Paul Schicke
Written by Paul Schicke Senior Expedition Designer

Updated: January 23, 2024
Published: May 31, 2023

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White Capped Heron

The wonders of Ecuador are many, including the magical Galapagos. A cruise through the archipelago is a bucket-list travel experience. It provides the chance to view some of the world's most exotic species, such as the blue-footed booby, flightless cormorant, marine iguanas, and the Galapagos giant tortoise.

By contrast, the Amazon Jungle offers a different kind of adventure. Amazon Rainforest tours often include encounters with monkeys, caiman, giant otters, sloths, and a myriad of colorful birds. With the Amazon covering nearly half the natural territory of Ecuador, it's easy to combine both the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Galapagos in one trip.

Once your Galapagos luxury cruise is booked, it's time to start thinking about the Amazon for a safari adventure of a lifetime! Extending your stay in Ecuador will allow you to experience both destinations. It's the easiest and most cost-effective way to experience the Galapagos and the world's largest tropical forest.

The Ecuadorian Headwaters: Your Arrival

Some of the best lodges and wildlife viewing can be enjoyed in the Ecuadorian Headwaters. From Quito, you'll hop on a 45-minute flight to the town of Coca, meeting a bus upon arrival for a short ride to the shores of the Napo River.

A motorized canoe with a canopy will take you down the river as you enjoy a packed lunch along the way. That will be followed by a stroll on a winding boardwalk through the jungle and a traditional canoe ride, paddling deeper into the Amazon.

You'll be immersed in the incredible sights and sounds of multiple monkey species, birds, and other wildlife while traveling to your lodge. Keep an eye out for the pygmy marmoset, the world's smallest monkey, as well as colorful toucans and macaws.

Napo River Motorized Canoes

Daily Activities for More Wildlife Encounters

All of the lodges that Quasar recommends include daily small-group excursions led by local expert guides, which provide many opportunities for viewing the Amazon's countless remarkable animals.

With a mix of waterways, lagoons, wetlands, and dry lands, there are lots of ways to explore. Quasar guests can enjoy everything from hikes on trails through the jungle and canoeing to exciting nighttime treks and outings where you'll head up to a canopy tower to watch for birds from the treetops.

Napo Wildlife Center in Amazon

A Night in the Jungle: Exploring Accommodations in Ecuador's Amazon Rainforest

Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge and Cabins

Located inside Yasuni National Park, the Napa Wildlife Center covers nearly 2.5 million acres of Amazonian rainforest. This wildlife center is a UNESCO biosphere reserve that is owned and operated by the local Kichwa indigenous community.

The lodge sits on a private lagoon, immersed in the wilds of the jungle and teeming with wildlife. You’ll even find a parrot salt lick within the reserve, providing unforgettable encounters with parrots and other species.

Daily forest walks, hikes, canoe excursions, kayaking, and birding tours are included. Twenty comfortable cabins elevate the experience with private porches and gorgeous lake views. The lodge even has its own central panoramic viewing tower along with a bar and lounge and other inviting social areas.

Canoeing in the Napo Wildlife Center

Sacha Lodge and Cabins

Located within a 5,000-acre private ecological reserve just outside Yasuni National Park, Sacha Lodge offers an unspoiled rainforest sanctuary for enjoying jungle adventures. It includes some of South America's most impressive birdwatching canopy towers, along with numerous activities.

Guests enjoy visits to the Yasuni Clay Licks, canoe rides, birding and caiman spotting tours, daily forest walks, and hikes. Walking the series of towers and interconnecting bridges will carry you right over the jungle canopy.

Accommodations are provided in one of 26 air-conditioned cabins, while the grounds include a black water natural swimming pool and areas to socialize, such as a bar and lounge.

Sacha Lodge Cabins

Anakonda River Cruise

It's also possible to join an Anakonda River cruise. The Anakonda is a vessel with 18 suites, allowing you to spend the night right on the boat and explore more areas of the region while cruising up and down the Napo River.

Instead of being set back into the jungle like the lodges, guests explore the Amazon on four-, five-, or even eight-day adventures along the river.

Each day you'll disembark to enjoy a different excursion through the jungle. That includes canoe trips, kayaking, birding tours, daily forest walks, hikes, and cultural experiences with the local communities.

Amazon Anakonda River Cruise

Experience the Islands and the Rainforest in One Incredible Trip

Quasar is truly the best way to enjoy exploring both the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon Rainforest Tour. Don’t miss this chance of a lifetime! Contact Quasar today to book your next adventure.

Pinnacle Rock in Galapagos Islands

Paul Schicke
By Paul Schicke
Senior Expedition Designer

Hello! My name is Paul. I am a photographer, traveler, teacher and writer. I have extensive experience in travel to Galapagos, Peru, Patagonia and the western seaboard of South America specializing in ways travelers can experience these once-in-a-life destinations like locals on the road. Lover of wine, chocolate, travel, coffee, and helping others plan vacations of a lifetime!

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