|A view of the park|
There is one main road in Tena with some mediocre restaurants and stores, one large supermarket and a bus terminal. The main urban attraction is a park on a peninsula that is nestled between two rivers with some native plants and animals. I want to go because there are three tapirs there running around freely. Tapirs are extremely rare now in the wild. We never do see them here either.
Tena is known in the guidebook circuit for being the place in Ecuador to do whitewater rafting. They charge $45 per person for half a day trip which, relatively speaking, is not much cheaper than what they charge in Colorado. This is my logic anyway for declining on the activity. Instead we opt for a two day, two night jungle tour. This also costs quite a bit more than we like to spend per day ($38 pp / per day with guide and 3 meals), but there aren't jungles in Colorado.
|A sculpture in Tena celebrating Quichua Indian culture|
|A termite nest|
|Are you experienced? - Ayahuasca|
|Stuff, wrap, salt the fish and then...|
|...grill and eat maito|
|A hand-sized stick bug|
|Not sure which one of us is the uninvited guest|
|Some unwarranted vine swinging|
Our tour ends at a tree house suspended 100' (33m) in the area with access by a wiggly steel rope ladder. We are assured by our guide that it is completely safe, but our brains tell us differently so we do not linger too long at the top.
We return back and after lunch visit a small museum/cultural center run by an indigenous Quichua community. Here we can find the animals that we will not be able to see in the jungle. After the museum we miss our bus and walk the few kilometers on the main road back to the trail leading to our cabanas. Lo and behold what do we see a glorious toucan darting over our heads like a stubby javelin. It is high in the air, but the beak and body shape is unmistakable. I am very happy. My jungle tour is saved by a thirty minute walk on the asphalt road.
Click this link to read about our interesting visit to see animals around Tena.
|Up to the tree shack|
Feel free to add your descriptions in the comments below.
|Collect and fry the larvae and then...|
|...eat the larvae.|
The International Rambler Travel Tip:
If you want to really experience the Amazonia in Ecuador I would not suggest doing it from Tena, but going farther east into the jungle maybe starting in Coca or Lago Agrio and a canoe ride from there. Was our tour fun? Sure. Was it worth the money? Probably not. It is more of an effort and will cost a bit more to get deeper into the jungle, but you should be able to see a lot more wildlife and get a better taste of Quichua culture.
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