Sani Lodge, Amazon
Jungle adventure at a 100% locally owned lodge in the Ecuadorian rainforest
Deep along the Napo River lies a hidden gem of a jungle lodge. Owned and operated by the indigenous people of the Kichwa community, this lodge offers breathtaking views of the lake and the lush green jungle. Fall asleep to the enchanting chorus of cicadas and awaken to the symphony of the jungle.
Sani is our favorite lodge along the Napo River, primarily because it exudes authenticity and a quirky charm. The service here comes from the heart, not from a manual, as the staff and owners hail from the local community rather than the bustling city.
Why we love Sabi Lodge:
- 100% locally owned by the community
- Experience the Amazon with guides who were born and raised in the jungle
- The breathtaking view of the Amazon from a 36-meter-high treetop platform
- The welcoming Kichwa community
- The phenomenal location by a lake, away from the main river
An actual jungle experience owned and operated by the indigenous people of the Kichwa community, who possess unparalleled knowledge of the area and its wildlife. In our opinion, this gives Sani Lodge an edge and a level of personality that surpasses even the most expensive lodges in the region.
Deep within the rainforest
Sani Lodge is uniquely located between the Yasuni National Park and the Cuyabeno Reserve, two of the most biodiverse areas in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
The journey to reach the lodge is an adventure in itself. First, a 2.5-hour boat rides down the wide Napo River, the main transportation route to and from Coca. Then, a 15-minute walk followed by a final stretch in a small canoe, paddled by a local guide.
This vast area is home to jaguars, pumas, caimans, toucans, howler monkeys, and the rare giant otters, among many other species. The diversity is immense, with no less than 550 different bird species. From the observation tower nestled among the treetops, visitors can observe various monkeys and colorful birds up close.
Experience it all through guided hikes in the rainforest, kayaking, night walks, visits to the 36-meter-high observation tower, or simply enjoying the lodge's bar or a hammock.
No one knows this area better than Sani's guides. They were born and raised here, possessing extensive knowledge of the forest and its wildlife. The Kichwa community is open and welcoming to visitors.
They eagerly share local meals and fascinating stories about the jungle with guests. The women of the community are also happy to invite visitors into their homes, showcasing how they live in harmony with nature.
In their company, one feels safe and comfortable amidst the wild jungle. Their pride in their culture and ability to maintain their mini-community despite pressures from oil companies is evident.
Children will love Sani
Just being in the heart of the rainforest, paddling in a canoe, and perhaps spotting a giant crocodile brings excitement and joy to both children and parents. This is real nature.
But when there are storytelling sessions about life in the rainforest in the evenings or when the guides take children to the lake to catch piranhas, even the toughest parental hearts melt. The staff and guides are excellent at engaging activities for children and adults alike. Moreover, the lodge offers spacious cabins for a larger family of five-six people.
Sani Lodge is 100% owned by the Kichwa community, meaning that all the revenue generated stays within the local community, contributing to the preservation of their unique culture and the conservation of a significant portion of the rainforest.
The Kichwa community has been at the forefront of advocating to keep oil companies out of their coveted area. Sani Lodge plays a vital role in their source of income and is essential for them to continue their efforts. By staying here, you are helping to preserve one of the world's most biodiverse areas and a truly unique culture.
The lodge's revenue is used, among other things, to support the local school, healthcare, and efforts to challenge traditional gender roles. Local women are empowered through their work at the lodge and become motivated to start their own businesses, selling jewelry, bags, and handicrafts.
The lodge is built in harmony with the rainforest, using locally sourced wood and toquilla straw for the cabins. The hot water and electricity in the cabins are predominantly generated from solar energy. Additionally, they cultivate much of what they need, practicing sustainable agriculture.
By staying at Sani Lodge, you are immersing yourself in the natural wonders of the Amazon and actively contributing to the preservation of the environment, supporting the local community, and promoting sustainable practices.