2022 Cuyabeno Reserve Review
Firsthand experience from a not so avid traveler in the Ecuadorian Rain Forest
W hen the Cuyabeno Reserve was initially proposed as a traveling option, it brought up a long lingering question, why do people find the jungle so appealing? It just did not sound like all that much fun. Humidity, strange animal cries in the middle of the night, mosquitoes, and poisonous snakes ? Nope. Nope. Nope.
Also, nothing positive ever happened to Indiana Jones in the jungle, and even Mowgli bailed! And he was raised by a Bear!
Sorry. Got a bit carried away there. But you get the point; not a big fan.
You might be wondering:
So how did i end up in the amazon 2 words “peer pressure” friends talked me into spending 5 days in the Ecuadorian Amazon with them.
Usually nothing good comes out of peer pressure, so this would be a first… and I’m glad I did —it was awesome! And by the time you are done reading this, I believe you will agree with me.
Entering the Cuyabeno Reserve
It’s was an 8-hour overnight bus trip (I got to watch a Bruce Lee movie!) from Quito to Lago Agrio (the city where our tour began on the edge of the Amazon region).
Once there, we had to take another bus to the entrance of the reserve at El Puente where we met our guide and canoed to our lodge.
An adventure in itself as you start entering deep primary rain forest.
That took another two and a half hours!
It took so long because we kept stopping to admire the amazing wildlife: birds, monkeys, fish, butterflies, you name it .
Samona Lodge In Cuyabeno
After a not-so-short nap at our awesome jungle lodge (we stayed at this one called Samona Lodge; there’s a few of them along the river) we headed out to watch the sun set on the Laguna Grande. I saw a pink dolphin! My life will never be the same. I also got to swim, which was nice as well as surprisingly refreshing.
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Activities & Fauna
It gets better:
The next couple of days went by a bit too fast for my taste. At this point I was thoroughly enjoying myself.
We basically used our lodge as a forward operating base and explored/hiked through the rainforest, learned about medicinal flora and fauna, interacted with one the local indigenous communities, and saw some more amazing wildlife.
Oh! On day 3 we canoed to the Caiman Cocha, which literally translates to “puddle of alligators”. So yeah, there be dragons. Just kidding, it was pretty sick.
The Cuyabeno Reserve has 8 major ecosystems throughout the year.
On Day 4 we visited the shaman/medicine man/witch doctor for a bit of enlightenment.
So these guys are always tripping; they take this hallucinogenic substance called Ayahuasca that basically allows them to diagnose and treat people. It was pretty interesting to hear them explain the culture and traditions of the indigenous people.
Communities in Cuyabeno reserve consist of the Sionas, the Cofans, & the Secoyas.
Want to know the best part?
Our day perfectly ended with a visit to Laguna Grande, a beautiful calm lagoon further down stream. The water and ambient temperature is perfect for a splash and to cool down. Its quite something having a swim with the sunset.☀
Is the Cuyabeno Reserve Worth It?
I was pretty impressed by the experience and now am way more open to jungle-related activities.
Yes. I still don’t like poisonous snakes (honestly, who does?), and I’m not a big fan of mosquitoes or humidity.
But on the whole, it was way more awesome than anything I’d expected and I’ll probably go back if I get the chance.
Activities in the Cuyabeno Reserve are only arranged from nearby lodges
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