Napo Wildlife Centre
Owned by the local community, the Napo Wildlife Centre jungle lodge is located within the Yasuní National Park - a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The Napo wildlfie centre provides virtually all of the Park's tourism income as it is the only lodge in the region to pay park fees.
The lodge itself is beautiful with local architecture and hardwood floors, and rooms are housed in private cabanas with terraces looking out to the lake, ceiling fans, private bathrooms and hot water showers. Guests eat together in the dining room, and can also make use of the library and bar.
Next to the bar is a fifty foot viewing tower with panoramic views across the Amazon and on a clear day, the Andes. Near the lodge are parrot clay licks (where parrots gather in numbers to nibble on the nutrients in clay) and a 120- foot canopy tower.
Why We Love It
The only way to access the lodge is via plane from Quito to Coca, followed by a motorised canoe journey for two hours down the Napo River, before finally reaching the lodge in small dugout canoes.
Anakonda Amazon River Cruise
The 148ft Anakonda Amazon River Cruise is the only luxury ship plying the waters of the Ecuadorian Amazon, and the perfect way to explore this incredibly remote region.
The boat has 18 large suites, with the smallest a not inconsiderable 215 square foot in size and all featuring comfortable seating areas, en suite bathrooms and panoramic windows.
The on board restaurant serves both Ecuadorian and international cuisine using, wherever possible, fresh, local produce. There is also a large observation deck with an al fresco lounge that is ideal for an evening a cocktail and also a Jacuzzi on deck.
This being a boat, there are set departures dates along the Amazon, and you can choose from four, five and eight-day itineraries to see such Amazonian highlights as Yasuni National Park, the Cuyabeno Wildlife reserve, and the Limoncocha and Pañacocha biological corridors.
A new and intrepid potential addition to the trips involves a night or more's glamping in the heart of the rainforest itself before returning to the boat. Each camp is set up on a wooden platform in a particular habitat on the riverbank, from where guests may see otters or black caiman with an expert local guide. Despite the wild nature of the surroundings, in keeping with the Anakonda ethos the accommodation is remarkably comfortable, with each tented camp including hot showers and gourmet meals.
Why We Love It
Guests have the opportunity to interact with as many as 15 of the local Amazonian communities, all the while enjoying the creature comforts of what is effectively a floating 5* hotel.
Accessed by light aircraft flight from Quito followed by a two hour motorised canoe journey, Sacha Lodge, in the heart of Ecuador's Amazon Basin, is a haven for nature lovers, birdwatchers, scientists and adventure seekers.
Despite its remoteness, the lodge provides comfortable accommodation, first-class meals and expert guides in the depths of the tropical rainforest.
Sacha Lodge was carefully designed to offer comfort while being sensitive to the environment. Each of the double cabins, with high thatched roofs and private shaded terraces complete with hammocks, is constructed with traditional materials and nestles well into the lush surroundings.
Electricity is provided by a distant generator, and the private bathrooms provide hot showers. All cabins are screened against insects, and contain ceiling fans above two comfortable double beds.
The Butterfly House is another key attraction, as is the lodge's parrot lick, where parrots congregate to eat clay full of nutrients.
Why We Love It
One of the lodge's highlights (literally) is the 135-foot observation tower allowing guests to climb into the treetops for a magnificent view of the surrounding area.
Located in the Amazon rainforest, Huaorani Ecolodge is one of the most remote in Ecuador, and a fantastic base from where to spend time with one of the most isolated ethnic groups on earth.
The lodge is owned by the indigenous Huaorani people, and is a great example of community based sustainable tourism, and the perfect place to see the Amazon than through the eyes of the people who live there. Guests can learn what it means to have a rainforest as a home, and the constant fight the Huaorani people have to preserve it.
Huaorani Ecolodge consists of cabins which can accommodate up to ten people, made with traditional materials sourced from the forest. Each cabin is fitted with a modern luxury tent, and has a pair of twin beds and a private bathroom with environmentally friendly soap and shampoo. The social areas include porches with comfortable chairs and hammocks.
The surrounding area is perfect for activities such as trekking in the remote Amazonian rainforest with local guides and multiple opportunities for wildlife viewing including rare rainforest frogs, toucans, monkeys and much more. Guests can also take a boat down a remote Amazonian river, and partake in a 'toxic tour' which gives an introduction to how the oil industry has impacted the Huaorani lands, including a visit to the border between the Huaorani territory that already occupied by the petroleum companies.
Why We Love It
Huaorani Ecolodge is only accessed by traditional dug-out canoe along a river through remote rainforests - one of the most spectacular arrivals imaginable.