Since it's opening in 1991, Sacha has bought large expanses of pristine land around the Lodge and has so far accumulated a private reserve of 3200-acres of primary rainforest. In order to increase the buffer zone around this area, there are plans to purchase more land in the future. This area is being used exclusively for ecotourism and scientific investigation:
All guests are led by both a biologist guide and a native guide, and activities are designed to educate guests on rainforest flora, fauna, ecosystems, cultures and their fragile balance. Several ornithologists have used our installations as a research base, and studies are also being done on several species of Lepidoptera at the Lodge's butterfly farm.
Sacha Lodge's maximum capacity is 40 guests, and this number will not grow. During walks in the forest, groups are kept small (6-8 people) and follow several well-dispersed trails where very few guests pass each week. No motors are used on the Lodge's lakes or creeks, and the building materials necessary for maintenance are brought in from the town of Puerto Francisco de Orellana, located at a distance of 50 miles. Drinking water is treated with filters and heat (rather than chemicals), and plastic garbage and dead batteries are sent out the way visitors come in.
The journey to Sacha Lodge begins in Quito, Ecuador's capital city. From here, a 45-minute flight takes you over the Andes Mountains' majestic snow-covered peaks and down over 8500 feet (2600 meters) into the town of Puerto Francisco de Orellana. Here, a covered motorized canoe will be awaiting you for a 21/2-hour, 50-mile (80-kilometer) trip down the Napo, the largest river in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Along the way, you will feast your eyes upon the numerous shore birds, including herons, kingfishers, spoonbills and ospreys. Upon arrival to Sacha Lodge's 3200-acre (1300-hectare) private reserve, guests will take their first walk along a raised boardwalk through dense flooded palm forest to Pilchicocha lake, a blackwater paradise where dugout canoes (and even paddlers!) await to carry you to the Lodge.
Sacha Lodge takes pride in the international quality of its meals, and our chefs will be happy to prepare special dishes for vegetarians.
Sacha Lodge's guests will be divided into small groups, each of which will be led by a native guide with expert knowledge of the rainforest's medicinal and other useful plants, and a bilingual naturalist guide, educated in the biology and ecology of the area. Activities are spread out over a wide area and allow visitors to explore several distinct but equally fascinating habitats.
Your days at Sacha usually begin at sunrise or earlier so as to take advantage of the cool morning hours when the rainforest’s animals are most active. Each group may decide on is own waking and breakfast hours, as well as the level of difficulty and length of outings. In the afternoon, visits begin between 3:00 and 4:00 and often continue into the evening, when you will be serenaded by the nocturnal insects and frogs.
One of Sacha Lodge's highlights is our 130-foot (40-meter) observation tower, which allows guests to climb into and above the rainforest canopy for a magnificent view of the surrounding area. From the tower's ample platform it is possible to observe toucans, parrots, and dozens of other colorful bird species in the treetops. With some luck, noisy howler monkeys or the gentle three-toed sloth may also be seen, especially with the aid of a powerful telescope provided by your guides.
The tower may be reached on foot via a half-hour walk through terra firme forest, although no one can miss out on at least a one-way trip to or from the tower along Orchid Creek, Pilchicocha Lake's natural black water runoff to the Napo River. In a dugout canoe guests may follow this winding stream through untamed palm forest for about an hour, a trip that many choose to repeat.
In recent years Sacha Lodge has become a favorite destination of both professional and amateur ornithologists. Over 500 species of birds have been registered in the area, and from the tower platform our bird specialist guides have on several occasions reported seeing over 80 species in a single morning!
Sacha Lodge is home of one of the largest butterfly farms in Ecuador. Designed as a live exhibition conservatory, the Butterfly House is now successfully breeding nearly 40 local butterfly species. Guests will be shown how these beautiful insects are bred and raised, and later be free to wander through "the flying room", where hundreds of colorful butterflies including spectacular blue morphs flutter from flower to flower.
At a short distance from Sacha Lodge is Ecuador's most accessible parrot lick, an exposed clay bank where brightly colored parrots of several different species gather in the early morning. In ideal conditions (sunny and dry), the parrots will often perch on and eat the exposed clay. On an ideal morning hundreds of parrots can be seen gathering around this bank between 7:00 and 8:00 for a spectacular show of sound and color.
The lick is located on the edge of Yasuni National Park, which may be reached from Sacha by a one half-hour motorized canoe trip down the Napo River.