The trip to la Casa del Suizo will depart from Quito at 7:30 am, and the first leg of your journey brings you to Papallacta, a small mountain village famous for its natural hot springs. Take some time to visit these springs for a soothing swim in their thermal waters before lunch. You will continue your journey along a scenic stretch of road which takes you out of the majestic Andes highlands and down into the “Oriente”, or Amazon region. Along the way there will be several opportunities to stop for photographs overlooking lush green valleys and beautiful sparkling waterfalls.
The road ends at Punta Ahuano, a tiny port town on the North bank of the Napo River, where canoes await for a late-afternoon 15-minute ride downstream to la Casa del Suizo. This evening get settled, and enjoy a sunset from your swimming pool with a refreshing welcome cocktail.
Today guests will have a choice between several morning, afternoon and full day activities at la Casa del Suizo. The programs will begin after an early breakfast, and will be led by both native and bilingual guides. At all times these guides will be on the lookout for tropical birds while pointing out important aspects of the surrounding vegetation. You'll hike through the shadowed jungle canopy learning about the medicinal uses of various plants, or visit the celebrated animal shelter, AmaZoonico, where you can get better acquainted with the local exotic wildlife. Your time in the rainforest can also include a float down the peaceful Rio Arajuno.
After breakfast board a motorized canoe for the journey down the Napo, taking you farther and farther away from the Andes and deeper into the pristine Amazon rainforests. During the ride it is easy to spot handsome shore birds such as herons, kingfishers, spoonbills and ospreys between the scattered native huts as the river slowly widens to a kilometer across! At a little more than halfway you will stop along the riverbank for a break and enjoy a box lunch before continuing on to Sacha.
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 where several species of monkeys are often sighted. This path leads to Pilchicocha lake, a black water paradise where you’d least expect to find any sign of people, but dugout canoes (and even paddlers) await to carry you across the lake to the Lodge. The cries of tropical birds lead you to your final destination, which magically materializes out of the jungle at the last possible moment. You will arrive with time to settle in, birdwatch, swim, or take a walk under the canopy before dinner.
Your days at Sacha Lodge are filled with discovery. During excursions, visitors are divided into small groups (max 6), each with its own native guide and bilingual naturalist. Native guides carry a lifetime of knowledge about the medicinal and functional uses of rainforest plants. They proudly display the wonders of their home environment, sometimes even offering a tasty treat like the strange lemon tasting ants that coexist in the stems of certain trees. Naturalists, educated in biology and ecology, translate for native guides and complement excursions with explanations of the scientific workings of the rainforest.
Sacha Lodge has something for everyone. A favorite activity includes paddling dugout canoes along blackwater creeks and lakes past luxuriant lianas, bromeliads, and enormous palms. Swimming and piranha fishing are also popular (the piranha here are harmless, really!). And for the adventurous Ecuador traveler, there are night walks and canoe trips in search of caiman and other nocturnal creatures.
Sacha Lodge offers a number of very unique sites to its visitors. A 130-foot observation tower and a 940-foot canopy walkway both give visitors a chance to get above the rainforest canopy for incredible views of the area. These areas are also great places to observe toucans and macaws and, with luck, spot noisy howler monkeys or a three-toed sloth. Another site is the butterfly house where over 40 local butterfly species are bred. Visitors can see the process of breeding and raising these colorful insects and wander through the "flying room." Finally, there's the Yasuni Parrot Lick. Just a short distance from Sacha Lodge is Ecuador's most famous parrot lick, where visitors can observe dozens of the magnificently colored birds feeding on the clay.
After an early breakfast, you'll head back up the Napo River for the flight back to Quito to complete your Amazon tour. At the airport, you'll be picked up and transferred to your hotel and have the evening free to enjoy Quito.
$735 single supplement