I spent the last five days in the rainforest. Late yesterday, March 12, I flew to Cuenca but I’ll pick up the story last Friday when I left for the rainforest.
I flew from Quito to Coca where I was met by a guide from the Sani Lodge. There were five others on the flight but I didn’t know that until arriving in Coca. It’s about a 25 minute flight from Quito. We met two others guys, friends from New Jersey, who had taken the overnight bus from Quito for 9 hours. A couple of more guides from the lodge were at the docks when we arrived by taxi. We were off for a 2 1/2 hour first leg to the lodge. It’s 90 miles approximately from Coca by motorized canoe. This is the main transportation from village to village on the Rio Napo.
Javier would be my guide along with this couple from San Francisco and the two guys from New Jersey. After our motorized canoe ride complete with a boxed lunch, we had a roughly 1/2 walk on a 6′ wide boardwalk over the swamp to the last leg of our journey. A paddled canoe trip to the lodge.
Our first sight of the lodge docks. Several of us in this group planned to tent camp about 5 minutes from the main lodge.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your outlet, the travel gods smiled down on us. The previous week there had been a windstorm that damaged the thatched roofs on several of the campsites so…..we were moved to one of the cabins. This was mine.
It was very comfortable and even had hot water and mosquito netting. The upgrade to the cabin was worth about $600. It was worth every penny but I’m glad we didn’t have to pay it since we’d reserved the campsites.
The Sani community has 90,000 acres here. The rest of the lodge had an dining room/office building, a bar/lounge, a employee dorm and the individual cabins. They also have a canopy tower which I’ll tell you about in a future post.
There were wooden walkways connecting everything as the ground gets pretty soggy from the daily rain. We were issued boots and a rain poncho. We never went anywhere without them. After arriving, getting assigned our cabins and settling in, we were off for a short one mile hike before dinner.
After dinner we hiked the same trail with our flashlights to see the difference. This was the creepy, crawly tour.
Some of the spiders, etc., were as large as your fist. It was so quiet and the stars are nothing like we see in a populated area. They were much brighter and much more numerous than we are used to.
We had three meals a day in the dining room. Breakfast was between 5:30 and 6:30 depending on your activity for day. You usually had to use your flashlight to get to breakfast and always on your way back to your cabin.
Power comes on at 4am and comes off sometime during the morning after breakfast and is off until about 5pm until 11 pm. It is a generator. After dinner several of us might gather in the bar/lounge to talk about our day and have a beer or coke. Beer was $5 and cokes, $2.
By the way, Lois and Larry, there was a group of 19 Oklahoma State students and professor on my flight from Coca to Quito yesterday afternoon. They were on their way to the Galapagos for a few days.
Well, I’m off shortly for a city tour of Cuenca. I’ll try and post again this evening with a continuation of my rainforest experience.