We drove to Puyo, Ecuador, the start of the Amazon Rainforest, seven hours from Guayaquil. Our visit to Puyo was just for the weekend, staying two nights and one day. We took a one day tour called Selva Hola Vida with Patricio of Native Jungle Tours.
He was honest with us and let us know that we were only visiting the secondary jungle, which is not the virgin rainforest, but more the edge of it. The price for the tour was $30 per person. The price depends on the number of people and the availability of the tour company.
We travelled in a private van from the hotel. We first did a quick stop to see these huge fish that only eat meat. The grow up to almost 2 meters long. We fed them and learn more about the species that live in the local rivers.
We then headed on to a jungle reserve called Hola Vida. The first thing we were shown is a natural bug repellent popular in the rainforest, guess what, it is termites. We also learned how to do simple palm leaf weaving to make headbands for our hike.
When we were done we walked for two and a half hours to a waterfall, learning about the rainforest in Ecuador and all its diversity along the way.
Once we arrived at the waterfall we swam in the cool for almost half an hour and took many pictures before we headed back to the van to eat lunch with locals. For lunch we enjoyed some local trout with rice prepared in the native style, wrapped in bijao leaves, with a cup of Colada Morada, a spiced berry drink. It was delicious!
After lunch we visited the Kotococha Community to see some of the local biodiversity and learn a little bit of their traditions. The locals painted our faces, taught us how to use a blow dart for hunting, while explaining how they make their own clothing and jewelry.
After that we saw the monkeys that live around the community, as well as some local birds, and even a big snake, which you are allowed to take a picture with, if you are not afraid.
After our visit to the community we took a 45 minute canoe ride along the Puyo River. It was super fun and exciting to float down the river, but make sure to put on some sunscreen and bug repellent beforehand. During the ride you can enjoy a deeper connection with the rainforest and nature itself.
The last stop of the tour is the Indichuris viewpoint over the river. It is located in another community to interact with more local animals such as toucans, different types of monkey, alligators and to learn more from locals.
The tour dropped us off back at the hotel around 6:30 PM tired and ready to eat dinner and relax.
We recommend this tour because we got a sense of what the Ecuadorian rainforest has to offer, without having to plan a longer trip, deeper into the forest. It was the perfect weekend preview for a trip to the Yasuni National Park, where it is true wild rainforest.
Tour Contact Info:
Native Jungle Tours
Cell phone: 099 901 8973
Hotel Oro Negro
Address: 9 de Octubre y Belizario Carrillo
Cell phone: 098 788 5105