The name “Sacha” comes from the indigenous Quichua word for “forest,” so it should be no surprise that nature is at the heart of the experience at Sacha Lodge. Nestled in an expansive 5,000-acre private reserve in Ecuador’s lush Amazon rainforest, Sacha Lodge has exclusive access to some of the most vibrant jungle wildlife, including a number of primate species that can be spotted at all hours of the day.
Primate species native to the Napo – Coca area of the Amazon
- Yellow Handed Titi Monkey
- Red Howler Monkey
- Squirrel Monkey
- Spider Monkey
- Pygmy Marmoset
- Tufted Capuchin
- Noisy Night Monkey
- Lemurine Night Monkey
- Red Titi Monkey
- Brown Woolly Monkey
- Silvery Woolly Monkey
- Graells Tamarin
- Saddlebacked Tamarin
- Golden Mantled Tamarin
- White-bellied Spider Monkey
The tours at Sacha Lodge are especially designed around the wildlife, which is why you’ll notice that tours are not limited to the traditional daylight hours – in fact, several of the tours at Sacha are night hikes, so that you can hear and perhaps even spot the significant number of nocturnal primate species that animate this section of the rainforest. The guides at Sacha Lodge include some of the best naturalists in the field, and they are experts at not only finding, but also identifying and explaining the various species you’ll encounter on a nature walk. While you might head out on the tour with the intention of spotting monkeys and birds, there’s no telling what other Amazon creatures you might run into along the way.
Where to find the primates
Many Amazon lodges feature walking tours along the local trails, and Sacha is no exception, with an extensive network of trails that explore all of the potential monkey habitats around the lodge. Some of the monkeys live very close to the ground and can be spotted just off the trails.
What sets Sacha above the rest is the Canopy Walk, a sturdy boardwalk suspended 94 feet (30m) above the ground. This long walkway winds through a layer of the rainforest that is still largely undiscovered even today and is home to many species that spend their whole lives here. Other primate species visit the canopy level for its remarkable variety of fruit and palms.
How to identify them
Naturally, the best way to identify monkeys is by their appearance. Each primate has distinct characteristics. For example, the active Squirrel Monkey can be identified by its long, black tufted tail and white mask, whereas the Golden Mantled Tamarin can be identified by its dark orange-brown fur, black face with white snout, and its namesake gold/ orange neck and mantle. For novice monkey spotters, like the majority of Sacha’s visitors, the guides can help point them out and identify them as you see them.
Knowing where each species resides is also a helpful identifier, since certain species only stay in the sparse low branches by bodies of water where insects are prevalent, while others stick exclusively to the canopy. Howlers are a great example of a primate that takes advantage of every layer, from the canopy all the way to the ground. And while the tufted capuchin will occasionally visit the ground while scavenging or hunting, they tend to stay in the middle and lower strata of the forest.
Over the course of your vacation, you’ll also notice a third way to identify monkeys – by their call. At all hours of the day, the rainforest is a veritable chorus, the cacophony the backdrop of a true rainforest experience. Since primates are notoriously social creatures, their calls can be heard and easily identified. Some are high pitched, some sound like laughs, and others are deep and resonant. The most notable of the monkey calls is the Howler Monkey, named for its loud whooping bark that serves as a territorial warning to other animals to keep their distance.
The ambient cacophony of the jungle is your home while at Sacha Lodge, and the vibrant primate species that populate the area are just a few of the many voices that make up this natural choir.