Deep within the Ecuadorian Amazon you will find a mysterious lake called Challuacocha, where floating water hyacinths and grasses obscure the shores. And if you venture out on this lagoon in a dugout canoe early in the morning when it is quiet and the light is still low, you just might see, somewhere out there, lying hidden in the vegetation a rare and wild Manatee or Anaconda. Float here for a while, scanning the horizon and you would probably notice the yellow banded chest of an Aracari or hear the hoarse whisper of the Hoatzin. Eventually, the day would pass and you could peer out across the shimmering black water towards the setting sun, and almost certainly see the gleaming orange eyes of the Black Caiman. Come to Challuacocha and feel the mystery. Come to Challuacocha and experience the world of Sani Lodge.
To the north of Challuacocha lies the massive Cuyabeno Reserve and along the southern border stretches the vast Yasuni National Park. In the corridor between, located on 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres) of untouched rainforest lies Sani Lodge, a unique Ecuador ecolodge. Here, the biodiversity will amaze you! On your adventure, you will walk through a pristine rainforest gallery that is home to 1,500 species of trees, hundreds of climbing vines, and exotic flowers, as well as 550 species of tropical birds, 13 species of monkeys and 1,000 species of beautiful butterflies.
Gallery of Activities
Here at Sani you’ll find there’s too much to do! There’s always somewhere to explore or something to learn. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few of our favorites.
Birdwatching Tree Tower
A short, ten minute walk through the forest will bring you to our 30m (100ft) tree tower, built around a giant, emergent Kapok tree. Looking out across the rainforest canopy at this level, gives you a unique perspective, opening up a whole new world of Amazon biodiversity that is often difficult, if not impossible to see. White-throated Toucan, and Bare-necked Fruitcrow, to name just a few, and if you have a little luck, you might even see Red Howler Monkeys asleep in the treetops.
Parrot clay lick (Yasuni National Park)
See parrots and parakeets from special viewing blinds within camera range! They come here mostly all mornings to eat the clay that aids in digestion of some of the unripe seeds and fruits they eat. The nearest blind is just at 50-meter from the river. Here you will see Mealy Amazon, Yellow-crowned, Orange-winged and Blue-headed Parrots, as well as Dusky-headed and, occasionally, Cobalt-winged Parakeets. A second blind, reached by a 20-minute trail-hike through the forest, is typically visited by Cobalt-winged Parakeets, with Orange-cheeked Parrots.
Chorongo Trail (and others...)
After a relaxing canoe ride to the end of the lake you will arrive at Chorongo Trail, whose Kichwa name means “Woolly Monkey”. This is our longest hike, leading you across muddy swamps on log bridges, through the dense-jungle of natural tree-fall gaps, and the under story shade of pristine, primary rainforest. Along the way you will learn about medicinal plants, taste native, edible fruits and insects and discover how to weave traditional palm-fiber bags. As for wildlife, if you walk quietly and are alert, it may be possible to see Giant Anteaters (with great luck), Black-Mantled Tamarin Monkeys, poison-dart frogs, and countless other surprises that the forest may hold in store for you.
More trails are available ranging from easy to difficult.
If this activity is your hobby there are various places where you can practice it while you are at Sani lodge. These are: Pañacocha lagoon, Challuacocha lagoon, Napo river islands, and the small streams that take you to our diverse trails.
Canoe the Challuayacu
Yacu is kichwa for stream, and from the Challua you will experience the rainforest in a whole new way. Sneak up on birds, amphibians, and other Amazon wildlife from a steady canoe paddled by an expert native guide and notice the difference in rainforest vegetation which grows along and overtop of the river. Caiman Watching - Whether from the bar with a pair of binoculars, or up close and personal in a canoe, you will be able to view the active and healthy Black Caiman population (a rare and endangered Amazon species) which resides in our lagoon.
Night Caiman Watching
Our black-water oxbow lake is one of the increasingly rare havens for the endangered Black Caiman, supporting a healthy population of these large, up to 5-meter long, crocodilians. After the sun sets, these non-aggressive and shy reptiles become active along the water’s edge, hunting fish, mammals, birds, even anacondas, and sometimes can be seen swimming lazily across the lake. Take a dugout canoe out onto the water at night, with the moon casting an eerie glow into the humid fog, the frogs and nightjars singing, and you will see the glowing red eyes of baby, juvenile, and adult caimans.
Many animals stay hidden away for most of the day, depending on their cryptic coloration and camouflage to avoid detection, sleeping motionless in the canopy, or under rocks, logs and leaf-litter on the forest floor. But at night the forest comes alive with a myriad of insects beyond your wildest imagination, tree frogs ranging from the size of your fingernail to the size of your whole hand, and mammals such as Night Monkeys, various bat species, and Kinkajous. A hike through the Rainforest at night is an opportunity to discover the mysteries of what happens in the dark, hidden behind the shadows, in the deep recesses of the forest, where few dare to venture.
Because the Challuacocha is such a superb place to observe birds and aquatic wildlife, it is possible to see Magpie Tanagers, Cocoi Herons, Amazon Umbrella birds, freshwater turtles, and maybe even an Anaconda or Black Caiman while enjoying a cocktail and relaxing in our lakeside bar.
Visiting a native house is one of the most rewarding experiences. There you see how a typical kichwa family lives. Their food, drinks, customs, clothing and more will help you understand the culture of this community. The family of your native guide will welcome you into their world. One of the most important parts of this visit is to see how the family is self-sustainable.
|4 DAY||5 Day||Taxes||Airfare|
|Jamu Lodge||$ 300||$ 365||$ 0||$ 200|
|Kapawi Lodge||$ 970||$ 1,210||$ 35||$ 480*|
|La Selva Lodge||$ 1,215||$ 1,510||$ 0||$ 200|
|Manatee Amazon Explorer||$ 1,065||$ 1,330||$ 60||$ 200|
|Napo Wildlife Center||$ 1,289||$ 1,536||$ 0||included|
|Sacha Lodge||$ 1,050||$ 1,290||$ 0||$ 200|
|Sani Lodge||$ 955||$ 1,195||$ 0||$ 210|
|Yarina Lodge||$ 460||$ 550||$ 0||$ 200|
|Guacamayo Lodge||$ 280||$ 320||$ 10||$ 200|
|Samona Lodge||$ 280||$ 320||$ 10||$ 200|
These package Include:
- Local naturalist guide (indigenous guide)
- Fluvial Transportation
- Translator naturalist guide English – Spanish (National tourism guide with license)
- Three daily meals
- Programmed excursions
- Accommodation in cabins with private bathrooms
- Safe bottle water in meals, cabins and excursions
- Rubber boots (up to size 43)
The package does not include:
- Transportation QUITO – COCA – QUITO of US $ 185.00
- Yasuni National Park fee US$ 25.00 per person
- Soft beverages
- Alcoholic drinks
- Personal equipment: flash lights, rainponcho.