Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15 - Day 10

Up and moving by 6AM but found out that they changed the time we were going to meet to 8AM for a 45 minute canoe ride to Yasuní Underwater Interpretation Center.  We had about 40 minute hike though the forest to the center.  It is designed to educate and inform other local people and tourist about the endangered animals in the Amazon, and how they can protect them and their habitats from further harm.  The exhibition has life-sized carvings of river dolphins, Amazon manatees, pirarucu (biggest freshwater fish), otters, turtles and numerous fish species; all swimming amongst flooded trees and roots of the rainforest during the high water season.  This was great and we enjoyed it and learned a great deal from the different exhibits.  We had a quick lunch before boarding our canoe for about 20 minutes to the motorboat, then another 40 minutes to Puerto Providencia/Belen town, where we got into the van to driver to Puerto Gregorio (located on the shores of the Shushufindi River, which eventually becomes the Aguarico River).  This journey takes an hour, during which our guide, Jose provided information about the sites and landscapes found along the way.  This was yet another Toxic Tour as we discussed about all the African Palm and the damage it is causing to the lands.  The amount of forests that have been cut down will break your heart.  We arrived to Puerto Gregorio to our next canoe ride and were joined by our native guide to continue our journey to the Secoya Lodge.  We had a brief introduction on the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, which the Secoya’s territory borders, and is home to amazing flora and fauna.  The Secoya Lodge is a very new lodge and includes three spacious palm-thatched cabañas each divided into two double rooms for a total capacity of 12 guests.  The cabañas are constructed from sustainably harvested local building materials of tropical hardwoods and traditional palm thatch, and are situated in a small clearing along the banks of the Aguarico River. The cabins incorporate cultural elements of the Secoya people in design, construction, and decoration.  Instead of closing clients off from the natural world that surrounds them, the cabañas at Secoya Lodge will immerse them in the sights and sounds of the Amazonian rain forest. The walls of the cabañas are almost entirely made out of mosquito-resistant netting that will give clients both an excellent view of the surrounding forest, as well as natural air circulation to keep the cabins cool.  Another quick bite to eat and we set out to an area where we had a short hike.  We returned to Secoya Lodge at sunset and we all hit the hammocks.  They woke us up for dinner and guess what; we were back in the hammocks for another hour and then bed time.  We have another early morning wake up and we are headed back to Quito tomorrow.

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