The Amazonian Rainforest, Ecuador

by Lynn & John Salmon <>{

Continuing our Middle of the World adventure in Ecuador we had time for one final adventure before returning home. We flew from Quito to Coca. The town called Coca is officially named Puerto Francisco de Orellana after the Spanish lieutenant general who is creditied with discovering the Amazon. We are met at the airport and take a short bus ride to a building near the boat launch. From here we board a motor boat with six other guests and an equal number of staff bound for Sacha Lodge. We head east approx 50 miles (1.5 hours) along the Napo River.

We arrive at a landing site where we need to walk approximately 1 mile, mostly along a raised boardwalk through a flooded palm forest. Our guide calls out, "Watcha, watcha, right, right..." to alert us to broken or missing boards. We arrive at a smaller boat dock and board canoes, 4 guests + 2 paddlers each, for the remainder of the journey to Sacha Lodge.

It is all very exciting and feels like a real adventure just getting to the lodging. The canoe ride ends at Pilchicocha Lake and we see the picturesque dining area of the lodge waiting for us on shore. We are served a welcome snack and meet our birding guide, Oscar Tapuy. It's another hike along raised boardwalks to our lovely cabin.

On our first evening we take a canoe ride around the lake and up some smaller water inlets to look and listen for birds for about 1.5 before returning and washing up for dinner.

The next morning we head out at 5:30am and make a 30 minute canoe trip to the Kapok Tree bird tower. We climb to the top of the tower at dawn and are dazzled by the number of birds first thing in the morning. Our guide, Oscar Tapuy and assistant, Bolivar are both excellent at spotting and id'ing the birds. We remain up top until 10am and then head back to the lodge via a 1 hour canoe paddle through the area.

We shower, lunch and take a break in our hammocks before a late afternoon outing to the canopy. During our break at the lodge we visit the butterfly house and also notice a bunch of leafcutter ants doing their thing along one of the trails. At 3:30pm we meet Oscar and Bolivar and walk to the canopy. On the way we see two cool looking crested owls doing their American Gothic impersonation. We also spot a three toed sloth hanging on the stairs leading down from the canopy walk.

It was an amazing birding day with 73 species in the morning, and 22 more in the afternoon.

The next day is equally good. With another early morning outing, we walk back to the Napo River boat landing and took a small motor boat up the Napo river to visit the clay parrot lick. Along the way we visited an island where we to see some birds that are found only there including Castelnau's antshrike and a rare sulphur-bellied flycatcher. You know you're having fun when the machete comes out to hack a path through the vegetation, but the jungle won and we didn't get very far. But far enough for John to become mired in quicksand.

Photos from the Amazonian Rainforest (June 26-29, 2019)

Return to our Middle of the World: Galapagos and Rainforests of Ecuador adventure.

Lynn & John Salmon <>{