By Charles Cumella
Ecuador is an amazing place, full of natural and man-made wonders. Ecuador has some of the most unique landscapes in the world, including the Highland region (Sierra), the Coastal region (Costa), and the Galapagos. But there’s no way to forget the Amazon region (Amazonia), and its enormous amount of fauna and flora. There are a few national parks and protected areas in Ecuador’s Amazon region, including the Cuyabeno Wildlife reserve, the Yasuni National Park, and the Limoncocha Biological Reserve. There are 2 species of animals discovered every day in the Ecuadorian Amazon, this demonstrates that Ecuador is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world!
What makes Amazon in Ecuador a good travel destination?
The Amazon is an amazing travel destination because of all of the flora and fauna that can be found there, the passengers will be amazed of everything they can see; from 10-foot snakes to dolphins in the middle of a river.
Tell us something that every traveller should know when travelling to the Amazon?
Every person that travels to the Ecuadorian Amazon should know that they are in for a huge surprise with everything they’ll see, and that they’ll have one of the most relaxing and impacting trips of their lives.
Any essentials that one needs to carry when they travelling to Amazon?
Insect repellent, sun block, sunglasses, light clothing and water resistant ponchos are all indispensable things to have with you in the Amazon. Also indispensable, is the desire to learn about the ecosystem and communities that call this place home.
Which are the most surreal places to visit when in Amazon?
The Cuyabeno is one of the most surreal places to visit in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It has the highest amount of flora and fauna in the Ecuadorian Amazon, having 12.000 species of plants, and 320 species of animals. It’s a wildlife lover’s dream!
Can you tell us a little about the life of the locals?
The local communities that call the Ecuadorian Amazon home are very diverse, some like the Siona community in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, are very used to visitors and even welcome tourists to partake in their daily lives. Others, like the Taromenani tribe located in the Yasuni National Park, do not welcome visitors and are very violent. The communities are very different and very comfortable living out of our “normal” society.
What are the local delicacies/drinks which one must try and where Amazon?
The Ecuadorian Amazon has many strange local delicacies, one of the most polarizing ones is the Chontacuro grubs, these are large insect larvae that live in trees, these are then grilled and served. The “chicha de jora” is a drink you will most likely find in the Amazon, it is a fermented corn flour drink that the locals drink like fruit juice, but once it is sufficiently fermented, it becomes an alcoholic beverage.
Yucca is a type of root vegetable used as a base in almost every local food and is grown everywhere in the area.
What are things which one must buy when in Amazon?
The best things to buy in the Amazon are souvenirs, supporting the local communities, such as things made with Tagua, a special seed used for manufacturing jewelry and others.
Which are the most romantic places to visit in Amazon?
Cuyabeno is the most romantic place in the Amazon, it has white and black water lakes which is an amazing place to enjoy a beautiful sunset with your loved one.
What are the local festivals which one must visit when in Amazon?
In Archidona, there is the festival of Chonta, which is a tradition in order to celebrate the region’s success over the invading Spanish forces. This is held during April.
The things guidebooks will not tell anyone about Amazon?
Sadly, there is a lot of oil exploitation in the Ecuadorian Amazon region. This is something that may not be in many guidebooks but it is also a necessary insight into local life in the area.
According to you what is the best thing about Amazon?
For me, the best thing in the Amazon is the huge amount of wildlife and the rest and relaxation you can have while there. It’s an unforgettable experience.