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Tapir Lodge 3-Night Itinerary

This 4-day/3-night Amazon tour will allow you to explore the vast area of Ecuador’s Cuyabeno National Park. Through a number of dugout canoe trips and hikes in the rainforest, you will be able to admire unique species of birds, like tanagers, toucans and hoatzins, as well as giant Morpho butterflies and various species of monkeys. You will also spend a whole day visiting the indigenous Siona community to experience their daily lives and local traditions. Later, stop by the home of the local shaman for an authentic spiritual cleansing ceremony. 

The Tapir Lodge will be the base-camp for all these activities, where you will have time to relax, recover your energies, and enjoy fresh, healthy and delicious food prepared by the experienced chef and served by the lodge’s experienced and professional staff during this South American vacation.


“Thanks for such a great experience in Brazil, Peru and Bolivia. If we visit those countries again, I will definitely choose your travel agency. Thank you again, and I hope you have a good time with your co-workers during Christmas week.”Shintaro Akada


Ecuadorian Amazon, Laguna Grande “Igapo”, Rainforest Hike, Night Trek, Birdwatching, Indigenous Community, Shaman

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Quito – Nueva Loja – Cuyabeno Amazon Reserve – Tapir Lodge
Day 2: Laguna Grande “Igapo” Excursion – Rainforest Hike – Night Trek
Day 3: Birdwatching – Visit Indigenous Community and Local Shaman – Staff Farewell
Day 4: Departure
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 approximately 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.

PM: We will take a break on the road to enjoy lunch and then we will get ready for the next leg of our journey onboard a motorized canoe. The lodge will provide you with a rain coat and a life vest, while your luggage will be covered in plastic to prevent it from getting wet in the event of rain. Throughout the trip on this narrow river, you will be able to the wide variety of plant and animal life that the Cuyabeno Reserve has to offer. We will ride for approximately 2 hours to reach our destination: Tapir Lodge. Once at the lodge, guests will be shown to their rooms for a chance to unpack and make themselves comfortable. After dinner (served at 7:30 p.m.) the guide will provide general explanations about Tapir Lodge as well discuss the Cuyabeno Reserve and the activities that will take place during the next several days.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2
Laguna Grande “Igapo” Excursion – Rainforest Hike – Night Trek

AM: Our day will begin with a healthy and delicious breakfast that will be served at around 8:00 am. After that, we will meet at the pier and make sure that everyone is prepared for the excursion and provided with a pair of rubber boots (available up to size 45 EU). Our tour will start at 9:30, when we´ll take a motorized canoe upriver for around 30 minutes to Laguna Grande (Big Lake). At Laguna Grande we will have the opportunity to observe that surroundings flora and fauna. The plant life found in the lake is quite unique, as this “Igapo” (blackwater-flooded Amazonian forests) is noted its ancient trees that have adapted to the surrounding environment by growing straight out of the water. These majestic trees create the perfect habitat for other plants, such as bromelias, macrolobium flowers, orchids, ferns and cacti. Once the Igapo excursion has been completed, we will travel onto “terra firme” and begin a trek along one of the reserve’s official paths, which are all part of a bio-friendly system of walkways throughout the reserve. Before starting the trek, our guide will provide a brief explanation of the basic ecology of the rainforest. Along the way, you will have a chance to see and hear many species of birds, including woodpeckers, tanagers, macaws and toucans. And – if we’re lucky – you might even come across two of three species of monkeys.

PM: We will return to the lodge for lunch, which is served at 2:30 p.m. Afterwards, travelers will have approximately two hours to relax. At around 5:00, we will meet at the pier and take a canoe ride to a different area of Laguna Grande. On the lake, we will ride through the surrounding area in search of exotic birds and other animals. If desired, guests can go for a swim, which is a perfectly safe and very relaxing activity. Depending on the weather, you may be able to admire a breathtaking sunset. Once the evening activities have ended, we will return to the lodge for a refreshing drink at the lodge’s bar or a chat with the guide about the day´s events. After dinner, served at 8:00, and depending on the weather conditions, we can go on a quick night trek around the lodge looking for frogs and other creatures of the night.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3
Birdwatching – Visit Indigenous Community and Local Shaman – Staff Farewell

AM: Depending on the weather conditions, we will have an early start and head out on a bird watching “arising excursion” (an optional activity). We will leave the lodge at around 6:00 a.m. paddling the canoe downriver and admiring the flora and fauna found along the river while searching for exotic birds that are native to the region. We should return at around 7:00 to enjoy a delicious breakfast at 8:00. Our excursion will start at 9:00 a.m. with a 2-hour canoe ride downriver to the local indigenous community. Throughout the journey, we will search for giant blue Morphs butterflies, monkeys and more. On the way, we will pass the village of Puerto Bolívar, which is inhabited solely by members of the Siona people.

PM: Following Puerto Bolívar, we will continue downriver for an opportunity to visit and meet Tomas, the local Shaman, who belongs to the Cofan ethnic group. Thomas spends most of this time curing and treating the local inhabitants with his vast knowledge of medicinal plants. (If Tomas is not available, we will meet with a different shaman). On our arrival to Tomas’ house, we will take a break to enjoy tasty box lunches in his backyard. After eating, Tomas will share his experience with us about life in the rainforest as well as the processes for healing people. For those interested in taking part in a healing ceremony, the option is at hand and should last about 40 minutes. Handicrafts are available for purchase, all of them crafted with materials provided by and obtained in the rainforest. At around 3:00 p.m., we will start our canoe trip back to Puerto Bolívar, where we will be greeted by a local Siona family. From them, you can observe 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 4

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, with you looking forward to catch your 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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2019 - Price per person
4 DaysUS$ 728 PPUS$ 946 PPUS$ 728 PP
*Price per person based upon double occupancy.
*PP (per person)
Included in the price:
  • Accommodations in a double room with private bathroom and hot-water shower
  • Private transportation (Lago Agrio – Cuyabeno – Lago Agrio)
  • All the meals indicated in the itinerary
  • Water, coffee and tea
  • Daily excursions indicated in the itinerary
  • Naturalist guides (English-, German- or Spanish-speaking)
  • Canoe rides
  • Use of rubber boots, raincoats, lifesavers
Not included in the price:
  • Entrance fee Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
  • Airfare (Quito – Lago Agrio – Quito) $256 per pax
  • Alcoholic and bottled beverages
  • Tips (i.e. guides and/or lodge staff)
  • Personal expenses
  • Contributions to the community ($10)

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Traveler Reviews

“The trip was excellent from beginning to end. The Isabella II was a fine ship and the crew and guides were all of the highest quality. I would recommend them to others. For us, the ship was the perfect size – not too small and not too large.”Walter Squire