Ecuador – Sacha Lodge

Canopy Bridge

Stunning view of the canopy bridge in Sacha Lodge.

Overview
Imagine yourself drifting down a narrow, winding creek surrounded by a lush, endless, sea of tropical greenery and all that separates you from the deep black Amazon waters is a canoe, hand-carved from a single tree trunk. As you maneuver around a bend something unidentified crashes through the underbrush, and you catch a glimpse of two magnificent blue and yellow macaws startled into flight.

Getting to Sacha Lodge:
The journey to Sacha Lodge begins in Quito, Ecuador’s capital city. From here, embark on a 30-minute fight over the majestic snow-capped peaks of the Andes Mountains and then down 8,500 ft (2,600 m) into the Amazon Basin. Arrive at Puerto Francisco de Orellana, locally know as Coca. A naturalist guide takes guests to Sacha’s private house, with modern facilities, where lunch will be served before heading down to the docks, where Sacha’s own covered, motorized canoe awaits to set off on the hour-and-a-half, 50-mile (80 kilometer) journey down the Napo River, one of the Amazon’s main tributaries.

Upon arriving at Sacha’s 5000 acre (2,000 hectares) private reserve, a 30-minute walk on a raised boardwalk will lead guests to Lake Pilchicocha. Here, board dugout canoes with native paddlers that will carry guests across the lake to Sacha Lodge.

Accommodations:
The lodging at Sacha was carefully designed to offer comfort to the traveler yet preserve the environment and the rainforest. All our cabins have high thatched roofs and private, shaded terraces. They are constructed using traditional materials and nestle, well concealed, among the lush surroundings. Each of the 26 rooms, which include single, double, and (upon request) triple accommodations, features a private bathroom with a flushing toilet and hot shower. All cabins are screened against insects and have ceiling fans and comfortable beds. During free time, visitors look out at the jungle from their cozy hammocks and often report seeing wild fauna such as toucans, agoutis, and monkeys! Guests can also enjoy a raised lookout above our main bar and lounge, which offers a scenic view of Pilchicocha Lake and an excellent vantage point for birdwatching.

Electricity:
Throughout the Lodge, 24-hour electricity is provided by a distant, nearly inaudible generator.

Drinking water: All the drinking water provided at Sacha (including ice) comes from a local well and is purified with both porcelain filters and ozone treatment, the most thorough purifying systems available. This water is tested regularly and has proven to be perfectly safe for human consumption. If you prefer, however, you may purchase bottled water from the bar.

Amenities: In your shower you will find dispensers of biodegradable soap and shampoo. Although all runoff water is treated with ozone, we recommend the use of these amenities as an extra measure to protect the environment. You will also be provided with fresh towels each day.

Laundry:  Sacha Lodge provides laundry service (washing and drying) for our guests. Please consult costs with our lodge administrator.

Boots and ponchos: Rubber boots and rain ponchos are available for all of our guests at the Lodge, free of charge!

Communications: In case of emergency, both cellular telephone and radio communications are available from the lodge. In addition, each of our guides maintains permanent radio contact with the lodge during all excursions and activities.

First Aid: We keep a complete first aid kit for any minor injuries or ailments you may experience. However, please take any special medications you might need with you. In case of a serious injury or illness, there is a modern medical center located 20 minutes from Sacha Lodge.

Security: At all times we have five staff members on duty patrolling our reserve as park rangers to keep both the lodge and the surrounding environment safe.

Bar: Drinks are not included in your package, and may be paid for in cash (USD) or with a credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express) on the last night of your stay. There is no minimum charge for credit card payments.

Activities
Sacha’s guests will be organized into groups no larger than six people. Each group is led be a bilingual naturalist guide, educated in the tropical ecology and biology of the area, and a native Kichwa guide with expert knowledge of the rainforest’s medicinal plants and other useful flora utilized by the Kichwa people for centuries. We offer English-, German-, and Frenchspeaking guides at no extra charge.

A typical day at Sacha begins at sunrise or earlier, in order to take advantage of the cool morning hours when the rainforest’s animals are most active. In the afternoon, excursions begin between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. and often continue into the early evening, when the nocturnal symphony of rainforests frog and insects commences.

Some of Sacha’s Features and Activities:

  • Remote yet accesible
  • *Canopy Crane: New!!. Take a high-flying ride 150 ft (45 m) above the jungle floor and explore nearly 2 acres (.78 hectares) of rainforest while you are lifted comfortably and safely in a hot air balloon-like basket floating above the forest canopy.
  • *Canopy Walk: One of only a few rigid, self-standing, suspension canopy walkways in the world, which extends 900 ft (275 m), 120 ft (36 m) above the forest floor
  • Kapok Tower: Built around an enormous Kapok tree 138 ft (42 m) high
  • *Pool Lake: Approximately 40 ft x 16.5 ft x 10 ft (12 m x 5 m x 3 m) in size and built as a safe swimming area inside the lake, its double-layered mesh allows visitors to cool off and relax without worrying encounters with the unknown.
  • Butterfly farm
  • Bird watching guide (over 600 species), at no extra charge
  • Creek paddling: canoe excursions through flooded forest ecosystems; perfect for persons with special physical conditions
  • Alligator spotting
  • Piranha catch-and-release
  • Community interaction. Exclusive visit to the Providencia Community’s  interpretation center. Only available to guests of Sacha Lodge!!!!
  • Yasuni parrot lek visit
  • Small excursion groups: maximum 6 people
  • Expert native and bilingual guides. We offer English-, German-, and French-speaking guides at no extra charge.
  • Largest private reserve, covering 4,942 acres (2,000 hectares)
  • Exclusive, unique attractions

Sample Itinerary: 5 Days / 4 Nights

Depart Quito's airport at 11:00 a.m. (subject to change). A 30-minute flight over the Andes Mountains leads you to a bustling oil town called Coca located in the Amazon Basin. Following a quick lunch at Sacha's private house, it’s off to the town docks where you will board Sacha's private canoes for the 2-hour journey downriver to Sacha Lodge.

A 30-minute hike through the rainforest leads you to lake Pilchicocha. Here, you are met by native staff who will paddle you across the lake to your final destination. Arrive at Sacha Lodge around 3:30 or 4:00 p.m.

Swim in the pool of the lake Pilchicocha, which is a black water lake, home to many species of fish and animals. A refreshing swim after arriving may be just what you need after feeling the equatorial heat all day. The lake pool is approximately 40 ft x 16 ft x 10 ft (12 m x 5 m x 3 m) in size, and its double-layered mesh allows visitors to cool off and relax without worrying about encounters with the unknown.

Birdwatching from the mini tower offers guests an excellent opportunity to view several species of birds commonly seen around the lodge. Also, this is a great place from which to view the sunset. Visit the butterfly house with your naturalist guide to view the beautiful colors of many differ­ent species of butterflies. After dinner, accompany your naturalist guide on a night walk through the rainforest where you'll see hundreds of different species of animals that can only be found at night. Or maybe take a canoe ride on the lake to view the spectacled and black alligators with their glowing orange eyes as you silently paddle across the lake to get a closer view.

The morning activity begins between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m.

Walking along the Liana Chica Trail, you arrive at the canopy walk, where you'll enjoy spectacular views of the rainforest canopy and the many different species of vibrantly-colored birds.

Designed to be a self-standing, rigid, suspension canopy walkway (bridge), it is one of only a few in the world! Located within Sacha's private reserve, 2 mi (3.2 km) from the shores of the Napo River and 1 mi (1.6 km) from the lodge.  The Canopy Walk gives guests the opportunity to get an up-close-and-personal view of the rainforest canopy.

Two of the three towers have observation decks every 40 ft (12 m) making viewpoints accessible to everyone. The canopy walkway extends 900 ft (275 m) and hangs 120 ft (36 m) above the forest floor. This activity gives guests a "birds-eye view" of all the wonders and beauty that the tropical rainforest has to offer. The canopy walk is designed to be a sturdy walkway enabling guests to casually move along while enjoying the spectacular views.

After the canopy walk, follow Liana Grande Trail back along firm ground and Igapó Forest habitats where native guides explain many different species of medicinal plants that have been used in their culture for hundreds of years.

Liana Grande Trail will turn into Higueron Trail, which will take you through pristine primary forest with huge Kapok and Fig trees towering hundreds of feet above your head.

After lunch, you may choose to take a leisurely hike along the Napo River or choose a little more challenging hike along the Leoncillo Trail to try and spot the elusive dusky titi monkey. Either way, the trails will lead you back to the main board-walk for your final hike and canoe ride back to the lodge.

Leaving the lodge after breakfast, you begin your hike along Lagartococha Trail. This trail offers you the chance to learn more about the native people and their relationship with the forest. Learn about the trees where native people believe the spirits of their ancestors live, and the mysterious dwende, or "devil-man", of the forest.

After arriving at Lagartococha Lake, take a peaceful canoe ride through a natural swamp, which is home to anacondas, alligators, and capybaras.

After the canoe ride, a walk along the other side of Largatococha Lake may give you the opportunity to spot capuchin or squirrel monkeys playfully jumping through the trees.

Return from the walk or canoe ride and head back to the lodge for a refreshing dip in the pool lake, or enjoy a nice, relaxing nap in your personal hammock on your private balcony.

After lunch, your native guide will teach you how to fish for the infamous razor-toothed piranha. Keep in mind that piranhas will never attack a person and swimming alongside them is perfectly safe and fun!

Around 3:30 p.m. you will embark on what many believe is the best excursion at Sacha: a silent canoe ride through the flooded Amazonian forest, where there's a good chance you'll be surrounded by troops of squirrel, capuchin, and howler monkeys. Keep your eyes peeled for the shy and elusive river otter, as well as the incredibly well-camouflaged three-toed sloth!

After your eye-popping ride through the flooded forest, you will arrive at Sacha's 135 ft wooden tower built around an ancient Kapok tree. Get close-up views of vibrantly-colored birds through Sacha's powerful scopes, and watch the sunset with an amazing view of Mount Sumaco volcano and, possibly, a view of the snow-covered caps of the Andes!

Leaving the tower just before or after sunset will give you an experience not soon forgotten.  A canoe ride back through the flooded forest at night will be an awe-inspiring experience. Listen to the symphony of frogs and insects as you navigate through the narrow, flooded forest trail, keeping your eyes open for alligators. Watch the several species of bats flying overhead and listen to the many species of nocturnal birds making their eerie nighttime calls. Finally, after your mesmerizing canoe trip through the Amazon, you will arrive back at Pilchicocha Lake and the welcoming lights of Sacha Lodge.

A chance to view four different species of parrots at the same time is something that should not be missed.  Sacha is close enough to Yasuni National Park that a 30-minute motorized canoe ride down the Napo River to the parrot lek is well worth it.  Departing Sacha Lodge at 6:00 a.m. and arriving at the lek around 7:30 a.m. gives you plenty of time to get close-up views of the parrots eating clay to neutralize the acids from the many different types of fruits and leaves they consume.

Arriving back at the lodge around 11:00 a.m. or so, means you have plenty of time to swim or relax before lunch is served. Visit the butterfly house once again to photograph the beautifully colored butterflies.

For your afternoon activity, Pantano is the trail to take. Pantano offers you several different types of rainforest habitats. From secondary to primary forests as well as flooded forests and swampy areas. This is an excellent trail for viewing monkeys and birds in the afternoon, your naturalist and native guides will intrigue you with their knowledge of the jungle and its inhabitants as well as provide you with an everlasting experience and memory of the neotropical rainforest.

Sample Itinerary: 4 Days / 3 Nights
Depart Quito’s airport 11am (subject to change). A 30-minute flight over the Andes Mountains leads you to a bustling oil town called Coca located in the Amazon Basin.

Following a quick lunch at Sacha's private house, its off to the town docks where you will board Sacha’s private canoes for the 2-hour journey downriver to Sacha Lodge.

A 30-minute hike through the rainforest leads you to Pilchicocha Lake . Here, you'll be met by native staff members who will paddle you across the lake to your final destination.

Arrive at Sacha Lodge around 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. (subject to change).

Swim in the pool of the lake Pilchicocha, which is a black water lake, home to many species of fish and animals. A refreshing swim after arriving may be just what you need after feeling the equatorial heat all day. The lake pool is approximately 40 ft x 16 ft x 10 ft (12 m x 5 m x 3 m) in size, and its double-layered mesh allows visitors to cool off and relax without worrying about encounters with the unknown.

Birdwatching from the mini tower offers guests an excellent opportunity to view several species of birds commonly seen around the lodge. Also, this is a great place from which to view the sunset.

Visit the butterfly house with your naturalist guide to view the beautiful colors of many differ­ent species of butterflies.

After dinner, accompany your naturalist guide on a night walk through the rainforest where you'll see hundreds of different species of animals that can only be found at night. Or maybe take a canoe ride on the lake to view the spectacled and black alligators with their glowing orange eyes as you silently paddle across the lake to get a closer view.

The morning activity begins between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m.

Walking along the Liana Chica Trail, you arrive at the canopy walk, where you'll enjoy spectacular views of the rainforest canopy and the many different species of vibrantly-colored birds.

Designed to be a self-standing, rigid, suspension canopy walkway (bridge), it is one of only a few in the world! Located within Sacha's private reserve, 2 mi (3.2 km) from the shores of the Napo River and 1 mi (1.6 km) from the lodge.  The Canopy Walk gives guests the opportunity to get an up-close-and-personal view of the rainforest canopy.

Two of the three towers have observation decks every 40 ft (12 m) making viewpoints accessible to everyone. The canopy walkway extends 900 ft (275 m) and hangs 120 ft (36 m) above the forest floor. This activity gives guests a "birds-eye view" of all the wonders and beauty that the tropical rainforest has to offer. The canopy walk is designed to be a sturdy walkway enabling guests to casually move along while enjoying the spectacular views.

After the canopy walk, follow Liana Grande Trail back along firm ground and Igapó Forest habitats where native guides explain many different species of medicinal plants that have been used in their culture for hundreds of years.

Liana Grande Trail will turn into Higueron Trail, which will take you through pristine primary forest with huge Kapok and Fig trees towering hundreds of feet above your head.

After lunch, you may choose to take a leisurely hike along the Napo River or choose a little more challenging hike along the Leoncillo Trail to try and spot the elusive dusky titi monkey. Either way, the trails will lead you back to the main board-walk for your final hike and canoe ride back to the lodge.

Leaving the lodge after breakfast, you begin your hike along Lagartococha Trail. This trail offers you the chance to learn more about the native people and their relationship with the forest. Learn about the trees where native people believe the spirits of their ancestors live, and the mysterious dwende, or "devil-man", of the forest.

After arriving at Lagartococha Lake, take a peaceful canoe ride through a natural swamp, which is home to anacondas, alligators, and capybaras.

After the canoe ride, a walk along the other side of Largatococha Lake may give you the opportunity to spot capuchin or squirrel monkeys playfully jumping through the trees.

Return from the walk or canoe ride and head back to the lodge for a refreshing dip in the pool lake, or enjoy a nice, relaxing nap in your personal hammock on your private balcony.

After lunch, your native guide will teach you how to fish for the infamous razor-toothed piranha. Keep in mind that piranhas will never attack a person and swimming alongside them is perfectly safe and fun!

Around 3:30 p.m. you will embark on what many believe is the best excursion at Sacha: a silent canoe ride through the flooded Amazonian forest, where there's a good chance you'll be surrounded by troops of squirrel, capuchin, and howler monkeys. Keep your eyes peeled for the shy and elusive river otter, as well as the incredibly well-camouflaged three-toed sloth!

After your eye-popping ride through the flooded forest, you will arrive at Sacha's 135 ft wooden tower built around an ancient Kapok tree. Get close-up views of vibrantly-colored birds through Sacha's powerful scopes, and watch the sunset with an amazing view of Mount Sumaco volcano and, possibly, a view of the snow-covered caps of the Andes!

Leaving the tower just before or after sunset will give you an experience not soon forgotten.  A canoe ride back through the flooded forest at night will be an awe-inspiring experience. Listen to the symphony of frogs and insects as you navigate through the narrow, flooded forest trail, keeping your eyes open for alligators. Watch the several species of bats flying overhead and listen to the many species of nocturnal birds making their eerie nighttime calls. Finally, after your mesmerizing canoe trip through the Amazon, you will arrive back at Pilchicocha Lake and the welcoming lights of Sacha Lodge.

Breakfast and a departure from the lodge 7:30 a.m.

One last stroll along the boardwalk to the river, and from there, its a 2-hour canoe ride back to Coca, in time to catch your 35-minute flight back to Quito.

Arrive in Quito at 12:30 pm. (subject to change).

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