Deep in the dense primary rainforest, two hours from Ecuador’s Amazon gateway town of Coca sits Sacha Lodge, seamlessly built into its natural surroundings on Pilchicocha Lake. For more than 25 years, Sacha Lodge has offered some of the most interactive and engaging jungle excursions of any Amazon lodge, with a flair for elegance and luxury and a commitment to conserving and protecting the nature that is at the heart of all of Sacha’s programs and itineraries. Over the years, the activities have grown, but they still center around giving guests an intimate experience with the wildlife.
The rainforest canopy is one of the least explored parts of the Amazon, and this 94-foot high walkway, supported by three sturdy metal towers, puts you right in the heart of it, giving you an exclusive window into life at the uppermost level of the jungle. Extending for 940-feet, you will be able to see and hear animals like howler monkeys and various bird species that you couldn’t from the ground.
If you want to climb even higher into the canopy, then this 135-foot observation tower will quench your thirst. The 360-degree panoramic view immerses guests in the the forest, with access to the 500-some registered bird species in the area. As its name suggests, it is built right into the highest brangest of a mighty kapok tree.
Yasuni Parrot Lick
One of the most interesting sights you’ll see during your time at Sacha Lodge is the parrot lick, where hundreds of parrots flock every sunny, dry morning to perch on and eat the exposed clay. While there are several clay licks throughout the Amazon, this is considered the most accessible, just a short canoe ride from Sacha Lodge, down the Napo River. It forms an important part of the parrots’ diets, providing them with a natural antacid for their highly acidic diet of fruit and helping them to remedy naturally occurring toxins in their diet and ward off parasites.
Prepare to be immersed in a world of butterflies – over 40 species flutter around one of the largest butterfly farms in Ecuador, featuring glass-wing butterflies, spectacular blue morphs, striking tiger longwings, bright yellow swallowtails and giant nocturnal owl butterflies, just to name a few. These beautiful insects are bred and raised here in the safety of the conservatory, and the flying room gives you access to this tranquil world.
Providencia Community Visit
Guests are given the opportunity to take part in a local community development project – Shipati Warmi – as they learn about the daily life and culture of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. The visit includes conversation with the natives of the area, who will explain the education system, how they wash and dry clothes, and how they cook, even giving guests an opportunity to prepare a traditional dish.
Night or day, the trails around Sacha Lodge are full of life just waiting to be explored. Sacha’s expert guides will lead you around the rich swaths of forest as you search for monkeys, birds, insects, spiders, snakes, and fascinating plant species. Flashlights will illuminate the nocturnal life of the Amazon as you enjoy night hikes that complement the day-time exploration.
This is one of the main ways you will get around from one site to the next, but it’s also an attraction of its own, giving guests a unique perspective to witness the river-life of the jungle. Since the creeks and blackwater lakes are the center of life in our part of the Amazon, there are always monkeys, birds, and other species visiting the banks and low branches that line them. Paddling along in dug-out canoes will acquaint you with the aquatic side of the jungle.
If you dare, you can take creek paddling to the next level with evening expeditions in search of the caiman crocodiles that lurk in the dark water. As you paddle in the dugout canoes, your guide will lead you in your flashlight search for the caiman.
Every moment at Sacha Lodge is a moment for birdwatching, but for those avian enthusiasts who want to witness all of the species that live around Sacha Lodge, then expert ornithologist Oscar Tapuy and a team of well trained guides will lead guests to the best spots where hundreds of these birds can be seen. They’ll also help you catch the flighty birds on your cameras or phones with their practiced and perfected techniques. In any given day, Tapuy estimates that he see at least 60 species.
Surrounded by and protected from caiman and giant river otters by the mesh cage, the plunge pool is right in the shallows of Pilchicocha Lake. As one of the most interactive ways to experience the black waters of Pilchicocha, it gives visitors of all ages a chance to go for a refreshing swim and get an up-close look at this unique ecosystem.