- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Sustainable Tourism
- Off the beaten track
When you arrive in Misahualli you'll be surrounded by thieving monkeys playing around you on the village square. Don't get distracted and go find a hotel quickly - the night falls fast and there aren't many hotels!
The next day you can find out about spending a day in the Misahualli jungle. We went to a reptile protection society in the heart of the village where the guides regularly meet up. We were recommended to cross the bridge and go into the forest using the trail made by the indigenous population. The path was easy to find (no need for a guide).
We had been walking for 30 minutes when we were welcomed by the Indians (speaking good Spanish!) who had been living in the jungle for years. They still had their traditional clothes and houses and still hunted and fished. We even found some artisanal jewellery, some basic tools that they were still using and in the middle of the night took part in a friendly shamanic ceremony.
If you have the time, then the next day you can visit the butterfly farm, where there are numerous species (like the Morpho) flying around you! It will help you to recognise them in the jungle as there are a lot. You can cross over the banks of the Napo and around the heliconias.
Misahualli, a small port where the Rio Misahualli joins the Rio Napo, is the perfect departure point for your Amazonian adventure. I recommend you go for at least 3 days.
If you don't have the time to go on an expedition, at least go to the Forest Wildlife Biological Reserve where you will be able to see birds as diverse as they are colourful, monkeys, turtles and other extraordinary animals, such as the famous puma, the king of the "jungle". I also advise you to walk around the village, there are several different walks of only a few hours which will give you a glimpse of the Ecuadorian jungle!
Finally, I really enjoyed meeting the Shiripuno community, which meant I could learn about the Quechua culture, handicrafts, and customs: traditional dance, workshops and the sale of jewellery and musical instructions, visits to the botanical garden, traditional food and drink, shamanic rituals, etc.
After a short bus trip from Tena, I arrived to spend a few hours in Puerto Misahualli . I had read that here you could find excursions into Amazonia that were cheaper than Tena but, having finally found what I wanted in Tena, I decided to come here anyway to see what the town was like.
Even while you are on the road you see that you are going a bit deeper into the forest and it is quite wild. The village is arranged around a quiet central square, with lots of monkeys that tease the stray dogs. I went as far as where the two rivers meet in order to walk a little, cross the long wooden bridges and look at the boats. The rivers are a sort of browny grey green, just what I expect of Amazonian rivers.
Before getting back on the bus I sat on a terrace to drink a fruit juice and pass some time. Puerto Misahualli is a nice place to stop if you are travelling in Ecuador!