birdwatching yasuni

The best birdwatching in Yasuni Ecuador

Enjoy the best birdwatching in Yasuni Ecuador. You can enjoy and rest surrounded by a unique landscape that only the rainforest can offer to its visitors.

A unique trip in the Amazon Rainforest

This is a unique trip that will allow you to discover the mysterious  Challwacocha lagoon. Furthermore, you will see flowers such as little water gardens and dark floating grasses. Taking a look at the horizon you will surely spot native South American birds such as the Lettered Aracari. Additionally, you will hear the whisper of the Hoatzin, another bird, which its size is similar to the pheasant that lives in the lagoons of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers Sani Lodge is located in the intermediate corridor of Yasuní National Park and Cuyabeno Reserve.

Privileged location

The Sani Isla Kichwa Community owns the area surrounding Sani lodge which embraces a total of 42,000 hectares (103,784 acres) of virgin rainforest. This is an exclusive Eco-hotel that welcomes tourists with astonishing biodiversity. Furthermore, during forest treks, you will encounter 1,500 species of trees, hundreds of lianas and beautiful flowers; 550 species of tropical birds, 13 species of monkeys, and 1,000 species of butterflies.

Exclusive activities at Sani Lodge

Adventure is a given at Sacha Lodge. You’ll become an expert at hopping in and out of canoes, and will come to love the surreal peacefulness of paddling down streams through the virgin wilderness. Expedition groups are never larger than six and are always accompanied by a naturalist and local guide. Sacha Lodge makes an effort to match guests with others of similar ages, interests, and abilities in personalized expedition groups.

There are tons of great activities you can take part in when you go birdwatching in Yasuni at the Sani Lodge:

  • Canopy Observation Tower
  • Yasuni Parrot Clay Lick
  • Forest Walks
  • Creek Paddling
  • Bird watching at Bird Islands
  • Guayusa ceremony
  • Ayahuasca ceremony
  • Sani community visit

Fine dining with a view of the Rainforest

Sani Lodge Restaurant
Sani Lodge Restaurant

A rustic and relaxed atmosphere for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Sani Lodge´s chefs prepare a mixture of international and local Ecuadorian cuisine to delight the palates of travelers from around the world. Serving times are accommodated to your itinerary and food is served either buffet or restaurant-style. All ingredients are grown locally in order to support both the community and neighboring farmers. Bottled water is free of charge we encourage guests to bring a reusable water bottle to help minimize environmental impacts.

Snacks are provided for excursions, and are also prepared in the kitchen each day and packaged in reusable containers to minimize waste and further preserve our rainforest.

Sani Lodge Bar

The Sani Lodge bar is equipped with wooden chairs and tables that overlook the lagoon providing the perfect end to your day. Sip a cold beer, wine or a classic cocktail made by our barman while enjoying the view of the glistening lagoon waters. Chat with fellow visitors, tour guides, and lodge staff as you forge the personal connections that make a visit to Sani Isla the experience of a lifetime!

Connoisseur Amazon Tip:

The Sani Lodge is a perfect option for anybody wanting to experience pristine primary Rainforest in Ecuador. You can choose between three types of itineraries; Family program, Cultural program, and a truly magnificent Bird-watching program. The Sani Lodge is a dream come true for avid birdwatchers.

Get your birdwatching guide out, and get ready for an experience of a lifetime!

Sani Lodge Accommodation

Sani lodge is made up of 13 first-class cabins.

  • 10 are double/single cabins
  • A mini-suite
  • A family cabin
  • One multi-cabin with 4 rooms and 5 beds perfect for families and groups

Cabin amenities

  • Built with local wood
  • Window openings covered with mosquito nets
  • Roofs made of toquilla straw leaves
  • All cabins have ceiling fans and running water

Sani Lodge facilities are truly in harmony with the rainforest and will allow you to live an unforgettable experience.

Sani Lodge Information

Sani Lodge Activities


Parrot Clay Lick 
The parrot-clay lick is where you will find a plethora of parrots searching for a gap to land and eat the earth. Here you will see the Mealy Amazon, Yellow-crowned, Orange-winged, and Blue-headed parrots.
Canopy Observation Tower     
Experience life on the treetops from the 36 meter (118 ft.) observation tower. To get there your leaders will paddle on the Challuacocha Lake for 30 minutes followed by a short 10-minute walk. Over 565 species of birds have been registered so far, including colorful birds such as macaws, toucans, honeycreepers, tanagers, flycatchers, hummingbirds, and with a bit of luck a close view of howler, squirrel monkeys and sloths resting in the canopy. The tower gives you a unique perspective, opening up a whole new world of Amazon biodiversity that is often difficult, if not impossible to see from the understory.
Sani Community Visit 
During your visit to the Sani Community Center, you will enter a native house to get a taste of how a typical Kichwa family lives. Enjoy their food, drinks, customs, and culture of the Sani community and learn how the lifestyle of the locals is environmentally sustainable.
Trekking
Hike Chorongo or Coto trails of 3 hours, fantastic terra-firme forest to discover the relationships among the different living creatures and the role they play in this complex ecosystem. Orchids, vines, strangler figs, ancient trees; bromeliads are all part of this fabulous tropical rainforest
Guayusa Ceremony    
At 4:00 am you will enjoy the Guayusa Ceremony (a typical drink of this area), where your guide will tell you stories and legends of the Amazon, while you enjoy a wonderful sunrise. After breakfast, you will go to Napo River to take the canoe to Sani Isla Community Center. Here you can learn how the community lives in harmony with the Amazon Rainforest. You will learn about their customs, drinks, food, and Kichwa culture, learn how local life is environmentally sustainable. You will know their conservation and entrepreneurship projects (SANI WARMI) along with an activity of handicrafts.
Ayahuasca Ceremony  
After a light dinner Ayahuasca ceremony will take place, this is an ancestral ritual led by the community Chaman (Yachak), which is carried out for spiritual purification. *Ayahuasca drink is available to people over 18 years old under their responsibility
Bird Islands Visit
Visit the islands of Napo River to find the species that habit these ecosystems. It is very important that you bring your binoculars to see them. You’ll go to: • Castelnau’s antshrike Island. • Fuscous Flycatcher Island. • Spotted Tody-flycatcher Island. • River Tyrannulet Island. • Riverside Tyrant Island. You have many places where you can observe hundreds of birds. After visiting all these Islands you’ll have dinner at the Lodge. After dinner, you’ll go to look for owls, and, in the return, there will be a feedback of birds seen along with the checklist.

Sani Lodge – 4 days/3 nights Birdwatching Program


Day 1: Arrival to Sani Lodge / Trekking or Canoe Paddling / Search for the Caiman at night 
Your journey starts with a 35-minute flight from Quito at 10:30 am to Coca where the staff will pick you up and transfer to a local hotel located on the banks of Napo River. There, your bilingual guides will explain about safety before embarking for a 2 ½ boat trip on the largest Ecuadorian affluent of the Amazon, the Napo River. During the journey you get a taste of the Amazon; ancestral communities, birds such as herons, egrets, vultures, while enjoying delicious packed lunch. A 15-minute walk through the flooded forest and 20-minute paddle canoe across the beautiful Challuacocha Lake. The staff will welcome you with refreshing cold drinks and snacks before you settle down in your cabins. Later in the afternoon, you’ll have the option to take a short walk on nearby trails or take a canoe ride with the chance to observe primates, Amazonian birds, black caimans in their primitive setting. You’ll also have a close encounter with the amazing flora represented by cedar trees, orchids, and bromeliads. Upon your return to the lodge, our chef will be happy to offer a wide variety of national and international cuisine that caters vegetarians and vegans. After dinner explore our black-water, Oxbow Lake, a haven for one of the increasingly endangered species, the black caiman. This lake supports a healthy population of these large South-American crocodiles, which can measure up to 6 meters (18ft.) long. Return to the lodge.
Day 2: Parrot Clay Lick / Bird Island visits / Night trek 
After breakfast departure to the Napo River to board the boat and visit the parrot-clay lick at Yasuní National Park for a wonderful view of hundreds of parrots searching for a gap to land and eat the earth in a process for their digestion. Here you will see Mealy Amazon, Yellow-crowned, Orange-winged, and Blue-headed parrots. Continue with a hike on the south of the Napo inside Yasuní National Park considered for scientists like the most biodiverse area in the world, here, some species that cannot be found in the north might be spotted: golden-mantled tamarins and spider monkeys, blue and yellow macaws and with a bit of luck a close encounter with white-lipped or collared peccaries. Head back to Sani Community Center to visit a native house to get a taste of how a typical Kichwa family lives. Enjoy their food, drinks, customs, and culture of the Sani Isla community and learn how the lifestyle of the locals is environmentally sustainable. Visit the islands of Napo River to find the species that habit these ecosystems. It is very important that you bring your binoculars to see them. You’ll go to: • Castelnau’s antshrike Island. • Fuscous Flycatcher Island. • Spotted Tody-flycatcher Island. • River Tyrannulet Island. • Riverside Tyrant Island. You have many places where you can observe hundreds of birds. After visiting all these Islands you’ll have dinner at the Lodge. After dinner, you’ll go to look for owls, and, in the return, there will be a feedback of birds seen along with the checklist.
Day 3: Parrot Clay Lick (optional) / Butterfly Garden / Sani Community Center
After breakfast, we will depart to the Napo River to board a boat and visit the Butterfly Garden at Yasuní National Park for a wonderful view of hundreds of butterflies in this area. Continue with a hike in the south of Napo inside Yasuní National Park considered by scientists to be the most biodiverse area in the world. Here some species that cannot be found in the north like the golden-mantled tamarins, spider monkeys, Blue, and yellow macaws and with a bit of luck a close encounter with white-lipped or collared peccaries. Head back to Sani Community Center to visit a native house to get a taste of how a typical Kichwa family lives. Enjoy their food, drinks, customs, and culture of the Sani community and learn how the lifestyle of the locals is environmentally sustainable. Return to the lodge late in the afternoon for a well-deserved dinner. After dinner, take a night walk to see how myriads of insects, spiders, and frogs come alive. Optional Activity: You can visit the parrot-clay lick very early in the morning with a lot of parrots searching for a gap to land and eat the earth. Here you will see the Mealy Amazon, Yellow-crowned, Orange-winged, and Blue-headed parrots. This activity has an extra cost of USD35.00 per person and you can request it at the moment to make the reservation or decide once you are in the lodge and make the payment there.
Day 4: Parrot Clay Lick  / Farewell to Lodge   
After breakfast head back to the Napo River to board the boat and visit the parrots’ wall at Yasuní National Park for a wonderful view of hundreds of parrots searching for a gap to land and eat the earth in a process for their digestion. Here you will see Mealy Amazon, Yellow-crowned, Orange-winged, and Blue-headed parrots. Then return to Coca on time to get your flight back to Quito. End of services!
*Additional Days 
The 5-day program includes more hiking and sailing in paddle canoes. Extensions 6, 7, 8 days can be arranged upon request.

Sani Lodge 2020 Rates

Sani Lodge 2020 Rates

Rates Include:

  • Assistance at Quito airport;
  • Transportation Coca-Sani/Lodge-Coca
  • Accommodation in private cabins with hot water or camping tents.
  • All meals starting with lunch from the first day until breakfast on the last day.
  • Snacks for all excursions
  • Native and bilingual guide
  • All excursions
  • Rubber boots
  • Water poncho
  • WIFI in the bar area

Rates do not include:

  • Taxes
  • Air ticket from/to Quito ($310 USD one way and return or $200 USD one way, price subject to change without prior notice)
  • Bus ticket to/from Quito ($30 USD one way and return or $15 USD one way)
  • Personal expenses and tips
  • Any service not specified in the program

Additional Information:

  • Air tickets will be emitted by Sani Lodge
  • Tour may start on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays
  • On non-operation days (Tuesday and Sunday) a $300 USD canoe surcharge will be charged per way.
  • Children 0 to 5 years old travel FREE, 6 to 11 years old get a 50% discount

Access to Sani Lodge


By Flight


Once in Quito, you will board a second plane that leaves Quito and takes you to Coca. Your plane leaves Quito Airport at 11:00 AM (flight schedule subject to changes). A member of our staff will help you check your passport and your bags and provide you with details of the trip. Then you will travel to Coca by plane for 40 minutes. Upon your return from the lodge, the guide will take you back to the airport and help you check-in for your flight back at 12:20 PM. We reserve all the flights for you. Price: USD 269,00 roundtrip or USD 155,00 one way (price subject to change without prior notice)
Upon Arrival: 
You will be met at the Coca airport or bus station by an English speaking guide and taken to the Malecon in the city of Coca where you will board a motorized canoe for a 3-hour down the Napo river. We will provide you with a snack to enjoy on your journey, and point out the unique flora and fauna at the river’s edge. We will disembark and walk down a platform through the forest for about 15 minutes, then take a paddle canoe for the brief lake crossing to the Lodge.

By Bus


A bus from the company Trans Baños leaves the station in Quito, located in Quitumbe (in the southernmost area of ​​the city of Quito) at 11:30 PM the day before the first day of your package begins). This trip lasts 7 hours. Price: USD 30,00 roundtrip or USD 15,00 one way
Upon Arrival: 
Your guide will meet you at the MACCO Cultural Center in Coca on the Coca boardwalk at 10:30 AM and take you to the meeting point.

Sani Lodge Packing List


  • Passport and color copy
  • Cash in small denominations for bar services, tips or souvenirs (Visa and MasterCard are accepted at the Lodge)
  • Personal medication to last for the duration of your trip
  • Sunhat + Sunblock
  • Sunglasses + Swimwear
  • Walking shoes or sneakers + waterproof sandals
  • Socks: We recommend tall socks that don’t slip easily inside rubber boots. Two pairs per day are ideal.
  • Light-weight, earth or dark-colored long-sleeved shirts and t-shirts
  • Light-weight quick-dry hiking pants
  • Goretex jacket
  • Rain poncho or Rainjacket
  • Insect repellent (natural with no chemical like DEET)
  • Binoculars (waterproof) + Backpack
  • Headlamp (or Flashlight) + Extra batteries.
  • Inexpensive magnifying glass (optional)
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Camera + Dry bags + Extra batteries or disk
  • Rubber Boots supplied at the lodge. Available sizes 5 to 12
Luggage weight limit: 20 Kg per passenger DO NOT BRING FOOD OF ANY KIND: Food attracts ants and other unwelcome critters to your suites!
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