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Boat Ride Along The Rio Napo







Luis is a highly knowledgeable ambassador for Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest.

Intro: With the overnight rains swelling the lake and river, we embarked on a canoe and motorized boat journey to visit a local indigenous village, which was to immerse us in our Amazonian jungle surrounds.

On the third day of our adventure holiday into the Amazon Rainforest, Charlene and I visited a local indigenous village and, as some of you may know, meeting and interacting with locals is one of my favorite aspects of traveling.

A mysterious morning haze blankets the forest canopy along the edge of Lake Heron.

It was another beautiful morning in the heart of the rainforest at La Selva Amazon Eco Lodge, and after a delicious breakfast, we prepared o Napo where we transferred into a motorized boat that took us to the entrance of the indigenous village.

Looking out across Lake Heron from La Selva Amazon Eco Lodge after the overnight rains raised the level by around two feet.

The craziest part about the day was arriving at the boat dock to find the water level had risen at least two feet overnight. Even though we knew we were in the rainforest and it had rained most of the night, it was just incredible to see the change in the lake after one night of rain! Charlene and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to have our romantic honeymoon dinner on the dock the night before if the water levels were that high.

Despite the high water levels, we jumped into the canoe and slowly made our way to the main entrance of the Rio Napo. Along the journey we passed through some beautiful morning scenery, with lush green trees and shrubbery everywhere, the birds chirping and monkeys swinging from the trees. The Amazon surely engaged all of our senses during that canoe ride!

Bruce taking a moment to contemplate the change in water level, and no doubt thankful for his waterproof boots.

Due to the swelling of the lake and river, the water was almost up to our knees as we waded through the water after disembarking from the canoe. Fortunately, we had all brought waterproof rubber boots in preparation. Even at some points along the elevated walking trail we couldn’t quite see where to walk because of the water covering the ground. It kind of felt as though we were walking on water, but was also a little scary since we could have fallen into one of the side ditches with just one misplaced step.

A traditional hut on the edge of the Rio Napo, elevated from the changing water levels and providing refuge for a very cute dog!

Eventually we reached the main entrance to the Rio Napo, the same one we had arrived at a fews days ago after flying into the small town of Coca. There we saw a small hut where a few local people who worked for La Selva Amazon Ecolodge lived. Their duties included bringing any boats coming from the Rio Napo to shore, taking and dispensing life vests, and assisting travelers as they adjusted to their new Amazonian environment.

On the day we first arrived here there was a dock, now completely submerged by the rising water levels.

Many of the buildings we saw in the area were elevated two to three feet above ground level to prevent water from seeping in from the rains, and underneath one such hut we saw the cutest dog just hanging out in this dry enclave.

One of the workers provided us with life vests for the motorized boat ride to the indigenous village, and with our two tour guides Andres and Luis at the helm, our tour group “set sail” along the Rio Napo. It was a gorgeous morning, with light, white clouds emphasizing the sheer blue color of the sky.

A group of birds high up in the tree canopy along the banks of the Rio Napo.

We passed by even more luscious greenery along the river, watched birds flying and perching in tree branches, and saw other travelers gliding by in their own boats. The river was not too busy during these early morning hours, and we were able to peacefully enjoy the wind blowing in our faces and take in the incredible Amazonian environment around us. After 20 minutes traveling east, we arrived at the indigenous village where a whole new adventure awaited.

The view from our boat as we cruise along the Rio Napo on our morning indigenous Amazonian village excursion.


  • 1: Be aware that rain will definitely be a part of your forecast.
  • 2: Bring a light waterproof jacket or light poncho with you just in case it rains.
  • 3: Have a small backpack readily available to carry your personal belongings freeing your hands just in case you need to balance yourself or take photos.
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