Sacha Jungle Lodge
The Sacha Jungle Lodge comfortably leaves civilization behind, offering guests incredible wildlife viewing in the Ecuadorian Amazon along with 26 private thatched-roof cabins. See diverse birds among the trees on canopy walks, canoe alongside otters and hear the song of the nocturnal animals while safely in your bed. Set on the shore of Pilchicocha Lake, this wilderness lodge is an excellent basecamp for relaxing and exploring. To get to the lodge, take a 30-minute flight from Quito to the small Amazonian town of Coca then venture two hours into the rainforest on a motorized canoe, occasionally passing Amazonian villages. A 30-minute naturalist-led jungle walk leads to a short dugout-canoe ride onto the Pilchicocha Lake where the lodge is set.
Sacha Jungle Lodge Review
AdventureSmith Explorations’ Sacha Jungle Lodge review includes a detailed description and photo gallery. Our adventure travel experts can help compare the Sacha Jungle Lodge with other adventure lodging, Amazon rainforest tours and Ecuador land tours.
Choose this lodge if you are looking for a comfortable immersion into the jungle; the lodge was carefully designed to preserve the rainforest ambiance while offering relaxing cabin accommodations.
Sacha Jungle Lodge History
Sacha Lodge’s story begins in the 1970s when Swiss founder Benny came to Ecuador and was captivated by the Napo River. In 1985 he opened his first tourist lodge, La Casa del Suizo, on the Upper Napo, but as civilization approached he went in search of a place to build a lodge deeper in the forest. When he was taken to the mysterious black water of Pilchicocha Lake, he fell in love with the place and purchased 1200 acres of land surrounding it. With the help of 170 local employees, Sacha Lodge was officially opened in 1992 with six guest rooms. As time went on Benny continued to expand the facilities while purchasing more land, and to date he has acquired 5,000 acres.
Common Areas at Sacha Jungle Lodge
Sacha Jungle Lodge blends so seamlessly into its surroundings that to the resident wildlife it’s just another part of the forest. At the heart of the Sacha Lodge experience is the Balsa covered al fresco lounge and restaurant. Named after the Spanish word for a “raft,” this building offers a breathtaking view over the shimmering Pilchicocha Lake. It is the perfect place to read a book with a glass of wine, spot birds, caiman and giant otters, or to watch the crimson sunsets and tremendous thunderstorms.
A small onsite boutique sells essentials like sunblock, mosquito repellent, toiletries and Sacha Lodge souvenirs including logo t-shirts and baseball caps. Internet connections are available in the common areas of the lodge, at an additional daily rate. In case of emergency, both cellular telephone and radio communications are available. In addition, each guide maintains permanent radio contact with the lodge during all excursions and activities. Throughout the property, 24-hour electricity is provided by a distant, nearly inaudible generator.
Dining at Sacha Jungle Lodge
Breakfast and lunch buffets mixing international cuisine with traditional Ecuadorian dishes are served in the Balsa. There are light, healthy options as well as more substantial pasta and meat dishes. The chefs will be happy to cater to any special needs or vegetarian diets with pre-arrival request. An a la carte dinner is served in the restaurant, bringing fine dining to the jungle. Weather allowing, an outdoor barbecue is also a culinary highlight. Menus change daily and will often include the popular paiche, a meaty white fish found in the Amazon region, with the all-important Green Seal of responsible fishing.
A safari-lodge style bar is found above the restaurant and fitted with sofas and stools at the bamboo bar. The bar offers a wide variety of cocktails, liquors, wine and beer to enjoy after an active day. Purified, safe drinking water is available at multiple points around the Lodge. All the drinking water (including ice) comes from a local well and is purified with both porcelain filters and ozone treatment, the most thorough purifying systems available.
Activities at Sacha Jungle Lodge
A typical day at Sacha Jungle Lodge begins at sunrise to take advantage of the cool morning hours when the rainforest’s animals are most active. Rubber boots and rain ponchos are available for all guests to use while at the lodge, free of charge.
Activities are spread out over a wide area by land and water to explore several distinct but equally fascinating habitats. Several trails lead through pristine terra firma forest, where kapok trees tower above. Other paths follow strategically raised boardwalks in seasonally flooded forests. The Butterfly House showcases hundreds of local butterflies. Guided canoe rides are offered by day and night to explore the multiple waterways surrounding Pilchicocha Lake.
Sacha Jungle Lodge also offers day trips into the Yasuni community. Guests learn about traditional ways of living, weaving and pottery from the native Kichwa women while tasting their local cuisine.
There are also multiple ways to view life above the ground. The 940-foot raised treetop walk enables guests to meander through the under-story and view the diverse wildlife from five observational platforms. Playful monkeys and at least 500 species of striking birds can be observed from 135 feet up in the air on Sacha Lodge’s observation tower. The canopy bird walk is a rigid, self-standing suspension walkway, excellent for birding. And the canopy exploration crane enables guests to float up to 140 feet off the ground and explore two acres of rainforest in a secure basket with 360-degree rotation.
Staff & Guides at Sacha Jungle Lodge
On average, there are three staff members on duty for every two guests at the lodge. Sacha Lodge’s guests are divided into small groups of six for activities, each of which are led by two guides. One is a native guide, raised in the area and with expert knowledge of the rainforest’s medicinal and other useful plants. This guide will often share stories from local culture and lead the way with accustomed eyes that are incredible for spotting the jungle’s hidden creatures. The second guide is a bilingual naturalist, who has been educated in the biology and ecology of the rainforest, and likely comes from a different country and background. They may translate for the native guides as well as share their own scientific knowledge about any plants and animals.
For birdwatchers, Sacha Jungle Lodge also provides bird specialist guides upon request. These guides know the best spots for hard-to-find species and can easily identify species by both sight and sound. They regularly see up to 60 species a day. If ornithology is an important focus, then a bird specialist guide request should be made in advance.
Accommodations at Sacha Jungle Lodge
Each of the 26 cabins (including three family cabins and suite upgrades) offer air-conditioned accommodations for 1-5 guests. The 3 suites each offer a king bed plus an interconnecting double room with two full-size beds. The 23 standard cabins each offer two full-size beds plus a roll-away bed to accommodate a 5th guest by request. Every cabin or suite features a a spacious private bathroom with flushing toilet, hot shower and biodegradable soaps and shampoos. Also offered with either accommodation is a private shaded terrace with hammocks, safe deposit box and electrical outlets. Laundry service is available at an added cost.