As with any stay in the Ecuadorian Amazon, a 30-minute flight from Quito to Coca is required. From Coca, a brief transfer takes you to the pier on the Napo River. A motorised canoe is the final leg, taking just under two hours to reach the Napo Cultural Center. The Napo Wildlife Ecolodge is a further 90-minutes along the river.
Alighting the canoe on the bank of the Napo River, it is immediately clear to see why a stay at Napo Cultural Center goes better than carbon-neutral…it is carbon negative! Past the solar panels, water treatment apparatus, biogas silos and recycling area is a school field and classrooms. The Center funds the school, for over 100 local children. Further back is the main social area and bar/restaurant for guests; behind which lies the accommodation. A short walk on the other side of the field leads to the Kuri Muyu Culture Center – where genuine Kichwa buildings showcase the community’s 500-year old culture.
There are four large, thatched structures, each quartered into 4 corner-cabins. All cabins and designed and built by the Kichwa, using local materials. These quality, cosy cabins include an en-suite with hot water, safe deposit box, closet space and porch to laze in a hammock and take in the surrounding rain forest. They are spacious enough to allow for bedding formations to cater from a double or twin to a family of four.
A highlight of the Napo Cultural Center is the Kuri Muyu Center, where your guide will translate whilst women from the Kichwa population explain and demonstrate music, dance, cooking, crafts and customs of their history. The river provides a wealth of activities, such as canoeing, kayaking or an evening sail on an ancestral catamaran! There are also numerous wildlife trails to take, including a night safari and a hike to the 120ft-high Canopy Tower, for breath-taking views across the treetops of the Amazon. A trip to the nearby ‘Clay lick’ is a must, for fans of parrots & parakeets!