Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve is a vast protected area in the north-eastern part of Ecuador, close to the borders to Columbia and Peru. The remote area is covered in tropical rainforest and has a very high biodiversity. It is famous for its wildlife and the periodically inundated forests and lagoons.
The rivers of the Cuyabeno area drain into the Rio Napo, which — already more than 1 km wide at the border to Peru — drains into the Amazonas near Iquitos, Peru.
On the canoe, Aguas Negras, Cuyabeno
From Lago Agrio, we took the road to the east for about 2 hours, then we arrived at a small village at Aguas Negras, some kilometers after the paved road ends. The road passes various installations from the oil companies and a few smaller towns.
Our guide talked to some people and rented a canoe from them. We arranged that the owner of the canoe would come to our camp with a small canoe and an outboard engine to pick us up 5 days later, then we started our journey. We went downstream by canoe for 2 days on the Aguas Negras river, then we set up a small camp and stayed there for 3 more days.
This is where we slept on the first night.
I have been to the rainforest before in various countries, and as every time before, I was amazed by it the second we entered it. We saw various apes, toucans, vultures and a snakebird during the first day. We also got used to the heat and our canoe, ate cacao, fished for piranhas and got bitten by lots of ants and mosquitos despite our repellent. Our guides set termite nests on fire to drive them out with the smoke.
Francisco burns termite nests to drive mosquitos away
Our guides were great spotters, explained a lot and imitated the sounds of many animals, talking to them while we silently and slowly drove by in the canoe.
Line and hook used to catch piranhas
…and the first piranha we caught.
The first night, we used some huts at the river as a shelter. The rainforest is very dense and wet, and you cannot just stop the canoe somewhere and build a camp there, you have to use one of the few places that people have cleared.
Enough for today, but there will be a second post about Cuyabeno soon. Update: Here it is as promised: Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve — Part 2.