Travel Notes

Cubayeno Reserve – Tips for planning your visit

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In one of my previous posts, I talked about my day by day itinerary in the Cubayeno Natural Reserve, the Amazon rainforest section in Ecuador, which is one of the highlight of my year long backpacking trip, but also the best place I visited ever!

In this post, instead of an itinerary, which would probably be set by the agency you decided to take the tour with anyway, I’ll share about some practical info and tips to help you plan your trip here.

What company to used

Plenty of companies in both Baños and Quito will organise this trip for you. We booked it through Geotours and stayed in Green Forest Lodge. We were very happy with the accommodation and the food we got there. As a matter of fact, the meals we got there were some of the best we got in South America and they even had a different vegetarian option for me at every meal, with fresh fruit and vegetables.

How much does it cost?

The average night price for this tour is of $65 per night per person. We were asked $280 for the four day trip, but ended up getting it for $260, for a tour with only one more person beside us and a private double room with ensuite bathroom.

The cost included accommodation, a bilingual guide, all meals, several equipment, such as mosquito nets, boots, raincoats, and drinks throughout the day. Not included in the price were the bus to Lago Agrio, plus $4 to visit the community and $4 dollars to meet the Shaman.

Getting there

You can book your trip in either Quito or Banos, but most tour agencies will ask you to make your way there independently.

We started from Baños, where we got a bus to Coca. Transporte Baños Bus Company leaves every night at 10:45 and 11:45 and it will take you approximately 7 hours to get to Coca. The fare for this bus ride is $12.

Once in Coca, there are several companies going towards Lago Agrio every 15 minutes, starting from 4am for $3.

Why Ecuador?

Although you could visit the Amazon forest in different countries in South America, I would really recommend visiting the Cuyabeno reserve, in Ecuador.

Not only it is one of the cheapest places – together with Peru and Bolivia – to visit it, but you can also do so in the most eco-friendly and sustainable way possible.

Having talked to some people who experienced this place in both Bolivia and Peru, we realised how lucky we were with our trip. We saw plenty of animals, like monkeys, pink dolphins, anacondas, caimans, birds, spiders and frogs, but sometimes we saw them from so far away that it was very hard to spot them or we had to spend hours before we could see one. For this reason, we were so surprised when some people we met told us that they had monkeys walk on the arms, until we found out that monkeys were forced to live in cages and then brought closer to tourists.

Moreover, all companies organising tours in Ecuador, use part of their profits to support not only conservation projects and eco-friendly accommodations within the reserve, but also the local community.

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