Cuyabeno Travel Guide

  • Cuyabeno
    by mbelen
  • Cuyabeno
    by mbelen
  • Rainbow over the jungle
    Rainbow over the jungle
    by dtimoske

Cuyabeno Highlights

  • Pro
    dtimoske profile photo

    dtimoske says…

     A surreal environment, lots of wildlife, great adventure 

  • Con
    dtimoske profile photo

    dtimoske says…

     Sand flies on the beach 

  • In a nutshell
    dtimoske profile photo

    dtimoske says…

     A life changing experience 

Cuyabeno Things to Do

  • Birdwatching

    Our guide said that in our 8 days in the jungle, we would spot and identify at least 50 different species of birds. We easily surpassed that. I'm not much of a bird fan except for the famous and more exotic looking birds. We saw plenty of Macaws and even the rare harpy eagle. If you're a bird lover, you'll definitely get a heavy dose of birds. If...

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  • Go For a Swim

    This is a very relaxing activity. If you are upriver from your campsite or lodge, ask to be dropped off in the river with a life preserver and float downriver. Don't worry, the piranhas don't bite. In one area where there were lots of dolphins, we also went for a swim. They are very playful and unpredictable. Forget about trying to photograph them....

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  • Bath in the River

    When camping in the jungle, you have to do as the locals do. Take a bar of soap and shampoo into the river and take a bath. While the Cuyabeno River looks brown and dirty, it is not. The brown comes from decaying leafs. While I wouldn't drink the water, it is fine for taking a bath. In fact, the water in many of the lodges comes straight from the...

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  • Chill out

    Remember your guides are working and they need breaks sometimes. Sometimes we want to pack so much in that we are not considerate of our guide. If they say it's time to rest, enjoy the time of rest. Listen to the sounds of the jungle. Especially on that first day you'll want to see a lot, but if you traveled by bus, you'll probably arrive with a...

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  • Try ayahuasca

    If you have an opportunity to try ayahuasca, take it. Yes, it is a hallucinagin, but if you do it with a shaman, it can be a life changing experience. I have never done any kind of drugs in my life, but I tried ayahuasca and am glad I did. There are risks to take into consideration, but overall, I think they are minimal. If you plan on trying it,...

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  • Cayman Hunting

    Ask your guide if he can take you out at night to hunt for caymans - with a flashlight that is. When you see the pearlike dots shining from the shore, you´ve probably spotted the eyes of the cayman. Pictures are next to impossible, but you can see some great caymans.The first night outside our room, our guide caught a baby cayman. They look cute,...

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Cuyabeno Hotels

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Cuyabeno Restaurants

  • Don't miss the fresh food!!! soo fresh

    Actually in Cuyabeno you'll eat just in your hostel because there are no restaurants. But, when you take a walk in the jungle you can find many things to eat, and then in someones house you can cook it a little bit and taste it....really, is not bad at all!!!

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  • Along the road

    After 1hour and a half driving, the Ranchero stopped at a small restaurant in a small village.The food was already prepared, and was already on board the ranchero, it was packed in isolation boxes, the one everybody knows from the fast-food restaurants.On the menu: chicken with rice and French fries. The food was not really hot, but as we al were...

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  • Dining in the Jungle

    The food was prepared by the Hot Spots crew.In kind of difficult conditions, they managed to prepare excellent dishes.In Ecuador lunch is the most important meal of the day. So it was always the biggest meal.The meals always started with a good soup (with some potatoes in it), and we always ended with a fine dessert.Conclusion: the boys in the...

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Cuyabeno Nightlife

  • Bring some drinks, music, and a good...

    Once the sun goes down, and you've taken your jungle night walk, there's not much to do to pass the time. If you can bring a small stereo you will be a very popular person. If you bring a couple bottles of alcohol you will be immortalized as a hero of the jungle. If you're more the thinking type, a travel chess set and some playing cards are always...

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  • Searching for Caimans

    It was a great experience to go looking for Caimans.We all had to look at the riverbanks, in between the branches of the mangroves.All the time we searched with our flashlight in the bush.You can easily spot those Caiman, because when you light on them, you see two very, very red eyes, oooch scary.We did see one from very near; unfortunately I have...

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  • Cuyabeno Hotels

    2 Hotels in Cuyabeno

    15 Reviews and Opinions

Cuyabeno Transportation

  • Booking Your Tour

    Their are plenty of travel agencies in Quito that offer tours to the jungle. I chose Cuyabeno because it was way off the beaten path and my trips to Baños and Tena didn't really feel too exotic because there were so many tourists. I chose Ecomontes Tours because the price was right, and it offered camping as part of its itinerary. Make sure you ask...

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  • Cuyabeno by Canoe

    The best bet for visiting Cuyabeno is with a tour. It is impossible to travel around the area without a canoe. There are no roads deep in the reserve and if you want to see the maximum amount of wildlife, you'll have to do it on a canoe. While the canoes seem narrow and small, they have an amazing capacity. Our group had a tremendous amount of...

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  • To Cuyabeno by bus

    We left Quito late at night and arrived at our destination in the Cuyabeno Reserve twelve hours later. While this wasn't the longest bus ride I've taken, the comfort of the trip leaves something to be desired. The quality of the buses are nowhere near the quality of the longhaul buses in Argentina. The temperature fluctuates a lot during the as you...

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Cuyabeno Shopping

  • filipdebont's Profile Photo
    wooden fresh water dolphin

    by filipdebont Updated Sep 20, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Every time as we came back from a boat ride in the Park, we noticed that the cook was making a small animal in wood.

    Well we thought maybe that is his way to pass time, when he isn't in the kitchen, or a way to treat stress.

    But on the final evening we discovered what he was doing, he had made several wooden fresh water dolphins.

    Almost every one bought one, as it was an unique souvenir of a great experience.

    What to buy: a wooden fresh water dolphin

    What to pay: 3 US$

    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest

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Cuyabeno Local Customs

  • dtimoske's Profile Photo
    A young tapir in captivity

    by dtimoske Written Dec 30, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Please don't visit the so-called zoos and animal refuges that have popped up in the jungle. Our cook from the area recommended that we visit them to see the animals, but I really regret going. Sure, you get to see some interesting animals, but they are penned up in tiny cages in awful conditions. Visit the zoo in your hometown if you want to see animals in captivity.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Jungle and Rain Forest

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Cuyabeno Warnings and Dangers

  • Don't touch the snakes

    You would think this is obvious, but one guy in our group actually woke up a sleeping anaconda. Needless to say, he was very lucky to avoid harm. While anacondas will not constrict out of defense and their bites are not venemous, the bites are extremely painful and can cause infection. It's a long way to the hospital, so don't ruin everyone's tour...

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  • Women traveling alone, please be...

    While our guide was very professional and gave us absolutely no problems, I have heard from more than a couple of people that other guides have come onto them very strongly. Exercise caution and don't let yourself be caught in an awkward situation. If you are a woman, try not to be alone with the guide.

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  • Big Spiders

    As we were talking to the local guides during dinner, we asked about dangerous animals in the rain forest.They explained about the snakes and the big spiders. And then they showed us a tree with a big spider. Oh, this tree was very near our sleeping place. That was a big spider, Ooh a bit creepy, I must admit with its thick hairy body . . . Some of...

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Cuyabeno Tourist Traps

  • JuliannaGuy's Profile Photo

    by JuliannaGuy Updated Apr 23, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    While at the lodge, we went out on regular hikes through the forest. My husband left his wallet it the room, thinking it was well hidden.

    Guess not...when we returned home we had $4000 worth of charges on credit cards we had not even taken out during our stay. It took us a while to figure it out, but this is definitely where and when the theft happened.

    Your are warned: do not leave your wallet or cards behing when you leave the lodge!

    Unique Suggestions: Do not give your credit card to anyone unless you keep an eye on it at all times. Follow the person with the card if you have to.

    Fun Alternatives: If you can, pay cash along the way. If you must get out your credit card keep it in sight!

    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Budget Travel

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Cuyabeno What to Pack

  • How much money to bring

    Although tours are all-inclusive, you'll want to have about $50-$60 on hand. Many tours pass through indigenous communities, and they charge $1 to watch them in action. I personally don't like this. I feel it's intrusive. While it was interesting watching them make pan de yuca, I felt awkward at the same time. The visit to the shaman will also...

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  • Pack light

    Don't bring your finest luggage. A hiker's backpack is your best bet. Also bring a lot of zip lock bags. I brought 8 and wished I had more. Things you want to keep dry: your passport, your camera, some clothes for the last day, your medicine. Bring long socks, light clothing, lightweight hiking pants, 5 or 6 shirts with at least two long sleeve...

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  • The bare essentials

    Medium sized waterproof backpack.Watertight bag for electrical/camera equipment.Small daypack Thongs or Sandals.Waterproof hiking boots.Board Shorts.TShirts Waterproof bandages.Bug SpraySun CreamMalaria pills Lots of batteries because there is no electricity Towel

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Cuyabeno Sports & Outdoors

  • filipdebont's Profile Photo
    On the way to the fishing area

    by filipdebont Written Oct 12, 2003

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It was great to fishing for Piranhas with the whole group.

    And also it was very easy.
    Just put some meat (beef) on the hook, throw the line in the water. Then hit the water surface a few times with the stick, to attract some attention, and wait till you feel something nibbling at your meat.

    I did catch a big one, whow, but unfortunately it fell from the hook while I was trying to get in the boat. We did also catched a catfish.

    I was very funny and exciting.

    Equipment: You not need to bring something. Everything is provided by the Hot Spots Camp.

    And there is no need for high tech gear. Just a simple wooden stick with 2 meters of fine nylon cord and a small hook.

    The bait is also provided by the camp.

    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Fishing

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Cuyabeno Favorites

  • Laguna area

    I still have great memories on the day we spent in the Laguna area.There is a possibility that you see some fresh water dolphins in this area. Unfortunately, we did not see these dolphins. Maybe it was there day off . . . . By the way, the fresh water dolphin is the symbol of this Cuyabeno Park.It was great when the guy who controlled the boat shut...

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  • Primary Rain forest

    In the Cuyabeno Park you still have primary rainforest.And with some luck you can see many different animals, like caimans, macaws, tapirs, kingfishers, monkeys, toucans, vultures and piranhas. There are even fresh water dolphins in this area. And we should not forget to mention the pre-historical bird of this region, the Hoatzin.We did not see all...

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  • Trees in the water

    That was remarkable view.It was very strange to see those trees in the water, so deeply in the lake. Of course this part of the Cuyabeno Park (the Laguna area) is flooding partly during the rainy season. Like this a lot of trees get wet feet.And this is another prove that nature can adapt itself very quickly whenever the situation changes by the...

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Explore Deeper into Cuyabeno
Fishing for Piranhas
Things to Do
Walk slowly, speak softly, and carry a big stick
Things to Do
Jungle Tour
Things to Do
Bromeliads
Things to Do
Toucans
Things to Do
Playing monkeys
Things to Do
Wet landing
Things to Do
Quinine plant
Things to Do
Bird's nest
Things to Do
Hiking in the Laguna Area
Things to Do
Great scenery during the boat rides
Favorites
Our Local Guide
Favorites
La Laguna Grande
Things to Do
Lizards
Things to Do
Anaconda
Things to Do
Sunset
Things to Do
Sunset in Cuyabeno
Favorites
Black Tamarin
Things to Do
Kingfisher
Things to Do
Great Scenery
Favorites
Rain forest
Favorites
Beautiful Butterflies
Things to Do
Prehistoric Hoatzin
Things to Do
Black Vulture
Things to Do
Bird of Prey
Things to Do
Rubber Boots
What to Pack
Indian Village
Things to Do
Indian housings
Things to Do
Colourful Fruit
Things to Do
Old Canoe
Things to Do
Spotting birds
Things to Do
Exciting walk
Things to Do
Muddy paths
Things to Do
Jungle walk
Things to Do
Spotting birds
Things to Do
Monkeys
Things to Do
Indigenas
Things to Do
Exploring the jungle by boat
Things to Do
By Canoe
Transportation
Dust Roads
Transportation
Map of Cuyabeno

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