Rainforest Expedition to Aguarico, Cuyabeno and Lagartococha Rivers
In 1979 the Cuyabeno Nature Reserve was founded between the rivers Aguarico and San Miguel, which are in the province of Sucumbios. This spectacular expedition into Cuyabeno introduces the visitor to the complex system of tropical lagoons, swamps and flooded areas inhabited by the Siona Indian Community. Cuyabeno's abundant aquatic and land habitats are home to fresh water dolphins and turtles, anacondas, crocodiles, monkeys, ocelots, sloth and birds such as hoatzins, arras and kingfishers. A huge range of vegetation flourishes in this tropical rainforest: plants such as palms, bromeliads, ceibos, helicons, macrolobium, wild roses, and orchids are frequently seen. This once-in-a-lifetime expedition will definitely be a memorable experience for everyone who is fortunate enough to participate.
This expedition has been designed to give biologists as well as interested travellers the opportunity to explore the rainforest and Cuyabeno with its maze of waterways provides you with ample opportunities to experience this wet and wild green world in a way that is intimate and highly rewarding. You are guided through the forest by an indigenous guide from the Siona Indian community in his canoe, as well as a bilingual naturalist. Activities include canoeing in motorized and dugout crafts, hiking, bird watching and night walks and can be adjusted to your requirements and interests.
Day 01: Meeting in Quito
We will organize a hotel reservation for you in Quito in the hotel Mercure Alameda where your guide will meet you according to your arrival times in the afternoon or in the evening. He will give you an introduction to the expedition as well as answer any last questions before the expedition starts the next morning into the Amazon rainforest. The rest of the day will be at your own disposal in order to prepare for the jungle adventure. -
Day 02: Into the Amazon Rainforest
In the morning your guide meets you at your hotel and together you drive to the national airport. You fly from Quito down the Andes to the jungle town Lago Agrio where you will arrive at ca. 11.00am. From Lago Agrio you travel by bus/truck to Chiritza (1 ½ hour ), where you start your canoe journey down the Aguarico river and continue along the Cuyabeno black water river, to your first campsite. This canoe trip takes about 3 ½ hours and already provides you with many impressions of the surrounding rainforest. After dinner your naturalist bilingual guide gives you a captivating lecture and takes you on an adventurous night walk, where it is possible to observe nocturnal animals and giant insects. B/L/D
Day 03: Parrots Island
Today you start the early travelling by motorized canoe down the Aguarico River deeper into the dense jungle to your second campsite located on Parrots Island. After reaching the second campsite you pitch your tents. B/L/D
Day 04: Lagartococha
Today you spend the whole day exploring the rainforest. The early morning hours are the best time to observe the rainforests thriving activity. Therefore you make a canoe ride at sunrise to observe the abundance of birds and wildlife. After breakfast you head to your third campsite situated deep in the remote jungle in the Lagartococha area near the Peruvian border. Before dinner you can enjoy swimming in the Delfin Cocha Lake surrounded by breathtaking tropical scenery. B/L/D
Day 05: Lagartococha
In the morning, you trek into pristine primary rainforest. Your native guide shares his wealth of knowledge, showing you the medicinal and practical uses of the rainforests flora that his ancestors have taught throughout generations. After lunch, you explore different habitats looking for further species. Here amongst the spectacular scenery you have good chances to observe the Amazonian Freshwater Pink and Grey River Dolphins (Inia geoffrensis and Sotalia fluviatilis). After dinner, we venture out on a night excursion to search for Caimans (alligator family) and nocturnal birds. B/L/D
Day 06: Tierra Firme Forest
After breakfast, your native and naturalist guides take you to a different ecosystem: the Tierra Firme forest, where they explain the difference between this area and the locations you have explored previously and you learn a lot about the typical Flora of this ecosystem. Later you return to your campsite for lunch before you try your luck fishing Piranhas in the afternoon. In the evening enjoy a relaxed dinner at the campsite. B/L/D
Day 07: The Quichua
In the early morning, you travel by motorized canoe up the Lagartococha River to observe the species-rich bird- and wildlife. After breakfast, you continue along the Lagartococha River and navigating to the Aguarico River you finally reach your fourth campsite located in the local Indian community of the Quichua. B/L/D
Day 08: Birdwatching
After breakfast you visit the Quichua Birdwatching Tower. Here above the canopy you have a breathtaking view on the surrounding rainforest and often a variety of species including toucans, parrots, monkeys and many more con be observed. After lunch, you travel by canoe up the Cuyabeno River to your final campsite. Along the way you make a stop to observe a salt lick (an exposed clay bank) where colourful Parrots and Parakeets feed on the clay to neutralize toxins from poisonous plants that are part of their diet. In the late afternoon we relax, reflect and enjoy the sounds of the surrounding rainforest. B/L/D
Day 09: From the Amazon Rainforest into the Andes
After breakfast, you travel by canoe down the Cuyabeno River and back along the Aguarico river to Chiritza where your bus/truck will take you back to Lago Agrio. A short flight (ca. 35 minutes) will bring you back from the Amazon rainforest up into the civilisation in Quito in the middle of the Andes. You will be back in Quito at ca. 05pm. End of our services. According to your travel plans we gladly help you with the organisation of transfers, hotels, national flights or further travel services e.g. a cruise in the Galapagos (optional). B/L/-
B: Breakfast / L: Lunch / D: Dinner
For the 9 day expedition:
USD 920. - per person with 5 - 8 people
USD 1,040. - per person with 4 people
USD 1,260. - per person with 3 people
USD 1,620. - per person with 2 people
USD 3,320.- with one person
The expedition can be extended according to your wishes, the price for every additional day is:
USD 90. - per person with 5 - 8 people
USD 100. - per person with 4 people
USD 120. - per person with 3 people
USD 170. - per person with 2 people
USD 320.- with one person
Departure: This expedition is organized upon request only as a private tour and can start any day from Monday to Saturday.
Included in the Price:
1 night accommodation in Quito (Hotel Mercure Alameda or a similar hotel of the same category)
Transfer hotel – airport day 02
Flight Quito – Lago Agrio - Quito
Private transport from/to Lago Agrio
(Tourism Ministry Licensed) bilingual naturalist guides trained in biology and Eco-tourism
High Quality Camping Equipment, tents, sleeping pads, mosquito nets, rubber boots, raincoats and lifejackets.
All equipment is of high quality and in good condition.
Three nutritious meals a day (including purified bottled water)
Catering for vegetarians (please advice with the booking)
Not Included in the Price:
Cuyabeno Park Entrance fee US $20 Dollars to be paid in cash at Lago Agrio
Additional beverages and tips
Anything not mentioned in the program
Please note: This expedition gives you the opportunity to camp in various places deep in the Cuyabeno Reserve. In order to organize this expedition, we work with native communities, renting their open huts (rustic cabins without walls made of local and ecological materials), letting you enjoy nature and the surroundings all the time. We provide always: Tents, sleeping pads, mosquito nets, blankets or sleeping bags, additional equipment such as: lifejackets, rain ponchos and rubber boots. This kind of adventurous trip involves that toilet and showers will be shared.
With simple accommodation but with all camping equipment in good condition, this expedition offers an unforgettable experience in the depth of the Amazon rainforest most tours cannot provide.
In order to provide you with the best possible service we have trained the entire staff in the specific areas related to the tour: Experienced naturalist guides are trained in Biology and Eco-tourism speaking well English and Experienced cooks specialize in local and vegetarian food. During this expedition we work with the members of the native communities being our native guides, helpers and canoe-drivers.
IN THE RAINFOREST: The Area that we visit has a very marked dry season starting from December until March. The temperature in the Amazon rainforest is most of the year stable going from 25ºC to 28ºC during the day, there is a change during the night when temperatures can drop down to 15ºC.
HEALTH ADVICE: If you are going to the jungle you will need a yellow fever vaccination. Otherwise there are no vaccinations mandatory when entering Ecuador. However, we recommend the following vaccinations:
Tetanus and Polio
Typhoid (if you stay for longer periods in the jungle)
Malaria prophylaxis (if you stay in the coast areas and Amazon Basin)
NB: Please contact your doctor to make all the necessary arrangements before coming to Ecuador!
GROUP SIZE: We realize the extreme importance of small groups, not only because we want to ensure our visitors experience the jungle and all its splendour without being overcrowded but also to reduce our impact on the unique ecosystems we observe. Therefore we organize this expedition for maximum 8 participants. If you have a bigger group, please consult with us about the options in the desired travel period (e.g splitting the group using two or more canoes during all transfers and excursions uniting the group only in the campsites).
When you travel into the Orient you don’t forget to bring your passport!
Long‑sleeved cotton shirts
Long‑sleeved cotton shirts
Sandals or walking shoes
Light wind‑breaker and sweater
First aid kit
Toilet Kit (biodegradable soap and shampoo)
Swimming suit and towel
Hat or cap
Sunglasses with a strap
One small waterproof daypack
Zip‑lock plastic bags
High speed film 400 ASA and spare camera batteries
Flashlight (torch) with spare batteries
Binoculars (10x40 are better)
Swiss Army Knife
Books to read