Recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1989, Yasuní is home to incredible animals like jaguars, giant anteaters, frogs, anacondas, birds, butterflies, and much more. The park alone has more amphibian species than the U.S. and Canada combined. Such concentrated ecodiveristy can’t be found anywhere else and gives visitors an invaluable understanding of the importance of conservation.
Along with thousands of species of plants and animals, Amazonian people have fascinated western civilization for centuries. Yasuní is home to an indigenous people named Huaorani, as well as two uncontacted tribes, Taromenane and Tagaeri. Be aware that uncontacted tribes cannot be approached, but visitors can still learn about the people and their way of life.
The most common mode transportation to Yasuní is taking a small plane or a bus from Quito to Francisco de Orellana Airport in Coca and arranging private transportation from there with a chosen tour or eco-lodge. Because of the distance from Quito, it’s recommended to spend a few days here to make the trip really worth it.
The most common way to see Yasuní is a four- to five-day tour with a stay at a jungle eco-lodge that offers a different activity each day. Prices of multi-day tours vary from $400–$2000 depending on activities, quality of eco-lodge, and transportation to the National Park.
Eco-tourism is very important for many communities in Yasuní, especially because many are fighting for their resources against oil communities. Eco-tourism is an important stream of income and also show the value of peoples interest of the biodiversity and the communities within Yasuní. Eco-lodges don’t only offer accommodation but different tour-packages like birding and cultural tours, river tours, and community tours.
Interesting in protecting the flora and fauna? Conservation volunteerism is a great way to truly learn the importance of protecting biodiversity, give back to the community, and have an experience of a lifetime all at once. Mycorenewal Project is an excellent opportunity to clean up oil contamination in Yasuní National Park. Ecuador Eco Volunteer offers community tourism projects, English teaching opportunities, and a reforestation and permaculture project. Note that volunteering doesn’t mean that it will be free of charge.