Hakuna Matata Explore Tour


Hakuna Matata Explore Tour offers you an unforgettable experience, full of adventures off the beaten track. Explore culture, animals, and plants of the rainforest. Also, engage yourself in an undiscovered world of the rainforest community. All of that you find less than 125 miles away from Quito in our comfortable Lodge on a spacious terrain including a tropical garden and a private protected forest and beach on the river.The short distance to Ecuador´s capital is one of the reasons you can enjoy the complete jungle experience in a relaxed way including some advantages – due to the location at about 2,000 feet above sea level there are no tropical diseases and no mosquitoes – ideal terms for a stay in the jungle. This program offers you a remarkable experience of ancestral cultures and the highlights of the Amazon jungle.

Day 1 : Arrival – Journey To The Amazon Rainforest

Hakuna Lodge

© Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata Explore Tour

Within 3 hours from Quito, you will arrive in our exclusive Lodge. During your drive, you will notice how the vegetation changes from the landscape of the Andes into the rainforest. After passing the gate to the  Amazon  Rainforest you will be in a mountain jungle paradise – Hakuna Matata is your private hideaway in the tropical forest. During your trip, you came closer to sea level by about 7,200 feet and are located on about 2,000 feet now. There are different options to reach our Lodge, you can take a public bus or order a private transfer. Taking the last one, you will have the option to stop at the hot springs of Papallacta to relax in these famous thermal waters (optional, entrance fee not included).

If you decide to skip the rest in the hot waters and arrive early in our jungle paradise you can add a tour by foot or by the horse in the afternoon to your free day. In case you decide on horseback riding you will choose  one of  the hotel owned horses and take a  tour through the forest and rivers. If you rather take a walk you can explore the area on different hiking paths.

Your guide will explain the flora and fauna and share ancestral information about plants that are used for medical reasons. However,  you can also participate in our chocolate tour (all tours are optional, please let us know if you want to add this tour to your program when booking). Spot!

Meals: /-/D

Day 2 : Canoe Tour – Parrot Clay Lick – Breakfast In An Indigenous Community – Jungle Walk – Monkeys At


© Hakuna Matata

After an early wake up you will leave the Lodge with your guide at 5.30 am to enjoy a day filled with adventures and experiences. You will drive  to the calm and small  Arajuno  River which  is a branch of the huge Napo River, here you will board your canoe. The Arajuno River winds its way through the forest, passing high shores abundantly covered with vegetation. While watching birds you will  realize how  calm and  little sailed  the river  is.  While watching birds you will  realize how  calm and  little sailed  the river  is.  The magnificence of birds will stun you – you will discover egrets, red-rumped cacique, tangaras and more species.After landing with your canoe there will be a short walk to the salt lick which attracts birds. It is recommended to bring binoculars to better observe  the landing  of the  birds on the  trees and afterward their way to the salt lick. There are a lot of parrots and parakeets, mostly the dusky-headed parakeet. You might be lucky and also see free-living monkeys, but don’t wonder about their noises that might fright away the birds. In the case of rain, your guide

There are a lot of parrots and parakeets, mostly the dusky-headed parakeet. You might be lucky and also see free-living monkeys, but don’t wonder about their noises that might fright away the birds. In the case of rain, your guide will decide how to change the program and might switch around some points of the program.

The community

chicha de yuca

© Hakuna Matata

Once you’ve had your fill of bird watching, your guide will lead you to the next station, the indigenous community Santa Barbara with 23 families who are adding up to 120 inhabitants. The leader of the community  will greet  you and  introduce you  to some traditions and customs, including the production of “chicha”, a traditional drink that is up for tasting when it is done. Surely you are hungry by now and for that reason, there will be a rarity forSurely you are hungry by now and for that reason, there will be a rarity for you – you will join an original buffet of the rainforest with the community.There will be carachama and bagre – both from the family of the catfish, bocachico – a fish from the salmon family, barbequed chontacuro-worms (optional) – a specialty in the region, yucca, maduro-bananas, salad from hearts of palm, tea from the guayusa leaves which is known for its ability to constrain hunger, fruits and cocoa.  All of  the above  is harvested  or caught  freshly and prepared for  you on  the spot  –  enjoy this once  in a lifetime
In case you do not feel filled up already the guide carries some sandwiches and fruits – also for the case if you feel a little bit hungry early in the morning. Strengthened by this wholesome and organic meal, you will be able to immerse deeper into the culture of the community, typical dances. During a short walk afterward, you will see the ceiba which is the giant of jungle trees and has impressive buttress roots before you have the opportunity to buy  some handicrafts  made by  the community.  The sales revenue will go all into the community cash point which is used to buy canoe parts, pens, cloth or other objects for the community.

Jatun Sacha Reserve


© Hakuna Matata

After a short farewell by the mayor of the community, you will head to the 6,200 acre big Jatun Sacha Reserve. This amazing protected area consists of tropical rainforest in which again you will discover new flora and fauna, like bamboo, the walking palm which moves up to 4 inches a year and the pampil palm which you already held in your hands today, in form of the 3.2 feet long blow
gun.About 1.5 hours later you will be back in your canoe to get to the car which drives you to the little town Misahualli where you will eat a typical “almuerzo” – lunch – before you can take a walk to the beach to be greeted by many capuchin monkeys. At around 3 pm you will be back at the Lodge to take pleasure in relaxing at the pool or in a hammock with a cocktail or keep on exploring the area. In the evening another 3-course meal is waiting for you which you can enjoy in the special atmosphere of the jungle.

Day 3 : Leisure – Optional Activities At The Lodge


Hakuna Matata

Photo: © Hakuna Matata

Today is your day! You can choose any activity that you prefer at the lodge. Horseback riding, taking a walk in the Amazon, chocolate tour, a day of rafting, or maybe just taking a free day to rest and enjoy in the swimming pool.

The most famous activity is the chocolate tour. There, you will learn to produce chocolate from the bean to the bar, starting with the pure fruit, the cocoa beans and ending up with the brown gold. You could also use your time differently and relax at the pool, in a hammock or just keep exploring the area.

Day 4 : Departure


Photo: efenzi








After taking pleasure in a rich and flavorful breakfast, you can enjoy the last moments in the lodge. After that, comes the check out.

You have two options,  either you go back on the same road to Quito or you drive back to the Andes on an alternative route to the quaint town of Baños to keep on traveling from there.

Meals: B/-/-

*If you prefer a 3 days tour, the third will be deleted

Rafting is not included in 3 days tour



  • Accommodation in chosen room category (Cabañas, Lodge, Supreme)
  • Local, Spanish speaking field guide
  • Activities mentioned in the program
  • Entrance fees for activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals (starting with dinner on the day of arrival until breakfast on the day of departure)
  • Use of all lodge facilities, including swimming pool, beach area, hiking trails
  • Rubber boots up to size 12 (UK) / 14 (US – men)
  • Taxes


  • Transport from/to Quito or from/to Baños (following prices are for one way tickets)
  • Private transportation with stopover – about 2 hours – in Papallacta
  • Private transportation without stopover
  • Public bus, additionally the costs for the cab drive from Archidona to the Lodge
  • Lunch on the day of arrival and day of departure in the Lodge
  • All activities which are not mentioned or are optional
  • Drinks and meals that are not mentioned
  • Personal spending and tip

RAFTING EXTENSION  (if you choose this activity in 4 days tour)

  • Internationally certified rafting guide, bilingual (Spanish and English)
  • Quality equipment (paddles, helmets, life jackets, spray jackets)
  • Transportation between starting /end point of the rafting and the Lodge with a vehicle
  • Lunch (picnic), including water and soft drinks
  • SPOT Satellite Messenger for emergencies
  • Kayak for safety
  • First aid kit


    • Passport and copies
    • Personal medications
    • Sunscreen
    • Sun hat
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera equipment (including memory card, cables and batteries)
    • Fast drying clothes (Shirts and shorts; for the evenings and mornings you need light colored long-sleeved clothing)
    • Swimwear
    • Lightweight raincoat
    • Rubber boots (up to size 12 (UK) / 14 (US – men) are in the lodge available)
    • Fitting socks for rubber boots
    • Sturdy footgear
    • Sandals / flip-flops / crocs
    • Daypack
    • Nature colored (green, brown, beige), light cloth
    • Small towel and shirt to change
    • Plastic bags to protect cameras, binoculars
    • Water bottle
    • Insect repellent
    • Binoculars for bird watching
    • Loose change (in small shops it’s only possible to pay with up to 5 dollar bills)


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