After arriving to Coca by plane we were taken to the dock where we boarded a big motorised canoe. We travelled in that canoe for about 2.5 hours on Río Napo. During the journey we got a packed lunch and when it looked like rain was coming we were given a rain poncho, a poncho we should keep for the rest of the visit. The big motorized canoe was for travelling on Río Napo. When it stopped there was a wooden boardwalk which we walked for about 5-10 minutes to the small calm stream, Challuayacu, were smaller wooden canoes were waiting. You don’t have to carry your own luggage on the boardwalk but it is put on a wagon. Then there was another 20 minutes to Sani Lodge, a more peaceful journey where the stream was first covered by lush rainforest vegetation and when we came closer to the lagoon where Sani Lodge is situated it opened up more. Arriving at the lodge we got a welcome drink and were taken to the bar/common room.
All other people who had arrived on the same day as me, and the guide we had had, left Sani Lodge the day before me. I and the guide I had the last day left Sani Lodge on a Saturday after breakfast, at 7.45. After the canoe ride and walk on the boardwalk we came to Río Napo where the big motorised canoe was waiting. More people going to Coca were already waiting in the canoe. Also when we passed the community a few passengers came aboard. Before we left Sani Lodge my guide had told me that this journey would be much colder than when we arrived. It is usually very windy going to Coca, and it was. It also rained a lot. While the journey from Coca had been pleasant the journey back wasn’t. The cold wind and rain pressed the rain poncho hard on my broken wrist and it was very uncomfortable. To Coca it took 2h 40 minutes. We didn’t dock at the same place as we had left from when going to Sani Lodge, but a little bit further up along the malecón. From there it was just a few minutes by taxi to the airport.
To keep costs down I was first thinking of taking the bus between Quito and Coca. The bus ticket was $10 (2012) one way, but the bus journey takes around 9 hours, and as I don’t like travelling at night it would be two very long days on a bus. Instead I decided to take the plane and booked the plane ticket with Sani Lodge at the same time I booked the stay at their lodge. A return ticket Quito – Coca – Quito was $170. When it was time for the tour I was very happy that I had booked a plane ticket as I had broken my wrist and travelling by bus would have been more complicated.
I flew from Quito on a Monday and the plane with Aerogal didn’t leave until 10am, so I walked down to La Marin and took a taxi from there to the airport. With taximeter I paid $3.20 for the taxi. Before checking in my luggage I had breakfast at Le P’tit Café just outside the departure hall. The breakfast; toast, juice and coffee was around $5. The plane to Coca left on time and after 35 minutes we landed in Coca, 10:35. Some other people who were also going to Sani Lodge travelled with the same plane and after collecting our luggage we were met by one of the guides from Sani Lodge. In two taxis we then travelled to the dock where we were going to continue our journey by boat.
I left Sani Lodge on a Saturday (the others had left the day before). My return ticket to Quito was with TAME and the plane left at 12:20. The boat from Sani Lodge arrived to Coca in good time. It didn’t dock at the same place as we had left from but below some stairs. Before the taxi for the airport left I went to a bathroom which can be found around 100m away on the malecón. The waiting time at the airport was not long until it was time to go through security, and once again the plane left in time and it took 35 minutes to Quito. At the airport I agreed to pay $8 for a taxi to La Marin. Later the taxi driver wanted to drop me at Parque Alameda (he said it was close to where I was going) or he wanted to have $2 more. I told him that was not what we had agreed on and it was still too far for me to walk to my hotel with two bags and a broken wrist. I wrote down his taxi number and he continued.
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