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6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS [REVIEW]

Why are the Cuyabeno River Tours the best for wildlife and birdwatching in the Amazon Rainforest?

This is why...

Most animals live in the crowns of the trees. When you are in the jungle, those animals are really hard to spot and watch. In fact, when you look up you don't see all that much at all. The light of the sky is so bright, that the leaves of the trees look almost black and you will find it hard to spot birds and monkeys. Moreover, you have to carry your bird book and camera equipment all the time, either in your hand or in a carrying case.

 

On the other hand when you are in a sitting in a canoe on a narrow river, the light breaks through onto the trees, shrubs, and vegetation along river. Birds and wildlife often descent to much lower levels giving you a much closer look at them, while more light aluminates them. This is why watching birds and wildlife from a canoe on a river is much more effective, as the animals hop from branch to branch in the vegetation along the river banks.

 

Now why is Cuyabeno different from other nature reserves...

  • Only Amazon nature reserve along the entire Andes-Amazon region with flat flooded forest traversed by slow-flowing streams and an abundance of lakes. Such conditions don't exist elsewhere in the foothills of the Andes. This distinguishes Cuyabeno from other nature reserves in other Andean-Amazonian countries!

  • The abundance of water, creates conditions aquatic animals one will rarely find in the Andean foothills, like: Dolphins, Manatees, Capybaras, Cayman, Ducks, Cormorants, Herons, etc.

  • Observing wildlife and watching birds from a canoe is much convenient than from a trail with all your handbooks and equipment for birdwatching and photography close at hand.

 

But there is more...

  • The road from Lagoagrio to Cuyabeno is paved. Travel distances over water are considerably shorter than along Yasun? National Park;

  •  All Our tours are organized by small indigenous communities of the Cofan and Siona people;

  • Our tours are so child friendly, I took my grandchildren (3,5 & 6) there and boy did they have a ball!

We organize the following Cuyabeno River tours:

  1. 5 DAYS' CUYABENO RIVER TOUR;

  2. 4 DAYS' STANDARD COFAN LODGE TOUR;

  3. 7 DAYS' LAGARTO COCHA TOUR;

  4. 4 DAYS CUYABENO LAKE TOUR;

  5. 5 DAYS CUYABENO LAKE TOUR;

  6. PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION QUITO LAGOAGRIO.

 

5 DAYS' CUYABENO RIVER TOUR

FROM CUYABENO BRIDGE TO THE RIVER MOUTH

A 200 KM Cuyabeno expedition takes you on the Aguarico River,  the Zabalo River and along the entire Cuyabeno Rivervia Lake Cuyabeno all the way to the Park Entrance at the Cuyabeno Bridge. You will be spending 2 nights in the Cofan Lodge in the Cofan village Zabalo and 2 nights in the famous Cuyabeno Lodge.

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve with Cuyabeno Loop route.

Cuyabeno River Tour map.

The first 2,5 days are shared in the Cofan area of the Aguarico and Zabalo Rivers of the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.  On  the third day, the Cuyabeno Loop continues to the Cuyabeno Lake region of the park, while the standard program remains in the Zabalo region.

 

Cuyabeno River Tour, day 1

Our transport meets you in Lagoagrio to take you in about 1 hour 30 minutes to the the canoe landing location Nuevo Uni?, on the Aguarico River.

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Aguarico River landscape.6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Cofan tourist canoe.

Cuyabeno River Tour takes you on a 200km expedition along the Western  part of the reserve.

Tourist on the Cuyabeno River Tour.

 

The Cuyabeno River tour begins with a stop in Zabalo, where visitors are given a tour of the village and shown to their cabins for some much-needed rest after a long journey from Quito. Take some time to freshen up and recharge before embarking on the exciting adventures that await you on the river.

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Cofan Lodge Restaurant.6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Cofan Lodge Cabin.

Cofan Lodge traditional group house.

Comfortable cabins in Zabalo.

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Resting in hammocks at the Cuyabeno Lodge when visiting the Amazon in Ecuador.6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Z?alo village

Having fun in one of the hammocks.

Cofan village.

 

After dinner, enjoy a night excursion and learn about nocturnal animals.

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Tree Frog of the Amazon Jungle seen on a night excursion when visiting the Amazon in Ecuador.6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Nocturnal amazon animal found on an Amazon visit in Ecuador

There are many tree-frogs, but it is always hard to spot them.

Whip spiders are not spiders, but related to Scorpions, but without the poisonous tail. They are totally harmless.

 

You'll be surrounded by the sounds of nature, including the croaks of tree frogs. While they may be difficult to spot, the thrill of finally capturing one on camera is worth the effort. And if you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the elusive Ocelot Cat, with its piercing green eyes shining in the beam of your flashlight.

 

Cuyabeno River Tour, day 2

The next day rise early to make the most of your tour and experience the beauty of the Zabalo River, one of the few black water rivers in Ecuador. The clear dark water creates the perfect environment for Giant Otters to thrive. The river gets its dark color from the decaying leaves of the surrounding forests and swamps, with little to no sediment. Keep your eyes peeled for the Scarlet Macaws and a diverse array of tropical birds and monkeys that call this area home.

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Cuyabeno Lodge welcome sign welcoming you on your Ecuador Amazon visit6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Black water of the Zabalo River mixes with white water of the Acuarico.

The Zabalo River has some of the best black water conditions in Ecuador.

At the river mouth the dark water of the river mixes coffee with mild colored water of the Aguarico River.

 

Cuyabeno River Tour, day 3

Experience the unique culture of the Cofan people with a day full of traditional activities. Learn the art of using a blowgun and witness the beauty of the Cofan dresses. Immerse yourself in their customs and traditions for a truly unforgettable experience.

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Cuyabeno Entry station for Amazon Visitors in Ecuador6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Children of visitors and of the village with the Cofan Shaman.

Learning to use a blowgun.

Cofan shaman with children of the village.

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Z?alo vegetable garden.6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Turtles in the turtle captive breeding coral.

Cofan kitchen garden.

Turtles are raised to restore the population in the reserve.

 

Later in the day you embarking on a journey to the Cuyabeno River mouth, where you may spot some playful river dolphins. Then, head to the Canopy tower for a breathtaking view of the lush natural canopy.

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: The mouth of the Cuyabeno River.6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: The Cuyabeno Canopy Tower.

Amazon Dolphins love hanging out at a river mouth where there are more fishes to catch.

The observation tower in Cuyabeno gives you a breathtaking view over the jungle.

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Canopy tower platform.6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: view from the canopy tower.

A fabulous view from the top of the tower.

Most species in the jungle live high up in the crowns of the trees.

From this poit, the program splits into:

  • Cofan standard program or the

  • Cuyabeno River Tour

4 DAYS' STANDARD COFAN LODGE TOUR

The standard program continues operating from the Cofan Lodge with fabulous excursions in the southern part of the reserve.

 

Day 4

On day four of the standard program takes you back to the beginning of the tour from where you return to Quito.

 

5 DAYS' CUYABENO LOOP CONTINUATION

Day 3 Cuyabeno River Tour

After climbing the tower, the Cuyabeno river tour navigates upstream all the way to the Cuyabeno Lagoon. There the program is being carried out by one of the lodges near the lagoon, such as the famous the Cuyabeno Lodge.

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Port of Entry for a visit of the Amazon in Ecuador at Cuyabeno6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Macrolobium trees at Lake Cuyabeno.

The Cuyabeno River Tour navigates up the Cuyabeno river.

Macrolobium trees dominate the swamps along the Cuyabeno lagoon. Seeming life-size Bonsai trees they are covered with epiphytes.

 

By the time you reach the lodge, you can enjoy a hot shower to recover from the ride before taking a swim in the lagoon in the late sun light.

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Swimming at the Cuyabeno Lake during your Amazon visit in Ecuador6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Make great friends at the Cuyabeno Lodge when visiting the Amazon in Ecuador.

Nothing like a refreshing swim at the lagoon and have fun with your companions of the tour.

Great meals at the Cuyabeno Lodge.

 

The Cuyabeno Lagoon offers a unique opportunity to explore the nocturnal wildlife in the Macrolobium swamps. Take a night excursion and keep an eye out for the glowing orange eyes of cayman and other creatures that come out to become active after dark.

 

Cuyabeno River Tour, day 4

After a delicious breakfast, you go on an excursion to watch the birds and wildlife the Cuyabeno lagoon. Have a keen eye open for manatee, the rare grey Amazon Dolphins with the shark-like dorsal fins and Giant Otters.

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Amazon Manatee at Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Amazon dolphin on an Amazon visit in Ecuador

Most of the time you will be able to spot a Amazon Dolphins (of course no we can never guarantee this) or maybe if you are very lucky, even a Manatee.

 

 

The tranquil waters of the lake are often disturbed by the noisy flight of Blue and Yellow Macaws, while the Hoatzins quietly search for food in the Macrolobium trees. The haunting calls of Howler Monkeys can also be heard, and if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a troop of squirrel monkeys leaping through the treetops. With a total of 10 monkey species recorded in the reserve, there's no shortage of wildlife to discover.

 

Bird and wildlife watching

 

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Amazon visitors enjoy orchid at Cuyabeno, Ecuador6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Cactus flower at the Amazon in Ecuador.6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Amazon rainforest plants include the Orchids growing in Cuyabeno. 6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Heliconia in the Amazon tropical Rainforest seen when visiting the Amazon in Ecuador.

6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Blue and Yellow macaws can be frequently seen when visiting the Amazon in Ecuador.6 BEST CUYABENO RIVER TOURS: Black Mantled Tamarins at Cuyabeno Lodge, your comfortable hotel when visiting the Amazon in Ecuador.

Blue and yellow Macaws frquent the Cuyabeno Lagoon.

Black-Mantled Tamarins may visit the lodges to steal fruits form the kitchen.

 

CUYBANO RIVER TOUR: Chesnut-fronted Parrots are common in the Amazon.CUYABENO RIVER TOUR: Patoos are so well-camouflaged, they are rarely flushed from their roosts.

Chestnut-fronted Parrots are among the 550 species known to Cuyabeno.

The Common Patoo is a relative of night hawks. Extremely well camouflaged, they totally ignore tourists.

 

Cuyabeno River Tour, day 5

As your  Cuyabeno River Tour comes to a close on day five, you may find yourself wishing for more time in this beautiful and unique ecosystem. some visitors even return for longer stays, drawn back by the stunning scenery and diverse wildlife. However, it will be time to depart in the morning to ensure you make it back to Lagoagrio for your transportation back to Quito. You'll travel by canoe up the Cuyabeno River to the park's main entrance, the "Cuyabeno Bridge", where your ride will be waiting to take you to the airport or bus station.

 

2023 COFAN LODGE / CUYABENO LODGE / PARKS AND TRIBES PRICES

PARKS AND TRIBES AMAZON PROGRAMS

WHAT's INCLUDED?       HOW TO GET TO THE AMAZON?

COFAN LODGE PROGRAMS

COFAN LODGE STANDARD PROGRAM

DURATION STAY

Prices per person in US$

4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS

$ 499

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers.

 

CUYABENO DAY TRIP NEW!

DURATION STAY

Prices in US$

1 DAY

$ 99

Discounts for families with children

NAPO RIVER CRUISE NEW!

DURATION STAY

Prices per person in US$

3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS

$ 450

LAGARTOCOCHE EXPEDITION NEW!

DURATION STAY

Prices per person in US$

4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS

$ 450

Departure from Nuevo Rocafuerte at the border with Peru. There is a daily rapid public boat services between Coca and Nuevo Rocafuerte for about $50 (not included).

 

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers.

 

CUYABENO LOOP

DURATION STAY

Prices per person in US$

5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS

 

Standard room at the Cuyabeno Lodge part (nights 3 &4)

$ 799

Standard room in the Cofan Lodge (nights 1 & 2) and Deluxe room at the Cuyabeno Lodge (nights 3 & 4)

$ 899

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers.

 

CUYABENO LODGE PROGRAMS

CUYABENO LODGE STANDARD PROGRAM

DURATION

Prices per person in US$

3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS

 

Standard room (17 m2, private bathroom, shared balcony)

$ 280

Standard room Plus (±20 m2, private bathroom, shared balcony)

$ 350

Deluxe room (25m2, private bathroom, private balcony in the tower)

$ 370

Suite (36m2, private bathroom, private balcony)

$ 390

 

 

4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS

 

Shared budget room (Dormitory shared among 4 people, shared bathrooms)

$ 280

Standard room (17 m2, private bathroom, shared balcony)

$ 390

Standard room Plus (±20 m2, private bathroom, shared balcony)

$ 430

Deluxe room (25m2, private bathroom, private balcony in the tower)

$ 480

Suite (36m2, private bathroom, private balcony)

$ 510

 

CUYABENO ADVENTURE

 

DURATION

Prices per person in US$

5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS

 

Shared budget room (Dormitory shared among 4 people, shared bathrooms)

$ 340

Standard room (17 m2, private bathroom, shared balcony)

$ 420

Standard room Plus (±20 m2, private bathroom, shared balcony)

$ 535

Deluxe room (25m2, private bathroom, private balcony in the tower)

$ 595

Suite (36m2, private bathroom, private balcony)

$ 635

Single occupancy surcharge (for the entire trip)

$ 100

Individual bookings are WELCOME

 

QUITO - LAGOAGRIO

(or visa versa)

PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION

 

Prices in US$

One way per party price from or to Quito. Group Price for parties of 2 - 7 to the park entrance (minivan) who share the costs.

$ 300

One way Coca to Park entrance per taxi (Japanes size). Minimum 2 maximum 4 A 6 persons minivan is also available.Luggage capacity for carry-ons only.

$ 120 / $150

 

NATIONAL PARKS TOUR PROGRAM

DURATION STAY

Prices in US$

OPTION A: Complete national Parks Tour (10 days). From

$ 1399

OPTION B: After Machalilla return to Quito (6 days). From

$ 999

OPTION C: After Machalilla return to Quito (6 days) via Chimborazo Wildlife Reserve (7 days). From

$ 1099

OPTION D: Start and finish in Guayaquil (5 days). From

$999

OPTION E: Start in Cuenca and Finish in Guayaquil (5 days). From

$ 999

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers.

 

LIMA CUSCO MACHU PICCHU

DURATION STAY

Prices in US$

6 or 7 days (subject to flight itineraries). From

$ 1199

Prices are based on a minimum of 2 passengers.

 

Cuyabeno River Tour

COFAN LODGE AND PARKS & TRIBES Joined office:

Street: Calle Las Casas, Side street: Jose Coudrin, 2 blocks above the Occidental Highway

Cantón Quito, Prov. Pichincha, Parroquia Belisario Quevedo

Tel: (++593)(02) 2 2324 4086, Cell phone: (++593) (0) 99 283 2187 Whatsapp: (++)1 304 901 0718

Download:Cofan Lodge brochure.

Email: info@cofanlodge.com

Skype: daanvreugdenhil