Ecuadorian Amazon, Ecuador
16 rooms / $699
La Selva Lodge is one of the best lodges in the Ecuadorian Amazon. With 16 double cabins built in a delightful rustic style entirely from local materials, you feel at the heart of the Amazon whilst remaining in comfort.
The owner of the lodge is an American writer who fell in love with the jungle and searched at length for a suitable setting. From the town of Coca you take a 3-4 hour motorised canoe downstream along the River Napo to a kilometer-long walkway leading off the north bank. You then cross Lake Garzacocha by canoe to reach the lodge, perched high on the bank and with a stunning view of the lake. Here you are in the heart of the jungle (which is what "la selva" means).
La Selva''s guides will take you on a number of trails and excursions which will give you a genuine feeling for this important, beautiful and richly biodiverse region of the world. The cabanas come of native design; rustic, authentic, and comfortable with hot water, showers and a hammock on the balcony to relax or read a book between trips. Unlike many rustic-style cabins in humid jungle settings, thanks to careful attention to ventilation and regular maintenance, those at La Selva are surprisingly free of damp or the associated musty smell.
The area around La Selva is excellent for birding. With perhaps the highest species list (around 600) in the neotropics, the lodge uses native birding experts for those guests with this singular passion. The natives speak minimal English, but know the names of all the birds, and, more importantly, how to find them. Of particular interest are a couple of parakeet clay licks, and the 40m high observation tower.
La Selva is justifiably proud of their food, well above the normal standard to be expected of lodges out in the jungle. The food blends the finest ingredients Ecuador has to offer with French, North American and Ecuadorian culinary skills. Expect to try some of these fruits: uvillas, guayabas, guanabanas, naranjillas, morete, obos, taxo, granadilla and tomate de arbol. La Selva makes Amazonian pizza that will rival any; veal milanesa a l''Amazon; and local fish, when available, prepared with one of numerous original recipes. Vegetarian and special diets are available request.