NAPO WILDLIFE CENTER
The Napo Wildlife Center, NWC Amazon Lodge, is the greatest and ultimate alternative luxury eco-hotel in Amazonian Ecuador. This ecotourism project includes the conservation of approximately over 82 square miles (53,500 acres – over 21,400 hectares ) of the most pristine Amazon Rain Forest within the Yasunì National Park, an important UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the largest tract of tropical rain forest in Ecuador.
The lodge complex is located by the Anangucocha lake, within the unique ancestral territory of the Anangu Quichua Community, part of the Yasuni National Park. In the early 90’ the community envisioned building their own lodge to provide themselves jobs and protecting their land. With great effort they built back then 4 well established shelters and a large house for kitchen and dining room, however buildings remained incomplete there at that early stage for many years as they had no more money to finish them or to establish a proper infrastructure to call it a first class jungle hotel. They wanted high quality facilities and accommodations, to provide an exclusive and personalized rain forest experience, intimate with nature, under a dedicated private and unique lodge, but only to a selected number of guests.
Finally in year 2000 after several local and international contacts the project was able to move forward and establish the community’s and its nature tourism leaders dream. The community, entitled by its constitutional rights over their land, approached Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment which through its National Park service declared them honorific park rangers and approved the project signing a renewable management agreement of this territory part as well of the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve. Thanks to the Anangu Community initiative, their manpower, supported by the best technical assistance, financed with donations in partnership with the independent Ecuadorian non profit conservation organization, EcoEcuador, Napo Wildlife Center was born in 2003. The most carefully designed first class Amazon lodge in Ecuador.
Since its pre-inaugural trip in March 2003 the lodge has been recognized by both guests and companies for its impeccable operation, service and experiences provided to all visitors. The New York Times featured NWC in its travel section in 2004, the BBC from the UK visited in same year for a nature special, Victor Emanunel declared it as “One of the top 10 birding sites of the world” during his lecture at the 2004 British Birdwatching Fair, the World Travel Market in London awarded NWC as Best in a Protected Area in 2006. Now NWC counts with many and countless reviews about the lodge throughout the international media worldwide.
After such a successful development and achievements, in January 2007 started a process to transfer the entire lodge to the community’s hands, later on in June same year this process was effective and since then Napo Wildlife Center is 100% community owned and administrated with best Ecuadorian professional and technical assistance. We want to invite you for a visit to this special destination. Please do not hesitate and contact your travel agent or operator for further information on the premier Amazon lodge in Ecuador: the Napo Wildlife Center, NWC.
The journey to NWC starts in Quito, Ecuador’s capital city. From it’s national airport an approximately 35 minute flight will take guests over the Eastern Andes Mountain Range, crossing the equator and looking into snow capped volcanoes over 5,790 meters above sea level (18,991 feet) to reach the headwaters of the Amazon Basin near the Napo River at only 250 m above sea level (820 feet). After landing on the Puerto Francisco de Orellana town airport, locally known as Coca, NWC staff will greet passengers and take them for a short 5-7 minute transfer to embark on our covered motorized canoe. Here a comfortable breeze will company guests on an approximate 2 hours boat ride, 50 miles ( 80 Kilometres ) downstream the largest Ecuadorian tributary of the Amazon: the Napo river. During this trip a good number of birds could be spotted along the way and they include: herons, kingfishers, ospreys, and many others as one travels away into a more pristine and remote area.
Boat will arrive to the northwest boundary of the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve where NWC is located by the Anangucocha lake. To access the lodge guests may either start a guided 2 ½ km (1,5 miles ) hike on rich forest wildlife or embark on a quiet and enjoyable paddle dugout canoe ride with our staff for about 1 1/2 hours along a creek with dense flooded palm forest. Following any route, as people get deeper into this preserved area, they will be surprised by the oftentimes seen monkeys of several species, colourful birds and other amazing potential wildlife encounters. At the end of the walk and near the end of the paddle people will reach the Anangu Lake and have a superb view of the lodge waiting for them on the other side.
Lodging at NWC has been designed to offer maximum privacy and comfort to the world traveller, providing lake and forest views from their private porches, as well as preserving one of the most pristine spots of Amazon forest in Ecuador. Each of our 10 individual large luxury cabanas are prepared for receiving guests in double occupancy or arranged in advance for a 3 members family visit. In addition there is a brand new Family Suite, a larger cabana providing ample space for 4 family members or more with two separate rooms, 2 private bathrooms and amenities, no one misses lake and forest views from the great porch. This suite can be arranged for serving other special requests. All rooms include a king size and twin size beds, private bathrooms with on demand hot water, a multi-speed ceiling fan, 24 hours electricity provided by hybrid system combining solar panels, batteries, inversors and silent generators, plenty of lights and 120 v outlets, screened windows and mosquito nets.
Buildings keep the traditional native architecture with harmonious modern mixture inside providing cool shaded terraces with inviting hammocks and ample space from where visitors may observe the surroundings. While resting from activities people may get to see a group of giant otters investigating near the lodge dock or a large 4 meter (13 feet) black caiman crossing the lake or a capybara looking for rest near our lake edge, or experience the graceful often flights of blue and yellow macaws over the lodge area. The hall has a library with books on local birds and tropical Ecology, next door the bar provides ice-cold beer, wine, soft drinks and other liquor selections. The calls of red howler monkeys will company the resting times before gearing up for the next excursion.
Guests are welcome to use our observation tower next to the dinning hall during free time other than the guided visit and simply relax with the great view of the Anangu lake. The not so distant canopy of the rain forest will be a good opportunity for birding or discovering more wildlife right next to the lodge. The dock area is a nice spot to receive that equatorial tropical sun or the base for a nice dip into the lake. Without fear you can swim around the dock and have a refreshing time, guides of course will jump in first and eliminate any doubts you may have in spite of the black caimans and piranha inhabitants!, believe me it is a very safe and rewarding cool water. Meals are carefully prepared to delight the variety of tastes and desires of the international visitor, including traditional Ecuadorian dishes, forest gifts or the preparation of vegetarian or special meal requirements. Reverse osmosis water filtration system is used in the kitchen (very safe).
Also we have investid in an environmentally sustainable sewage system, best and unique on the Napo region and probably best in the Amazon. All waste water is treated to the highest standards in order to keep the swamps clean of human activity. Quality of effluent water is higher than the lake environment!!. Power is generated by a top of the line hybrid system featuring: solar panels, industrial batteries, inverters and noiseless generators. A highly efficient system that generates energy with minimal impacts.
Visitors will be divided up into small groups, and lead by a native Anangu guide, who is also an official Yasuni Park Ranger, expert on the forest’s secrets about medicinal plants and other useful items of the rain forest, and an excellent bilingual naturalist guide with great deal of knowledge in tropical forest biology. Both guides using their unmatchable enthusiasm will create informative enjoyable excursions every day providing an educative fun experience. Groups and guides will tailor their excursions while taking advantage of the highest peaks of activity and weather conditions in the forest. They will schedule their outings before dawn or at sunrise. This will maximize wildlife observation and of course each group will decide with their guides how extreme and intense they take their Amazon excursion, this applies for afternoon excursions and night outings, when an overwhelming concert of natural sounds will flood the atmosphere. Welcome and gear up to enjoy the best fauna attractions on the Napo!!!
OUR NWC`S UNIQUE PARROT CLAY LICKS
One of the highlights at NWC is going out on a very early excursion to reach two of Ecuador’s most accessible parrot clay licks along the Napo region. These parrot clay licks are exclusive part of our reserve and lodge territory.
They have a history of being visited by naturalists and are mentioned in The Birds of Ecuador (Ridgely and Greenfield, 2001). These are 2 of the over a dozen clay licks found on the Anangu Community territory. Our parrot clay licks can be reached by following the Giant Otter creek downstream on dugout canoe near the Napo river. The Napo Wildlife Center has exclusively constructed well established and comfortable blinds in each parrot lick in order to provide visitors best viewing and high quality photo/video opportunities.
Activity kicks off at main lick between 7 to 8 in the morning and at second blind after midday. Species include: Mealy, blue headed, yellow crowned, orange winged and orange cheeked parrots, cobalt winged, dusky headed and white eyed parakeets, with the occasional rarities like scarlet shoulder parrot let and scarlet macaws. In best weather conditions at least 800 individuals of most species can be spotted and in other days spite the rain one could still see a few dozens. This could be a full day excursion visiting both blinds equipped with a nice freshly made box lunch, or a half day visiting the main lick and returning for a served lunch at the lodge. Don’t miss a superb natural event full of unique sounds and brightly colour plumages!!.
We have been working monitoring other impressive mammal clay licks. Soon during 2008 we will announce this great new natural event and attraction for our guests.
DINING ROOM TOWER
There is a 19 m (60 feet) tall observation tower on top of our 13 m (42 feet) hill. High enough to get great views of the lake and lodge. Nearby the active resident birds can be seen nesting and feeding within the lodge grounds. Did you want to see rare monkeys? the curious Golden Mantle Tamarins are often here for a visit. Tower turns out to be just next to the main house at NWC. One can look into the forest canopy and let inspiration flow, sorry if two large macaws flying by interrupt this.
PROFESSIONAL CANOPY TOWER
Only 35 minutes away from the lodge there is the best and most professional canopy tower ever built in Amazonian Ecuador. Designed to last and provide maximum safety to users, this stainless steel structure complies with international certification ISO 9001:2000 that covers design, manufacturing and erection of steel structures and buildings, and other industrial applications.
This magnificent building, over 125 feet tall, is standing right next to a giant 155 feet Kapok tree where and ample platform provides great space for over 15 guests and their cameras, spotting scopes, tripods and binoculars gear, or other equipment ready to enjoy the canopy of the rain forest!! No one should miss this amazing highlight that provides great views of possible troops of howler, capuchins, monk sakis or spider monkeys in the nearest forest. In a clear day, the immense tropical scenery can reach views of the Andes where Gran Sumaco and the snow capped Antisana and Cayambe volcanoes are located, truly a one of a kind experience.
Active feeding bird flocks reach the vicinity and our tree, offering beyond 80 species list in one single morning…not to mention the mammal sights. Get into the eye view of large toucans, macaws, colourful tanagers and discover the gently moving Three Toed Sloth. Certainly paradise – heaven for avid professional or amateur birdwatchers and those who love close contact with nature. Armed with all possible optic gear, guides will find and show you the best. Tower provides an ample and comfortable platform and as one goes up there are 2 resting levels. This unique tower is the perfect site for dawn course or sunset experience.
LAKE & CREEKS
NWC has a large lake with two creeks that can be easily explored quietly while sitting on a dugout canoe paddled by our expert guides and staff eager to spot and show you wildlife. The possibilities are great in finding more troops of other species of monkeys like squirrel, saddle-backed and white fronted capuchin monkeys or those that by natural distribution or best habitat occur only on our South side of the Napo and include: monk saki, spider, woolly and golden mantle tamarin monkeys. NWC is home to a total of 11 species of monkeys.
All four species of cayman (alligator related) are found at NWC. Our lake offers black cayman species, which can easily be seen best at night canoe rides or even at sunny days by the edge of floating vegetation.
Following the creeks a group of giant otters in a hurry to catch their fish for supper are a good chance. A well deserved prize for NWC guests. Creeks have a dense vegetation on sides, with large trees overhead and calm flowing waters, no one knows exactly what awaits in the next meander, a flooded forest with anaconda or a gentle easy moving three toed sloth.
FOREST TRAILS & HIKES
Hikes along a variety of forest types are possible by visiting different trails. One can appreciate the tropical forest richness; discover new plants and colourful or well-camouflaged insects. On forest trails, guests can see monkeys, lizards, tortoises, frogs and army ants in addition to an array of birds, including toucans, macaws, parrots, manakins and hummingbirds.
Our staff is constantly aware of wildlife movements and they report each other when and where it will be best to try looking for…..”hey guys, we had a glimpse of a large spotted body last week on the main trail, when we approached discovered deep heavy steps of a cat..” This is the territory of the rich terra firme, the land of anything is possible, expect the unexpected. The largest mammals like jaguar, puma, tapir, giant anteater and giant armadillo have been spotted on our area. Night hikes are possible at NWC providing unexpected wildlife!!
Over 562 species of birds have been recorded at the Napo Wildlife Center, more than 1/3 of all of Ecuador`s birds. A vast and rich bird-life that can reward the most avid birdwatcher with the unrivalled South Napo specialties. NWC and Anangu are a classic visiting location for someone travelling Ecuador seeking for the overwhelming bird diversity.
Agami and ZigZag herons are found near the lake and creeks, including all 5 kingfishers. The large raptors like Harpy and Crested Eagles find healthy mammal food around our area. The active calls of forest floor mixed species flocks with the largest numbers of the surprising antbirds can be found. Canopy flocks are normal to run into, chances are birds provide an hour or so of a multitude of wow’s. Gear up with the best binoculars for the most superb views and active excursions helped with the expertise of the top native bird guide along the entire Napo: Jiovanny Rivadeneira. He is the head of a number of native guides that will eagle eye sight and successfully find for you that great plumaged world. Our canopy tower provides unrivalled opportunities for birding at the best rain forest in the country.
THE AÑANGU COMMUNITY
Anangu is not only home to the great NWC lodge, it has been the ancestral territory of a Kichwa indigenous community that has the same name. Anangu people are active participants of the conservation and management of a large territory within the park, and since mid 2007 they are 100% owners of the tourism and lodge venture. They would like to invite you see the community that had a dream and initiative long time ago to handle this vast rain forest territory by establishing their own lodge. You can join some families on their daily activities when harvesting bananas, coco, manioc, a starchy jungle root, staple food for Amazonian people, or maybe helping preparing chicha, a traditional drink based on cooked and fermenting manioc. Try this unique time with the Anangu locals, masters of the tropical forest.
Napo Wildlife Center, NWC, will operate with departures every DAY of the week (except Sunday. A longer NWC stay is possible for particular interest groups with an 8 day/ 7 night trip. We count with specialized naturalists that can delight those really focused guests. Also available specialized birding group leaders, botanical or insect workshops. Please contact us to tailor a unique Amazon experience.
Aircrafts taking care of our flights between Quito and Coca are modern planes. Crafts and pilots are FAA-certified in the US. Flight schedules are announced according to bookings and groups logistics.
The lodge counts with fire extinguishers of various sizes at cabañas, public areas, staff and power room. Also HF radio and mobile phones are in contact with our operations office in case of emergency. In case of serious emergency we can call helicopter assistance to evacuate from the lodge. For minor emergencies and if ever needed a medical center, around 30 minutes away from the lodge is also ready to provide attention.
Passengers in flights Quito – Coca are allowed to check in a maximum of 20 Kg per person plus a carry on – hand luggage with reading material, camera, binoculars and personal documents. Additional or excess baggage is charged directly by the airline by pound.
Accommodation, all meals, pure water, river transportation and local Coca airport – boat in – out transfers, all excursions, including visits to our exclusive NWC`s parrot-macaw clay licks. Native guide and naturalist bilingual guides, Yasuni National Park entrance fee, currently at $ 10 per person and subject to change without previous notice, purified water during meals, rain poncho and rubber boots provided when needed for excursions.
DOES NOT INCLUDE:
Drinks gratuities any other item not specified
DEPARTURES EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK
Departures available on ANY DAY of the week except Sundays.
There are NO extra canoe costs