I had the pleasure of visiting Curaray Lodge in December. This wonderfully remote destination is an Eco lodge nestled within the Yasuni National Park in the Ecuadorean rainforest. For those who yearn for a true experience with nature, this is the place to go. Once in Ecuador, the journey involves a picturesque drive to the town of Shell, a short yet beautifully scenic plane ride over the jungle, and a glorious canoe ride along the Curaray River. Upon exiting the canoe, there is a brief walk through the jungle to get to the lodge. While riding in the canoe, and walking through the lush forest, guests will see a vast variety of the most colorful birds on earth perched in trees, flying overhead, calling to one another. During my stay, I had the rare opportunity to see at least eight species of monkeys in their natural habitat. Wild pigs, caimen, an assortment of butterflies, reptiles, are just a few examples of the wonderful wildlife that I encountered.
The lodge owner, and guide, Rodrigo Jipa, born and raised in the rainforest, is a wealth of information. He is able to answer any question about the jungle. Rodrigo identified every animal, plant, tree we came across, and gave an incredible imitation of the sounds and calls of the animals. He is also the chef, and prepared the most delicious meals with a beautiful presentation.
Along side Rodrigo are members of the Quechua community who also guide all of the excursions. They too, are rainforest experts, able to spot animals hidden in the trees, create a foot bridge in minutes out of a tree, a hand bag out of palm leaves, or cook a delicious catfish grilled in a palm leaf. I felt very safe and cared for throughout my visit.
The cabins are complete with comfortable beds, mosquito netting, and full bathrooms. From the dining deck, you can look at the nearby lake and watch the wildlife, or gaze at the star filled sky at night. The sounds of the night creatures will lull you to sleep after a full day of hiking and canoeing.
My words cannot fully express the magnitude of this experience. However, for those who crave a remote location full of beauty, wildlife, and wonderful people, Curaray Lodge is a must! I cannot wait to return..
Along with Rodrigo