Ecuador Boutique Hotels
Ecuador boutique hotels - Lodging in Andes, Amazon & Beaches

Ecuador boutique hotels Sacha lodge Amazon basin

Sacha nature lodge

Welcome to Sacha Lodge! 

We are found within a 5000-acre private ecological reserve in Ecuador's Amazon region, an accessible yet pristine rainforest sanctuary where you and your family may enjoy a true jungle adventure in safety and comfort.

Sacha Lodge (“Sacha” is the Quichua Indian word meaning “forest”) was a dream founded by Arnold Ammeter, or as he is more commonly known, "Benny." 

In 1985, Benny opened his first tourist lodge, " La Casa del Suizo," on the Upper Napo at the village of Ahuano . Today, La Casa del Suizo is still functioning there as a successful tourist resort.

As civilization slowly approached Ahuano, Benny, who was captivated by the wilderness, decided to search for a location to construct a lodge deeper in the forest. While he liked many of the sights he visited, he found that they weren't suitable for his vision of a rainforest lodge, since all of the land was government owned. One day after leaving Pañacocha (Iocated two hours downstream from Sacha Lodge) he stopped to speak with one of the locals living on the bank of the lower Napo. Benny spoke of his dream and the gentleman told him that he knew of the perfect place for a lodge. Together they hiked through a swamp, not knowing that the trail would soon become Sacha's present day boardwalk ("El Anden"), and arrived at an isolated lagoon. Benny immediately fell in love with this lake, called Pilchicocha, and decided that it was the site he had been looking for. He then met with ten local landowners in nearby Coca, and purchased 500 hectares of their properties surrounding Pilchicocha. In October of 1991, 170 employees began construction of Sacha Lodge and it's famous wooden tower (“ La Torre ”).

Six months later, the initial construction of Sacha was complete. In April of 1992, Sacha Lodge was officially opened with six guest rooms, a dining room, and housing for guides and other staff. During the first six months, Benny lived at and managed the lodge himself.

Since its foundation in 1992, Sacha Lodge has proven that it is possible to sustain a healthy balance between economic development, rainforest conservation, local human advancement and respect to local culture. We pride ourselves by maintaining this social and ecological responsibility, which is the basis of true Ecotourism. Sacha is an Ecuadorian company and 100% of its proceeds remain in Ecuador, generating employment for more than 100 families who form a part of our team. Most Lodge employees come from local communities (the few exceptions being the administrator, chef and bilingual guides), making Sacha the largest tourism-sector employer in Ecuador’s Amazon region. This not only brings direct economic benefits to these communities, but also provides them with a practical alternative to harmful activities such as logging and oil exploration. In addition, having employees work as native guides offers them the opportunity to share their ancestral knowledge with others plus an incentive to continue passing it on to their children in a changing world. Since 1995 Sacha has also invested heavily in acquiring land from neighboring colonists. Not to be confused with rainforest natives, these colonists came from cities and would have relied on heavy farming and hunting to survive. Thanks to such efforts, we have saved over 5000 acres from deforestation and are now the largest private reserve in the Ecuadorian rainforest. Through our efforts, we hope to help ensure that future generations of both natives and visitors have the opportunity to continue enjoying the wonders of the tropical rainforest. 

The journey to Sacha Jungle Lodge begins in Quito, Ecuador's capital city. From here, a 25-minute flight takes you over the Andes Mountains' majestic snow-covered peaks and down over 8500 feet (2600 meters) into the Amazon Region. The flight destination is the port town of Puerto Francisco de Orellana where you will be met by a bilingual guide and taken to a private dock. From the docks it is a 2 hour canoe ride  with opportunities to spot many birds on the river. Upon arrival to Sacha Lodge's 5000-acre (2000-hectare) private reserve, our guests will take their first walk along a raised boardwalk through dense flooded palm forest where several species of monkeys are often sighted. The path leads to Pilchicocha lake, a blackwater paradise where you'd least expect to find any sign of people, but dugout canoes (and even paddlers) await to carry you even farther. As you cross the lake, the cries of tropical birds lead you to your final destination and home base for an exciting jungle experience.

Activities

A typical day at Sacha begins at sunrise or earlier, in order to take advantage of the cool morning hours when the rainforest's animals are most active. Each group may decide on its own wake-up and breakfast time, as well as the difficulty and duration of their morning outings. In the afternoon, visits begin at around 3:00 and often continue into the evening, when the nocturnal insect and frog chorus begins.  
 
Wherever the destination, our excursions proceed slowly in order to appreciate the fascinating details that our guides point out around you.

Activities are spread out over a wide area and allow visitors to explore several distinct but equally fascinating habitats. Several trails lead through pristine terra firme forest, where 150 foot kapok trees tower above and roots form huge buttresses to give trees support. Others follow strategically raised boardwalks in seasonally flooded forests, where walking on the ground would be nearly impossible during most of the year due to groundwater. One trail many choose to follow even leads across fallen tree trunks and a steel cable zip-line through rich swampland!

A favorite activity of our guests is to paddle dugout canoes along tannin-rich black-water creeks and lakes, where luxuriant lianas, orchids, bromeliads and palm trees thrive. And wherever an outing may lead the possibilities of spotting animals, from the tiny pygmy marmoset to the feared ocelot or puma, are endless.

During free time at the lodge, swimming and piranha fishing are also activities not to be missed… but don't worry! Piranhas are scavengers and the guides will prove that swimming is perfectly safe.

For adventurous souls, the day does not necessarily end with dinner. Night walks and canoe trips, with the aid of flashlights, often reveal creatures seldom seen during daylight. Caimans (of the alligator family) and giant insects rule the jungle after sunset… Do you dare search for them?

The Guides

Sacha Lodge's guests are divided into small groups for activities, each of which are led by not one but two guides. One is a native guide, raised in the area and with expert knowledge of the rainforest's medicinal and other useful plants. The second guide to accompany each group is a bilingual naturalist, who has been educated in the biology and ecology of the rainforest.

Wildlife viewing

Anyone who has ever planned to visit the rainforest has at least once asked: “What animals will I see there?” There is an incredibly high diversity of species found around Sacha Lodge, and we are sure that you will have the opportunity to see many fascinating creatures here. However, the wild is unpredictable and no two visits are ever the same! Monkeys are seen quite frequently, but how many of the 8 species found here will cross your path?

Besides monkeys, there may be as many as 60 other species of mammals within our reserve (not including up to 50 species of bats)! So keep your eyes open, and maybe you'll spot an anteater, a 3-toed sloth, or even an ocelot as you explore their natural habitat.

As for reptiles, be sure take advantage of our night activities to look for one of Pilchicocha's resident spectacled caimans (South American alligators). A variety of lizards and snakes can also be found along our trails, if you move quietly and keep your eyes peeled. Several different boas, vine snakes and even the giant anaconda have been seen during many of our excursions.

Frogs, on the other hand, are much more common to see, from bulgy-eyed tree frogs to camouflaged leaf frogs to tiny colorful poison-dart frogs.

Birdwatching

In recent years Sacha Lodge has become a favorite destination of both professional and amateur ornithologists.  So far there have been an incredible 587 different species of birds found here! out of the amazing 1600 bird species registered in Ecuador (37%) have been seen at Sacha Lodge. That's almost 7% of the species found in the entire world!

This is a staggering number, especially if you consider that approximately 900 species have been registered in the entire continental United States and Canada. In only 4 or 5 days, it is not uncommon for even the most casual birder to see over 250 species here. With only minimal effort you can expect to see dozens of colorful parrots, toucans, hummingbirds, tanagers, hawks and oropendolas, and of course there are plenty of elusive “LBJs” (little brown jobs, of course) to keep the avid bird enthusiasts occupied for days. Our guides will carry telescopes along to bring your birdwatching experience close-up, and be sure to keep your binoculars handy at all times!

For avid birdwatchers, we provide bird specialist guides upon request. These guides know the best spots for the hard-to-find species, and can easily identify species by both sight and sound. Oscar Tapuy, our local expert who has been with at Sacha since 1995, estimates 60 species per day (sighted, of course) to be his average tally!

The Canopy walk

A new and much anticipated addition to Sacha's activities is our 940-foot (275-meter) long canopy walkway. At approximately 94 feet (30 meters) above the ground, imagine exploring the rainforest up in the treetops! A

An unbelievable opportunity to spot dozens of animals and epiphytes seldom seen from the ground. Thousands of colorful birds await to be spotted, and with some luck you might even follow along with troops of monkeys as they forage through the forest canopy. 

The Kapok tower

One of Sacha Lodge's original attractions and an all-time favorite of our guests is the famous 135-foot (43-meter) kapok observation tower. Situated on a hill and constructed around a giant kapok tree for stability, this tower allows guests another opportunity to climb into and above the rainforest canopy for a magnificent view of the surrounding area. This tower has been a faithful delight for birdwatchers, where our specialist bird guides have on many occasions reported seeing over 80 species in a single morning! With some luck, noisy howler monkeys or the gentle three-toed sloth may also be seen.

The Butterfly house

Sacha Lodge is home to one of the largest butterfly farms in Ecuador. Designed as a live exhibition conservatory, the Butterfly House is now successfully breeding nearly 40 local butterfly species! 

The Yasuni Parrot Lick

At a short distance from Sacha Lodge is Ecuador's most accessible parrot lick, an exposed clay riverbank where brightly colored parrots of several different species gather in the early morning. In ideal conditions (sunny and dry) hundreds of parrots will perch on and eat the exposed clay in a spectacular show of sound and color!  

Facilities

Rooms:

All of our cabins, with high thatched roofs and private shaded terraces, are constructed with traditional materials and nestle well concealed into the lush surroundings. Each of 26 the rooms, which include single, double and (upon request) triple accommodations, provides a private bathroom with flushing toilet and hot shower. All cabins are screened against insects, and contain ceiling fans above two comfortable double beds. During free time, visitors may overlook the jungle from hammocks and often report seeing wild fauna such as toucans, agoutis and monkeys right from their own cabin!

Services:

Guests can enjoy a raised lookout above our main bar and lounge, which offers a scenic view of Pilchicocha Lake and excellent opportunities to birdwatch.

  • Staff: On average, there are three staff members on duty for every two guests at the lodge.
  • Electricity: Throughout the Lodge, 24-hour electricity is provided by a distant, nearly inaudible generator.
  • Drinking water: All the drinking water provided at Sacha (including ice) comes from a local well and is purified with both porcelain filters and ozone treatment, the most thorough purifying systems available.
  • Amenities: In your shower you will find dispensers of biodegradable soap and shampoo. Although all runoff water is treated with ozone, we recommend the use of these amenities as an extra measure to protect the environment. You will also be provided with fresh towels each day.
  • Laundry: Washing and drying for our guests.
  • Boots and ponchos: Rubber boots and rain ponchos are available for all of our guests at the Lodge, free of charge!
  • Communications: In case of emergency, both cellular telephone (BellSouth) and radio communications are available from the lodge. In addition, each of our guides maintains permanent radio contact with the lodge during all excursions and activities.
  • First Aid: We keep a complete first aid kit for any minor injuries or ailments you may experience. However, please take any special medications you might need with you. In case of a serious injury or illness, there is a modern medical center located in 20-minute reach of Sacha Lodge.
  • Security: At all times we have five staff members on duty patrolling of our reserve as park rangers to keep both the lodge and the surrounding environment safe.
  • Bar: Drinks are not included in your package, and may be paid on the last night of your stay in cash (U.S. dollars), travelers checks or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express). 
  • Fine Dining: Our meals are prepared to please the international traveler, and three buffets each day offer a wide variety of tastes to choose from. Vegetarians are more than welcome, and our chefs will be happy to cater any special needs you may have upon request.
    During at least one evening we will even enjoy a barbecue at our outdoor dining area, right on the edge of the lake!

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Main Offices Address: Av. Gral. Rumiñahui , San Rafael                                                                                                           Quito - Ecuador