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Sacha Lodge, Ecuador

Located in the heart of the Amazon basin, at 50 miles downstream from the town of Coca, and twenty minutes from the banks of the majestic Napo river. Sacha Lodge is idyllically situated on the banks of a tranquil lake, Pilchicocha, which used to form part of the Napo river itself. In this delightful setting guests can pursue a whole range of activities, such as guided walks through primary forest, canoe rides on undisturbed black water streams, view the rainforest canopy from a magnificent 40 meter high tower and enjoy guided tours to one of the biggest butterfly farms in Ecuador.

At the end of each day there is ample time for relaxation with hot showers, a hammock on your private terrace and excellent food. The accommodations at Sacha have been carefully designed to be comfortable for the traveler.

The lodging at Sacha was carefully designed to offer comfort to the traveler yet preserve the environment and rainforest ambience. All of our cabins, with high thatched roofs and private shaded terraces, are constructed with traditional materials and nestle well concealed into the lush surroundings. Each of 26 the rooms, which include single, double and (upon request) triple accommodations, provides a private bathroom with flushing toilet and hot shower. All cabins are screened against insects, and contain ceiling fans above two comfortable double beds. During free time, visitors may overlook the jungle from hammocks and often report seeing wild fauna such as toucans, agoutis and monkeys right from their own cabin!

Guests may also enjoy a raised lookout above our main bar and lounge, which offers a scenic view of Pilchicocha Lake and excellent opportunities to birdwatch.

Sacha Lodge Cabin Sacha Lodge Bathroom Sacha Lodge Double Cabin
  • Activities
  • Wildlife
  • Itinerary 5d/4n
  • Itinerary 4d/3n
  • Rates
  • FAQ

ACTIVITIES

Bird Watching at Sacha LodgeSacha Lodge's guests are divided into small groups for activities, each of which are led by not one but two guides. One is a native guide, raised in the area and with expert knowledge of the rainforest's medicinal and other useful plants. This guide will often share stories from local culture, and lead the way with accustomed eyes that are incredible for spotting the jungle's hidden creatures.

The second guide to accompany each group is a bilingual naturalist, who has been educated in the biology and ecology of the rainforest. Our naturalists come from different countries and backgrounds, and they will translate for the native guides as well as share their own scientific knowledge about any plants and animals you may encounter.

For birdwatchers, we also provide bird specialist guides upon request. These guides know the best spots for the hard-to-find species, and can easily identify species by both sight and sound. If ornithology is to be the focus of your trip, please be sure to request a bird specialist guide in advance to make sure he is there when you arrive!

Birding at Sacha LodgeA typical day at Sacha begins at sunrise or earlier, in order to take advantage of the cool morning hours when the rainforest's animals are most active. Each group may decide on its own wake-up and breakfast time, as well as the difficulty and duration of their morning outings. In the afternoon, visits begin at around 3:00 and often continue into the evening, when the nocturnal insect and frog chorus begins.

Wherever the destination, our excursions proceed slowly in order to appreciate the fascinating details that our guides point out around you.

Activities are spread out over a wide area and allow visitors to explore several distinct but equally fascinating habitats. Several trails lead through pristine terra firme forest, where 150 foot kapok trees tower above and roots form huge buttresses to give trees support. Others follow strategically raised boardwalks in seasonally flooded forests, where walking on the ground would be nearly impossible during most of the year due to groundwater. One trail many choose to follow even leads across fallen tree trunks and a steel cable zip-line through rich swampland!

A favorite activity of our guests is to paddle dugout canoes along tannin-rich black-water creeks and lakes, where luxuriant lianas, orchids, bromeliads and palm trees thrive. And wherever an outing may lead the possibilities of spotting animals, from the tiny pygmy marmoset to the feared ocelot or puma, are endless.

During free time at the lodge, swimming and piranha fishing are also activities not to be missed... but don't worry! Piranhas are scavengers and the guides will prove that swimming is perfectly safe. For adventurous souls, the day does not necessarily end with dinner. Night walks and canoe trips, with the aid of flashlights, often reveal creatures seldom seen during daylight. Caimans (of the alligator family) and giant insects rule the jungle after sunset... Do you dare search for them?

Canopy Walkway

A much anticipated addition to Sacha’s activities is our 940-foot (275-meter) long canopy walkway. At approximately 94 feet (30 meters) above the ground, imagine exploring the rainforest up in the treetops! This sturdy walkway is fixed to the ground by three metal towers for stability, and offers an unbelievable opportunity to spot dozens of animals and epiphytes seldom seen from the ground. Thousands of colorful birds await to be spotted, and with some luck you might even follow along with troops of monkeys as they forage through the forest canopy.

Taking a leisurely walk above the trees on this incredible structure, to emerge even higher on the top of the towers surrounded by an endless sea of rainforest, is an experience not to be missed, and as far as we know found nowhere else in the world.

Yasuni Parrot Clay Lick

At a short distance from Sacha Lodge is Ecuador’s most accessible parrot lick, an exposed clay riverbank where brightly colored parrots of several different species gather in the early morning. In ideal conditions (sunny and dry) hundreds of parrots will perch on and eat the exposed clay in a spectacular show of sound and color! The lick is located on the edge of Yasuní National Park, which may be reached from Sacha by a short canoe trip down the Napo River. Recently, the park service has set up blinds in order to watch the parrots from very close. If weather permits (the parrots won’t be there in the rain!), and you would like to participate in this activity, the extra cost is $15.00 per person for entrance into the National Park (subject to change, and to be paid at the Lodge).

Observation Tower

Sacha Lodge now also has an observation tower, which is great place for observing birds.

Butterfly House

Sacha Lodge is home to one of the largest butterfly farms in Ecuador. Designed as a live exhibition conservatory, the Butterfly House is now successfully breeding nearly 40 local butterfly species!

Guests will be shown how these beautiful insects are bred and raised, and later be free to wander through “the flying room”, where hundreds of colorful butterflies flutter from flower to flower.

Transparent glass-wing butterflies, spectacular blue morphs, striking tiger longwings, bright yellow swallowtails and giant nocturnal owl butterflies are only a few of the species you’ll encounter here, up close and personal.

WILDLIFE

Wildlife watching at Sacha LodgeAnyone who has ever planned to visit the rainforest has at least once asked: "What animals will I see there?" There is an incredibly high diversity of species found around Sacha Lodge, and we are sure that you will have the opportunity to see many fascinating creatures here. However, the wild is unpredictable and no two visits are ever the same! Monkeys are seen quite frequently, but how many of the 8 species found here will cross your path? They range in size from the tiny half pound pygmy marmoset to the noisy 17 pound red howler monkey, and night monkeys can be found in groups as small as 2 while squirrel monkeys can travel in groups of more than 150. And besides monkeys, there may be as many as 60 other species of mammals within our reserve (not including up to 50 species of bats)! So keep your eyes open, and maybe you'll spot an anteater, a 3-toed sloth, or even an ocelot as you explore their natural habitat.

As for reptiles, be sure take advantage of our night activities to look for one of Pilchicocha's resident spectacled caimans. Members of the alligator family, caimans are often seen from canoes out on the lake, and sometimes the babies even come to hide under our dining room! A variety of lizards and snakes can also be found along our trails, if you move quietly and keep your eyes peeled. Several different boas, vine snakes and even the giant anaconda have been seen during many of our excursions. There are a few poisonous snakes as well, but not to worry - they try to stay out of peoples' way and no one has ever been bitten here. Frogs, on the other hand, are much more common to see, from bulgy-eyed tree frogs to camouflaged leaf frogs to tiny colorful poison-dart frogs. So watch your step, day or night! And then, of course, there are birds.

In recent years Sacha Lodge has become a favorite destination of both professional and amateur ornithologists. Amazon River in Sacha Jungle Lodge So far there have been an incredible 587 different species of birds found here! This is a staggering number, especially if you consider that approximately 900 species have been registered in the entire continental United States and Canada. In only 4 or 5 days, it is not uncommon for even the most casual birder to see over 250 species here. With only minimal effort you can expect to see dozens of colorful parrots, toucans, hummingbirds, tanagers, hawks and oropendolas, and of course there are plenty of elusive "LBJs" (little brown jobs, of course) to keep the avid bird enthusiasts occupied for days. Our guides will carry telescopes along to bring your birdwatching experience close-up, and be sure to keep your binoculars handy at all times!

Sample Itinerary - 5 days/4 nights

Depart Quito's airport at 11:00am (subject to change). A 30 minute flight over the Andes Mountains leads you to a bustling oil town called Coca located in the Amazon Basin. A quick lunch in Sacha's private house and then its off to the town docks where you will board Sacha´s private canoes for the 2 hour journey down river to Sacha's Lodges property.

A 30 minute hike through the rainforest leads you to lake Pilchicocha. Here, you are met by native workers to paddle you across the lake to your final destination. Arrive at Sacha Lodge around 15:30 or 16:00 pm. Swim in Lake Pilchicocha, which is a black water lake home to many species of fish and animals. A refreshing swim after arriving may be just what you need after being in the equatorial heat all day. Bird observing from the mini tower offers guests an excellent opportunity to view several species of birds common around the lodge. Also 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. Or maybe a canoe ride on the lake to view the spectacled and black caimans with their glowing orange eyes as you silently paddle across the lake to get a closer view.

Visit the butterfly house with your naturalist guide to view the beautiful colors of many different species of butterflies.

canopy walkway

Day 2

Begin morning activity between 6:00 and 7:00.

Begin walking on trail Liana Chica and arrive at the canopy walk, for spectacular views of the rainforest canopy and the many different species of vibrantly colored birds.

Designed to be a self-standing rigid suspension canopy walk. it is one of only a few in the world! Located within Sacha's private reserve, 2miles 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.

After the canopy walk, Liana Grande through terra firma and igapo forest habitats where native guides will explain many different species of medicinal plants that have been being used in their culture for hundreds of years. Liana Grande will turn into the trail Higueron, which will take you through pristine primary forest with huge Kapok and Fig trees towering hundreds of feet above your head.After lunch, you may choose to 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.

Day 3

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.

After the canoe ride, a walk on the other side of Largatococha may give you the opportunity to spot capuchin or squirrel monkeys playfully jumping through the trees.

Return from the walk or canoe ride and head back to the lodge for a refreshing dip in the lake, or a nice relaxing nap in your personal hammock on your private balcony.

After lunch, your native 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 at the same time is perfectly safe and fun!

Around 15:30 you will begin what many think is the best trail at Sacha, a silent canoe ride through the flooded Amazonian forest. Where you 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 sloth!

After your eye-popping ride through the flooded forest, you will arrive at Sacha's 135-foot wooden tower built around an ancient Kapok tree. Get close up views of vibrantly colored birds through Sacha's powerful scopes, and watch the sun set with an amazing view of Mount Sumaco, a volcano, and possibly a view of the snow-covered caps of the Andes!

Day 4

dugout canoe rideLeaving 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 nighttime calls. Finally, after your mesmerizing canoe trip through the Amazon, you will arrive back at lake Pilchicocha and the welcoming lights of Sacha lodge.

A chance to view four different species of parrots at the same time is something that should not be missed. Sacha is close enough to Yasuni National Park that a thirty minute motorized canoe ride down the Napo to the parrot lick is well worth it. Leaving at six in the morning from Sacha and arriving at the lick around 7:30 will give you plenty of time to get close up views of the parrots eating the clay to neutralize the acids which they get from eating their many different types of fruits and leaves.Arriving back at the lodge around 11am or so gives you plenty of time to swim or relax before lunch is served. Visit the butterfly house once again to photograph the beautifully colored butterflies.

Day 5

For your afternoon activity, Pantano is the trail to take. Pantano offers you several different types of rainforest habitats. From secondary to primary forests as well as flooded forest and swampy areas. An excellent trail for monkeys and birds in the afternoon, your naturalist and native guides will intrigue you with their knowledge of the jungle and its inhabitants as well as provide you with an everlasting experience and memory of the neotropical rainforest.

Breakfast and a departure from the lodge at 7:30am.for an easy walk on the boardwalk to watch monkeys one last time before your final departure. Arrive in Coca and be escorted to the Coca airport where all plane tickets will be in the hands of Sacha employees waiting to help you board the plane and a final farewell. Scheduled arrival at Quito's airport is at 12:30pm (subject to change)

Sacha Lodge

Sample Itinerary - 4 days/3nights

Depart Quito's airport at 11:00am (subject to change). A 30 minute flight over the Andes Mountains leads you to a bustling oil town called Coca located in the Amazon Basin. A quick lunch in Sacha's private house and then its off to the town docks where you will board Sacha's private canoes for the 2 hour journey down river to Sacha's Lodges property. A 30 minute hike through the rainforest leads you to lake Pilchicocha. Here, you are met by native workers to paddle you across the lake to your final destination. Arrive at Sacha Lodge around 15:30 or 16:00 pm (subject to change).

Swim in Lake Pilchicocha, which is a black water lake home to many species of fish and animals. A refreshing swim after arriving may be just what you need after being in the equatorial heat all day. Bird observing from the mini tower offers guests an excellent opportunity to view several species of birds common around the lodge. Also a great place to watch the sun set. Visit the butterfly house with your naturalist guide to view the beautiful colors of many differentspecies of butterflies.

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. Or maybe a canoe ride on the lake to view the spectacled and black caimans with their glowing orange eyes as you silently paddle across the lake to get a closer view.

Day 2

Begin morning activity between 6:00 and 7:00. Begin walking on trail Liana Chica and arrive at the canopy walk, for spectacular views of the rainforest canopy and the many different species of vibrantly colored birds.Designed to be a self-standing rigid suspension canopy walk, it is one of only a few in the world! Located within Sacha'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.

After the canopy walk, Liana Grande through terra firma and igapo forest habitats where native guides will explain many different species of medicinal plants that have been used for hundreds of years. Liana Grande will turn 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.After lunch, you may choose to 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.

Day 3

HoatzinLeaving 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 tran- quil canoe ride through a natural swamp, which is the home of anacondas, caimans, and capyba- ras. After the canoe ride, a walk on the other side of Largatococha may give you the opportunity to spot capuchin or squirrel monkeys playfully jumping through the trees.Return from the walk or canoe ride and head back to the lodge for a refreshing dip in the lake, or a nice relaxing nap in your personal hammock on your private balcony.After lunch, your native 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 at the same time is perfectly safe and fun!

Around 15:30 you will begin what many think is the best trail at Sacha, a silent canoe ride through the flooded Amazonian forest. Where you 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 sloth!After your eye-popping ride through the flooded forest, you will arrive at Sacha´s135-foot wooden tower built around an ancient Kapok tree. Get close up views of vibrantly colored birds through Sacha´s powerful scopes, and watch the sun set with an amazing view of Mount Sumaco, a volcano, and possibly a 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 navi- gate 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 nighttime calls. Finally, after your mesmerizing canoe trip through the Amazon, you will arrive back at lake Pilchicocha and the welcoming lights of Sacha lodge.

Day 4

Breakfast and a departure from the lodge at 07:30am. One last walk on the boardwalk to the river, and from there a 2 hour canoe ride back to Coca for your 35 minute flight back to Quito. Arrive Quito at 12:30pm (subject to change).


RATES PER PERSON FOR 2016

4 days/3 nights double or triple occupancy single occupancy
USD US$1050 US$1575
5 days/4 nights:
USD US$1290 US$1935


Departures:

No canoe transfers on Sundays! We can begin programs on any say of the week except Sundays. Visit to the parrot clay lick is offered on Wednesdays and Sundays at no extra cost. (Optional, weather permitting).

Includes: Not Included:
  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • River transportation and excursions with native and bilingual guides
  • Airfare Quito-Coca-Quito (US$ 190 per person - subject to change without notice)
  • Insurance
  • Tips and extras

Extra fees: Native community interpretation centre US$5.00

Know before you go

Staff:
We take pride in our friendly staff, who are always available to cater any special needs you may have. On average, there are three staff members on duty for every two guests at the lodge.
Electricity:
Throughout the Lodge, 24-hour electricity is provided by a distant, nearly inaudible generator.
Drinking water:
All the drinking water provided at Sacha (including ice) comes from a local well and is purified with both porcelain filters and ozone treatment, the most thorough purifying systems available. This water is tested regularly and has proven perfectly safe for human consumption. If you prefer, however, you may purchase bottled water from the bar.
Amenities:
In your shower you will find dispensers of biodegradable soap and shampoo. Although all runoff water is treated with ozone, we recommend the use of these amenities as an extra measure to protect the environment. You will also be provided with fresh towels each day.
Laundry:
Sacha Lodge now provides laundry service (washing and drying) for our guests. Please consult costs with our lodge administrator.
Boots and ponchos:
Rubber boots and rain ponchos are available for all of our guests at the Lodge, free of charge!
Communications:
In case of emergency, both cellular telephone (BellSouth) and radio communications are available from the lodge. In addition, each of our guides maintains permanent radio contact with the lodge during all excursions and activities.
First Aid:
We keep a complete first aid kit for any minor injuries or ailments you may experience. However, please take any special medications you might need with you. In case of a serious injury or illness, there is a modern medical center located in 20-minute reach of Sacha Lodge.
Security:
At all times we have five staff members on duty patrolling of our reserve as park rangers to keep both the lodge and the surrounding environment safe.
Bar:
Drinks are not included in your package, and may be paid on the last night of your stay in cash (U.S. dollars), travelers checks or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express). There is no minimum charge for credit card payments
Health:
It is always advisable to consult your physician about health measures and vaccinations before traveling to a foreign country. Although Sacha is well-isolated from local populations and tropical diseases are extremely rare here, during your stay in Ecuador you may pass through areas of slightly higher risk. Please note that your trip to Sacha will bring you from Quito, which is located at almost 9000 feet (2850 meters) above sea level, to the lowland tropical rainforest region at less than 900 feet (300 meters) above sea level. Please take any medication you may need with you, as the selection of medicines in our first-aid kit is limited.
Luggage:
For the flight to Coca, the airlines require that checked luggage be limited to a weight of 30 pounds per person. However, heavier items such as cameras and books may be taken in carry on bags if necessary.
On The Canoe:
For the ride to Sacha from Coca our canoe is covered against sun and rain, but a light jacket can be useful for the wind and spray. Be sure to wear sun protection, as the sun’s reflection off the water can sometimes cause a burn. All suitcases will be placed in waterproof bags for the trip down the Napo River, for protection against spray and rain.
Weather:
In the tropical rainforest it is best to be prepared for all kinds of weather. A common question we receive is about the 'dry and rainy seasons' of the Amazon, but it is best not to trust such generalizations to plan a trip. At times it can be hot and sunny, but a cool rainstorm may appear at a moment’s notice during any time of the year.
We have ceiling fans in each room for hot afternoons, but at night (especially after the rain) some guests are surprised at the need for a sweatshirt!
Clothing:
Lightweight pants and long sleeved cotton shirts are ideal for walks in the forest. However, if you are more comfortable wearing short sleeves, remember that exposed skin may need a light dousing with insect repellant.
During the rain, full waterproof clothing can be uncomfortable as it often gets you wet with sweat instead of water, but rain ponchos are recommendable for tropical cloudbursts. Plenty of ponchos are available at no charge if you do not have your own, and we also supply rubber boots up to men’s size 14 for walks in the forest interior.
Comfortable shoes (or sandals), shorts and t-shirts are fine for walking on boardwalks and around the Lodge during meals and free time. And don’t forget your bathing suit!

Packing List

  • Passport
  • Binoculars
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Camera, film, and flash
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun protection (sun cream / sunglasses / hat or cap)
  • Water bottle
  • Lightweight long pants and long sleeved shirts for walks
  • Shorts, short sleeve shirts and bathing suit for the lodge
  • Comfortable shoes and extra socks
  • Small day pack
  • Plastic bags to protect cameras, binoculars, film, etc. from rain and humidity

For terms and conditions click here.

For booking inquiries and further information please contact Sacred Earth