Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest
Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest tour is a great choice for your next adventure. In this post, we’ll cover many things you should know before you visit the jungle
Ecuador is divided into four geographic regions, the Coast, the Andes, the Amazon, and the Galapagos Islands. Amazon is the largest tropical forest on Earth, crossed by rivers that flow into the Amazon river. Ecuador’s Amazon jungle, also known as “El Oriente”, is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, is home to thousands of plant species and animals. The Ecuadorian Upper Amazon Basin is home to several indigenous nations, each one with its own characteristic features such as language, customs, and own Cosmo-vision.
The Ecuadorian rainforest is ideal for hikes and expeditions, canoe and rafting trips, wildlife observation, birdwatching, community-based ecotourism, or just relaxing on a luxurious jungle lodge. In this region the most interesting areas to consider exploring are:
- The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, located in the northeast corner of the country (deep Amazon); the tours in this area will start from Lago Agrio.
- Yasuní National Park, in the middle of the Amazon area (also deep Amazon); the tours in this area will start from Coca.
- The Napo area, starting the tours from Tena or Puyo.
Why should you visit the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador?
As Ecuador experts, you really can’t miss visiting the Ecuador Amazon Rainforest here are the top reasons we think you should visit it:
- To see the amazing flora and fauna, most of which are found nowhere else in the world.
- Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest is home to truly astounding biodiversity, with more than 800 species of fish, 350 species of reptiles/amphibian, a lot of insect species, more than 200 species of mammals and, nearly 600 recorded bird species
- The Amazon basin is a splendid place with a lot to do, like hiking, expeditions, rafting, birdwatching, canoe trips, community-based ecotourism, wildlife observation, etc.
- To visit as a family, it is an incredible place for children to have direct contact with nature
- To experience the tranquility and adrenaline that this biome brings.
- Prices are generally reasonable and trips easy to organize.
- From Quito, the Amazon rainforest is closer than you think.
- The Amazon Rainforest will not be around forever. (You might argue the same thing with the Galapagos Islands, and that is why you should combine the two when you come to visit. But don’t just skip out on the Amazon!)
What is the best place to Visit in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador?
If you are looking to visit the Amazon rainforest, you must take into account that it is an entire region of the country, and there are countless places to visit in the Amazon rainforest. You have several roads to get to the rainforest, from Quito or, probably from Baños to Puyo.
A convenient destination close to Quito, if you don’t have many days left on your trip is Tena, Misahualli or Puyo. In 4 hours, from Quito by bus or car, you will reach the city of Tena, are the gateway towns to visiting Kichwa communities. Experiences tend to be cultural, rather than immersions in nature, though there are some beautiful waterfalls nearby. Tena is also Ecuador’s white-water rafting center, with plenty of Class III and Class IV rapids close to town. In fact, we offer tours close to Tena. On this tour, you’ll visit the Ahuano area near Misahualli, on a 2 night / 3 day or 3 night / 4 day tours.
Though Tena and Misahualli are officially within the Amazonian region, some might argue that it’s not the real Amazon. For that, you would have to travel deeper inland by boat, and you can either do this from Coca, you can reach the city by road, air, and by boat. From the capital city of Quito.
El Coca, situated on the Napo River, a tributary of the mighty River Amazon, is considered the best gateway to the Amazon in Ecuador. This is due to its proximity to the incredible Yasuní National Park, covering 9,820 square kilometers; the park contains a record-breaking number of species and is the most well-known protected area of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Researchers estimate that there are as many as 100 different species of tree per acre in Yasuní National Park. Iconic animals such as jaguars, caimans and marmosets also reside within the jungle.
In addition, Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, sits on the other side of the Napo River, with El Coca offering great access to both protected areas. We have some fantastic lodges near El Coca, where visitors can experience the Amazon, with comfortable accommodation and guided wildlife tours, set within its own pristine ecological reserve. CLICK HERE for more information.
Alternatively, visitors can opt for Amazon cruises to explore the Napo River System. There are two options available, the Manatee Explorer Cruise or it’s more luxurious sister, the Anakonda Amazon Cruise, which boasts the comforts and facilities of a 5-star boutique hotel.
What is the best time to visit the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador?
Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest can be visited year-round. Its location on the Equator means that the climate remains hot & humid, however as with any rainforest, visitors should be prepared for rainfall at any time of year. On average, this area receives about 3200 – 3500 mm of rain per year. The temperature averages around 23-25 °C. However, Ecuador does experience two seasons, which are worth bearing in mind when booking your trip.
The dry season in Ecuador runs from December to February and July to October. But don’t let the term “dry season” fool you, it just means that it rains a little less than the rest of the year, the water levels are lower, and this attracts animals that would be much harder to spot in the wet season, such as beach-nesting birds and caiman.
From April to June is considered the wettest, Ecuador experiences an increase in the frequency and intensity of its rainfall. The water levels are higher which allows for more exploration by canoe. This gives travelers the best chance of spotting wildlife to witness the majestic caimans and anacondas any plants also flower and produce fruits in this season, attracting birds and primates to come and feed – increasing the chance of sightings.
So make sure you bring lots of waterproof travel gear and quick dry activewear clothing! Probably the most important piece of gear is a waterproof bag.
How to get to the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador?
To get to the Amazon in Ecuador you will most likely fly into Quito. Then you’ll catch another flight or take a bus to one of the main cities in the Amazon. From there you will probably go by canoe to your lodge.
There are two ways to get to Lago Agrio and Coca (two of Amazon’s main gateway towns) from Quito, the bus journey takes around 10-hours, with other shorter connections available to Tena. Flying is the quickest mode of transport, the flights depart each day, and the most visitors reaching El Coca or Lago Agrio by taking the short 40-minute flight from Quito, and then get on a riverboat that will take you pretty much as far into the Amazon as is possible within Ecuador.
From Quito, the closer Amazon Rainforest is only 4 hours away, by car or bus. You will reach the city of Tena, Misahualli or Puyo.
What should you pack for the Amazon Rainforest?
Knowing what to pack to your Jungle adventure is the big question, so let’s give you some guidance on the essentials.
- A proper rain poncho (it is much more useful than a jacket as it will also keep your daypack dry).
- Rubber boots (some lodges can provide you with these, but don’t take the risk, especially if you are a man with big feet). If you have already booked with a lodge, just ask them if they have your size.
- Lightweight long pants (not jeans) and long-sleeved tops, for avoiding insect bites (light color leggings work well for women).
- A hat, sunglasses, and sunblock will help you to prevent occasional sunburn.
- A good insect repellent is necessary (lemon eucalyptus or citronella oil work well if you want to avoid the chemicals in DEET-based products).
- A flashlight is necessary for night walks and nighttime bathroom trips (when there is often no electricity).
- Binoculars help with spotting birds and wildlife from a canoe.
- And some snacks to keep energy levels up on those treks!
IMPORTANT NOTICE: There is a low risk of malaria in Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest, and medication is not considered necessary. However, yellow fever vaccination is recommended (these last for life, so if you’ve ever had one, you’re covered). That should be discussed with your doctor. Going to a doctor who specializes in international travel. Are not necessary water purifier tablets in the Amazon, as all tourism projects provide drinking water.
As well as the tours on our page to the Amazon Rainforest, we also offer tailor-made tours to Ecuador. Our experts can put together your very own itinerary visiting the Rainforest with all the sites you want to see in Ecuador, with your preferred standard of accommodation, style of travel, and interest. Welcome to Ecuador! CONTACT US