There is nothing like waking up to the sound of Howler monkeys and watching the sunrise over the lush rainforest that rests within the 100 million-year-old Amazon Basin. Thousands of backpackers from all over the globe come to South America’s Amazon every year so they can scratch another Wonder of the World off their bucket list.
The Amazon contains the world’s most complex ecosystems and is home to hundreds of different species of birds, reptiles, fish, animals, and insects. You can spot colorful parrots, butterflies, centipedes, millipedes, snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, monkeys, sloths, jaguars, pink dolphins, and many other creatures that are unique to this area.
The Amazon rainforest encompasses so many different species of plants and trees that have many different medical and practical uses. You could spend years exploring these robust jungles and discovering all the unique treasures that they have to offer.
Most backpackers do their Amazon tour in Peru, Bolivia, or Brasil. I had big plans to make my Amazon trip in Peru from Iquitos because it was a favorite spot for budget backpackers to explore, and the tours from there are inexpensive. I changed my plans when a hostel owner from Quito convinced me to do my Amazon excursion in Ecuador. He told me that the resorts in Ecuador are more secluded than ones done in other countries. The same person sent me on a tour of the Galapagos Islands a few years prior. This Galapagos trip was incredible, so I have gained a lot of respect for this man’s opinion.
The Amazon Jungle tour that I did cost me a little bit more to do in Ecuador because of the high US dollar(Ecuador’s official currency), but it was still excellent value and worth the extra money.
Cuyabeno National Park
The tour that I did with Nicky Amazon Lodge is located in eastern Ecuador on the lower part of the Aguarico River, bordering Colombia and Peru. There are a lot of other great companies in this area that you can organize an Amazon tour with, but I decided to go with this company because they have the most remote location.
How To Get There
The first thing that you need to do is get to Lago Agrio where the tours all start. There are two ways to get to Lago Agrio from Quito, fly(1hour) or take the bus(8hours).
The tour company that I used offered to book a flight from Quito to Lago Agrio for me at the cost of $100USD one way. But I was on a tight budget at the time, so I had them book a bus ticket for me costing $20USD. I took the night bus from Quito’s central bus station, which arrived in the early hours of the morning. When I arrived in the town of Lago Agrio, there were a lot of other travelers there all waiting at the same meeting point for their tour guides from the various companies.
Nicky Amazon Lodge
My group and I got picked up by a tour company van at the meeting point around 9:30 a.m. in Lago Agrio. We did a quick stop at the airport to pick up a few other companions and then drove 2 hours to Tierras Orientales. From here we traveled by canoe along the Black Water River to Nicky Lodge(3hours).
I was impressed with the accommodation set up. The Lodge had a series of huts with a boardwalk in the middle that leads to a big lounging area where all the meals were cooked and served. The cabin that I stayed in had two beds, and a bathroom complete with a sink and shower.
Amazon Tour (Aguarico River)
There are a few different tours that you can do with this company. I did a tour that was four days three nights and cost me around $300 USD including meals and accommodation. If you want to see the prices for other tour companies that are in the area, then you can do research them on Trip Advisor.
The tour started off with an orientation and introduction with our naturalist guide then we were given a pair of rubber boots to keep for the duration of our time at the lodge. I liked the idea of having the boots to protect my feet from spiders, snakes and from stepping on shape objects while on jungle excursions.
The staff at the lodge were great! They cooked us three tasty meals a day and kept the resort tidy. Every day our tour guide had different adventures planned for us, like canoe rides, jungle hiking, piranha fishing, and night walks. We saw many different animals and exotic creatures during the four-day tour. Our guide taught us about the various plants and trees in the jungle that locals use for medical purposes.
I liked the different night excursions the best. We did a night walk around the lodge where we found some scorpions and other neat creatures including some Camins. On our last evening, our guide took us to see an amazing sunset from on top of a bird watching tower.
Overall I enjoyed this tour. I was glad that I went with this company because the guides and staff were excellent. And the lodge is further away from the national park entrance, so we did not see any people from the other tours going on in the area. This tour was in a small group which made it very relaxing, and peaceful.
I’ve talked to backpackers that did tours with other companies in the area, and everybody seemed to of had a great experience as well. I think the best way to pick a good Amazon tour is to ask other backpackers for recommendations and read some reviews on TripAdvisor.
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