Adventure in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador
Ecuador is a birdwatcher’s paradise, and 562 species have been recorded in and around Napo Wildlife Centre alone. Many of the winged wonders are big and colourful.
From our cabanas (there are 12 plus a large dining area with a library and well-stocked bar), we were treated to an almost constant avian air display, complete with low flypasts. Among the participants were greater ani, white-throated toucan, yellow-rumped cacique, russet-backed oropendola and primitive-looking hoatzin. As well as forest walks, there are also canoe rides for visitors in the local lake and creeks. The lake is full of fish, including the huge arapaima and red-bellied and white-bellied piranha. Much more likely to be seen, especially at sunset, are black caiman – alligator-related reptiles whose eyes ‘glow’ when caught in the beam of a flashlight.
Napo Wildlife Centre is unusual in that 49 per cent of its net profits go directly to the local Anangua community and the remaining 51 per cent to the Quito-based EcoEcuador Foundation, a conservation body.