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Travel in Latin America

Rainforest Tours of Ecuador
By:Lester L'Fayette

Ecuador has really caught on with tourists as the destination for those seeking an abundance of beautiful scenery and no shortage of adventure. While tour packages are available to suit just about any budget, your best method for choosing a tour company is to start in Quito as one can comparison shop among a number of legitimate operators at once. Here are a few good names to help you get started.

Amarongachi Tours
If you're headed to Tena, one of the most popular jumping-off points for the Ecuadorian rainforest, then look no further than this company whose tours include swimming in the river, romping through the rainforest to observe native flora and fauna, and staying with a family in the jungle. It also runs the Shangrila cabins which sit on a cliff overlooking the Rio Anzu, and the views of the rainforest are out of this world. The cost is $40 per day, as of February 2010.

Amarongachi Tours
Av.15 de Nov. 438
P.O.Box 154
Tena , Napo, Ecuador
+593 (0)6 2886372

Papangu-Atacapi Tours
Headed from Quito to Puyo? You might want to as it's one of the largest rainforest cities within a day's drive of Quito and offers lots of sightseeing opportunities in the outlying jungle. Papangu-Atacapi Tours is run by indigenous people native to this part of Ecuador's rainforest. Trips take guests to Sarayacu and Chareras---both Quechua communities---and Cueva de los Tayos, a Shuar community. The fee is $45 per day, as of February 2010, and 30 percent goes to the participating indigenous communities.

Papangu-Atacapi Tours
27 de Febrero y Sucre
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador
+593 (0)3 2883875

Planeta Tours
Macas is a city in the southern part of Ecuador's rainforest, and it's quickly growing as a base for adventure travelers headed into the jungle. One of the premier tour operators here is Planeta Tours which visitors on hikes through Shuar indigenous communities, show off the brilliant waterfalls seen in this section of the jungle, and will even take guests on fishing and canoeing trips. If headed to Macas for your rainforest excursion, Planeta Tours is one option to consider. Prices vary.

Planeta Tours
Comin at Soasti
Macas, Ecuador
+593 (0)7 2701328

Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve
Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve is the mother of all Ecuadorian rainforest tour packages. Beginning in Quito, you will pay $224 round-trip (as of February 2010) to charter a light aircraft that will get you both to and from the lodge. It's located just off the River Pastaza, and the owners have trained individuals in local Achuar communities to work as guides. The ecolodge features solar power, a top-notch recycling program, and the use of biodegradable materials. You will stay in one of 20 cabins around a small lagoon. The emphasis is on cultural exchange and isolation as they take you really far away from, well, pretty much everything. The Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve sits in the middle of the remote Achuar wilderness.

Edificio Reina Victoria, Oficina 1
Mariscal Foch E7-38 y Reina Victoria

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