My jungle trip to Cuyabeno

The Amazon Basin is the biggest rainforest in the world. This beautiful and huge place is called the lungs of planet earth. The Amazon is found in South America, spanning across Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Cuyabeno is a protected Wildlife Reserve in Ecuador, which is also the second largest reserve of the 45 national parks and protected areas in Ecuador. Cuyabeno is one of the main destinations of pure nature in which Ecotourism is the main activity linked to nature conservation’s actions.

Not only is the Amazon home to numerous species of animals, but also to desolate ancient indigenous tribes. The Siona, the Secoya and the Cofan have lived in the Amazon basin for thousands of years. These communities are still living in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve and can be visited during jungle tours.

During my visit to the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve I had a blast while staying at Nicky Lodge and going on adventures to spot wild animals. In this blog, I will share my experiences about Cuyabeno and explain why I think you should also travel to the Amazon.

The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve

Before I came to Ecuador, the Amazon rainforest was not very high on my bucket list. This because I am not the person who likes to wander through the bushes and look for animals. I am more of a person who is afraid of everything that crawls and flies around. But because I heard a lot of great stories about Cuyabeno, it has persuaded me to pay a visit to the monkeys and all the other beautiful animals in this area. The trip to the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve really exceeded my expectations.

The Amazon rainforest in Cuyabeno is just a wonderful and magical place. So many animals species you are never going to see anywhere else. The incredible surroundings you are allowed to stay at is just amazing. Sleeping in a lodge in the middle of the jungle, hearing all the pure animal sounds during the nights, swimming in waters where big creatures live in, I could just go on and on… Besides the beautiful nature and animals, the locals are not to be missed. The people from the communities are so friendly and open for visitation in their homes. I learned how they live and how they provide food for their families.

I stayed at Nicky Lodge. This lodge works together with local communities. The tourism industry in the jungle ensures that they have work and earn money for their families and community. It is just great to be a part of this process and to have experienced what their daily life looks like. Besides that, the lodge is located deep in the jungle and has a lovely staff. The food is different every day with a lot of fruit from the Amazon.

In my opinion, the excursions with the guides were incredible. They could see and smell from miles away if we were approaching animals. Weird, isn’t it? It is so great to see how they could spot animals so quickly and how passionately they were telling stories about many animals. In the jungle, you never know what you’re going to encounter. Sometimes you are lucky and you see rare animals, but either way, any day in the Cuyabeno reserve is one with many animals to see. We noticed that we spotted a very rare snake species, when we saw the guides very excited (more than usual) while making pictures and hanging around for almost 20 minutes.

Now I know that even they haven’t discovered or seen all kinds of animals from the jungle yet. In other words, IT IS AMAZING! It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, to see and witness all the incredible features of Cuyabeno. So make sure to not miss out on this experience!

Tips for traveling to the jungle

  1. I would recommend staying at least 3 nights because if you choose a program with fewer days you spend relative more time travelling from and to the jungle, instead of in and around the lodge/jungle. That would be a pity.
  2. To get the most out of your experience, make sure you have a lodge where you can carry out sufficient activities. Then you will have the most opportunities to spot more animals. Of course, nature is very unpredictable, so you won’t have any guarantees to see specific animals.
  3. Bring enough long loose fit clothing that is not to warm. The jungle can sometimes feel like a sauna because of the humidity.
  4. The most important toilet accessory you cannot forget is insect repellent spray. Preferably with 40% DEET. If you don’t bring this with you, you will definitely go home with many insect bites.
  5. Because many animals live high up in trees and it is too far away to see properly, you should bring binoculars. If you don’t have any, no problem, you can rent them for sure at Nicky Lodge.

Fun facts about the Amazon

  1. Scientists assume that there 100 million insect species alive in the Amazon. So you can imagine when you travel to the jungle, you will see, feel and hear many insects, especially during the night.
  2. While admiring the jungle you will spot dozens of different kind of birds. It is said that there are about 2000 different bird species around. How many can you spot while driving with motorized canoes in the rivers?
  3. There are living around 400-500 indigenous Amerindians tribes, who call the Amazon rainforest their home. It is believed that about 50 of these tribes have never had contact with the outside world! Such an amazing fact, right? And for many of us quite incomprehensible. Or would you like to live in the middle of a huge forest? Well, I can say I would not survive the wildlife!
  4. There are 430 different kind of mammals to be found in the Amazon, of which the jaguar is the biggest predator. The best place to spot jaguars and pumas is in the Manu Reserve in Peru. As nature is very unpredictable, you might find one wandering around near your lodge in Cuyabeno.
  5. Of course, the Amazon is also home to a whole bunch of fascinating, but deadly, creatures. These include electric eels, flesh-eating piranhas, poison dart frogs and some seriously venomous snakes. Wouldn’t it be awesome to spot one of these?

Don’t worry, when traveling with the guides (who actually live in the jungle) you will be safe. They know a lot about the Amazon and therefore know what to do and what not to do.

Written by: Yelith

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