A couple weeks after I returned from the US. I took a trip to Cuyabeno with my friend Nina. Before we left Quito to travel to the Orient, we celebrated Nina’s birthday by having sushi at the Swisshotel. It was so fun and so delicious!
Cuyabeno is a wildlife reserve in the Ecuadorian rainforest. It is an amazing place full of plants and animals that I have never seen before. Nina and I took a plane ride to Lago Agrio, then a two and a half hour bus ride to the edge of the reserve, and then a two hour canoe ride to our lodge. Needless to say, there was no cell phone reception where we were! Samona Lodge had no electricity. There were solar panels that charged during the day and allowed you to charge your digital camera during the night. There were tarantulas, cockroaches, and lots of other animals walking around the hotel. The river flooded while we were there so there was water underneath all of the cabins. There was a caiman living under the dining lodge!
We woke up really early each day and went to bed really early each night. (This seems to be a theme when I travel with Nina. I told her we need to go to a spa the next time we travel!) We saw amazing things. We even saw a pink dolphin!!! There were so many monkeys in the trees. My favorite bird we saw was the hoatzin – the stinky meat bird. The indigenous people don’t eat that bird because its meat is really smelly so there are lots of them flying around.
On our third day, we traveled to a nearby village and got to see how they make yucca bread and listen to the shaman speak about his work. It was really interesting! The village had two pet monkeys, Nacho and Machaela, they had rescued when they were babies that had fallen out of the trees. Nacho loved me and was all over me while we were in the village. I loved it!
Another day we took a hike in the jungle and saw some amazing stuff. There was one tree that attracted a special tiny ant that tasted exactly like lemons. There was another tree full of termites that had created a path all the way to the top. Another tree had sap that smelled amazing and was for keeping the bugs away. And a few other trees had contracted a fungus that made it completely white. You could see those from a distance!
If you are traveling to Ecuador, Cuyabeno should go on your ‘must see’ list!