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Activities & Wildlife Exploration

every day is an adventure at La Selva!

Our experienced guides will accompany you on the following activities, depending on the time of day, season, weather, physical abilities of the group and where they believe wildlife is more likely to be found. Each activity was designed to showcase the best of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Note: All of these activities are included in the regular program prices (apart from the Pañacocha Lake and Charapa Turtle visit).


1. Canoe rides

Enjoy a canoe ride on our lagoon, Garzacocha, and discover a great diversity of plants and animals in two different landscapes and ecosystems.

2. Trails

Heading out from the lodge, your guides can lead you on half-a-dozen trails that wind their way through the surrounding rainforest and connect with the lake.

You never know what you might find along the way… A giant ceiba tree, strangler figs, walking palms, Azteca ants, heliconias, bromeliads, and maybe even some forest fauna — if you’re lucky.

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3. Kichwa community visit

Several indigenous communities live near La Selva Eco-Lodge & Retreat and guests are able to visit to learn about their way of life. We like this quote that perfectly sums up why our guests enjoy the community visit so much.

“People travel because it teaches them things they could learn no other way.” – Lance Morrow

4. Our amazon observation tower

Our tower offers amazing views from its platform 38 meters (124 ft) up from the forest floor. It’s nestled into the branches of a giant kapok tree, allowing us to observe life in the surrounding forest canopy.

From here, we can spot many different species of birds, insects, and monkeys, as well as different types of flowers. The tower offers great opportunities for photography, filming and bird watching. The tower is located a 15-minute walk from the lodge. Guides will accompany you to the observation tower either in the morning or the afternoon.

5. Parrot clay licks

One of the most amazing sights in the Amazon that is relatively easy to enjoy is observing parrots coming to feed on clay, on the banks of rivers or streams.

There are two places on the south bank of the Napo River (inside Yasuni National Park) where parrots, parakeets and even macaws gather. They come to obtain the minerals in the clay that help them to digest the fruits and seeds better.

For this excursion, we take motorized canoes along the Napo and enjoy a box lunch in the forest.

6. Night-time canoe excursion

You’ll go out with the guides in canoe with a spotlight onto Garzacocha Lagoon to spot caimans, bats, owls and more.


At La Selva Eco-Lodge & Retreat, we are proud to have created unforgettable moments for families to share together for more than a quarter of a century. We regard ourselves as the most child-friendly lodge (ages 5 and up) in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Our youngest guests can participate in our junior naturalist program, while older children will find dozens of activities to keep them busy, from hiking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and exploring the tree tops from our observation tower.

Family Program

8. Kayaking

This is a great way to do some exploring on your own time. The kayaks are kept by the dock. Ask reception for the paddles and life jackets to go out on your own. You’ll have the opportunity to see monkeys, Hoatzins and many other tropical rainforest birds.

You can ask them for a towel instead of using one from your suite. The water is very refreshing after a jungle hike and feels silky smooth due to the blackwater.

9. Star gazing

The night sky at La Selva is perfect for viewing constellations in the Southern Hemisphere. Ask your guide to help point them out! We are currently working on new star gazing kits for the Junior Naturlist Children’s Program.

10. Night excursions

Hikes and canoe rides allow guests to enjoy the nocturnal choruses and sounds of the forest as well as trying to spot bats, nightjars, some insects and possibly to get a glimpse of the caimans that lurk at the lake’s banks.

Walking excursions give us the chance to encounter nocturnal creatures such as tarantulas, whip-scorpions, toads and frogs, and possibly snakes.

11. Charapa Turtle Adoption Program

“The adventure begins with an early morning departure from the lodge, followed by a 15 – 20 minute motor canoe ride on the Napo River. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by the local community.

They will take you to where the small Charapa Turtle pools are located. Here is where the community collects the eggs from the turtles and where they will be protected until they hatch. Once hatched, tourists have the rare opportunity to choose a turtle, give it a name, and then liberate it into the Napo River.

A conservation certificate in the name of the Charapa Program will be given to stating the name of your freed turtle and a small gift from the community. This activity has a cost of only $5 USD per turtle and this input is given directly to the community, it does not pass through any other entity so you can feel good about where you are putting your donations.

The community also offers various products produced and crafted within such as coffee, chocolate, and handicrafts that visitors can purchase. Afterwards, the guide will transport you back to the lodge the same way you came. You will have time to enjoy the many free activities we offer such as kayaking, fishing, and yoga or depending on how much time you spent at the community, you will be back in time for lunch”.

12. Private visit to pañacocha

Established in 1994, Pañacocha is located between the two largest protected areas in the Amazon, Yasuni National Park and Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve and consists of 56,000 hectares of pristine lagoons and rivers.

The protection of Pañacocha offers rare exceptional views of 9 different species of primates, 500 species of birds, and 100 different species of fish in the protected waterways. Highlights include spotting Aracaris, a small specie of toucan, sloths, and possibly pink river dolphins. Pañacocha also boasts tropical butterflies with endless varieties of colors and patterns.

On the excursion to Pañacocha expect to leave La Selva Eco-Lodge & Retreat by 7am to reach the Napo River. There, a motor canoe will be waiting, and together you and your guide will travel 2 hours down river to the mouth of the Pañacocha River. One stop will be made to pay the local community before entering the lagoon.

Afterwards, we will navigate the black river of Pañacocha for approximately one hour until finally arriving to the lagoon. In the lagoon pink river dolphins may sometimes be spotted and depending on a number of factors there may also be a chance to swim.

Food will be supplied in a boxed lunch at the lagoon and afterwards we will return to the lodge somewhere around 4pm in the afternoon.

Since almost the entire trip is done on the Napo River and in the Pañacocha lagoon, it is an extraordinary chance to experience the waterways of the Amazon and see many interesting things deep in the jungle that not many people have the opportunity to encounter.

* For groups, please contact your account agent.



a magical realm to explore together

Looking to add some romance to your jungle discovery? Check out our Romantic Extras or Honeymoon Package!

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