Cuyabeno Wild Life Reserve
The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve (Reserva de Producción Faunística Cuyabeno) is well-known to be one of the areas with the highest biodiversity on earth. The reserve is located in the Sucumbíos province, into the Amazon rainforest.
The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve has been undergoing several changes during the 20th century. Some indigenous (Siona, Secoya, Cofan) families live into the reserve. The communities mainly lived through farming, hunting and fishing until the 1980s. However, their lives have changed with the increase of the Ecotourism activity during the 1990s. Different agreements have been signed in order to protect the ecosystem of the reserve and its indigenous communities.
The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve is a great example of the ecosystem of the Amazon Rainforest. There are 13 lakes and 3 rivers (Cuyabeno, Aguarico and San Miguel)into the reserve. The Laguna Grande (Big Lake) is the biggest one and the only one that is opened to tourism. There are unique flooded forests and a rich variety of plants that make the reserve a paradise for nature lovers.
Flora and fauna
Many plant and animal species have been identified into the reserve, making it one of the areas with the highest biodiversity on earth with the Yasuna National Park (further in the south). 550 bird species, 12000 plant species, 350 fish species and many insects, mammals and reptiles have been identified. The Cuyabeno Wild Life Reserve has the record of the most tree species per hectare (307).
The climate corresponds to a wet tropical rainforest, with high humidity ranges (85% to 95%). There are two seasons : dry and rainy. The rainy season is marked from April to July, followed by a season of mixed rain and drought from August to November and a dry season from December to March.
The reserve is guarded by national park rangers. It is compulsory to take pluvial transportation through a tour with and accredited guide to get in.
The transportation with motorized canoe is provided by the local communities.
From Quito, it is necessary to go to Lago Agrio, either by bus (8 hours) or by plane (30 minutes). From Lago Agrio to El Puente en Cuyabeno (1h30-2 hours), private transportation is organized by local companies.
The entrance to the reserve for nationals and foreigners is free There is no permission needed for personal photographies and films.
- Pink dolphins
There are a great amount of plant and tree species into the reserve, such as:
The millennial traditions can be seen in the local community settlements (ex: Puerto Bolivar). 3 indigenous communities can be seen in the reserve: the Cofans, the Secoyas and the Sionas.
- Rainforest treks (night and day)
- Bird Watching
- Caiman Watching
- Sportfishing (catching and releasing the fish)
- Discovery of the indigenous communities
Indigenous handcrafts can be purchased from the local community members.
The food is provided by the local operators (the ecolodges in the reserve). It is possible to buy food at the entrance of the reserve (El Puente).
It is possible to buy drinking water into the reserve. The tapwater is not drinkable.
- Cuyabeno Lodge, ☎ (5932) 252-1212 / (5932) 290-6036, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Eco-lodge inside the reserve, accommodation with all included tours of 4, 5 and 7 days (with camping possibilities). Built in 1989, the Cuyabeno Lodge, owned by Neotropic Turis was the first ecolodge to be built in the reserve, offering tours. It was built by a group of conservation biologists to provide an alternative source of income as opposed to deforestation for agriculture. The lodge has been elected on Tripadvisor into the 25 best bargain hotels in all of South America.
- Tapir Lodge (Tapir Lodge), ☎ (5932) 290-2670 / (5932) 290-6036, fax: (593) 2546376, e-mail: email@example.com. Eco-lodge inside the reserve, accommodation with all included tours of 4, 5 and 7 days (with camping possibilities).
There are some options for lodging in Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve for different budgets and with different quality of service.
Some ecolodges provide camping opportunities throughout the reserve, with various prices and activities.
No incidents have been identified inside the Cuyabeno Wildlife reserve in more than 20 years of tourist activity in the zone. There are not so many mosquitos and no malaria into the reserve, but insect repellent is advised. Your guide and the staff of your accommodation have to be informed of any allergy or illness that you may suffer from.
Transportation is organized by the local tourism bodies until Lago Agrio (Nueva Loja).