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Tapir Lodge 2-Night Itinerary

Tapir Lodge, located in far-eastern Ecuador in the upper section of the Cuyabeno Amazon Reserve, has become an important tourist destination over the years due to its amazing animal and bird diversity – reflected in its 15 species of monkeys and well over 500 types of birds. This 3-day/2-night tour of this part of the Amazon rainforest is a great introduction to both the biodiversity of the region and its fascinating culture. Traveling by motorized canoe deep in into the Amazon, your stay at the Tapir Lounge will give you a chance to experience paddle canoeing across Laguna Grande Lake and the Igapo flooded forest, as well as birdwatching, monkey spotting, day and nighttime rainforest hikes, presentations about rainforest ecology, a visit to a medicine man and a local Siona family, in addition to plenty of swimming and fishing during this tour of Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest.


“The trip to the Galapagos was really fantastic! Although it was quite short, the trip itinerary made time for us to do quite a lot of things. Everything went very smoothly, too.”Maggie Clark


Ecuadorian Amazon, Birdwatching, Community Visit, Rainforest Trek, Meeting with Shaman

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Quito – Nueva Loja – Cuyabeno Amazon Reserve – Tapir Lodge
Day 2: Cuyabeno Reserve Birdwatching – Community Visit – Rainforest Trek – Meeting with Shaman
Day 3: Departure from Tapir Lodge – Nueva Loja (Lago Agrio)
South America Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Quito – Nueva Loja – Cuyabeno Amazon Reserve – Tapir Lodge

AM: Our services start at Lago Agrio (Nueva Loja) Airport, which can be reached from Quito by either bus or by plane (the approximate travel time by bus is 8 hours, while the flight will take about 40 minutes). From Lago Agrio, we will drive to the northeast side of Sucumbíos Province to El Puente (“The Bridge”). It will take us between 2 and 2½ hours to reach this spot, depending on weather and traffic conditions. Throughout this drive you will have the opportunity to view beautiful landscapes of agricultural fields, small highland villages, rainforests and rivers. Keep in mind that 60% of this road is paved and the following 40% is “open road” -- meaning that you can expect a dusty or a muddy road, depending on the weather.

PM: At El Puente, we will enjoy our box lunches and then continue our trip via a 24-foot-long motorized canoe. The luggage will be covered in plastic to prevent it from getting wet in the event of rain. The lodge will also provide you with rain ponchos and life vests. All along this narrow river, you will be able to admire the wide variety of flora and fauna that the Cuyabeno Reserve has to offer. After approximately 2½ hours, we will reach the beautiful Tapir Lodge around dusk (between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.). Dinner will be served at 7:30, after which time the guide will inform guests of the next day’s activities and the required gear. You will spend the night there at the cozy and relaxing Tapir Lodge.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2
Cuyabeno Reserve Birdwatching – Community Visit – Rainforest Trek – Meeting with Shaman

AM: Depending on the weather conditions, we should have an early start and head out on a birdwatching excursion. At about 6:00 a.m. we will take our canoe downriver, relaxing while you admire all the flora and fauna found along the river as we search for exotic birds native to this region. These range from Blue and Yellow macaws to Scarlet Macaws, Blue-tailed emeralds, hoatzins and Amazon king fishers – just to name a few. Boasting a bird list of more than 500 species, Cuyabeno Reserve is a privileged location for birding and a delight for seasoned as well as beginner birdwatchers. We will return to the lodge at around 7:30 a.m. for breakfast. After the eating, we will meet at the pier and begin a boat ride downriver. You should enjoy this 2-hour canoe ride as we search for Morphos (Giant blue butterflies), Toucans and Macaws. With any luck, you should also be able to spot several monkeys. On our way, we will pass the village of Puerto Bolivar, where the inhabitants – known as the Siona people – have chosen to reside. Following Puerto Bolivar, we will stop at a small settlement. Here we will have the opportunity to visit and meet Alberto (the local shaman), as well as his family, who are all members of the Cofan ethnic group. Presently, Alberto spends part of his time curing and treating the local inhabitants with his vast knowledge of medicinal plants. The visit to this small settlement will also be our entry point for a new trek into the rainforest that is the habitat of the tiny Ecuadorian “Poison Dart” frog as well as marvelous Kapok trees. Some of these towering specimens are at least 800 years old, with roots jutting out at their bases to form areas as large as small rooms. The trail that we will follow will lead us through small creeks, and at the end of the 2-hour trek we will return to Alberto's home, where we will take a break in his backyard to enjoy tasty box lunches and relax.

PM: Once we finish our lunch break, Alberto will spend some time with us. This humble man possesses more than 50 years of wisdom and knowledge regarding the rainforest and the use of medicinal plants. He will share with us some of the many experiences he has had with the rainforest, other shamans, and the process of healing people. For those who are interested, you can participate in a spiritual healing ceremony, which should last about 40 minutes. There will also be some free time to ask Alberto questions or simply take pictures of and with him. Handcrafts are available for purchase, all of them crafted out of materials provided by and obtained in the rainforest. We will say goodbye to Alberto and his family (about 3:00 p.m.) and ride back by motorized canoe to Puerto Bolivar. There, a local Siona family will greet us and show us how they prepare cassava bread – an essential food supply and perhaps the main source of carbohydrates for the indigenous communities of the rainforest. We will then head back to the Tapir Lodge, where we will have dinner at around 8:00. Later, you can have a refreshing drink at the lodge’s bar and chat with the guide about the day´s events. After this, you will be able to bid farewell to the staff that worked for you over the past several days, and share a freshly prepared traditional drink with them.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3
Departure from Tapir Lodge – Nueva Loja (Lago Agrio)

AM: Breakfast will be served at 8:00 a.m. After breakfast, you can check out of your room and prepare for your departure from the lodge. Departure is generally between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., depending on flight times, the river’s water level and the weather conditions. The lodge’s staff will attend to your luggage and make sure it is all loaded onto the canoe. We will depart and take a relaxed 2-hours motorized canoe trip to the bridge, looking forward to catch our last glimpse of the last species of your visit. Private transportation will be waiting for you and will drive you back to Lago Agrio with plenty of time to check in at the airport for your trip back to Quito.

[If you are taking the early flight back to Quito, breakfast will be served between 4:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., and departure should be at around 5:30 a.m. (depending on the river’s water level)]

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Price per person
Days Price per person
*Price per person based upon double occupancy.
*PP (per person)
Included in the price:
  • Private transportation (Lago Agrio - Cuyabeno - Lago Agrio)
  • Accommodations with private bathroom and hot-water shower
  • Canoe rides
  • 3 meals a day
  • Soft drinks (water, coffee, tea)
  • Daily excursions
  • Multilingual naturalist guides
  • Use of rubber boots, raincoats, life savers
Not included in the price:
  • Flights (Quito - Lago Agrio - Quito)
  • Alcoholic and bottled beverages
  • Tips and personal expenses
  • Entrance into the Cuyabeno Reserve

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Traveler Reviews

“The Galapagos experience was absolutely amazing. Not just the abundant sea life and incredible spots, but also your professionalism and passion for your work turned my trip into an unforgettable holiday.”Jan Bartos