Sacha Lodge provides you with a unique opportunity to explore and experience one of the world's last natural frontiers while being accommodated in total comfort. One moment, you might be totally absorbed in the tranquility of the verdant panorama, the next moment your attention could be captured by the beauty of an exotic orchid, and then suddenly you might be astonished by the appearance of a rare creature that you never before imagined seeing in real life. The Amazon rainforest has more diversity than any other ecosystem. It will overwhelm your senses and challenge you to experience, comprehend and treasure all that this special place has to offer. Our remarkable forest tower puts you at a breathtaking place above the treetops where you can gaze across miles of intact rainforest. Here you also have the chance to observe up-close many wonderful plants and animals living in the forest canopy. From the tower alone, we have identified nearly 200 bird species and our bird list from the Sacha Lodge area is fast approaching 500 species.
Scientist estimate that nearly half of all the species living on this planet, both plants and animals, dwell in the rainforests. Unfortunately, these tropical forests are disappearing worldwide at such a rate that only a few remnants are expected to survive intact into the next century. Your visit to the rainforest here at Sacha Lodge is an endorsement for the protection and conservation of this vital and precious part of the earth's natural heritage.
The program can change because of the weather. All changes take place to the interest and the security of the traveller. Our camps are also used by scientists and researchers as base camp. Groups bigger than four people can define their own program as well as the start of the tour. Because the area is hard to access, long boat trips are inevitable.
Difficulty Level of TourThe trekkings in the jungle require a good physical shape (because of the heat), though you only have to carry your own daypack.
It is always advisable to consult your physician regarding health measures before travelling. For a short visit to the rainforest, the malaria risk is minimal. Bar items and tips are not included. Drinks at the bar are put on a tab to be paid on the last night. The bill can be paid with US dollars cash, or traveller's checks. For tips we recommend 5-10 dollars for each guide and 5 dollars for the staff, per person, per day. Your luggage will be put into plastic bags for the trip down the river, but it is advisable to bring extra bags for valuables and wet clothes. The canoe is covered to protect against sun and rain, but a light jacket or poncho is useful to protect against the wind and the spray. Please remember that no laundry service is available at the lodge so be sure to pack extra T-shirt and socks.
NB: The program will be organised individually in the lodge according to your wishes.
Passport, rain poncho, binoculars, flashlight, insect repellent, sun block, hat with brim, sunglasses, rubber boots if your size is bigger that us 13, lightweight long and short-sleeved shirts, lightweight pants and shorts - NOT JEANS. Comfortable shoes and long socks, camera, film and flash, bathing suit, daypack, 1-2 plastic bags. Luggage one big backpack or duffle bag.
All itineraries are organized according to your interest and the climatic/seasonal conditions, nevertheless, please find here an example itinerary:
Your adventure starts in the bustling oil town called Coca located in the Amazon Basin after your travel of your choice (flight or drive) from Quito . A quick lunch in Sacha´s private house and then it’s off to the town docks where you will board Sacha´s private canoes for the 2 hour journey down river to Sacha´s Lodges property. A 30 minute hike through the rainforest leads you to Lake Pilchicocha. Here, you are met by native workers to paddle you across the lake to your final destination. Arrival at Sacha Lodge around 15:30 or 16:00 pm. Swim in Lake Pilchicocha, which is a black water lake home to many species of fish and animals. A refreshing swim after arriving may be just what you need after being in the equatorial heat all day. Bird observing from the mini tower offers guests an excellent opportunity to view several species of birds common around the lodge. Also a great place to watch the sun set. Visit the butterfly house with your naturalist guide to view the beautiful colors of many different species of butterflies. After dinner, accompany your naturalist guide on a night walk through the rainforest to view the hundreds of different species of animals that can only be found at night. Or maybe a canoe ride on the lake to view the spectacled and black caimans with their glowing orange eyes as you silently paddle across the lake to get a closer view. L/D>
Begin morning activity between 6:00 and 7:00. Begin walking on trail Liana Chica and arrive at the canopy walk, for spectacular views of the rainforest canopy and the many different species of vibrantly colored birds. Designed to be a self-standing rigid suspension canopy walk. it is one of only a few in the world! Located within Sacha´s private reserve, 2miles from the shores of the Rio Napo and 1 mile from the lodge, the bird walk gives guests the opportunity to get an up close and personal view of the rainforest canopy. Two of the three towers have observation decks every 12 meters making towers accessible for everyone. The canopy walkway is at 36 meters high and 275 meters long, giving guests a “birds eye view” of all the wonders and beauty the tropical rainforest has to offer. The canopy walk is designed as a sturdy walkway enabling guests to casually move along while enjoying the spectacular views. After the canopy walk, Liana Grande through terra firma and igapo forest habitats where native guides will explain many different species of medicinal plants that have been being used in their culture for hundreds of years. Liana Grande will turn into the trail Higueron, which will take you through pristine primary forest with huge Kapok and Fig trees towering hundreds of feet above your head. After lunch, you may choose to take a leisurely hike along the Rio Napo, or choose a little more challenging hike on the trail Leoncillo to try and spot the elusive dusky titi monkey. Either way the trails will lead you back to the main boardwalk for your final hike and canoe ride back to the lodge. B/L/D
Leaving the lodge after breakfast, you begin your hike on trail Lagartococha. This trail offers you the chance to learn more about the native people and their relationship with the forest. Learn about the trees where native people believe the spirits of their ancestors live, and the mysterious “dwende” or devil-man of the forest. After arriving at lake Lagartococha, take a tranquil canoe ride through a natural swamp, which is the home of anacondas, caimans, and capybaras. After the canoe ride, a walk on the other side of Largatococha may give you the opportunity to spot capuchin or squirrel monkeys playfully jumping through the trees. Return from the walk or canoe ride and head back to the lodge for a refreshing dip in the lake, or a nice relaxing nap in your personal hammock on your private balcony. After lunch, your native guide will teach you how to fish for the infamous razor-toothed piranha. Keep in mind that piranhas will never attack a person and swimming at the same time is perfectly safe and fun! Around 15:30 you will begin what many think is the best trail at Sacha, a silent canoe ride through the flooded Amazonian forest. Where you have a good chance of being surrounded by troops of squirrel, capuchin, and howler monkeys. Keep your eyes peeled for the shy and elusive river otter as well as the incredibly well camouflaged three-toed sloth! After your eye-popping ride through the flooded forest, you will arrive at Sacha´s135-foot wooden tower built around an ancient Kapok tree. Get close up views of vibrantly colored birds through Sacha´s powerful scopes, and watch the sun set with an amazing view of Mount Sumaco, a volcano, and possibly a view of the snow-covered caps of the Andes! Leaving the tower just before or after sunset will give you an experience not soon forgotten. A canoe ride back through the flooded forest at night will be an awe-inspiring experience. Listen to the symphony of frogs and insects as you navigate through the narrow flooded forest trail, keeping your eyes open for caimans. Watch the several species of bats flying over your heads and listen to the many species of nocturnal birds making their eerie nighttime calls. Finally, after your mesmerizing canoe trip through the Amazon, you will arrive back at lake Pilchicocha and the welcoming lights of Sacha lodge. B/L/D
Day 04 (only valid for the 5 day itinerary):
A chance to view four different species of parrots at the same time is something that should not be missed. Sacha is close enough to Yasuni National Park that a thirty minute motorized canoe ride down the Napo to the parrot lick is well worth it. Leaving at six in the morning from Sacha and arriving at the lick around 7:30 will give you plenty of time to get close up views of the parrots eating the clay to neutralize the acids which they get from eating their many different types of fruits and leaves. Arriving back at the lodge around 11am or so gives you plenty of time to swim or relax before lunch is served. Visit the butterfly house once again to photograph the beautifully colored butterflies. For your afternoon activity, Pantano is the trail to take. Pantano offers you several different types of rainforest habitats. From secondary to primary forests as well as flooded forest and swampy areas. An excellent trail for monkeys and birds in the afternoon, your naturalist and native guides will intrigue you with their knowledge of the jungle and its inhabitants as well as provide you with an everlasting experience and memory of the neotropical rainforest. B/L/D
Day 05 (Day 04 of the 4 Day Itinerary):
Today you have an early breakfast and departure from the lodge (usually at 7:30am). Enjoy an easy walk on the boardwalk to watch monkeys one last time before your final departure. Arrive in Coca and be escorted to the Coca airport (or bus station) where Sacha employees will help you board the plane and say a final farewell. Scheduled arrival at Quito´s airport is at 12:30pm (subject to change). B/L
NB: Please read all itineraries as a guide only. All routes and programs can change without notice due to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety reasons and the wildlife encountered during the travel. Flexibility is the key to the success of any tour. Nevertheless the safety and the interest of our passengers is always our first priority.
Following the Napo River down the eastern slope of the Andes will bring you to the steamy tropical lowlands of the Ecuadorian Amazon, known as the Oriente. The rainforests of this region are the most complex biological communities that exist, and provide the single greatest reservoir of genetic diversity on Earth: a small area can boast 500 species of birds, 400 species of fish and over 100 species of mammals. Not surprisingly, this forest remains a focus for scientific investigation. Estimations suggest that, a mere tenth of the insect species have been named, let alone studied. A short walk soon reveals the huge variety of forms: a monkey just bigger than a mouse; a liana as thick as a man's waist, a striped frog with poisonous skin; a dry leaf that suddenly sprouts legs and starts walking. The wonders are there for all to see. The Sacha Lodge lies in the heart of this wilderness, 50 miles down the Napo River from Coca, a small jungle town. Blessed with a stunning lakeside location and experienced and enthusiastic personnel, the lodge provides a base from which to appreciate the raw beauty of the rainforest and a relaxing retreat in which to enjoy the comfort and services available.
Your journey to the lodge starts in Quito with a 40-minute flight to Coca. In the airport, you are met by a guide from the lodge and taken across town by bus to the dock. Here our covered motorised canoe will be waiting to take you two and half-hours down river.
Although the Napo River is a one kilometre 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 yucca, among other things. In recent years, enormous oil reserves have been discovered in this region and signs of the oil industry are now a common sight along the river. Your guide will be there to explain the surroundings in more detail and answer any questions.
After docking, a short walk awaits you. At first this follows a village path next to the river and then a raised boardwalk through flooded palm forest. Giant electric blue morph butterflies, blue-and-yellow macaws, and squirrel monkeys are regularly seen here. From the end of the boardwalk, a dugout canoe takes you down a channel and across Pilchicocha Lake to the lodge. After a brief orientation, groups of 4-6 people are assigned their guides, a bilingual naturalist and a local Quichua guide. Before setting out on your first tour, you will be able to settle into your cabin. The accommodations at the Sacha Lodge are truly comfortable, verging on luxurious. While care has been taken to preserve the flavour of the jungle, a few extras have been added to make your stay more enjoyable. Our 14 double cabins have been constructed from wood and other natural materials to maintain a rustic feel. Electricity is available from dawn to 10 p.m. and the modern bathrooms have hot showers. Windows are screened against the insects. The cabins are linked together with elevated walkways to the main building where the dining room, bar and lounge are situated. Above the bar is a small look-out that offers views over the lake and lodge. Most of our day, however will be spent in the forest. Mornings start early; groups are usually on the trail by 6 am. Not only is it cooler at this hour, but animal and bird activity is at its peak. Most trails return you to the lodge for lunch with ample time after for a swim and an afternoon siesta before you hit the trails again. In the evening, a night walk through the rainforest is an experience not to be missed, -a sensual delight filled with new scents, sounds and shapes. The trails vary in length from an hour to a full day and there is scope for all abilities and interests. Sacha Lodge owns 3000 acres of rainforest covering a variety of different habitats, mostly in primary jungle; they range from terra firme 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 branch of a kapok tree. The jungle stretches to the horizon in all directions. On a clear day, the non snow-capped 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 by side with spray of orchids; hopping between them is 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 harbours 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 fulfil their daily mineral requirements. Whether clinging to the cliff or wheeling in circles above it, they provide an unforgettable spectacle of colour and noise.
Beni Ammeter, a Swiss entrepreneur, who has been in Ecuador for the last 25 years, bought the land in 1991 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.
Prices 2014 - per person
|Monday-Friday 5 days|
|Friday - Monday 4 days|
Included in the price
Accommodation in huts for 2 people each with private bathroom with shower and toilet. English speaking guide, native guide, all meals, free purified water, coffee, tea, national park entrance fee, all excursions according to the program, all general equipment, rubber boots, rain ponchos
Not included in the price
Flights, binoculars, alcoholic beverages, tips, personal items and travel insurance.
Air Flights Return air flights Quito-Coca-Quito are currently priced at USD 130,- per person.