Yasuni National Park - Day 4
Trip Start Jul 01, 2011
186Trip End Jul 21, 2012
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Where I stayed
Napo Wildlife Center Yasuni National Park
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
At 6am we're in the dugout canoe on our way to the hiking trail which will take us to the canopy tower. On the way we see a few giant trees (some of the largest kapok trees in the rainforest were carbon-dated as being over a thousand years old).
The canopy tower is a 40-meter (120-feet) metal structure that allows you to climb stairs all the way to the top of one of the tallest trees miles around. Once on top you get to a wooden platform that offers an incredible view above the tree canopy. It's a different world up here, so bright and open. The same way you cannot see the sky from underneath the trees, you cannot see the ground from above the canopy. What you see is birds - lots of them. It requires patience, a good sense of observation, and good binoculars. We were lucky to see many birds including several types of tucans, kites, blue-and-yellow macaws, and many more (though I have few photos because most of them were too far or too fast for my camera).
After a few hours of bird-watching and a nice snack above the canopy we go down and hike back. On the way: more trees such as the one whose sap looks like blood and turns into a white cream if you rub it against your skin, and tiny frogs that blend in with the leaves around them.
After lunch I am chilling at the lodge when Jose comes to fetch me, all excited: a group of giant river otters is swimming and fishing in front of the lodge. I rush there and have a chance to see (and mostly hear) the large animals and their shrieking / whistling sounds. A rare sight!
In the afternoon canoe ride our guide Luis is really excited about seeing the otters so we start looking for them. Instead we find more birds and a 'cute' young cayman that suddenly dives in the water in a big splash, almost causing a heart attack for one of us (No, I will not give names!) We also spot some monkeys... and stumble upon a giant river otter standing outside of her lair (with babies inside). Instead of running away she just looks at us for several minutes before going inside her hole. A very special and rare encounter!!
At the end of this last full day here I feel content. I know that tomorrow is the ride back and there won't be much wildlife viewing but I am grateful for all the things I already saw. The pictures really don't do it justice: there is little light below the tree canopy that most lack color or end-up blurry. But the real Amazon, its vegetation, its wildlife and its people will remain forever burned in my memory.