Yes, it’s an almost 5 hr ride to Amazon Dolphin, but it's fascinating and part of your experience. The "motorized launch" is a covered (open but with a roof) 20+ person boat with plastic seats. Not comfortable, but not a small canoe either. The first three hours are spent on the Napo River, which is a jungle highway. You’ll pass oil company barges delivering trucks or supplies or possibly dredging. Bag lunch is about 1 hr in. Bathroom stop about 2 hrs in. There's a hard left into the Panacocha reserve / Pirana River about 3 hrs in. Then things get interesting. The boat slows and you’re in the jungle. Have your binoculars ready.
Rivers were very low in late December. We saw pink dolphins at the confluence of the Napo & Panacocha Rivers at the Park offices on the way home.
Kitchwa guide Livio was fantastic! His knowledge of local animals, plants, medicine, and craft was extensive. We learned a lot and enjoyed the process.
Cabins are amply sized with a double & a twin bed in each. Toiletries are provided. Showers are hot, even if there are no shower heads (in our two cabins at least).
Food is very good. After some stringy beef, we enjoyed several good meals of fish, chicken, local fruit, rice, salads, and accompaniments. Always a cream soup first course, with popcorn croutons, the local custom.
What you really need to pack:
Socks at least one pr for each day - you will be in the provided boots
An extra shirt or two - it’s hot & humid and you may want to change after a hike
Hat & sunscreen for boat trips; long sleeve sun shirt if desired
Flashlight or two; small is fine
Hiking boots or sneakers if indicated for your stay- we didn’t need them
Long pants - zips-offs are great because you’ll also want shorts
T shirts - cotton or micro fibre, your choice
Plastic garbage bags inside any non-waterproof luggage
The jungle soundtrack included howler monkeys (the morning alarm and the sunset chorus), birds, and insects. We were met by a heron at the dock, red bellied macaws flew by as we had our orientation, and oropendolas nests were numerous.
These snippets I will remember: sitting in the open lounge and feeling the forest come alive with the night. Canoeing through the morning mist, listening to the birds and crickets. Watching a heron winging past.
We stayed the last night at sister lodge Yarina. More people, similar facilities, but larger and many more people.