Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO
Arrival to the Amazon Rainforest
After breakfast, begin your journey to Tena. On the way there, you may opt to make a stop at the thermal springs of Papallacta.
The drive to Papallacta is breathtaking as the vegetation constantly changes. After about 1.5 hours driving time you come to a small plateau with the small mystical place Papallacta at 3,800 meters. There, take a dip in the hot springs and treat yourself yourself in the restaurant before the onward journey to Tena (about 2.5 hours). Arrival at Hostería Hakuna Matata.
Leisure or optional activities
If you want to do without the bubbling springs and prefer to arrive earlier in the jungle paradise, you can plan an exciting program for your free afternoon. We suggest riding one of the hotel's horses through the jungle and river or setting off on foot with a guide to explore the flora and fauna on various hiking trails, including the area's medicinal plants. You may also choose to take part in our chocolate tour (excursions may incur an additional charge, please let us know when booking if you want this program).
If you arrive at the lodge in the afternoon, or if you want to enjoy the arrival day without an extra excursion, your adventure begins directly at the lodge. Arriving at the sprawling estate, you can start exploring right away - but be careful not to get lost on the nearly 120 acres. The property offers a white sand beach right on the Inchillaqui River, a tropical garden, a private protected forest and a palm-shaped swimming pool.
In the evening, surrounded by the sounds of the jungle, enjoy a 3 course meal and feel the special atmosphere.
Day Trip: Introduction to the Amazon
Rise bright and early to a well-balanced breakfast with home-made bread, eggs, coffee and fruits or cereals. Then dive into the World's largest rainforest with your nature guide. You drive to the provincial capital Tena to discover the local market with its specialties. There you will find exotic and local fruits and vegetables such as mangoes, bananas, yuka or guayusa. You will have the opportunity to taste a lot, including the chontacuro worm, which is considered a specialty - it is both grilled, and alive - if you dare!
The Guayusa leaves are used to make tea and inhibit the feeling of hunger. You will get to know more about the leaves "hojas de bijao", which you can also buy there, this afternoon. Also found is "sangre de drago" - dragon's blood, a sap from tree bark that is used in several South American countries for wound healing, gastric ulcers and killing bacteria and fungi.
After this first impression we continue to the next stop, the wide river Napo. Canoeing is the only means of transport in this region, so between stops you will discover the river with your nature guide on the canoe. During a 2 hour hike through the jungle and the protected forest "Selva Viva", your guide will explain the flora and insects surrounding you. Some highlights include the strangler fig that wraps itself around trees to kill them, the wandering palm that moves up to 10 centimeters per year, the primeval giant Ceibo with its tree roots or also the lemon ant.
After getting to know the flora more closely, the fauna follows: In the animal rescue and rehabilitation center "AmaZOOnico" you will find more than 500 animals. Including monkeys, parrots, toucans, tapirs, ocelots, anteaters, anacondas and many more. Afterwards, find a cozy beach to enjoy your jungle lunch, a typical maito (rice wrapped in hoja de bijao leaves with chicken) and fruit.
After lunch, visit a local indigenous family belonging to the tribe of the Quichuas. You will learn about the lifestyle, traditions and customs of the people, help in the production of the typical drink "chicha" and taste it afterwards. After this refreshment, explore the family's vegetable garden, prove your skills in blowgun shooting, and then go into a wetland to look for the primitive bird Hoatzin, also known as the stink bird.
After all these experiences, head back to the lodge where you can once again enjoy your dinner in a unique atmosphere.
Today your time in Hakuna Matata Lodge comes to an end. After breakfast, however, you wil have time to join the chocolate tour of the famous chocolate manufacturer PACARI (optional, not included in the price, minimum of 2 persons). During the tour, learn how to make chocolate and in the end taste your final product.
When you head out of the Lodge you have two options, either you go back on the same road to Quito or you drive back to the Andes on an alternative route to the quaint town of Baños to keep on traveling from there.