CUYABENO LODGE

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25 FACTS ABOUT THE AMAZON JUNGLE, ECUADOR

25 FACTS ABOUT THE AMAZON JUNGLE  OF ECUADOR YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  1. Why is Cuyabeno the best Amazon Jungle Park in the world

  2. There are many lodges. Why would I chose the Cuyabeno Lodge?

  3. Why would I use a travel agency service if I can do it all myself?

  4. Are all the programs to Cuyabeno the same?

  5. Is the Cuyabeno Lodge the same as the Cuyabeno River Lodge?

  6. Can we book on line?

  7. Am I allowed to fish in Cuyabeno?

  8. Cuyabeno or Yasuni?

  9. What is it that makes the Cuyabeno Lodge so special?

  10. How many species of birds have been registered?

  11. My eyes are good, why would I need binoculars?

  12. Is Cuyabeno right on the Equator?

  13. Does the lodge have electricity and can we charge the batteries of our cell/mobile phones, laptops, cameras?

  14. What about emergency situations?

  15. What about bugs, mosquitoes and malaria?

  16. Is it safe to tan in Ecuador?

  17. Is camouflage clothing better to see animals?

  18. What essentials to take along?

  19. Does the lodge get flooded during high water?

  20. Why don't we have air-conditioning?

  21. How difficult is it to move about?

  22. How does the local population benefit from the Lodge in Ecuador?

  23. Are there biological reference books at the lodge?

  24. How safe is Cuyabeno?

  25. What is Ecuador's climate like at the coast, the Andes and the Amazon?

Dear visitor, our website gives you info about the Cuyabeno Park, our Cuyabeno Lodge, and Ecuador in general. Our lodge lies on a little seasonal island in the Cuyabeno Lake, which is the prettiest spot in the most beautiful Amazon park in all of South America.  Here you can find our program and our prices. Our website has hundreds of high-resolution pictures of Cuyabeno and Ecuador, with thumbnails that open by clicking on them. Give our pages a if you love our pictures or find our info useful. That way you help others finding those pages too. 

 

10 ANSWERS

Why is Cuyabeno the best Amazon Jungle Park

Throughout the Amazon region, most national parks lack narrow rivers and can only be seen from very wide branches of the Amazon river and from trails through the jungle. When you are on a major branch of the Amazon River, you hardly feel you are in the tropical jungle because the shores are so far away.

If you walk on land in the Amazon jungle, you don't see very much. When looking up to the canopy, the contrast between the sky and the leaves are so intense, that the leaves almost seem black and animals are so high up in the trees, that you can hardly distinguish them. When you are on a major branch of the Amazon River, you hardly feel you are in the tropical jungle because the shores are so far away.

 

In Cuyabeno, on the other hand, the rivers shores are so close on both sides that you really feel inside the jungle, while the narrow rivers still provide sufficient opening to see the trees with beautiful daylight lighting. In other words, in Cuyabeno you see both the forest and the trees; therefore, exploring the Amazon rainforest from the water is much easier in Cuyabeno! No other national park in the Amazon region from Venezuela to Bolivia offers this kind of jungle experience and wildlife visibility from the water! That is why the Cuyabeno Amazon tours are the best in the world!

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There are many lodges. Why would I chose the Cuyabeno Lodge?

The Cuyabeno Lodge:

  • built in 1989, it was the first lodge in the reserve. As we had the first choice, we chose the best spot;

  • is one of the the very few lodges located on the Laguna Cuyabeno, where most of the excursions take place. Most other lodges are 30 - 45 minutes away from the lake and for each excursion they have to first travel to the lake in a noisy outboard propelled canoe, while we can run an whispering electrical canoe from our lodge on the lake;

  • is one of the few lodges providing 24 hour solar energy;

  • with a mobile phone (cell phone) antenna rising from our canopy tower on top of a hill, it has the best reception of all lodges, which facilitates emergency communication;

  • is located on one of the highest points around the lake and never gets flooded;

  • is the only lodge with a canopy observation tower on the lake;

  • is supported by conservation biologists who pioneered conservation and ecotourism in the reserve and in the country. Having started with our tours in 1986, they developed the best programs for the park;

  • hires all internal transportation and a variety of other services from the Siona Indians, thus sharing the tourism revenue benefits with the community.

  • is great value for money: Check our Check our Cuyabeno Lodge rates.

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Why would I use a travel agency service if I can do it all myself?

Nowadays, you can make all your travel arrangements yourself, but it takes time to find your information and organize it, particularly if you don't speak Spanish.

When you are in the country, your time is limited and your individual travel in-country destinations have cost you much more than their mere costs alone. Your air ticket, your vacation time, etc. are all part of the cost of each destination module. If something goes wrong with the coordination of the local transportation you have arranged, you may miss out on an entire element of your trip or even miss your return plane.

If a travel agent organizes your logistics and hotel, you have the peace of mind, that an organization takes care of your coordination and it doesn't costs you much extra and sometimes less. Neotropic Turis / Cuyabeno Lodge, finds your hotels and transportation to suit your specific needs: whether it is $25 or $125 per night hotel, we help you out.

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Are all the programs to Cuyabeno the same?

No, we have a variety of possibilities with the most popular being:

Standard 3 or 4 day packages, like the standard Amazon visits; and

the Ecuador Amazon Expeditions to Cuyabeno.

Additionally, one can have customized programs being developed for birdwatcher and other groups specifically interested in birds as well as other animals and/or plants.

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Is the Cuyabeno Lodge the same as the Cuyabeno River Lodge?

NO! The Cuyabeno Lodge was the first overnight facility built in Cuyabeno Faunistic Reserve. The Cuyabeno River Lodge was built near the Cuyabeno Bridge entry station, about 60 km upstream from the Laguna Grande. Our lodge is built on a hill on a seasonal island on the lake, overlooking the lake itself. Moreover, the Cuyabeno Lodge is managed by conservation biologists who know what the Amazon is all about. Of course you have to make your own choice, but if you want to to be lodged on the most scenic part of the reserve without having to shuttle back and forth all the time, the Cuyabeno Lodge is the best place to be.

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Can we book on line?

Our programs are rather customized and we try to accommodate your exact travel needs. To avoid misunderstandings, we don't offer an online credit card payment option. Just send an email to to make a reservation. For more details visit our reservations page. Prior to departure, visit our office in Quito at this location where you can proceed your payment.

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Am I allowed to fish in Cuyabeno?

This used to be permitted, but recently the National Park Service of Ecuador prohibited the catch and release policy. Now, only the Indians are allowed to fish and keep their catch for personal use.

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Cuyabeno or Yasuni?

With 14 lakes, Cuyabeno is more scenic, has better wildlife viewing, less travel time and is cheaper. Yasuni was originally selected for being the largest mostly uninhabited Amazon area in Ecuador. However, it is mostly hilly upland Amazon park. The rivers are fast running upland streams that lack charming slow flowing creeks necessary for wildlife observation. Cuyabeno has 14 lakes versus Yasuni only 2, none as charming as the Cuyabeno lakes. Most probably you will get many more species on your bird list in Cuyabeno than in Yasuni as it is easier to observe birds and wildlife from the water than from the forest. Moreover, it takes much more time to enter Yasuni, as you have to travel to the border with Peru to get into the lakes. That makes it much more costly and time consuming than getting into Cuyabeno.

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Amazon Jungle Lodge, Ecuador: Amazon Rainforest Map for the Amazon Jungle Lodge Ecuador

What is it that makes the Cuyabeno Lodge so special?

Our mission is to make the jungle more accessible for more people. One of the reasons why the Cuyabeno lakes were still natural when they were selected for their conservation was that before the construction of the present road to the border, they were totally  isolated from the outside world. This is different today, as it only takes a flight, of about 130 km  traveling over land and about 60 km over water to get to our Ecuador Amazon rainforest lodge.

 

Our Cabins have been designed to provide functional comfort to our guests, providing comfortable beds, mosquito netting and showers with hot water. Sleeping in Cuyabeno is in fact quite pleasant, as the reserve is still so close to the Andes, that the nights cool down to very comfortable temperatures. In fact, one needs sleeping under a light blanket, to be comfortable. 

 

Our lodge has been built within the reserve, and as we have been very ecologically aware: none of the wood for the cabins and other accommodations has come from ecologically sensitive areas. Every piece of building material came from a great distance from the reserve and had to be trucked  in to the entrance of the reserve and transported by canoe to the building site. Particularly the last part was a logistical nightmare and involved the skilled operations of our Siona friends. All the construction of the cabins and accommodations was done with maximum involvement of the Sionas. Our skilled master carpenter and other skilled workers trained them in carpentry and construction as we built. That way our construction cost twice as much, but we assured that our cabins and accommodations generated maximum economic benefits for the Sionas.

 

Cuyabeno Amazon Jungle Lodge, EcuadorCuyabeno Amazon Jungle Lodge: birdwatching Ecuador

Terrace of the Cuyabeno Amazon Jungle Lodge, EcuadorJungle photography at Cuyabeno Amazon Jungle Lodge, Ecuador visit

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How many species of birds have been registered?

At the moment, there are about 580 species bird known to the reserve, but nobody keeps records and the real number should be much higher. Of the other animals, there are no records at all. The guides of our  rainforest lodge, the Cuyabeno Lodge, are widely known for the knowledge about birds as well as other Amazon Jungle Animals and Amazon Rainforest Plants.

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My eyes are good, why would I need binoculars?

The Tropical rainforest is particularly about the small mammals and birds that move about in the trees. You can't even half appreciate your stay at Cuyabeno if you don't have a pair of binoculars around your neck all the time. You can't see the beautiful colors of the orchids and the hummingbirds, you miss the baby monkey on the back of its mom; you just sit there while you friends with binoculars are awestruck when a King Vulture soars by.

 

Without binoculars, you can share binox with a friend, you think. Great, so when s/he first spots a bird, you still sit there waiting anxiously until s/he is finished looking. And your friend does not feel relaxed, knowing that you are waiting to get a peak at the bird as well! Finally s/he turns over the binox to you. Ahhhh, what a petty, the bird has just flown away. So do yourself and your friends a favor, rent a pair of binoculars and double your jungle experience. It really is worth the $15 (for the entire period) of the rental.

Binoculars available at the Amazon Jungle Lodge in Ecuador Cuyabeno

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Is Cuyabeno right on the Equator?

Yes, Cuyabeno is right on the equator. We looked it up on Google Earth and the equator runs a little bit north of the lakes.

Location of the Cuyabeno Amazon Jungle Lodge in Ecuador

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Does the lodge have electricity and can we charge the batteries of our cell/mobile phones, laptops, cameras?

Yes, our lodge has a solar energy system that provides electricity 24 hours.

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What about emergency situations?

We have a mobile/cell phone installation with an antenna from our tower on top of our hill, which rises high above the surroundings; from there we can communicate with emergency services most of the time, but as we depend on external mobile phone services, there are occasional service fall outs. For very urgent situations, there are several locations where an emergency landing can be made by a helicopter. With an oil industry in the region, helicopters are stationed at relatively short flying distances. Moreover, their are military helicopters in the region.

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What about bugs, mosquitoes and malaria?

Mosquitoes are present, but strangely enough, rarely in large numbers and with the mosquito netting they rarely affect your sleep. You are advised to use  insect repellent. See our packing list. According to the 2012 World Health Ecuador report, malaria is in the range of 1 - 10 confirmed malaria cases per 1,000 inhabitants per year. For prophylactic treatment you should consult your medical provider. In general, the Cuyabeno Lakes are much better off than some of the areas farther to the East. (For instance, near the border with Peru, a lake is  called Zancudo Cocha, which means Mosquito Lake).  So we do have insects and mosquitoes, but as the lodge is elevated, mosquitoes are not as abundant as in the lower areas, while  other nocturnal insects are often beautiful and extremely interesting!

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Is it safe to tan in Ecuador?

There is more and more evidence that sunbathing may not be so good for you, BUT if you are Caucasian from Europe or North America, you will do it anyway, rightsmilie? So we will only give you some tips.

 

You will be on the Equator, where UV radiation is extremely high. You need to protect your skin, even if you are dark-skinned. Where a hat, not just a baseball cap, but something to protect your ears and neck. Don't wear sandals or walk on bear feet. You may end up with horribly painful feet if you expose the to the sun. Your feet get the most direct sunlight as they are exposed horizontally to the sun!

 

Always put on high grade sun block (don't forget the edges of your ears).  Accustom your skin to the sunlight by exposing it for no more than an hour the first day and add another hour everyday afterwards. Don't be fooled by an overcast sky, you can still get sun burn. Be particularly aware in the highlands, where the UV is even higher! On the water (Cuyabeno, Galapagos) the UV effect is greater. Also beware of wind, as it also tends to increase the sun burning of your skin.

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Is camouflage clothing better to see animals?

Camouflage clothing is NOT the best for the jungle! Most animals notice you anyway. In stead, wear white or light cloths. Mosquitos ( and Tse Tse Flies in Africa ) avoid white cloths and are attracted by dark cloths. Moreover, white reflects heat best. It does help lightly spraying your cloths with DEED, but its effect will wear off after a few hours.

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What essentials to bring along?

For this question list we link to our special vacation packing list.

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Does the lodge get flooded during high water?

There are only 2 lodges in the Cuyabeno Faunistic Reserve that can never get flooded. The Cuyabeno Lodge is one of them.

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Amazon Jungle Lodge, Ecuador: Amazon Jungle animals include Black Mantled Tamarins at Cuyabeno

Homo sapiens is not the only monkey species that has taken the Cuyabeno our Lodge as its preferred residence

 

Why don't we have air-conditioning?

 

Very Simple: because you don't need it. The Cuyabeno lakes are still so close to the foothills of the Andes, that the nights cool off considerably and in fact, usually they are quite comfortable. Most of the time, our visitors prefer sleeping under a light blanket.

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How difficult is it to move about?

Occasionally we get requests from visitors in a wheelchair. The Cuyabeno Lodge is not accessible for fully walking impaired visitors. The Lodge is located on a small insular hill and under those isolated conditions, it is impossible for us to make it accessible for wheelchairs, nor is it possible to make the motorized canoes wheelchair accessible.

 

Having said that, we went at great length to make our Amazon Jungle Lodge accessible for most visitors, by building a network of stairs and trails between all the buildings.  As the Cuyabeno lakes are located in an extremely flat region - the site of our lodge is the only exception -, none of the trails involve strenuous climbing.

 

For those who prefer to do so, we can arrange all our excursions within the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve from motorized canoes only, thus limiting walking to no more than 100 meters per day for visitors with limited walking abilities. Our guides are trained to be helpful whenever a visitor has some walking limitations.

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How does the local population benefit from this Amazon Jungle Lodge?

From the beginning, Neotropic Turis has involved the Siona Indians in the operations of the park. Already in 1989 it organized the first training course for the Indians in guiding visitors, spotting and identifying wildlife and birds, etc. Moreover, even though the lodge has a license to operate motorized canoes, it grants all transportation rights to the Sionas. When we built our Amazon Jungle Lodge in Ecuador, all work was carried out by Sionas under the guidance of  a master carpenters from elsewhere. This had about doubled the building costs as they would be with workers from elsewhere, but we felt it was important to provide opportunities to the Sionas.

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Are there biological reference books at the lodge?

Yes, we have the best biological reference books in the lodge available for consultation, including the Birds of Ecuador and other famous top quality field guides.

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How safe is the Cuyabeno Nature Reserve?

This is a very important question, about which I have written a full page: Cuyabeno, kidnapping and safety.

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Ecuador climate at the coast, the Andes and the Amazon

For detailed information on climate and weather conditions read: climate of Cuenca, Ecuador; climate Galapagos Islands in Ecuador; climate in the Amazon of Ecuador and climate of Ecuador. If you want to learn more about the country, read Ecuador Facts.

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Cuyabeno Lodge / Neotropic Turis Office in Quito, Ecuador:

Shyris Park Building, Av. de los Shyris N36-188 & Av. Naciones Unidas, Office 608, 6th floor.

Phone: (++593) (0)(2) 292 6153

Cell (mobile) phone: (++593) (0)999 80 3395

Map:

Find it on the Quito Map Zoom in, it is a very detailed map!

Email:

niks

Talk or chat with us on Skype:

cuyabenolodge

Cuyabeno Lodge brochure.

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