The Cuyabeno Biosphere Reserve is situated in both Napo and Sucumbíos Provinces in the Ecuadorian Amazon Region; founded in 1979, it contains 603.380 hectares of tropical rainforest stretching north towards the Colombian border and east to the Peruvian border.
The access can either be from Quito by plane to Lago Agrio (40 minutes flight), then canoe ride down the Aguarico River to the chosen Lodge. Visitor can also arrive by public bus (9-10 hours) to Lago Agrio to start their tour.
Cuyabeno was once part of a Pleistocene refuge, an area in which the process of evolution continued throughout the last Ice Age while life around it ground to a frozen halt. Consequently, Cuyabeno is now an important hot spot of biological diversity. It houses over 500 species of birds, 250 species of fish and 100 species of mammals, which makes the Reserve a great natural example of the Jungle’s biodiversity.
Unfortunately, the Reserve’s boundaries have changed due to oil exploitation of the area that began shortly after the protected area was designated. Petroleum extraction and the activities derived from the oil industry such as road building, colonization, and agriculture have negatively impacted the environment.
A variety of indigenous groups like the Siona, Secoya and Cofan, have traditionally inhabited the area and also, the Lowland Quichuas have immigrated to the area. Some of these indigenous communities are involved in “Indigenous Community Controlled Ecotourism,” and offer jungle tours that support responsible tourism.
Wildlife & Activities
A variety of canoe, swimming and hiking tours are offered with Lodge programs for 3, 4 or more days.
- IMUYA (Secoya term), “which means River of the Howler Monkey”, is a Lagoon network considered among the biologically richest in the entire region.
- Several species of monkeys, caimans, birds, piranhas, river turtles, conga ants and more are often spotted during excursions.
- With luck, the mystic anaconda, manatees and fresh-water pink dolphins are also spotted in the area.
There is a 14 spectacular lagoon system created by lowland rainforest floods, typical of the wet season.