Jun 112012

A "stinky turkey" sits on a branch as we paddle down a creek near Napo Wildlife Centre

Napo Wildlife Centre (NWC) is located inside the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador’s Amazon basin. The national park has an area of 9820 km2 and is situated to the South of the Napo river. There is a lot of oil production in the area and the Napo river is an important artery for the oil industry, tourism and local communities.


The easiest way to access the Napo river is to fly to the busy city of Coca. On clear days it is possible to see several volcanoes on the short 35 minute flight from Quito. Surprisingly, three airlines offer daily flights to Coca using Airbus aircraft.


Curious capuchin monkey

It’s a short bus ride to the river and then a two hour ride by a FAST motorized canoe to the head of the Ananugu creek. From here we transfer to smaller canoes for a scenic paddle down the narrow creek to the lodge.


The lodge itself is beside a beautiful lake and we were accommodated in spacious thatched bungalows. Since my last visit, four larger bungalows have been added for families. The guides just keep getting better and this year we had two wonderful guides who were not only knowledgeable and spoke excellent English but regularly consulted me in order to ensure we gave the group the best photographic opportunities.

Trying to photograph a Blue Morpho butterfly in flight is very challenging but I managed to achieve it this year.

As most of the wildlife activity takes place early in the morning and in the evening, then these are the times that we do our activities. The daily routine was essentially; 5:30am wake up, breakfast, morning activity, lunch, siesta, afternoon or evening activity, dinner, sleep.

The main activities are; jungle hikes, canoe rides along the narrow creeks, a day trip to parrot clay licks and the community’s cultural centre, a hike and climb up the observation tower which offers views above the canopy.

The most exciting activity for me are the canoe rides. You never know what you’ll see around the next corner; it could be a troop of monkeys jumping across the creek, a kingfisher sitting by the waters edge or the elusive giant otter. The variety of wildlife along the creeks is amazing.

A group of bats sleep under a branch just above the Napo River

During our stay this year we saw nine different types of monkey, 3 toed sloth, a variety of frogs, bats, caiman, turtles, giant river otters, spiders, butterflys and of course a huge variety of birds.

We visited two clay licks but only one had any parrots this year. However, clay lick day is also our chance to visit the community’s cultural centre. Since my last visit in 2010, the ladies of the community have made a new cultural centre and in a new location. The new one is a great improvement and we were treated to displays of dancing and singing and we were also shown a traditional house and demonstrations of various household tools.

Despite some rain, we had an excellent four nights at NWC and I saw lots of animals that I’ve never seen before. Although I have few photographs this year, I have lots of video footage that needs to be edited.

After four exciting nights at Napo Wildlife Centre we headed back up the Napo river to Coca and flew back to Quito. In Quito we met the rest of the group that were joining us for the Galapagos Islands but before heading to Galapagos we had due to visit Otavalo and Cotacachi the next day.

FInd out more in part three….



One Response to “Ecuador 2012 – Part Two”

  1. Some amazing pictures here Richard! Makes me want to travel to Ecuador and explore its scenic and wildlife beauty.

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