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Tapir Lodge 4-Night Itinerary

In a remote Amazonian location, requiring a 2-hour motor-canoe ride from the closest road, the Tapir Lodge is in an enchanting and serene lush setting of natural rainforest. Sensitively positioned within paddle canoe distance from the beautiful and solitary Laguna Grande Lake and the Igapo flooded forest, this unique jungle lodge offers a wide range of land and river excursions through its surroundings – opportunities to spot pre-historic-looking hoatzin birds, curious spider monkeys, colorful “blow dart” frogs and other exotic creatures. This 5-day/4-night Amazon tour based at the Tapir Lodge will introduce you to the magic of the rainforest that has yet to be discovered. You will have the chance to experience day and nighttime rainforest hikes, presentations about rainforest ecology, a visit to a medicine man and a local family of the Siona people, as well as have plenty of time for swimming and fishing. Added to this is a half-day of optional activities, which will help ensure that you get the most from your South American vacation. Guaranteed to provide an incomparably memorable stay, this is an experience for true adventure seekers.



“Everything went off without a hitch. Accomodation was just what we wanted. Clean, great location and within our budget. The dive master was great. ”Sarah Darwin


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: Optional Activities – Farewell Dinner
Day 5: 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 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”), taking 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. We will provide you with a raincoat 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 admire 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 as discuss 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. Before starting our trek, our guide will provide a brief explanation about 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, and Macaws …plus, 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 night wanderers.

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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 make an early start and head out on a birdwatching “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 native to the region. We should return at around 7:00 to enjoy a delicious breakfast at 8:00. Our regular 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: After passing Puerto Bolívar, we will continue downriver for an opportunity to visit and meet Tomas, the local Shaman who belongs to the Cofan ethnic group. Tomas 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). Upon our arrival at Thomas’ 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 spiritual healing ceremony, the option is available and should take 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 who will show you 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, the staff members who worked for you over the past several days will be introduced, and we will all share a freshly prepared traditional drink.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4
Optional Activities – Farewell Dinner

AM: Breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m., though the rest of the day will be scheduled according to your interests, as guests will have the option of choosing their activities with the help of your guide. Several alternative activities are available, ranging from birdwatching and canoeing to fishing or hiking in the rainforest.

PM: Lunch will be served at the Tapir Lodge, and in the afternoon guests can enjoy some leisure time before enjoying their last sunset on the lake. After dinner, you will be served a farewell passionfruit cocktail and have a chance to bid farewell to the lodge’s hardworking, attentive and diligent staff.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5

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 back to the bridge, looking forward to catching our last glimpse of the last species on our 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
5 DaysUS$ 881 PPUS$ 1,146 PPUS$ 881 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

“We loved every moment of our trip and could not have done it without Ligia and Surtrek. I highly recommend them!”Irene Alcock