"an excellent jungle trip"

Lovely rooms, good showers. Very helpful staff. From there we organized an excellent jungle trip, as the owner, botanist Raul Nieto also has a very basic lodge deep in the lowland rainforest which you can get to from about 3 hours from Quito. Inexpensive program, off-the-beaten-track and free of tourism, we went on a 3 hour bumpy truck ride followed by a 6 hour trek where you set up camp. Did all sorts of stuff - swam in waterfalls, saw loads of amazing birds and butterflies (it's one of the ten most bio diverse regions in the world), got wee-ed on by a group of brown-headed spider monkeys (!)... You can see pumas and jaguars if you're lucky...we only saw their footprints. Be prepared for lots of mud and being kept awake a night by all the sounds of the jungle including the howler monkeys! The last day of the trip we went back to Raul's lodge in Puerto Quito and learned how to make chocolate from cacao seeds (that come from a small community in the rainforest) and palm-nut rings. LOTS of fun and worthwhile too - the money goes to help fund research and conservation work in the area. Raul is a great guy - passionate in his fight to stop the destruction of the rainforest and extremely knowledgeable: he can tell you everything about the jungle, its past, present and future. It's completely no-frills, food is basic (but fine. lots of chocolate and fresh coffee!) and bring yourself a pack of cards for the evenings...but if you want an authentic jungle adventure and want to see and learn loads, get in touch with Raul at raul@itapoareserve.com. It's 4hrs from Quito, 3 hrs from Esmeraldas.You need to give him about a weeks notice so he can plan the trip (to prepare the horses etc). - Isabella

Quito, Ecuador

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