Yacuma Ecolodge and BirdWatching
Yacuma Ecolodge is located on the boundaries of the Yasuni national Park, and so the opportunity to enjoy Birdwatching is of great possibilities in our 275 hectares of private Forest Reserve and Wildlife center. Additionally, we offer extensions for birdwatching at the areas of the Gomatan Huaorani Community located inside of the Yasuni National Park, which is probably the most important treasure on the northeastern part of Ecuador’s Amazonian Rainforest and it is home of many species of plants, birds and animals than almost anywhere else on earth.
The project Yacuma Ecolodge is an initiative jointly with the Kichwa Indigenous Community of Chontayacu and Pamir Travels Group. Our EcoLodge was created in 1995 with the aim of improving the economy of our host community, preserve their natural environment, culture and heritage through Sustainable Tourism. Among the several touring alternatives we offer in Yacuma Protected Forest Reserve and Wildlife Center, the Birdwatching activity, also known as Ornithology, is an excellent experience, a beautiful recreational hobby which permits to the experienced birdwatchers the recognition of the different species of birds for their singing, feathers or behavior.
At the Yacuma area we recorded 500+ bird species and while hiking in the primary jungle of the Forest Reserve, we will be able to observe the most common species of birds including: Vultures, Hoatzins, Donacobius Magpie Tanagers, Herons, Kingfishers, flycatchers, woodpeckers, cormorants, caracaras, purple Gallaretas, Falcons, violaceous jays, white-eared Jacamars, toucans, Bienteveo, Tyrants, Yellow Rumped Caciques, Orioles, etc.
Yacuma Ecolodge Collpa:A short 30 minutes’ walk from our lodge, will take us to the base of a cliff where early in the morning we will be able to observe dozens of parrots and other jungle birds approaching the cliff. For parrot enthusiasts, visiting a parrot clay lick is to be one of the most memorable highlights of your trip to the Amazon Rainforest.
A clay lick (locally known as colpa or collpa) is a naturally formed wall of clay on a riverbank caused by erosion from the river. Every morning dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of parakeets, parrotlets, also macaws, and other birds flock to these clay licks to eat clay, so creating an incredible wildlife spectacle.
Many theories exist about why parrots consume clay, but the most extended is that the clay neutralize dietary toxins and provide them with a sodium supplement.
Our Birdwatching Programs:
At Yacuma Ecolodge we offer 3, 4 or 5 days Birdwatching Tours, and if you like to extend your experience we offer 2 or 3 additional days in the beautiful rainforest area of the Huaorani Community in the Yasuni National Park.
Our programs include accommodations in our comfortable Yacuma Ecolodge bungalows provided with private facilities (hot and cold water), delicious food prepared by our native chefs, purified water, land and motorized canoe transport, rubber boots, an expert bilingual birdwatching guide, a local indigenous (Kichwa and Huaorani) guides, all excursions and activities outlined in the programs.
Not included are: transportation Quito/Santa Rosa Village/Quito, breakfast on the first day and dinner on the last day, personal equipment (torches, rain poncho, binoculars, etc.), bottled and alcoholic beverages.
Our Suggested 4 days birdwatching tour:
Day 1 — Quito (or Baños) – Tena – Yacuma Ecolodge:
Our local guide will be waiting for you in the city of Tena, the Capital of the Napo Province. From here, we will drive for proximately one hour and a half more until we reach the community of San Pedro de Sumino (or Santa Rosa), a small jungle town located in the banks of the Napo River, one of the main effluents of the great Amazon River. On the way, stops will be made to observe some flocks around these patches of forest and some forest edge areas. Once in San Pedro, we will be hopping in the fresh water canoe to head deep into the Yacuma Natural Reserve. A 20 – 30 minutes ride will take you to the small Chontayacu River, where Yacuma EcoLodge is located. Depending on the time of the year and the amount of water running through the rivers, the boat ride can turn into a fun activity, as collectively, we all push the canoe through sand banks and up river to get to the lodge.
The Yacuma Forest Reserve totals 275 hectares of Primary rainforest, bordering the Chontayacu River next to the cabins, and going deep into the jungle surrounding the cabins. This natural heaven will be your home for the next few days, as you explore and connect with nature and the communities of the jungle.
At the lodge, you will be welcomed with a glass of the traditional beverage called “Guayusa” this tasty beverage has a lot of caffeine and vitamins in much larger concentration than coffee, making it an ideal drink for the morning to have a very productive day in the jungle. After a short welcome talk, you will be taken into your comfortable traditional style bungalows. Solar panels provide hot water in the showers, as well as ambient lighting for the night.
After enjoying a delicious welcome lunch, and having a short rest, we will have a short navigation to the “hidden Lagoon”, where we will do a short hike ideal for bird watching in their natural surroundings, such as: King Fishers (martin pescador), Great Egrets (garzas de río), Great Blue Herons (garzas reales), and perhaps one of the most strange and interesting birds of the amazon, the Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoatzin), that have a blue face and a punk-hairdo. The smell is quite pungent, giving it the nickname of the stinky bird. In this place, we will also try fishing for the legendary Piranha, which you can have for dinner at the lodge if you catch one!
We will go back to the lodge, for dinner, and if everyone feels in good conditions a night walk for about 40 minutes can also be arranged after dinner.
Day 2 — Birdwatching at Yacuma Forest Reserve:
After breakfast, we departure for a 3 hours hike along one of the trails of the primary rainforest and looking for birds such as Swallow-wing, Dusky-headed Parakeet, Blue-headed Parrot, Yellow-crowned Amazon, and Mealy Amazon Yellow-browed Antbird fiery-topaz, Pavonnive Quetzal, Plum-throated Cotinga, Pavoninne Cukoo, Point-tailed –palmcreper among others. Return to the lodge for lunch and after a good rest, we make a visit to one of the Kichwa families who live in the area. They will show as how to prepare chocolate from the local cacao, eat the proteinic chontacuro worms which are formed inside of the Chontaduro, a typical palm from the rainforest. The women also will show you the way to elaborate the beautiful handmade pottery. Walk back to the lodge for dinner and briefing about the next day activities. At night, we will go owling and try for the Rufous Potoo, Crested Owl, Mottled Owl, among others.
Day 3 — Birdwatching at Yacuma Forest Reserve:
Early wake up, breakfast and start our walk along a train which will take us to the Buenoyacu River bank. Along the way we will have many opportunities to observe canopy birds such as Crimson-Crested Woodpecker, Paradise Tanager, Gilded Barbet, Golden-collared Toucanet, Amazonian Violaceous Trogon, Flame-Crested Tanager, Rufous-Bellies Euphonia, White-Throated Toucan, Chesnutt Woodpecker, Cinnamon-Rumped Foliage-Gleaner among many others. We will have a pic-nic lunch and the opportunity to have a swim in the clear waters of the Buenoyacu River. Afternoon birding walk while we return to the lodge. Time to rest and enjoy a farewell dinner followed by a meeting at the fire place for a “Guayusa” drink, perhaps some local music.
Day 4 — Birdwatching at Yacuma Forest Reserve – San Pedro – Tena – Quito (or Baños):Early breakfast and then we make a 25 minutes’ walk to the Yacuma Collpa to enjoy the view of the dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of parakeets, parrotlets, also macaws, and other birds eating the clay. An amazing spectacle. Return walk to the lodge to have an early light lunch and to say goodbye to our local friends. Canoe back to San Pedro and from here transport to Tena from where you will take your private transport or public bus transport back to Quito or Baños.
- At the lodge we provide drinkable water, coffee and tea free of charge.
- At the bar, you can buy (cash only) bottled drinks, wine, run, whisky.
- Rooms are lighting with bulbs energized by Photovoltaic Solar Panels and the showers in the bathrooms are provided with hot water heated with high efficiency solar panels.
- Malaria cases have not been reported, but in any way, we suggest you consult your physician for an opinion on taking malaria pills while at Yacuma Ecolodge.
What to bring:
- Cotton shirts — 3 or more
- Bathing suit
- Long light trousers — 3 or more (no jeans)
- Personal toiletries & personal first aid kit
- Shorts — 2 or more; T-shirts — 3 or more
- Mosquito repellent, Sunglasses & Sun cream
- Notebook, passport, money in cash (us$),
- Cotton socks — minimum a pair per day
- Binoculars for bird watching
- Comfortable shoes and sandals
- Water bottle
- Warm jacket
- Flash light (torch) with extra batteries
- Rain jacket
- Backpack (20−30 lts. waterproof)
- Photo camera