The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest tropical rainforests. It extends over 9 different countries in South America and is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. There is a vast amount of wildlife, lush forests, and adventure to be had. Our trek to the jungle was one of our favorite trips to date as we enjoyed all that nature has to offer. A visit to the Amazon Rainforest should be on everyone’s bucketlist and here’s why.
We spent the week exploring the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve at the Nikcy Amazon Lodge. We booked our 5 Day/4 Night stay through Ecuatraveling which was a great experience all around. Not only did they book our all-inclusive stay for us but they also coordinated our roundtrip transportation from Quito to the lodge. Our experience with Ecuatraveling was great and we would highly recommend booking a tour through them. Nicky Amazon Lodge is one of the two lodges they offer trips to and we absolutely loved our stay there.
How did we get there?
Getting from Quito to the Nicky Amazon Lodge was an 18 hour crazy ride. It took us 2 private buses and a river boat to get to the lodge. Ecuatraveling coordinated every part of our transportation which made it much easier for us. You do have a few options to choose from to get to Cuyabeno. On your own, you can take a public bus or fly. We opted to take full advantage of having it all booked for us so we chose to take a private bus through Ecuatraveling. We left Quito at 11pm on a Wednesday night and arrived in Lago Agrio at 7am Thursday morning. We had a two hour wait for the next private bus pickup at this quaint breakfast joint in Lago Agrio. At 9:30am, the next bus picked us up and took us to Cuyabeno. It was a 1.5-2 hour drive to Cuyabeno. Once we arrived, we met our guide for the next 5 days and hopped on small riverboat that took us two hours into in the jungle to the Nicky Amazon Lodge.
Where did we stay?
The Nicky Amazon Lodge has the best location of all the lodges in Cuyabeno. It is the farthest away from the National Park entrance meaning that you’re less likely to run into other tourists exploring the area. The less people that are around, the more likely you are to spot wildlife. The lodge has everything you could possibly need in the jungle. You get 24/7 naturalist guides to take you on the tour of a lifetime through the rainforest, all meals and clean water included, and so much more. We couldn’t have picked a better place to stay in the Amazon than Nicky Lodge. The staff went above and beyond making sure every part of your experience was top notch and you felt like you were at home. I can say with the utmost certainty that our guide Romolo made our trip. He was so knowledgeable and friendly. He was incredibly fun and our 10 person group had a blast exploring the jungle with him whether it be in the boat, trekking through the jungle or hanging out at the lodge. We loved our stay at the Nicky Lodge!
What did we do?
Our schedule was well prepared for our 5 days at the Nicky Lodge. The best part about our stay is that all of the activities were optional. Every morning we would wake up early, grab a to-go coffee and hop on the river boat at 6:30am to try and spot some wildlife. Mornings were a great time to see a variety of animals as it’s very quiet and there’s not too many people out and about just yet. The morning boat rides we a relaxing yet exciting way to start the day. After the morning boat ride, we would eat breakfast with all guests and staff at the lodge at 8:30am, and then head to our next activity at about 10am which would either be another boat trek or a visit to a local indigenous community. A little tip for those thinking so much time on the boat is tedious or boring, you spot the most wildlife from the river. Trekking through the jungle you see animals too but the vegetation is so dense that many of the animals you’re looking for are too high up in the trees to spot.
Visiting the local community was such a great way to see how the people live, work and interact with one another. A local mom of two invited us into her community to teach us how to make yucca bread which was fascinating. Yucca is a root that is a main source of food for the local people. Once we dug up, peeled, washed and grated the yucca. The young woman showed us how to dry out the bread through an ingenious squeezing technique, and then how to cook the bread over a hot fire. We didn’t use any ingredients other than the yucca. She even let me cook one of the batches by myself. It was great to source and eat local food that you know exactly what you’re eating and where it’s coming from. It was an amazing visit.
Another highlight during our time in the jungle was going to the Laguna Grande to swim in the Amazon River. You may be shaking your head thinking, why would someone willingly get into the water where 5 meter long alligator-like animals and anacondas are?! Our guide assured us we would be just fine and after arriving to the lagoon and seeing over 15 other tourists boats with people in the water, we figured it was worth the swim. And boy did that choice pay off! Watching the sunset while swimming the middle of the Amazon rainforest was unlike any experience we’ve ever had. The sounds of the birds chirping, the water splashing and the people laughing was a memory we will always treasure.
The last daily activity you have the option of joining before dinner is a night walk through the jungle between 6-8pm. Most animals come alive at night so we had the best opportunity to see them once the sun went down. It was also a great way to see plenty of vegetation and how the locals use various plants for medicinal purposes.
How many different animals did we see?
There is so much wildlife to be seen in the Amazon. You just can’t see them all in one trip. Some guides say they’ll go years without seeing some animals. We were lucky enough to see 13 different animal species during our 5 days in Cuyabeno which included:
– 8 different species of monkeys (there are only 10 types of monkeys in this region)
– 20 different bird species
– 4 types of snakes
– a Tyra which is a cat/otter like animals who we caught stealing fruit from our tree at the lodge
– a giant otter
– pink dolphins
– 2 types of sloths – the two-toed and the three-toed
– a caimain – a 5 meter long alligator/crocodile species
– 2 types of frogs
– 4 different spiders
– 7 different insects
– long nose bats
– blue morfo butterly
My Overall Experience
Our overall experience in the Amazon Rainforest was out of this world phenomenal. This was the trip of a lifetime and we would highly encourage others to take a trip to the Amazon. The jungle, the wildlife and the pure natural beauty in this region is unmatched.