Find Jungle Adventures at the Huasquila Amazon Lodge
The Amazon Jungle is one of those locations that people with even a small amount of an adventurous spirit are irresistibly driven to. Great epics have been written and Hollywood movies have been made about explorations deep into the darkest depths of this secluded jungle.
The Rainforest covers 2.1 million square miles (5.5 million kms) of the continent of South America and is responsible for producing 20% of the world’s oxygen. That’s a lot of space!
With that much jungle comes the opportunity to experience the outdoors like no other place on Earth.
For those looking for an Amazon adventure that includes activities like whitewater rafting, jungle hikes, cave explorations, and authentic interactions with the local indigenous communities we recommend staying at the Huasquila Amazon Lodge.
This eco-lodge is located in the Upper Amazon Basin on the Eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. It is only a 3 -hour drive from the airport in Tumbaco near the capital city of Quito, which makes it more accessible than most of the lodges located in the Amazon.
Upon arrival at the lodge, you will immediately realize how it connects with the surrounding jungle. The bungalows, which were built by the local Kichwa community in their cultures architectural style, are spaced throughout the surrounding forest and tucked into the dense foliage. The porches are dawned with hammocks where you can relax and peer into the deep forest. Families have the option to stay in the 8 larger bungalows that can hold up 5 people. All of the lodges include full modern amenities including a hot shower and private bathroom.
New to the Huasquila, are the spacious Villas which are located in a secluded area of the lodge. They contain a spacious living space with couches, personal kitchen, and outdoor furniture, and an observation porch that looks out over the jungle canopy making it a great spot for bird watching.
For breakfast, lunch and dinner you will walk down to the lodge entrance where the restaurant and kitchen are located. Here you will enjoy the delicious and locally influenced cuisine while surrounded by the sounds of the jungle.
One of the best parts of the lodge is the beautiful outdoor pool. Soak up some of Ecuador’s warming jungle sun while sipping on a cocktail from the lodge’s bar.
Handicap Accessible – Another element that separates Huasquila from any other Ecuador Amazon lodge, is its facilities built for individuals with limited mobility. This includes 7 bungalows that are structured to accommodate wheelchairs with roll in showers, specially made paths for easy access to the grounds, and they even have off-road wheelchairs available that were built for adventures into the rough jungle terrain. To learn more about their accessible tourism initiative watch the short video HERE.
One of the first things you will realize when you arrive at Huasquila is the friendly staff that is there to welcome you. All of the staff are from the local Kichwa community and they run everything from the nearby tours, cooking the food, the front desk, maintaining the lodge and much more. Remember not to be shy. If you have any questions about the local community’s culture, way of life, history, etc the staff will be more than happy to share their knowledge with you.
What is An Eco-Lodge?
Around 50 years ago humans finally started to become environmentally conscience and realize that our destructive methods like logging, oil drilling, and infrastructure development were starting to have a large and negative impact on the Amazon Rainforest and our interconnected Earth as a whole. A worldwide campaign began to begin saving the Rainforest and much of the jungle that was being lost forever. Many countries started to pass legislation to protect their jungles, which managed to slow the destruction of its natural landscapes. Today, some of this protected land has been re-forested and is growing back to it’s earlier glory.
Thanks to the efforts of the founders Pablo and Bastienne, Huasquila has managed to build and maintain an environmentally sustainable lodge that strives to provide their guests with the best possible stay and modern amenities, while at the same time maintaining a minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
Pablo and Bastienne have also begun a reforestation project where volunteers and locals have teamed up to plant indigenous flowers, medicinal plants and trees into the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve that the lodge is located in. Since the project began ten years ago they have seen a resurgence of wildlife that have begun returning to the area including
monkeys and many bird species. To learn more about the reforestation project watch the short explanation video HERE.
The Pure Adrenaline Package
After being introduced to the lodge and the array of activities available we decided that our readers would enjoy the Pure Adrenaline package the most. What does this active adventure include?
Day 1 – Your whole journey will start high in the Andes in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito. The lodge will provide you with private transport that will pick you up at your hotel, where you will begin your journey down the slopes of the Andes Mountains towards the Upper Amazon basin. During this amazing ride you will pass by some the most remote regions of Ecuador. Rivers, waterfalls, rocky cliffs and sloping hills make up the stunning scenery of the High Andes. You will pass by local villages and farms that still maintain a lifestyle and culture that has existed for hundreds of years. Along the way you will stop at a hummingbird viewing center where you will have the chance to see 14 different species of these buzzing little birds. After your arrival and settling-in to the lodge, you will take a trip to an amazing underground river in the Jumandi Caves and explore its subterranean depths.
Day 2 – Today you will travel to Tena, which is the capital of whitewater river adventures in Ecuador. After an important beginner rafting and first aid training session, you and your guide will be let loose on your whitewater raft to tumble and jet down the rough waters of the Jatunyacu River. You will arrive back at the lodge just in time for a well needed dinner.
Day 3 – Now that you are situated with the Amazon, you will be guided deep into the jungle though native forests that have never been impacted by humans. Your destination will be a hidden lake tucked between two secluded valleys in the Gran Canyon . This large swimming hole is fed by waterfalls that jet out from caves located on the towering cliff side. The more adventurous types can choose to navigate a narrow rocky trail that enters a cave where a rooftop waterfall pours into a deep and dark cavern. During your hike, your guide will intrdoduce you to native fruits and medicinal plants that the locals have been using for thousands of years.
Day 4 – Today you will continue trekking through first and secondary forests filled with rushing waterfalls and mountain rivers. The highlight of the trek will be an expedition deep into caves that are home to a variety of species of bats. Your trip will end with your transfer into the Andes to the return to Quito.
For more information on the Pure Adrenaline package and what it includes click HERE.
Evan and Melina’s Personal Experience at the Lodge
As the founders of South American outdoors we get to travel to many of the locations we write about. We knew that the Amazon Rainforest was a destination we had to visit if we were going to be true outdoor adventurers of South America. Huasquila lodge and their activates were a great introduction for us to investigate this mysterious part of the world and find the outdoor activities that could be found here. From start to finish we had an adventure of a lifetime. The staff at the lodge were always very welcoming and accommodating even with all the continuous questions we had about the Amazon and its local cultures. We can personally vouch for Huasquila and the activities they provide and can ensure you that you won’t be disappointed if you choose this lodge for your adventure into the Amazon.
Here are some of the highlights of our stay –
The local Kichwa community – One of the top highlights of our adventure was the visit to the local indigenous village. The Kichwa speaking community invited us into their community building where they taught us about their unique history and culture. Members of the community each demonstrated a specific cultural element such as how they utilize the local plants for medicinal and ceremonial uses. We were able to sample the local alcoholic drink (sometimes non-alcoholic) “Chicha” and see the process for how it is made.
Another popular drink in the Amazon is a highly caffeinated tea called “Guayusa.” We were shown the plant where the leaves are cultivated from to produce the tea. We were even given samples of the tea in gourd cups, so we could personally feel it’s effects. I can personally say that the tea had much more of a kick than coffee, which made me very talkative over the dinner shortly after.
To finalize the community’s presentation we were shown a ceremonial dance in which Melina immediately joined, while Evan took a bit more coaxing to participate.
Nearby waterfalls – The first day we arrived to the lodge we were just in time to join a group that were hiking to waterfalls located near the lodge. After being supplied with mud boots, we started our first trek into the jungle since our arrival in the Amazon. While passing through the thick forest, we were shown the medicinal plants that have been used by the local cultures for thousands of years. We found plants to treat everything from an upset stomach, stress, and a tree sap nicknamed the “Sangre de Dragon” or Dragon’s Blood that can disinfect and stop bleeding cuts.
During the trek we passed by a rushing waterfall with natural swimming pool. We of course jumped right into and started swimming under the falls.
The secret lake hike through the Gran Canyon – During this full day hike we descended into a native forest which has been untouched by human expansion. This high canopy jungle felt more wild than anything we had seen yet. After a few hour hike, we reached the valley where an amazing cliff side awaited us that had small caverns with waterfalls shooting out from them. Below this majestic cliff side lay a small lake with a large boulder in the middle. It reminded us of those secret paradises that you only see in the movies like the Jungle Book.
After scaling the cliff side across a nerve racking foot wide ledge, we reached the entrance to the largest cavern. We descended back into the dark abyss following a rushing river that ran through it. Towards the back of the cave there was a large hole in the rocky ceiling where the river poured through from above forming an amazing indoor waterfall that the sunlight illuminated.
We finished up our adventure at the secret lake with a care-free swim in the crisp water hole. During our trek back up the mountain a huge thunderstorm rolled in that turned the trails into rushing rivers. I can definitely say that in the time it took for one hike we got the entire Rainforest experience.
Glow in the dark mushrooms – One of the more unique excursions I’ve ever been on, is hunting for glow in the dark fungi. Shortly after dark we joined two mushroom specialist who brought the group into the pitch-black jungle in search of mushrooms. When we finally found them we could see the trails glowing green ahead of us as the fungi gave off their luminescent shine. It reminded us of the glowing forest in the movie Avatar. With a long exposure we were even able to photograph some of the glowing fungi. (See left)
Making Chocolate from Scratch – This skill is good to learn if you ever wondered how chocolate is made or if your ever stranded in the jungle and can’t go without your chocolate fix. Back at the lodge we were given fresh cocoa beans and with a grinder, some milk, sugar and a hot fire were able to make fresh chocolate from scratch. We won’t give away all the ingredients, so you can find out for yourself!
For more information on booking your next Amazon Adventure visit – http://www.huasquila.com/ or
Call: +593-2-2379-200/ +593-098-764-6894 WhatsApp: +593-099-919-3682