The Sani Lodge Ecotourism Experience
Sani Lodge pairs a full service, first class jungle expedition, with ecologically friendly tourism. Sani Lodge is 100% owned and operated by the indigenous Sani Isla Quichua community of Ecuador. Your support of this ecotourism project will enable native people to protect the fragile Ecuadorian jungle ecology and promote better education and employment opportunities within the community.
An Exceptional Jungle Experience Awaits You…
Clustered on the shore of a remote black water lagoon are our newly constructed private, thatch-roofed cabañas. Each is equipped with twin beds, electric lights, and modern bathrooms with showers. And since the facility is powered entirely by solar panels, there is no noisy generator to drown out the magical night sounds of the jungle. Our open-air dining room and bar offer exquisite views of colorful sunsets over our beautiful lake.
Organized activities during your stay at the Lodge are customized to your interests. Our program includes early morning hikes, canoe trips around our lagoon, piranha fishing, and night walk adventures. Climb our 30-meter high canopy observation tower, built around a mighty Kapok, for a bird’s eye view of the area. Our extensive network of trails provides easy access to many different ecological zones, from Tierra Firma, to aqueous swamps, ecosystems teaming with unique wild life and plant diversity. An expert bird guide is available for all who are interested in viewing the large diversity of avian species that inhabit the area.
All travelers to Sani Lodge spend a day on the opposite or south side of the Rio Napo. The Napo divides the region and segregates animal populations and plant communities. Here on the south side for example, you can find 4 different species of monkey that cannot be seen to the north, and observe geological variations in terrain. There is also a clay lick on the south side of the Napo that welcomes many species of parrots. You may observe, without disturbing, these beautiful birds from a thatched blind.
- 3 hours down the Río Napo from Coca, located on 90.000 acres of pristine rain forest.
- Access is by motorized and paddle canoe only; there are no roads in the area.
- Flights from Quito to Coca can be arranged (30 minutes flight).
- Private cabañas with twin beds or double beds, with modern bathroom and showers.
- Electric lights powered by eco-friendly solar panels.
- Full service bar and lounge area.
- Hot / Warm water generated with solar energy.
- Excellent 3 course meals, featuring international cuisine and samples of local forest foods, attended by full wait staff.
- Floating balsa raft with hammocks
- Camping area available
Background and our vision for the Future.
SANI Lodge’s activity started on December of 1999. After 6 years of experience, the staff and the rest of our team gained lots of knowledge about the needs of our different type of guests. Therefore, our services and activities are constantly actualized, fitting the demand of our visitors.
Today we are prude to say that we have, improved and new activities (unique in the Amazon rain forest), new services and improvements in our equipment.
- Acquisition of one of the fastest and most comfortable boats in the Napo River.
- New details in the Lodge such as, Hammocks, more trails, improvements in our tree tower and more…
- We began the construction of our communication tower.
- We have new and exquisite international level courses and traditional Kichwa cuisine.
- We now offer the possibility of using Hot/Warm water respecting the natural harmony of the forest, without using gas, neither electricity, we just use the power of our sun to warm up the water.
- We now offer Laundry as a new service provided by our lodge.
- Guided tours to Yasuni National Park ( Sani Isla territory)
- Possibility of exploration both south and north of Napo River (Exclusive in our lodge). This experience gives the tourist the chance of knowing much more of the biodiversity that the Ecuadorian Amazon has to offer.
- Special programs for Birders. Our territory is home of more than 550 species of birds and our native guides have great and specialized knowledge in guiding and finding unique species. For instance, we offer in a specialized program the search of the “Rufous Potoo”, specie that has been only identified in our territory.
- Special programs for universities. We offer educative activities, such as debates about conservation, ecology, Amazon actual reality and Kichwa culture.
- We have opened the possibility for campers in a beautiful spot 2 min. canoe ride from the lodge.
- Parrots Salt Liks.
- And more…
We are constantly actualizing ourselves to fulfill the expectations of our guests. It is our vision to become the most prestigious lodge in the Napo area, where passengers find adventure, learning and cultural exchange.
What Makes Sani Different?
Sani Lodge is an ecotourism facility owned and operated by the Sani Isla Quichua community. With a vast land holding of over 37,000 hectares (90,000 acres), Sani Lodge controls and protects the largest, privately held area of rainforest in all of Ecuador. The Lodge is an important first step toward meeting the goals this indigenous community has set for the future; first is the preservation of the land, the plants, and the animals, and second is the advancement of an improved educational system for the community. Profits generated by the lodge are used to help with education, social aid and to gain a sustainable economy for the next generations to come. There are plans for an indigenous high school in Coca, where community members will be prepared for university as well as educated in traditional Quichua culture and knowledge. This means that by visiting Sani Lodge you are participating in the direct conservation of both the rainforest and its peoples.
However, the community also recognizes the need for outside guidance and assistance. Therefore, the Kichwa have hired English speaking administrators and naturalist guides with extensive “five star” ecotourism experience, from outside the community, to insure the highest standards of quality valued by worldwide guests.
Finally, what makes Sani truly remarkable and utterly different is the forest. In addition to being home to over 550 species of birds, including unique finds such us the amazing Rufous Potoo, Sani Lodge offers a wildlife community that cannot be found at many other lodges along the Rio Napo—or anywhere in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The area surrounding Sani Lodge supports many healthy populations of animals which are critically endangered throughout the Amazon. Several groups of Woolly Monkeys, the largest, most gregarious, and most endangered monkey species in the region, reside in the trees above the trails at Sani. Black Caiman, the largest relative of the alligator in South America, sometimes reaching 5 meters in length are rare elsewhere but common in our lagoon and can easily be seen at night, sometimes even during the day. And waterfowl such as Wattled Jacana, Sungreb, Anhinga, and Neotropical Cormerant, difficult to see in smaller lagoons, are generally common and easy to view at Sani.
Getting there and away.
There are two options to get to Coca:
Air transport: Your plane leaves from Quito (Local Departures) at 11:00. A bilingual host will meet you in the Quito airport and present a short introduction and orientation to the area. The host will help you with passport, baggage, and travel details. You will proceed to Coca, a short 30-minute flight from Quito. At your return from Sani your guide will take you to the airport on time to check in and take your flight back to Quito. We book flights.
Bus transport: A bus from “Trans Esmeraldas” leaves from the bus station in Quito, (which is located at Santa Maria Street and 9 de Octubre), at 9 p.m. (of day before your trip starts). The trip lasts about 9 hours. Your guide would meet you at La Mision Hotel in Coca at 12:00. To come back the bus leaves Coca at 8pm.
Once in Coca you will be met by an English speaking, naturalist guide and shuttled from the airport to a waiting motorized canoe at the edge of the Napo River. Your jungle experience begins as the guide explains some of the natural history of the area and introduces you to the ecological characteristics of the river. During your float down the Napo River, enjoy a light lunch and the opportunity to observe the unique flora and fauna of the area. We will travel down this river for about 3 hours before arriving to a small stream called Challuayacu where we will transfer to dugout canoes and paddle into our lake, the Challuacocha and right up to Sani Lodge.
About Malaria, the Sani area does not have a high incidence of Malaria. In fact, in 5 years there were only 2 cases of malaria in the region. But malaria is present; therefore we recommend our guests take a preventive malaria medicine.