February 6, 2013

Hot, Wet, and Wild

You guessed it, I'm talking about the rain forest.

The journey from Quito is long if you go overland. A few friends and I (Greg) just did the 7-hour bus ride from Quito to Coca. Then, we sped 3 hours down the Napo River to the Sani Lodge, deep in the jungle. The Sani are a tribe of natives that live along the river, but their way of life seems to be changing very rapidly.

cayman in the river
There was a constant flow of barges on the river carrying big trucks of all kinds that will be part of the oil extraction process. One of the main question I've heard about constantly since we moved to Ecuador is whether the country should expand oil drilling to untouched areas of the rain forest. You can find many interesting articles regarding the Yasuni ITT online (see National Geographic article).

Last year, Ecuador wanted other countries to give them money, around 4 billion dollars, in order to leave the oil in the ground and help reduce the contributions to climate change. Well, that time has come and gone. During our trip, we saw many journalists at the lodge who were in the area to interview locals regarding the current situation. There are many concerns surrounding this issue with some big ones including biodiversity loss, contamination of water resources, and operations in areas with tribes that do not welcome outside human contact.

I was lucky to see this amazing area before too many future changes occur. However, there was already a large influence from the "outside world" on the local tribes and their culture had obviously changed. Most of the natives wore blue jeans and some had cell phones. It probably helped that a giant cell phone tower was in the the middle of their village meeting area.

Still, I enjoyed the seeing many new birds, insects, animals, and plants. And just like you might see on a travel show about the jungle, I managed to eat one of those large grubs. The bugs in the jungle were not as bad as I had expected and I probably walked away with less than 100 mosquito and sunfly bites.

Parrots eating clay to help with digestion of their acidic foods


  1. Some beautiful shots here! Looks worth the effort you took to get there.

    1. Thanks guys...just saw your comment btw. We almost fell out of our canoe sometimes because a few of use only had little digital cameras while others in the lodge needed a tripod just to hold up their half-meter lenses.