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Cuyabeno Reserve vs. Yasuni National Park: Which One to Choose?

Cuyabeno Wildlife Center Lodge

Are you planning an Amazon adventure and can’t decide between Cuyabeno Reserve and Yasuni National Park? Well, fret not! As someone who has had the pleasure of exploring both reserves, we are here to share our personal experiences and help you make a fun and exciting decision.

Sustainable Tourism

you can support wildlife conservation efforts through responsible tourism practices and educational activities.

Adventure and Relaxation

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an action-packed adventure, our ecolodge in the Cuyabeno has something for everyone.

Customized Itineraries

Cuyabeno Wildlife Center offers customized itineraries that cater to your interests and preferences.

First up: the Cuyabeno Reserve


First up, let’s talk about Cuyabeno Reserve. This beautiful reserve is located in the northeast corner of Ecuador and is home to over 6,000 square kilometers of lush rainforest, wetlands, and rivers. As soon as we stepped foot into Cuyabeno, we felt like we had been transported to a completely different world. The sounds of the jungle, the lush greenery, and the breathtaking sunsets were just a few of the things that made our Cuyabeno experience unforgettable.


The Highlights of the Cuyabeno

One of the highlights of our Cuyabeno adventure was the wildlife. Cuyabeno is home to an incredible array of animals, including monkeys, pink river dolphins, caimans, and even anacondas! But our favorite animal encounter was with the elusive jaguar. These mysterious creatures can be seen walking around the reserve, stalking through the grass, and taking a dip in the river to cool off.

Another unforgettable experience in Cuyabeno was kayaking through the flooded forest. The water was crystal clear, and as we paddled along, we could see schools of fish swimming beneath us. The peacefulness of the kayaking experience was a nice break from the adrenaline-filled jungle hikes.


The wonderful Yasuni National Park

Now let’s move on to Yasuni National Park, located in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon. This park is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, with over 150 species of amphibians, 121 species of reptiles, and 598 species of birds. As soon as we stepped into Yasuni, we felt like we were in a scene from Jurassic Park.


The Highlights of Yasuni National Park

One of the most unique experiences in Yasuni was visiting the Kichwa community. The Kichwa people have lived in the Amazon for centuries and have a deep connection with the land and its wildlife. They taught us how to make traditional crafts, cook traditional dishes, and even took us on a night hike where we saw tarantulas, scorpions, and other nocturnal creatures.

Another highlight of Yasuni was the canopy tower. This tower takes you high up into the trees, where you can observe the jungle from a bird’s eye view. From up there, we could see toucans, macaws, and even a sloth!


Cuyabeno vs Yasuni: both amazing, but different

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and compare the two reserves. One major difference between Cuyabeno and Yasuni is the accessibility. Cuyabeno is much easier to access and is a great option for those who have limited time or budget. Yasuni, on the other hand, requires a bit more planning and a higher budget, but the experience is worth it.

Another difference is the accommodation options. Cuyabeno has more budget-friendly accommodations, including eco-lodges and camping options. Yasuni, on the other hand, has more luxury accommodations, including high-end eco-lodges and treehouses.

When it comes to wildlife, both reserves offer incredible experiences. However, if you’re specifically interested in birdwatching, Yasuni is the place to go. With over 598 species of birds, it’s a birdwatcher’s paradise. Cuyabeno also has a diverse range of bird species, but not as many as Yasuni.

Both reserves also offer a variety of activities, including hiking, canoeing, and wildlife spotting. However, Yasuni has more cultural experiences, including visits to indigenous communities and traditional crafts workshops.

In terms of climate, both reserves have a tropical climate with high humidity and rainfall throughout the year. However, it’s worth noting that Yasuni is located in the lowlands of the Amazon and can be hotter and more humid than Cuyabeno, which is located in the foothills.


Cuyabeno vs Yasuni: Which One to Choose?

So, which one should you choose? It ultimately depends on your personal preferences and what you’re looking for in an Amazon adventure. If you’re on a budget and short on time, Cuyabeno is a great option with easy access and budget-friendly accommodations. If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience and are interested in cultural experiences, Yasuni is the way to go. Both reserves offer incredible wildlife encounters, so you can’t go wrong with either choice.

Overall, our advice would be to try to visit both reserves if possible. Each offers a unique experience and is worth exploring. The Amazon Rainforest is a truly magical place, and we feel lucky to experience its beauty and wonder through both Cuyabeno Reserve and Yasuni National Park. So, pack your bags, put on your mosquito repellent, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime in the Amazon!

Useful Information

Below you will find some useful information for your wildlife spotting trip to the Cuyabeno Reserve. We are also happy to be of any assistance with additional questions!

Packing Tips and Essentials

When packing for a trip to the Cuyabeno jungle, it’s important to keep in mind the hot and humid climate, as well as the rugged terrain. Some essential items to pack include lightweight, breathable clothing, sturdy hiking shoes, a hat and sunglasses, insect repellent, sunscreen, flashlight and a waterproof jacket. It’s also a good idea to bring a reusable water bottle, binoculars, and a camera to capture the incredible wildlife and scenery. The lodge will take care of your luggage for you.


Transportation to our Cuyabeno Lodge

Lago Agrio, the gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazon, is accessible by both air and land transport. The easiest way to get there is by flying from Quito to Lago Agrio, which takes approximately 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Quito to Lago Agrio, which takes approximately 8 hours. Once you arrive at Lago Agrio, you will be picked up by the Cuyabeno Wildlife Center staff. From there we start a journey to the lodge which is approximately a 2-3 hour journey by car followed by 3 hours in canoe.