Ecuador Attractions: Amazon

Napo Wildlife Center



Artesania Workshop at the Napo Wildlife Center

The Lowland Quichua culture of the residents of the Centro Quichua Añangu community is a vital part of the Napo Wildlife Center. As part of the partnership with the community (which owns 49% of the lodge), the lodge built two large buildings where the entrance stream meets the Napo; River (at the Bocana) for community members to use as a workshop.

The artesania made by community members – primarily ceramics, woven bags of natural fibers, seed based jewelery and balsa wood carvings – is sold at the Bocana site and also  at the lodge, where a portion of the bar has been set aside to display the  goods. The lodge does not take any commission  for this,  and all of the money goes directly to the community member who made the  piece that was sold. The workshop at the Bocana also has a museum  area that is being constructed to represent a typical local house in the  early  1900s – a glimpse into Lowland Quichua life 100 years ago.

Although the Napo Wildlife Center is the premier wildlife  location in the Ecuadorian Amazon, they still value and celebrate their greatest  asset – the Añangu community that had the vision to protect this wonderful area for decades and  make their conservation project possible.

Giant Otters

Once thought to have been hunted to extinction  in Ecuador, Giant Otters thirve in the lake and streams surrounding the Napo Wildlife Center. These seven-foot-long (two meter long) otters are unique to tropical rivers of South America and can be individually identified by their throat patches.

Parrot clay licks

The two most  accessible parrot clay licks in Ecuador are part of the Napo Wildlife Center Reserve. Napo Wildlife has constructed viewing blinds at each of these clay licks so that visitors can comfortably watch as hundreds of parrots and parakeets come to eat the clay that aids in the digestion of their diet of unripe seeds and fruits. Parrots visit the clay licks at different times of day, so it is easy to visit both clay licks in a single outing.

The Canopy Tower at the Napo Wildlife Center

The 120-ft. (36m) high canopy tower opened to guests  in November 2004  is a great way to experience the life above the forest  floor. This  is  the second tower at the Napo Wildlife Center (the first is attached to the  dining hall and allows great views of the lake). The canopy tower is located  about 20 minutes from the lodge deep within the terra firme forest.

As you  ascend the  12-story  tower,  you pass  through  different levels of the forest and emerge on top of a huge Ceiba tree.  Here you cross onto a wooden platform that is actually built into the  crown of the tree and  experience the view formerly reserved only for the birds and monkeys.

The metal tower itself was constructed to the highest standards, galvanized,  and carefully inspected by engineers. Safety is the priority, but so is ecological sensitivity. Most of the canopy towers in Ecuador encircle the tree with  a scaffolding of wood. In addition to the obvious issues with using wood  in the tropics, the weight of the scaffolding also compresses the roots of  the tree that is encircled. Napo WC  chose to do things differently, dug down  below  the roots  of this Ceiba tree  and put the cement base of the tower below the level of the tree roots –  the result is that the tree is sustaining no damage from this tower.  The platform in the top of the tree was constructed by tree platform specialists  brought  from Tropical Nature’s Peruvian partner organization Peru Verde and incorporates bumpers to make sure that the platform does not scar the tree.

Flocks of colorful tanagers pass right through the canopy of the tree, Blue-and-yellow Macaws fly past, in nearby trees Spider and Howler  monkeys search for fruit, two species  of large toucans call in the early mornings and afternoons, and the life of  the forest canopy opens before you (lucky guests have even seen both Harpy  Eagles and Crested Eagles in a single morning!). Animals that are virtually  impossible  to see from the forest floor far below are  suddenly  right beside  you, oblivious  to your presence. The canopy tower opens a whole new world to guests of the  Napo Wildlife Center.

Sacha Lodge

  • The observation tower
  • The canopy walk
  • The kapok tower
  • Sacha´s butterfly house
  • Wildlife
  • Sacha´s bird walk
  • The Yasuní National Park parrot lick
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