As a private lodge, Sacha Lodge’s long history of conservation makes it a distinctive reserve and a unique destination for an expedition. Since the inception of the lodge in 1992, wildlife has been protected from hunting, which has created an abundance of wildlife viewing from the lodge and the surrounding areas for several species of monkeys that are unique to the area. The access to species such as squirrel monkeys, Graells’s tamarin monkeys, white-fronted capuchin monkeys, or pygmy marmosets are unparalleled. The Amazon is home to a diversity of species unlike anywhere else on earth. There are over 1,600 avian species registered in Ecuador alone, an impressive number that is almost twice as much as the 900 registered species of the United States and Canada. While monkeys are the most visible mammals, you may also spot a three-toed sloth, giant river otter or an ocelot as you move through the rainforest. Countless reptiles, amphibians and insects are also visible.
2020 dates: January 6, 2020 – January 12, 2020
Professional Naturalist Guide
Small Group Safari : 6 Guests Max
Activity Fees / Entrance Fees
Gear / Personal Clothing
The meeting location for this expedition is the Quito International Airport. Please be sure to arrange flights with plenty of time to arrive by the start date. You’ll have an opportunity to meet your guide, get an overview of the tour, and ask questions about your expedition.
We toured with Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris and Seth was our expert guide. He has a degree in zoology and is well traveled from Canada to South America. His knowledge of the area and wildlife was priceless, making our tour most enjoyable and educational. We will return someday and use Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris again–highly recommended!
Arrive in Quito, Ecuador. Ecuador’s capital sits 9,350 feet above sea level in the Andean foothills. Depending on your arrival time you may choose to head into the city center on your own, approximately 40 minutes away from the airport, to explore the city. This evening you will meet your guide, Seth Ames, at the Wyndham Hotel located at the Quito International Airport. There is an optional meet and greet in the evening at the hotel. Late arrivals will meet up with the group in the morning. Overnight accommodations are at the Wyndham Hotel at the Quito Airport.
Depart Quito Airport around 11:30am (subject to change) for a short 30 minute flight over the Andes mountains to a bustling oil town called Coca located in the Amazon Basin. Here we will be met by Sacha Lodge staff and enjoy a quick lunch in Sacha Lodge’s private house. After lunch we will head to the town docks and board Sacha’s private canoes for the 2 hour journey down river to Sacha Lodge. Upon arrival we will all take an easy 30 minute hike through the rainforest to lake Pilchicocha. Here, Sacha Lodge guides will paddle you across the lake to your final destination. After getting settled into our rooms, some may opt for a refreshing swim in Lake Pilchicocha, which is a black water lake home to many species of fish and animals. The water is often welcoming after a day in equatorial heat! Evening bird watching from the mini tower will offer guests an excellent opportunity to view several species of birds common around the lodge. The tower is a great place to watch the sun set. After dinner, accompany your naturalist guide on a night walk through the rainforest to view the hundreds of different species of animals that can only be found at night.
- The Kapok Tower: Imagine being in the world’s tallest treehouse in the rainforest. Sacha Lodge has constructed a childhood fantasy in the middle of the amazon. This amazing structure surrounds a huge Kapok tree, the most spiritually significant tree of the region. We will take a morning or an evening tracking wildlife from the tower, providing a unique perspective on the surrounding landscape.
We will rise early and enjoy breakfast at the lodge before heading out for the day. This morning will be our first canopy walk, in search of spectacular views of the rainforest canopy and the many different species of vibrantly colored birds. After the canopy walk, we will take a hike on the Liana Grande trail through terra firma and igapo forest habitats where native guides will explain many different species of medicinal plants that have been used by indigenous cultures for hundreds of years. This trail turns into the Higueron Trail, which will take you through pristine primary forest with huge kapok and fig trees towering hundreds of feet above your head. Lunch will be a boxed lunch to enjoy in the rainforest. After lunch, depending on group interest, you may take a leisurely hike along the Rio Napo, or choose a little more challenging hike on the trail Leoncillo to try and spot the elusive dusky titi monkey. Either way, the trails will lead you back to the main boardwalk for your final hike and canoe ride back to the lodge for the evening.
- January in the Amazon: The amazon rainforest is a year round destination, but choosing to go now, maximizes our chances of seeing the various monkey species with newly born dependent babies. With a bit of luck we will be able to see monkey babies riding their parents backs as they travel through the rainforest canopy. It’s also a drier time of the year that brings a higher chance of seeing Scarlet Macaws down to the clay lick in Yasuni National Park.
- Canopy Walk: The canopy walk is designed to be a self-standing rigid suspension canopy walk. It is one of only a few in the world! Located within Sacha Lodge’s private reserve, 2 miles from the shores of the Rio Napo and 1 mile from the lodge, the bird walk gives guests the opportunity to get an up close and personal view of the rainforest canopy. Two of the three towers have observation decks every 12 meters making towers accessible for everyone. The canopy walkway is at 36 meters high and 275 meters long, giving guests a “birds eye view” of all the wonders and beauty the tropical rainforest has to offer. The canopy walk is designed as a sturdy walkway enabling guests to casually move along while enjoying the spectacular views.
Leaving the lodge after breakfast, you begin your hike on trail Lagartococha. This trail offers you the chance to learn more about the native people and their relationship with the forest. Learn about the trees where native people believe the spirits of their ancestors live, and the mysterious “dwende” or devil-man of the forest. After arriving at lake Lagartococha, take a tranquil canoe ride through a natural swamp, which is the home of anacondas, caimans, and capybaras to the other side of the lake. Here we have the opportunity to spot capuchin or squirrel monkeys playfully jumping through the trees. Lunch will be back at the lodge with some time to enjoy the amenities and maybe even enjoy a nap in the hammock at your room.
After lunch, your guide will teach you how to fish for the infamous razor- toothed piranha! Keep in mind that piranhas will never attack a person and swimming with them in the water is generally safe and fun. In the late afternoon, we depart for a silent canoe ride through the flooded Amazonian forest, arguably the most loved trail at Sacha Lodge. Here you’ll have a good chance of being surrounded by troops of squirrel, capuchin, and howler monkeys. Keep your eyes peeled for the shy and elusive river otter as well as the incredibly well camouflaged three-toed slrest.
After your eye-popping ride through the flooded forest, you will arrive at Sacha Lodge’s 135-foot wooden tower built around an ancient kapok tree. Get close-up views of vibrantly colored birds through the powerful spotting scopes, and watch the sun set with an amazing view of Mount Sumaco, a volcano, with a possible view of the snow-covered caps of the Andes!
Leaving the tower just before or after sunset will give you an experience not soon forgotten. A canoe ride back through the flooded forest at night will be an awe-inspiring experience. Listen to the symphony of frogs and insects as you navigate through the narrow flooded forest trail, keeping your eyes open for caimans. Watch the several species of bats flying over your heads and listen to the many species of nocturnal birds making their eerie night-time calls. Finally, after your mesmerizing canoe trip through the Amazon, you will arrive back at lake Pilchicocha and the welcoming lights of Sacha Lodge.
You will have visited all of the Sacha’s amazing canopy walks and hiked many of the trails the property has to offer. Because all of the days are flexible, today your guide will be sure to take you to any of the parts of Sacha Lodge reserve that you haven’t yet seen and/or return to some favorites. Maybe there is a species you haven’t found yet or a part of the property you want to visit at a different time of day. Or, maybe you haven’t taken advantage of relaxing in the hammock in your room and listening to the sounds of the rainforest! Your guide will help you tailor this day to get the most out of your last full day at Sacha Lodge.
This will be our last morning at Sacha Lodge. We will eat breakfast and depart from the lodge at 7:45am, making our way back to Quito the same way we came in. We will take one last walk on the boardwalk to the river and enjoy the 2 hour canoe ride back to Coca. We will eat lunch in Coca before catching our short flight back to Quito. If needed, an evening flight home would be possible this evening, but we will plan for you to join us for dinner in Quito and a final night back at the Wyndham Hotel at Quito International Airport if your travel plans allow for it.
Departures from Quito this morning will be very easy when you are waking up right next to the airport. You may choose to extend your trip in Quito or elsewhere in Ecuador or Peru on your own, in which case you will be more accustomed to the culture and ready to enjoy some more urban adventures after the peaceful solitude at Sacha Lodge!
Safari Tour Gallery
What is your cancellation policy?
Due to the complex nature of our multi-day expeditions, our cancellation policy is 90 days on all domestic and international expeditions. Cancellations made before the cancellation policy goes into effect will receive a full refund. Cancellations made within 90 days of departure will not be refunded. We strongly recommend travel insurance in order to protect you from unforeseen travel interruptions that prevent you from joining us.
Guides and Staff
Local, experienced, and passionate guides and photographers.