Very early in the morning, we drove by car from Quito to the town Coca. Along the way I was already amazed by the mysterious landscape around Papallacta (4000 meters above sea level) and the special changes in flora and fauna when driving from the Andes area down to the Amazone area of Ecuador. Arrived in the humid Coca, we had some time to get used to the climate, fit the rubber boots they offered us and off course to check our last messages on our phones before we entered the no-WIFI and no-signal Yasuni jungle. Then, it was time to put on our life jackets and enter the luxurious motorboat with comfortable seats. Only 5 minutes in the boat watching the endless horizon of the NAPO river I already felt so comfortable and relax, nothing else mattered. After half an hour crossing the NAPO river we arrived at the sign where we had to enter a smaller river that would lead us to the Yarina lodge. Along the way on this narrow green river surrounded by enormous plants and trees, we already spotted some monkeys playing around, this was our first wildlife experience.
At the end of the small river, we saw a big hill with the restaurant and the beautiful lodges waiting for us. Getting out of the canoes, the staff helped us with our luggage and at the end of the stairs we had to climb to enter the restaurant, they gave us a delicious welcome drink. It even got better when they served the lunch. Fresh fish with vegetables and rice made with love, we could taste that and while enjoying the food we had some time to realize how special the place is.
After lunch and a siesta we went for a walk around the lodges and the guide explained us about the different plants and animals in the jungle surrounding the lodge.
In the evening, we had another delicious dinner and then it was time for us to get into the smaller canoes to the lake where we were surrounded by fireflies, one of the most romantic things I have experienced in my life so far. The view was so special. On our way back, we even got to see two bright eyes of a cayman watching us in the dark. Then, it was time to get a warm shower and have a rest in the comfortable lodges. The next day, after another wonderful breakfast, we went to the same lake to catch some pirañas and do some birdwatching. While entering the canoes, we already saw an eagle high in the trees and the typical ‘stinky birds’ of the jungle everywhere around us. Fishing pirañas was a super relaxing and peaceful activity and we even managed to catch two of them! After fishing pirañas and visiting the local school in the jungle, we had lunch again and it was time to go to one of the communities situated in the jungle. Entering the territory of the family, the guide explained us about some medical functions of the plants growing in the jungle, let us smell them and touch them. Arriving at the house, the woman of the family was already cooking the typical maito fish covered in banana plants and cleaning the jumping larves we were about to try later on. The maito was amazing. The larves, not the best thing I’ve ever ate but the experience was very special! After a last canoe ride through the jungle and a wonderful sunset view on the NAPO lake, it was time for dinner. After dinner, we had a short night walk and got the chance to see frogs and some interesting spiders. Perfect way to end this wildlife experience.
Unfortunately, after waking up very early to spot some monkeys sleeping in the tree next to the lodge, it was time to go back. We had a delicious bolón for breakfast, entered the luxurious motorboat again and went back to Coca and from there on to Quito. It was my first jungle experience and I will never forget it!
Are you interested in more information about this tour, click here to see the full itinerary.
With this video you can check the wildlife experience Yarina-Yasuni Eco-Lodge experience: