Napo Wildlife Centre and Sacha Lodge

NB: All pics on this site taken by us and are therefore subject to copyright ©NotDeadYetTravel

After our delightful excursion around the Galapagos, we took a few more days away from the world of work to revisit the Amazon. We previously tagged time onto our jaunt to Peru a few years ago for a similar excursion and, while the experience was memorable, it was not altogether enjoyable.

Armed with a little more knowledge and placing our faith in our trusty tour operator, CNH Tours of Canada, we set off for the Ecuadorian Amazon as opposed to the Peruvian.

The flight from Quito to Coca was short and wonderfully uneventful. The airport proved to be equally relaxed and understated, more like a sleepy railway station than the starting place for an adventure. Our luggage was stowed into the back of a lorry, we were stowed in a reasonably comfortable coach and all arrived unscathed at our point of departure some 20 minutes later. A quick comfort break and we boarded our motorised canoe for our journey along the wide, wonderful Napo River. Lunch was provided on the way and two hours later we were off loaded at the Napo Wildlife Centre’s dock where we disembarked briefly before being loaded into paddled canoes for the final leg of the journey, past densely packed river banks teaming with wildlife.

Does all that sound tedious? Well, believe me, it really wasn’t. True, there were no ooh, aah moments, nothing rose up from the deep to astound us or flew past us in majestic splendour but everything was carried out with quiet efficiency by people who knew what they were doing. Anyone who has travel extensively will know what a relief it is not to have to concern yourself with timings and destinations. On this trip you go with the flow – literally.

As we emerged from the river, a great lake opened out in front of us and there at the edge was a neat row of thatch covered lodges with a tall observation tower behind them.


Pictured: The lodges viewed from the lake

Pictured: The lodges viewed from the observation tower

The photos of this trip really tell the story. The accommodation was splendid – far more luxurious than either of us expected – large beds, swathes of mosquito netting, decent bathroom, small sitting area and expansive balcony overlooking the lake all came as standard. There was even a glass observation section of the floor from were we could watch fish and turtles swimming under our feet.

Pictured: The view from our lodge                                            

Pictured: My splendidly comfortable bed

Every day we went on trips along the river or through the forest or up an observation tower. It was never boring, never too much, never too little – just a delight from start to finish. Every evening at dinner we sat with our guide and filled in the Ecuadorian equivalent of an I-spy Amazonian Wildlife book- which cost us 20$ but, hey, we’re on holiday. The food, by the way, was plentiful, freshly prepared and well cooked with lots of choice.

We were at Napo for three nights and for us that was enough. Some people were on a special bird watching package and they stayed longer as did others who had chosen to chill for a few extra days, enjoying more river jaunts and jungle walks.

Pictured: An excursion Amazon style



Pictured: A river cruise

Pictured: Colourful river plants

Our trip also included a visit to the Kichwa Anangu were we met some of the villagers, learnt a little of their lives and customs and bought a few of the bracelets and handicrafts they had made. Truth to tell, I am not very keen on this type of visit. I always feel I am intruding in the lives of people who have better things to do than perform for tourists but it gives them a small income and maybe creates a little link between us all.

Our journey back home was mercifully uneventful. Things were a little slow at the airport but nothing the seasoned traveller isn’t used to.

If you decide to take a similar trip, on your return to Quito head straight for the Wyndham Hotel to await your flight home. Unless you still have sights to see, travelling further is really not worth the effort.