Liana Lodge, Amazon, Ecuador

There are plenty of good reasons to visit Liana Lodge in the Ecuadorean Amazon.

For one, it’s a great example of responsible and sustainable tourism, as it’s run by a Swiss foundation whose objectives include preserving and protecting the rainforest, and implementing sustainable rainforest management in the local Ahuano community.

Liana Lodge, Ecuador

I had an additional, very personal, reason to check it out.

When I was planning my South America trip, I knew that volunteer work would be part of it. Eventually, it came down to two very different options, both coincidentally in Ecuador.

I went to Intag to teach English, but I couldn’t leave Ecuador without checking out what might have been: an animal rescue centre called Amazoonico.

And how does Liana Lodge come in, you say? Both the lodge and Amazoonico are run by the same foundation!

Ideal for the time-pressed traveller

If you don’t have much time to spend in the Amazon, Liana Lodge would be a great way to get a taste of it.

We spent 2 nights at Liana Lodge, which means 1 full day of activities. It cost USS$194 per person – all activities and meals included. You can of course opt for a longer stay!

It’s not the cheapest option out there (I did a 4D3N tour with Nicky Lodge in Cuyabeno for $280). But it was worth it for me because I didn’t have that much time, it was for a good cause, and I really wanted to visit Amazoonico!

Is this the most beautiful jungle lodge ever, or what?

Liana Lodge, Ecuador

I was immediately blown away by the villas. The bright colours of the room give it a cheery air and immediately make you feel at home. Unlike some other lodges *cough* Nicky Lodge *cough*, here there’s plenty of privacy with only 2 beds to each room.

Oh, and each room has a hammock! *happy dance*

Liana Lodge, Ecuador

This is basically me in a hammock:

Don’t mess with my hammock, guys. PRIORITIES.

Liana Lodge, Ecuador

Much of the lodge, including the chairs you see above, are made from local tree species and hand-carved. Well, if you’re in the rainforest, it kinda makes sense, right?

There’s no wi-fi, but that’s normal in the Amazon. Go on a digital detox and immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings!

Liana Lodge, Ecuador

Have a drink at the bar, explore the lodge, play the (somewhat out-of-tune) guitar.

And if you get bored, refer to the hammock above.

I still dream about this breakfast sometimes…

Best. Breakfast. Spread. Evahhhh. (Ok, the Nicky Lodge one was pretty good too! But because we had a fixed schedule there, I could never linger as long as I’d like over breakfast. Yes, I’m a lingerer.)

Liana Lodge, Ecuador

Liana Lodge, Ecuador

If you’re ever in Ecuador, promise me you’ll try fried yuca (cassava). It may not look like much (above), but it’s delicious.

Hike to Rio Rodriguez

You have a whole menu of activities to choose from, like visiting a local community, fishing and gold panning, and raft-building. But we like hiking, so we picked the longest hike available (approx. 5 hours).

A couple of Amazoonico volunteers wanted to join us and we were more than happy to have them along. I got to hear all about life as an Amazoonico volunteer, which I almost was!

Our guide, Juan, was from the local Ahuano community and showed us traditional uses for the plants. E.g. they weave these leaves to create a thatched roof. The water just rolls right off!

Hike through Amazon rainforest with Liana Lodge, Ecuador

Hike through Amazon rainforest with Liana Lodge, Ecuador

The tree below was really bizarre. What do you think?

Hike through Amazon rainforest with Liana Lodge, Ecuador

It’s not painted – that’s its natural colour! Yep.

In terms of difficulty, the hike was nothing compared to the Quilotoa Loop. (It helped that we were, you know, at sea level.)

My main concern was slipping and falling as the ground was pretty wet. It’s the rainforest, after all! It rained a bit during the hike too, so (at the risk of sounding like a broken record) rain gear is a must.

Hike through Amazon rainforest with Liana Lodge, Ecuador

We had lunch by the Rio Rodriguez. It’s main selling point is the crystal-clear water, but that day it was anything but.

Rio Rodriguez, hike through Amazon rainforest with Liana Lodge, Ecuador

Recent heavy rains had made the water all muddy, but that didn’t deter the others from taking a dip in the river. I was all no thanks, though.

We had lunch there – a nice boxed lunch and salad served on a leaf! I really appreciated the effort to go plastic-free.

After lunch, we hiked up to a viewing point, where we eventually emerged from the trees to see… more trees.

Hike through Amazon rainforest with Liana Lodge, Ecuador

That’s the Amazon for you!

AmaZOOnico

After that, we made our way to Amazoonico. You have to pay a small entrance fee of US$2.50 or so per adult, but it comes with a free guided tour by a volunteer.

All proceeds go to offsetting the operation costs of the rescue centre, so I was more than happy to support them. (If you stay at Liana Lodge, you’re indirectly supporting Amazoonico too since they’re run by the same foundation.)

Our guide was a guy from Quito and it was his first tour in English! I thought he did really well.

Background

The Ecuadorean Ministry of Environment sends confiscated animals to Amazoonico. They come from e.g. the black market, or homes where they were being kept as illegal pets.

Amazoonico tries to rehabilitate and release these animals into the forest reserve owned by the same foundation, but for many, behavioural and physical problems make this impossible.

In those cases, they are essentially stuck at Amazoonico for life, albeit in the best living conditions possible.

Here are some of the animals we saw:

Monkeys

Amazoonico, Ecuador

There are spider, capuchin and woolly monkeys. It was pretty sad when our guide pointed out those who couldn’t be released, either to due to aggressive behaviour or some physical/mental impairment. The monkey above was one of those.

Toucans

Toucan, Amazoonico, Ecuador

Macaws

Scarlet macaw, Amazoonico, Ecuador

Ocelots

Ocelot, Amazoonico, Ecuador

Arguably one of the show-stealers here. Aren’t they beautiful? They have a pair of ocelots, and we were very lucky to see them. They came out and walked around although it was raining!

Tapirs

Tapirs, Amazoonico, Ecuador

SO CUTE. Especially the baby! His stripes will disappear as he gets older.

Other animals we saw included pecaris (like pigs but very aggressive) and jaguarundis (small wild cats). I didn’t take many photos, though, because of the rain.

Our (original) guide Juan then walked us back to Liana Lodge. It’s only about 10 minutes away, so if you’re staying at Liana Lodge, Amazoonico is a must-see.

Do I regret not volunteering there?

The short answer is: no.

I chose Intag because one of my main goals was to improve my Spanish and really immerse myself in a local community. Amazoonico – made up as it is mostly of international volunteers – wouldn’t have allowed me to achieve those goals.

Plus, in Intag the kids are lucky to have English volunteers once or twice a year, whereas Amazoonico seemed pretty well-staffed.

But if you have a passion for animals and don’t care about the Spanish immersion thing, I’d recommend checking out Amazoonico. The volunteers all spoke very highly of it and seemed really upset about their eventual departure.

How to get to Liana Lodge

From Tena, take a bus to Puerto Barantilla. Note that the bus terminal isn’t the main bus terminal – it’s 2 blocks down, but not hard to find.

There are a number of daily buses to Puerto Barantilla. We took the 1.30pm bus and the journey took about 1h25min.

You need to ask the bus conductor to tell you when you reach, as it’s not the end of the line. I basically kept reminding him every time I saw him, and we got off with no problems.

This is the Puerto Barantilla stop:

Getting to Liana Lodge and Amazoonico, Ecuador

On the left side of the road, you’ll see a shelter.

Getting to Liana Lodge and Amazoonico, Ecuador

From the main road, turn left into this nondescript path. Go straight and don’t take the left-hand turn going downhill.

Getting to Liana Lodge and Amazoonico, Ecuador

You’ll arrive at the river, where a canoe will be waiting to take you to Liana Lodge. The boat ride takes about 5 mins.

Getting to Liana Lodge and Amazoonico, Ecuador

Not too painful, is it?

Have you been to the Amazon or volunteered at a similar animal rescue centre? What was it like?

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A great way to explore the Amazon: Liana Lodge and the animal rescue centre Amazoonico are wonderful examples of sustainable and responsible tourism | Rainforest | Ecuador | Amazon | MichWanderlust

 

This post is part of The Weekly Postcard hosted byΒ Travel Notes & Beyond, California Globetrotter, Toddlers on Tour, Two Traveling Texans and TravelLatte – check out what’s going on elsewhere!

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30 Comments on "Liana Lodge and Amazoonico, Ecuador: Relaxing and Helping Rescued Wildlife in the Amazon"

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Nancy @ NY Foodie Family
Guest

This looks like a beautiful place! I would have loved to see all those animals and a a hike in the rain forest looks like an amazing experience

Anisa
Guest

Glad to hear they have lots of volunteers because it does sound like they are doing good work. The animals are so cute/pretty. I just love the macaw. The lodge looks really nice too. I would be all over that hammock!

Hannah
Guest

Wow this is so beautiful! I love the idea of a lodge really both in tuned with nature and charming, but also eco-conscious and supporting responsible tourism. I’ve never been to the Amazon but I would love to go for the change of pace and wildlife.

Wendy
Guest

Visiting the Amazon is high on my bucketlist. I would love to do it on one of those luxury cruises πŸ™‚ I loved your post. #TheWeeklyPostcard

Tomas
Guest

We spent some time in a small lodge in Amazon in Peru, but this one looks much better. Your activities look more interesting too. Thanks for sharing. #TheWeeklyPostcard

Paul and Carole
Guest

Hiking in the rainforest would be amazing, and staying here looks ideal. Loved the monkey in the hammock! #TheWeeklyPostcard

Annabel
Guest

I would love to visit Ecuador! This lodge sounds great. fab photos of the animals!

Sally\'s Tips 4 Trips (aka Toddlers on Tour)
Guest

I think tours are a great option when you are short of time. This place looks relaxing and yet interesting and educational. Quite the destination to visit.

Sharon
Guest

What a fantastic adventure! The photos of the rescued wildlife are especially wonderful. What a beautiful ocelot. Finding you from Weekly Postcard and I must say the design of your blog is so appealing!

California Globetrotter
Guest

This is awesome! Love that jungle lounge and hammock! That GIF made me giggle! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

Cherene Saradar
Guest

Love ecotourism and this looks incredible. My kind of place. I would like to volunteer there sometime. Keeping this place in mind for the future!!

Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats
Guest

Looks like an amazing place to stay and work on your Spanish! Laurence spent several weeks in Ecuador but I have never been and would love to experience the Amazon.

Anda
Guest

So you visited Ecuadorean Amazon, Michelle! Good for you. This trip was on my bucket list for a while, but you beat me to it. I think you did a great thing by volunteering to help there. It’s the best way to get to know a local community. Besides, those animals were so cute! #TheWeeklyPostcard

Hilary
Guest

What an amazing adventure! Your little video clips are so cute! #theweeklypostcard

Victoria @TheBritishBerliner
Guest

I’ve never been to the Amazon.’Looks like an interesting adventure.
Great photos too!

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