The Hakuna Matata tour Classic offers you a superb time with the highlights of the Amazon rainforest – wildlife, flora, and culture – “Experience the Luxury of Nature”. Hakuna Matata Wildlife
Less than 125 miles away from Quito you will find our homelike Lodge nestled in a lush surrounding including a tropical garden and a private protected forest and beach on the river. Due to the short distance to Ecuador’s capital you are able to enjoy a complete jungle experience, but in a classy way – our unique location at about 2,000 feet above sea level means there are no tropical diseases and no mosquitoes – ideal terms for a family trip with kids or for your first journey to the jungle.
Photo: © Hakuna Matata
Within 3 hours from Quito, finally, 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. If you choose 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 a horse in the afternoon to your free day. Once you decide on horseback riding, you will choose one of the hotels owned horses and take a tour through the forest and rivers. Rather if you prefer taking 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).
If you arrive in the afternoon at the lodge or just want to spend the day without the program, enjoying our lodge, go right ahead – the adventure can start now! You can begin exploring our 300-acre private reserve where you will find a private white sand beach by the Inchillaqui River, a tropical garden, a protected forest which belongs to the Lodge and a palm-shaped pool which has a length of 88 feet and is 72 feet wide – only mosquitoes will be hard to stop! In the evening you will enjoy a delicious 3-course gourmet meal in an exclusive atmosphere surrounded by the sounds of the jungle.
© Hakuna Matata
You will start your day with a well-balanced breakfast, containing homemade bread, eggs, coffee, and fruit or granola. Afterward, you and your guide will enter the largest rainforest of the world – the Amazon Rainforest. Then, you will drive to the provincial capital Tena to discover the local marked with its specialties. You will find exotic and domestic fruits as well as vegetables like mangos, bananas, yucca or guayusa.
You will have the possibility to try various products, like the Chontacuro-worm which is a culinary specialty in this area – they are offered from the bbq or alive – dare yourself!. The guayusa leaves are used to prepare tea and are known for their ability to constrain hunger. You will get to know the leaves “hojas de bijao” better this afternoon, but feel free to buy them for your own use. Additionally, you can find “Sangre de Drago” – Dragon blood, a liquid extracted from trees bark that is used for curing wounds, stomach ulcers and revitalize germs and fungi in many South American countries.
After this first experience, you will continue to your second stop, Napo River. In this region, it is only possible to move along with a canoe, so that’s what you will do! After the ride, you will start to hike through the jungle and the protected forest “Selva Viva” for about 2 hours. During that time your guide will explain you the world of insects and the flora of the area whereas you will see impressive uniqueness like the strangler fig that is wrapping around trees to then kill them, the walking palm that moves up to 4 inches a year, the ceiba which is the giant of jungle trees and has impressive buttress roots or the lemon ants which can be part of your meal.
Therefore your guide will bring you to the “AmaZOOnico”, a rehabilitation center for rescued animals. Here you will be able to spot different kinds of monkeys, parrots, toucans, tapirs, ocelots, anteaters, anacondas and much more. Afterward, you will be back in your canoe in search for a quiet place to have a picnic lunch on the banks of the river. You will enjoy a typical jungle lunch, Maito, which is rice and chicken wrapped in the leaves “hoja de bijao”. Also, you will have a variety of fruit with it.
Strengthened by this delicious and wholesome meal, you will continue your adventure and visit an indigenous family that is part of the “Quichuas” tribe. You will get to know them in their urban settlement and see how and where they live their everyday life. Due to that, you will get to know the traditions and customs of the tribe, witness how and help to make “chicha”, a typical drink, and try it afterward. After this refreshment, you will explore the vegetable garden, test your skills at the blow gun and fade out your trip in a marsh to watch out for the hoatzin bird. After all these exciting experiences you will return to the Lodge and enjoy your 3-course dinner in the special atmosphere of the jungle again.
© 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.
© Hakuna Matata
After taking pleasure in a rich and flavorful breakfast, you can enjoy the last moments in the lodge. After that, comes the chack 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.
*If you prefer a 3 days tour, the third will be deleted
Rafting is not included in 3 days tour