The heart of Ecuador's remaining primary rainforest lies in the east of Oriente, in the provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana (capitals Lago Agrio and Coca, respectively) as well as eastern Pastaza. Here are two vast national parks, Cuyabeno and Yasuní, as well as the Huaorani Reserve, with many excellent lodges for an unforgettable immersion into life in the rivers, canopy and understorey. Although not cheap, this is Ecuadorean jungle tourism at its best.

Despite all the lip-service paid to conservation and ecotourism here, the eastern jungle is also under severe threat from petroleum development and colonization. Even more insidious than the oilwells and toxic waste pits is a recent change in attitude, wherby we no longer think in terms of islands of outside presence in the boundless Oriente rainforest, but instead of islands of surviving rainforest in El Oriente. It is nonetheless hoped that sustainable tourism may yet tip the economic balance in favour of conserving what remains of the jungle and its people. Those who wish to contribute to the effort, as well as those who are unconvinced it can succeed, had better come and visit soon.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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