimentary bottled water, and exquisite international cuisine that incorporates the delicious tropical fruits of the region.

Although the Napo River is a kilometer wide in places, it is often surprisingly shallow. Pushing a large canoe full of people off a sandbar is not something the crew wants to do, so the canoe zigzags its way down the river following the deepest channels. The riverbanks are home to Quichua communities. Traditionally, their thatched roof houses are raised on stilts and surrounded by small gardens or chacras, where they grow coffee, bananas and yuca, among other things. Your guide will be there to explain the surroundings in more detail and answer any questions.

Sacha Lodge owns 3000 acres of rainforest covering a variety of different habitats, mostly in primary jungle, they range from terra firma to swamp to rivers and lakes. Although most tours are on foot, some can be combined with river trips in a dugout canoe. Tours are not just limited to the ground either. The forest canopy has been made accessible by the construction of an observation tower that climbs 135 feet into the epiphyte-laden branches of a kapok tree. The jungle stretches to the horizon in all directions. On a clear day, the snowcapped peak of Sumaco, an extinct volcano 100 miles away, is often visible.

From this vantage point, flora and fauna, invisible from the ground, can be studied at close quarters. Water-filled tank bromeliads stand side by side with sprays of orchids, hopping between them are a host of exotic birds with equally exotic names: Paradise Tanager, Spangled Cotinga, Many-banded Aracari. The canopy is one of the least studied habitats and harbors thousands of still unknown plant and animal species. To be surrounded by such richness is a rare experience.

Further down the Napo from Sacha, a parrot salt lick offers the opportunity to see hundreds of parrots and parakeets. They are attracted to an impressive red cliff on the riverbank early each morning in order to fulfill their daily mineral requirements. Whether clinging to the cliff or wheeling in circles above it, they provide an unforgettable spectacle of color and noise.

The land was bought in 1991 by Beni Ammeter, a Swiss entrepreneur, who has been in Ecuador for the last 25 years, and Sacha Lodge received its first visitors in 1992. Because Sacha actually has title to the land, hunting and farming are not permitted. The adjacent Quichua villages benefit from employment and other services that the lodge provides. Through tourism, Sacha has made the land economically competitive, and by educating the visitors and promoting the knowledge and culture of the indigenous people, it offers a way to protect the rainforest.

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