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Napo Wildlife Lodge Day By Day Itinerary

Napo Widlife Day By Day Itinerary

Parrot Blinds at the Napo Wildlife Center
We have constructed blinds at two of the clay licks of the Napo Wildlife Center Reserve Area – the most accessible parrot and macaw clay licks in Ecuador (map). Visiting these clay licks helps to support an 82-square-mile private reserve and also supports Yasuní National Park, which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Clay licks like these are scattered throughout western Amazonia. Although locals have always known about the clay licks and the ability to see parrots well at these sites, clay licks did not gain the attention of scientists until 1984. 

Napo Wildlife Center Bird List
The list below contains 568 species actually seen in the Napo Wildlife Center Reserve area (map), or in the immediate vicinity along the Napo River or on the river islands immediately adjacent to the Reserve. Pearl Kite (which would be #569) has been included because it is often seen by our guests in the open areas around the Coca Airport, but is not found further down the Napo River.
Some obvious highlights include the world's largest and most reliable population of Zigzag Herons (0.6Mb Quicktime video), frequent sightings of Agami Herons (six were seen in one day by well known recordist John Moore), virtually guaranteed sightings of all five kingfishers found in the Amazon, and a better population of mixed-species understory flocks and ant-swarm specialists than you will find at any other lodge in the Napo region. And, of course, 51 species of antbirds.
The Canopy Tower was installed in November 2004, and since then has produced some amazing sightings including Black-faced Hawk, Crested Eagle, and Harpy Eagle in addition to the cotingas and canopy tanager flocks that pass right through the tree. The Parrot Clay Licks are an experience that one would not want to miss, and the clay licks at the Napo Wildlife Center are most accessible in Ecuador (they are incorrectly identified in Birds of Ecuador as belonging to La Selva Lodge). Simply put, there is no better birding destination in Eastern Ecuador. Be sure to take a look at the mammal list as well. The bird list was prepared by Jiovanny Rivadeneira and Peter English.

Napo Wildlife Center Mammal List
The list below contains a list of mammals both found at the Napo Wildlife Center and species that we expect to be found there based on literature searches. All of the monkeys have been found at the lodge, including the Golden-mantled Tamarin which is the featured on the logo of the Napo Wildlife Center. This stunning little monkey is only found South of the Napo River, and so the Napo Wildlife Center is the only lodge on the Upper Napo River to have this species. Upwards of six species of monkeys have been seen in a single afternoon from the Dining Hall tower, so you have a very good chance of seeing lots of monkeys. Take a look at the Howler Monkey video (1.5Mb Quicktime video)
Giant Otters are also seen at the Napo Wildlife Center. There are two family groups that move among their dens, and they are found in all of the streams and in the lake in front of the lodge. These Giant Otters are one of the reasons that no motorized boats are allowed on the streams or lake, and appear to be curious (rather than scared) when visitors happen upon them. Again, Giant Otters are not found on the north bank of the Napo, so Napo Wildlife Center is the only lodge on the Upper Napo River to have this species. Take a look at the Giant Otter video (1.5Mb Quicktime video).
Capybara come into the lodge compound almost every night. You will have to stay up relatively late to see them, but they are almost always there. Peccaries, Tapir, Brocket Deer, and all of the Cats are difficult to find, but when found are generally seen quite well. There has been no hunting in the Napo Wildlife Center Reserve for well over a decade, so these animals are not abnormally scarce or frightened by humans.
Manatees are present in the lake at Napo Wildlife Center, but are extremely difficult to see. Many other mammals are nocturnal and require special effort (or luck!) to find. The one thing that you can be certain of is that there is no better lodge in Eastern Ecuador to find wildlife. With its prime location on the South Bank of the Napo River and its placement within the 82 square mile reserve, the Napo Wildlife Center is among the wildest places in the world. Be sure to take a look at the bird list as well. The mammal list was prepared by Norby Lopez and Peter English


The Canopy Tower at the Napo Wildlife Center
The 120-ft. (36m) high canopy tower opened to guests in November 2004 and is a great way to experience the life above the forest floor. This is the second tower at the Napo Wildlife Center (the first is attached to the dining hall and allows great views of the lake). The canopy tower is located about 20 minutes from the lodge deep within the terra firme forest.
As you ascend the 12-story tower, you pass through different levels of the forest and emerge on top of a huge Ceiba tree. Here you cross onto a wooden platform that is actually built into the crown of the tree and experience the view formerly reserved only for the birds and monkeys.
The metal tower itself was constructed to the highest standards, galvanized, and carefully inspected by engineers. Safety is the priority, but so is ecological sensitivity. Most of the canopy towers in Ecuador encircle the tree with a scaffolding of wood. In addition to the obvious issues with using wood in the tropics, the weight of the scaffolding also compresses the roots of the tree that is encircled. We chose to do things differently, dug down below the roots of this Ceiba tree and put the cement base of the tower below the level of the tree roots – the result is that the tree is sustaining no damage from this tower. The platform in the top of the tree was constructed by tree platform specialists brought from Peru and incorporates bumpers to make sure that the platform does not scar the tree. From top to bottom, there is no finer canopy experience in Eastern Ecuador.
Flocks of colorful tanagers pass right through the canopy of the tree, Blue-and-yellow Macaws fly past, in nearby trees Spider and Howler monkeys search for fruit, two species of large toucans call in the early mornings and afternoons, and the life of the forest canopy opens before you (lucky guests have even seen both Harpy Eagles and Crested Eagles in a single morning!). Animals that are virtually impossible to see from the forest floor far below are suddenly right beside you, oblivious to your presence. The canopy tower opens a whole new world to guests of the Napo Wildlife Center. Many of the photos in the Wildlife Photo Slideshow were taken from this tower.