While Ecuador holds a small slice of the Amazon Basin, it has incredibly rich wildlife. Whether you head to the country’s wildlife reserves, or to the unprotected but still wild jungles, staying in an eco-lodge only adds to the experience. Here’s our pick of the best.
The Cuyabeno Eco-Lodge, also called Nicky Lodge, is the highest rated lodge in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, a national park located in the far north-east of Ecuador. They offer tours from four to seven days, combining wildlife observation with visits to a local Kichwa community.
Siona Lodge provides rustic accommodation on the shore of one of the lakes in the Cuyabeno Reserve. Tourists arrive by boat on the Cuyabeno River for a stay of either four or five days. Trips are a combination of cultural immersion with wildlife viewing.
Operated in partnership with the native Siona community, Tapir Lodge operates in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. Their rooms are located in two towers, 15 meters (50 feet) high, and place visitors in the tree canopy rather than at ground level.
La Selva Amazon Ecolodge & Spa, Garzacoha | Courtesy of La Selva
La Selva Amazon Eco-Lodge, located on the north bank of the Napo River, is a top-rated destination for Yasuni National Park. Offering similar wildlife and cultural experiences to those of other jungle lodges, La Selva adds a spa experience, with masseuses trained in a wide variety of treatments, sunset cruises on the lagoon, and romantic, candlelight dinners.
Located on the border of the Yasuni National Park, Sacha Lodge has built towers and connecting canopy walks so that visitors can see the jungles from a unique perspective. This is one of the few lodges that tailors programs to the visitor, allowing you to chose among a variety of wildlife viewing opportunities, outdoor adventure, and community visits.
Sani Lodge is located within a primary rainforest reserve on the border of the Yasuni National Park. It is one of the few jungle locations owned 100% by the local community. They offer trips running as short as three days to as long as eight days, providing both traditional rooms and tent camping.
Winner of the 2018 Condé Nast Johansens Award for Best Green Practices and Sustainability, the Napo Wildlife Center offers sustainable tourism in the pristine jungles of the Yasuni National Park. They offer wildlife tours, cultural tours, or combination of the two on four- and five-day package tours.
While the Kapawi Eco-Lodge operates outside of the national parks, it is located in primary jungle belonging to the native Achuar, an indigenous tribe with roots in both Peru and Ecuador. Trips to Kapawi include visits to the local community, kayaking local rivers, and hiking jungle trails.
Yachana Lodge is one of the few jungle destinations reachable by bus or car as well as by boat. They offer four- and five-day package tours that blend primary rainforest hikes and wildlife observation with visits to local tribes and introductions to indigenous culture. They are closely associated with the non-profit Yachana Foundation which teaches sustainable eco-tourism to help alleviate poverty in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador.
The non-profit Wildsumaco Lodge is located in the Rio Pucuno Valley on a mountain ridge bordering the high Andes to the west and the low Amazon Basin to the east. Some of the best birdwatching in Ecuador takes place on their small wildlife reserve. Some wild animals, like the Napo Tamarin monkey and the Black Agouti, visit daily while others like tayra, coati, and several other monkey species come by on a less scheduled basis. This unpretentious location is accessible by land transportation and is located near the Sumaco National Park.