Ecuadorian part of the Amazon jungle has a very good network of asphalt and gravel roads. Most of places can be reached by car or even by bus! Ok, the jungle becomes a little bit less adventurous with those roads, but it’s a big plus when you travel there in your own (or rented) car, not just backpacking. Therefore, we’ve planned to visit the Amazon in this particular country.
From the snow-covered Andes we quickly drove into a dense jungle full of waterfalls, colorful birds, monkeys leaping in the trees, and … people. As a result of a highly developed grid of the roads, these areas are quite populated. There were formed, so-called “linear settlements”- in every few meters along the road you can find typical wooden houses on stilts. The Indians live in them – but not “Indians” from your imagination. They don’t walk barefoot and in skirts of leaves. They look normal, have normal clothes, drive cars and watch TV. Mobile network coverage was also surprisingly good even in the smallest villages!
Along Rio Napo
One time we prepared ourselves for a big adventure – we planned to drive along the Rio Napo on a muddy, forgotten by the world road leading through a true jungle. Long for 120 km, possible to find only on military maps – it didn’t even exist on google map! We were ready for a real Indiana Jones – like exploration… And guess what… Another disappointment. Everywhere houses! No wilderness at all. In fact, we passed the entire road quite quickly cause it turned out that more than 50% of it was… an asphalt road. Ok, right, the asphalt not in good condition in some spots, but hey, we’re in the Amazon! 😉
So where is the jungle ?!
So how did we find those places from the pictures? Here is the answer! Instead of taking the main route we were driving in some kind of a zigzag and trying to stick into each, even the smallest turn from the main road. 😀 It was quieter, we were able to spot toucans, monkeys, snake, small caimans and other exotic animals. We also visited a non-touristic Limoncocha Reserve or were paddling on Lago Agrio (Lake) where we could spot tiny turtles or fantastic, exotic birds. We also found new friends there – South American coati and toucan from the pictures. They lived by the rangers hut, were totally tamed and liked all the “newcomers”! Came to us to say hello! They posed for pictures and ate out of our hand. Coati kept ticking us by his long nose, because he wanted a candy! 😀 Toucan was a little bit more shy, but he followed us to the pier anyway. 🙂
Luxury in the middle of the jungle
We’ve also been informed that in those places without roads, far, far away from villages, inside the jungle (closer to Peru), which can be reached by boats, there are many outlying hotels (usually luxury, all-inc) where you can go for a few days and truly feel the jungle for just “only” ( 😉 ) $150 a day (and more, up to $1000 a day/pp). Way over our budget so we left it for the future (for retirement or something ;P ). For the time being the jungle exploration on our own was enough. Less money spent and more fun! 🙂