Traveling South America and not going to the Amazonian rainforest felt like a no-go. Being on a budget but still wanting to avoid hoards of tourists, we decided to enter the Amazon basin in Ecuador and not the often preferred route through Brazil. The Napo Wildlife Center in Yasuni National Park offered a perfect family solution: comfortable eco-lodge owned by the Yasuni community, daily trips into the depth of the rainforest to ensure lots of wildlife spotting and respectful and knowledgable guides. Top Choice!
Already on the first day we spotted a scary looking caiman in the lake on which the lodge was situated, as well as Giant River Otters looking for fish. The caimans looked peaceful enough but four years ago, when swimming in the lake was still allowed, a caiman attacked two guests. Although they both (miraculously) survived, the poor woman’s head had been stuck in the caiman’s jaws and she needed extensive surgery. Ouch!
Early morning every day, we were taken by paddle boat along the black water creeks surrounding the lake. It was wonderfully calm and peaceful to float along slowly in the early morning light. Even the kids kept quiet to listen to the sounds of the rainforest!