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yasuni national park

This huge park south of the Rio Napo covers almost 10,000 km² . The Tiputini, Yasuni, Nashiño and Curucay rivers run through it. It is one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet with many endemic species of flora and fauna. There are jaguars, pumas, harpy eagles, ocelots, tapirs, various primates, dolphins, manatee, giant otters and many birds. The forest is mainly dry tropical but some areas (the Igapó) flood every year and there is also swamp.

It was created in 1979, shortly after UNESCO declared it an International Biosphere Reserve. Nevertheless oil companies are operating in the park and the Via Maxus leads in from the north to facilitate this. This has affected the environment and the Huaroani who live in the area (several communities live in the park and more in the Huaroani Reserve to the west). However in other instances it is the Huaroani themselves who sell timber to logging companies.

The Ecuadorian government is currently promoting its plan to ask the global community to establish a fund to effectively pay them not to exploit the ITT oil field inside the park.

Despite these threats, much of the park has barely been explored. The Tagaeri and Taromenani groups, part of the Huaorani, have rejected all contact with the outside world. Guides can take you into the park on day trips from the Lower Napo jungle lodges, two of which are located just inside the border, but generally jungle tours go to Cuyabeno rather than here.


It costs $2 for Ecuadorian and foreign visitors to enter the park. Under 16’s and over 65’s pay 50 cents. Children under 2 years old don’t have to pay.


Coca is another oil town. You could pass a couple of days here but it is fairly unattractive and there is nothing to do.

It is possible to travel downstream from Coca along the Rio Napo to the Peruvian border and onto Iquitos.


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