Going to the Amazon was definitely one of the main drawcards of South America and we ummed and ahhed about which country to use as a springboard into the jungle. In the end it was Ecuador that best fit in with our travel plans so we ended up on a 5day/4night trip in the Cuyabeno Reserve (east of Quito). We managed to get an upgrade through the wonderful Carpedm Agency to Siona Lodge – one of the better ones in the region. ‘The Cuyabeno Reserve is a 603,380 ha lowland tropical rainforest in the Amazon region of Ecuador with some of the highest biodiversity on earth. It is the only Amazon park close to the Andes with a dense network of beautiful lakes and navigable creeks’ (stolen from WikiTravel to give you a bit of background).
Well the trip definitely exceeded our expectations, we saw so much interesting and unique wildlife – mainly due to our fantastic guide Naisar. He had such an amazing eye for spotting things even hundreds of metres away, his ability to identity the species of birds from their calls and mimic them also was very impressive. The Lodge itself was situated on the Lake and was very comfortable. It was so nice to fall asleep with the noises of the jungle right outside the door. We were lucky to have a small group – 9 of us for the majority of our stay.
Every time we were out in the boat, watching the sunsets or trekking through the bush I kept thinking how unbelievably awesome it was that we were here in the AMAZON. We can let the photos do the talking here but some of our highlights…seeing a 5-6metre Anaconda! sloths (they are very good at camouflaging high up in trees), fresh-water pink dolphins, squirrel monkeys, yellow handed titty monkeys, red howler monkeys (very rare to see – but often heard), caimans (alligators), giant catfish, tarantulas and of course thousands of birds!