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Sacha Lodge

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Sacha Lodge

Imagine yourself drifting down a narrow, winding creek surrounded on all sides by a lush, endless sea of tropical greenery, and all that separates you from the deep black Amazon waters is a canoe hand-carved out of a single tree trunk. As you maneuver around a bend something unidentified crashes off into the underbrush, and you catch a glimpse of two magnificent, colorful macaws startled into flight. Suddenly, the forest erupts with a roar so loud that all you can imagine is some giant, fierce predator on the prowl. But as you turn to face your destiny, the menace is revealed as a family of furry red howler monkeys huddled together in a treetop. With a sigh of relief you continue onward, deeper into the unknown.
This is one of the many sensations you may experience at Sacha Lodge, located in the heart of Ecuador's Amazon Basin. A haven for nature lovers, birdwatchers, scientists and adventure seekers, Sacha Lodge provides comfortable accommodations, first-class meals and expert guides in order for you to fully enjoy the wonders of the tropical rainforest.

Getting to Sacha Lodge
The journey to Sacha Lodge begins in Quito, Ecuador's capital city. From here, a 45-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, locally known as Coca, where you will be met by a guide and taken to the town docks. Here, a covered motorized canoe will be awaiting you for a 2½-hour, 50-mile (80-kilometer) trip down the sediment-rich waters of the Napo, the largest river in Ecuadorian Amazonia. During the ride it is easy to spot handsome shore birds such as herons, kingfishers, spoonbills and ospreys between the scattered native huts as you travel steadily away from civilization. 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. However, as you continue deeper into the forest it is easy to feel more like you are the one being watched! 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, which magically materializes out of the jungle at the last possible moment.

The lodging at Sacha was carefully designed to offer comfort to the traveler yet preserve the environment and rainforest ambience. Each of our 10 double cabins, with high thatched roofs and private shaded terraces, is constructed with traditional materials and nestles well concealed in the lush surroundings. In their rooms, visitors may overlook the jungle from hammocks and often report seeing wild fauna such as anacondas or capybara (the largest rodents in the world) while resting between activities! Electricity is provided by a distant, nearly inaudible generator, and the private bathrooms provide hot showers. All cabins are screened against insects, and contain ceiling fans above two comfortable double beds.

Guests may use free time to enjoy a raised lookout above our main bar and lounge, which offers a scenic view of Pilchicocha Lake and excellent opportunities to birdwatch. Our meals are prepared to please the international traveler, and vegetarians are more than welcome. During one meal we will even enjoy a barbecue at our outdoor bar and dining area right on the edge of our lake! Swimming and piranha fishing are also activities not to be missed here… but don't worry! Piranhas are scavengers and the guides will prove that swimming is perfectly safe.

Sacha Lodge's guests will be divided into small groups, each of which will be led by a native guide with expert knowledge of the rainforest's medicinal and other useful plants, and a bilingual naturalist guide educated in the biology and ecology of the area. 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 between 3:00 and 4:00 and often continue into the evening, when the nocturnal insect and frog chorus begins.

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, 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.
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 Observation Tower
One of Sacha Lodge's highlights is our 135-foot (43-meter) observation tower. Situated on a hill and constructed around a giant kapok tree for stability, this tower allows guests to climb into and above the rainforest canopy for a magnificent view of the surrounding area. Be it shortly after sunrise or before sunset, from the tower's ample platform it is possible to observe toucans, parrots, and dozens of other colorful bird species in the treetops. With some luck, noisy howler monkeys, foraging squirrel monkeys or the gentle three-toed sloth may also be seen, especially with the aid of a powerful telescope provided by your guides.

In recent years Sacha Lodge has become a favorite destination of both professional and amateur ornithologists. Over 500 species of birds have been registered in the area, and from the tower platform our bird specialist guides have on several occasions reported seeing over 80 species in a single morning!
The tower may be reached on foot via a half-hour walk through terra firme forest, which is an easy way to get there at or before sunrise. However, no one can miss out on at least a one-way trip to or from the tower along Orchid Creek, Pilchicocha Lake's natural black water runoff to the Napo River. In a dugout canoe guests may follow this winding stream through untamed palm forest for about an hour, a trip that many choose to repeat.

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! Guests will be shown how these beautiful insects are bred and raised, and later be free to wander through "the flying room", where hundreds of colorful butterflies including spectacular blue morphs flutter from flower to flower.

The Yasuní Parrot Lick
At a short distance from Sacha Lodge is Ecuador's most accessible parrot lick, an exposed clay bank where brightly colored parrots of several different species gather in the early morning. In ideal conditions (sunny and dry), the parrots will often perch on and eat the exposed clay. This acts as a sort of "antacid" for them: Parrots eat a variety of toxic and acid fruits, and the clay draws these toxins out of their bodies. On an ideal morning, hundreds of parrots can be seen gathering around this bank between 7:00 and 8:00 for a spectacular show of sound and color. The lick is located on the edge of Yasuní National Park, which may be reached from Sacha by a one half-hour motorized canoe trip down the Napo River. Recently, the park service has set up blinds in order to watch the parrots from very close. If weather permits (the parrots won't be there in the rain!), and you would like to participate in this activity, the extra cost is only $3.00 per person (subject to change, and to be paid at the Lodge).


It is always advisable to consult your physician about health measures and vaccinations before traveling to a foreign country. Although Sacha is well-isolated from local populations and tropical diseases are extremely rare here, during your stay in Ecuador you may pass through areas of slightly higher risk. Please take any medication you may need with you, as the selection of medicines in our first-aid kit is very limited.
Emergency Communication
Sacha Lodge now has direct radio contact with both Quito and Coca. In case of a serious medical emergency, we are able to radio Coca and have a helicopter sent directly to the lodge for assistance. For lesser emergencies, there is a medical center located at 20 minutes from Sacha by canoe on the Napo River. This medical center is run by a multinational company and will provide attention to our guests should it ever become necessary.
The normal tour schedule at Sacha is from Monday to Friday (5 days/4 nights) and Friday to Monday (4 days/3 nights). However, Sacha will now operate your program on any day of the week (except Sunday, when there are no flights). With a slight extra cost for non-Monday and Friday canoes, you can now tailor your trip to fit your scheduling needs! Longer itineraries and bird specialist guides are also available… Consult your travel agent for details.

The flights from Quito to Coca are charter flights using two different airlines, and departure time may vary. The airplanes are normally 19-seat Beechcraft (1900), and both the planes and pilots are FAA-certified in the U.S.

For the flight to Coca, the airlines require that checked luggage be limited to a weight of 20 kilograms (approximately 45 pounds) per person. However, heavier items such as cameras and books may be taken in carry on bags if necessary. All suitcases will be placed in waterproof bags for the trip down the Napo River, for protection against spray and rain.

On The Canoe
For the ride to Sacha from Coca our canoe is covered against sun and rain, but a light jacket can be useful for the wind and spray. Be sure to wear sun protection, as the sun's reflection off the water can sometimes cause a burn.
In the tropical rainforest it is best to be prepared for all kinds of weather. A common question we receive is about the "dry and rainy seasons" of the Amazon, but it is best not to trust such generalizations to plan a trip. At times it can be hot and sunny, but a cool rainstorm may appear at a moment's notice during any time of the year. We have ceiling fans in each room for hot afternoons, but at night (especially after the rain) some guests are surprised at the need for a sweatshirt!
Lightweight pants and long sleeved cotton shirts are ideal for walks in the forest. However, if you are more comfortable wearing short sleeves, remember that exposed skin may need a light dousing with insect repellant. During the rain, full waterproof clothing can be uncomfortable as it often gets you wet with sweat instead of water, but rain ponchos are recommendable for tropical cloudbursts. A limited number of ponchos are available at Sacha if you do not have your own, and we also supply rubber boots up to men's size 14 for walks in the forest interior.
Comfortable shoes (or sandals), shorts and t-shirts are fine for walking on boardwalks and around the Lodge during meals and free time. And don't forget your bathing suit!

Sacha Lodge now provides laundry service (washing and drying) for our guests. Please consult costs with our lodge administrator.
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). Please note that the minimum charge for credit cards is $20 US.
Drinking water
All the drinking water provided at Sacha (including ice) comes from a local well and is treated with porcelain filters, one of the most thorough filtering systems available. This water is tested regularly and has proven perfectly safe for human consumption. If you prefer, however, you may purchase bottled water from the bar.

Meal Requirements
Our chef will be more than happy to prepare vegetarian meals for you upon request. Please make sure to advise your travel agent of any dietary restrictions or allergies you may have, and also let our staff know as soon as you arrive.
High-speed film and a flash for cameras are recommendable for shady walks under the forest canopy. However, slower film is fine for photos on rivers, lakes, the tower and around the lodge.


  • Passport
  • Binoculars
  • Flashlight (torch) and batteries
  • Camera, film, and flash
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun protection (sun cream / sunglasses / hat or cap)
  • Water bottle
  • Lightweight long pants and long sleeved shirts for walks
  • Shorts and short sleeves for the lodge
  • Bathing suit
  • Comfortable shoes and extra socks
  • Small day pack
  • Rain jacket
  • Plastic bags to protect cameras, binoculars, film, etc... from rain

    Prices available upon request.

    The prices include accommodations , all meals, and excursions with naturalist and native guides. Not included the flight Quito - Pto. Francisco de Orellana - Quito , plus drinks.

    IMPORTANT : We are able to arrange trips to or from Sacha on days other than Monday and Friday (any except Sunday, when there is no flight), but there is an additional canoe charge of $100 for groups of less than four people on each non-Monday or Friday.