Tena Journals

An Amazon Adventure - Reserva Faunistica Cuyabeno

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A March 2007 trip to Tena by Shady Ady

River Views - Cuyabeno National Reserve Photo, Ecuador, South America More Photos
Quote: A day by day account of my time spent in one of the most remotest parts of Ecuador in Reserva Faunistica Cuyabeno.

Day 1 - Guerrilla Territory

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River Views - Cuyabeno National Reserve Photo, Ecuador, South America
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If following any of the security advice from the British government web pages (www.fco.gov.uk), then I would never have undertaken a trip to Reserve Faunistica Cuyabeno, an area of 'pristine' natural beauty situated in the north east of Ecuador, deep in Sucumbios Province. A province widely known to be under the influence of migrating Colombian guerrillas who have escaped the fumigation practices of their coca crops. From my experience the information offered by the British government is normally very much on the cautionary side. Indeed they now even warn against the riding of the Nariz del Diablo Riobamba train after two Japanese tourists standing on t...Read More

Day 2 - Smoking Shamans

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Indigenous Communities - Cuyabeno National Reserve Photo, Ecuador, South America
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The first full day of my jungle adventure was not spent searching for pink dolphins and anacondas, but instead visiting a local indigenous Siona community and a nearby Shaman, coined as one of the most famous in all of Ecuador. Having wanted to have an extended stay with an indigenous jungle community, this day out of all was the one that filled me with the greatest excitement. The main reason for this was somehow managing to come up with the dream of running alongside fellow naked tribesmen, shooting poisoned arrows from our blowpipes in the hope of feeding us for the evening. Walking back into the village as the sun sets, a huge capybara slung over my shoulder, the village elders come out to...Read More

Day 3 - Hunters and Thieves

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Jungle Trek - Cuyabeno National Reserve Photo, Ecuador, South America
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After a satisfying sleep and probably my first lie in since coming to Ecuador seven months earlier, today's main activity was a jungle walk, where I was hoping we would get to see a huge variety of jungle wildlife close at hand.Things got off to a good start as we ventured to the back of our lodge and straight into the depths of the forest. Within minutes there was a troupe of squirrel monkeys swinging above our heads. With such a start everyone was highly positive that even through the lush dark jungle more wildlife was just a fingertip away. The only thing so close to us was disappointment as for the next four hours of trekking, wildlife seen was virtually zero. Apart from ants,...Read More

Day 4 - A Scaly Attack

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Laguna Cuyabeno - Cuyabeno National Reserve Photo, Ecuador, South America
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I awoke upon my fourth day in the jungle to find that the water levels had risen by half a metre or so overnight. This might have been nice if we were venturing down a shallow river, but today our tour group was going in search of more Caymans, pink dolphins and the feared anaconda in the nearby Cuyabeno Lagoon, and a rise in water level meant such creatures had many more places to hide.Even so, I certainly wasn't disappointed with the days viewing at Cuyabeno Lagoon. The difference between the animals viewed here, and the day before was unbelievable. The lagoon seemed to be home to all kinds of wildlife, especially birds, including toucans, parrots, macaws, kingfishers, jacanas, eagles and st...Read More

Day 5 - A Little White Lie

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Laguna Grande - Cuyabeno National Reserve Photo, Ecuador, South America
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This was the last full day I was going to experience in the jungle, departing at 5am the next morning in order for fellow tour members to reach Lago Agrio in time to catch their scheduled flight back to Quito. As we were yet to see any manatees, giant otters, anacondas or pink dolphins our guide decided to try another lagoon, Laguna Grande to see if we would have better luck.The journey here from the lodge should have been slightly longer than the trips that were made to Laguna Cuyabeno, but little did we know what sort of adventure we were all in for. The main tributary to this lagoon was so shallow that it took us an extra hour to reach here after attempting to overcome the falling tree trun...Read More

Day 6 - Walnut Bladder

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Cuyabeno National Reserve Photo, Ecuador, South America
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I'm not a big fan of early starts to the day, so having to wake at 4am on my last day in the jungle wasn't something I was really looking forward to. In fact it was quite an easy accomplishment and in a way I was actually quite excited about returning back to civilisation mainly for the very sad and pathetic reason of checking my emails. It's strange when you are so far away from home, how much you rely on the Internet and email. So much so that I had been having a recurring dream for the past few nights about sitting in front of a computer checking the copious amounts of emails I had received. It's a sad state of affairs when your life becomes this!Our guide seemed in buoyant mood as we skipp...Read More