Earlier this month I was able to embark on a adventurous trip into the Ecuadorian Amazon Rain Forest. The three best words I could use to describe the experience are unforgettable, unique, and pristine. To begin, I flew into Quito the night before my journey into the Amazon. I did this because the flight into the Amazon is early the next morning and there is a little bit of risk involved if you schedule your international flight to arrive to Quito the same day of your flight to the Amazon due to delays or long lines in customs and immigration. Therefore I erred on the side of safety and arrived the day before.
The next morning I was picked up at my hotel and brought back to the airport for my thirty minute flight to Coca. Everything was taken care of. Your driver will escort you into the airport and bring you the “La Selva” representative who will check you in for your flight and show you where to go from there. Later, upon arrival to Coca, there is someone waiting for you at the airport and they take you on a short 5 minute bus ride to the Napo River. Upon arrival to the river you will have a chance to use the bathroom and take any last minute items out of your luggage. Afterwards, they escorted us to a small motorized river boat which took us on a two hour ride downriver. After just five minutes of riding down the river you begin to feel like you are entering the Amazon. Everyone on board sat quietly on board and listed to the river as we speedily headed downstream.
Upon arrival to the “La Selva” dock, we disembarked and walked about ten minutes through jungle on a wooden platform trail to the lagoon where the lodge is located. From there we boarded paddle canoes and were taken on a fifteen minute ride to the lodge. Yes, we arrived, and felt that we were very deep in the Amazon. There is an eerie silence on the canoe ride to the lodge. Everyone who was busily chattering away on the trail quickly becomes mesmerized by the sights and sound that surround them: a howler monkey in the distance, a piranha catching a bug next to the boat, a parrot squawking overhead. Yes these are the sounds of the Amazon. Upon arrival to the lodge there is a welcome cocktail and a guide to give a briefing on your stay. You are then escorted to your room where your luggage is already. You quickly change your clothes and put on the supplied rubber jungle boats that are provided by the lodge and head out for your first night nature walk. This experience is incredible. The diversity of animals you see in the night includes snakes, spiders, monkeys, frogs, birds, etc. This is only a glimpse of the next three days. Yes, the time spent here is so incredible that you will actually feel disconnected and part of the Amazon ecosystem for a few days. Also the staff and guides are incredible and constantly enlighten you to the new world that surrounds you. At the end of the journey you very well may begin to question your life that is waiting for you back in your home country. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.