Discover the mysteries of Amazonian Ecuador at Napo Wildlife Center, strategically situated on the banks of the Anangucocha, a blackwater lake within Yasuni National Park. Just 82 square miles of this 2.5-million-acre park have been set aside as a private reserve. It has been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and listed among the most biologically diverse regions on earth.
The lodge was founded as a partnership between the Quichua-speaking Añangu community and the EcoEcuador Foundation but is now fully owned by the indigenous population. From the onset, the community members were actively involved in the design and construction of Napo Wildlife Center and many are currently employed as guides and lodge staff.
Napo Wildlife Center is accessed via a 30-minute flight from Quito to Puerto Francisco de Orellana (known locally as Coca). Here you are met by an English-speaking naturalist guide and accompanied a short distance to the pier to board a motorized canoe for the 50-mile journey downstream. At the entrance to the reserve, transfer to a dugout canoe which is leisurely paddled upstream for your first introduction to the flora and fauna of the rain forest. Amidst the silence of the swamps and mangroves you may spot a few of the 500-plus species of birds and 11 species of monkeys that have been recorded at Napo.
Each of the ten cabanas include a king-size bed and one twin bed with ventilated mosquito netting, on-demand hot water, 24-hour electricity generated by solar power and generators, ceiling fans, and a private porch with hammock. Meals are served in the thatch-roofed dining hall which features a 50-foot tower with 360-degree viewing opportunities.
Highlights of a stay at Napo include exploring the lakes and creeks by dugout canoe; visits to two of Ecuador's most accessible parrot clay licks, which are an exclusive part of the lodge's reserve; and a bird's-eye view from a 12-story tower built within the canopy of a huge ceiba tree. Excursions begin at dawn when the rain forest comes alive and to avoid the midday heat and humidity.