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A visit to the Shaman in Cuyabeno Reserve

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Cuyabeno Reserve

In 2016, we enjoyed a few days of wildlife and nature in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Production Reserve. This nature reserve with a beautiful jungle where a great diversity of flora and fauna can be seen, is located in the northeast of Ecuador. We flew from Quito to Lago Agrio. Here, we were welcomed by the guides from our lodge. After a ride of about an hour in a minivan, we arrived at the entrance of Cuyabeno Reserve. Here we switched to smaller motorised canoes. In the two hours we were on our way to the lodge, we saw many beautiful birds, sloths and monkeys.

We stayed in the Jamu Lodge, far away from the inhabited world. Scattered over the terrain are 9 traditionally built cabanas. Some of them are “two under a thatched roof” cabanas, each with its own bedroom and a good bathroom. The main building consists of two floors, with a lounge with hammocks and a dining area.

During the days we stayed there, we went on many canoe trips across the river to beautiful lakes. Of course, we experienced a beautiful sunset and could spot the pink dolphins. In addition, you go on many nature walks. You see and hear a lot of wildlife and huge trees. You obviously also go on a trip in the dark through the jungle and see many insects. The guides are very good at spotting all the animals and can enthusiastically tell you a great deal about nature. They also help you to take beautiful pictures, for example by holding the camera in front of a pair of binoculars.

Siona community

To end our jungle trip, we visited the Siona community, the largest ethnic group in the jungle. We saw a lot of their way of life, their hunt for food and customs. The highlight was a visit to the “shaman”. This is a medicine man who is highly respected in the tribes because of his knowledge of the medicinal power of all plants. He heals the population in a natural way, using all kinds of plants and herbs. For almost all diseases, the tribe has a natural medicine. The shaman often ceremoniously administers it to the patient. According to the stories, everyone benefits greatly.

Practical matters

  • It is important to bring cool, well-ventilated clothing to the lodge. Preferably no cotton.
  • Wear body-covering clothing that is thick enough to prevent insect bites. Be economical with insect repellents, because they are also harmful for the environment.
  • Take a plastic bag with you, in which you can store your dirty stuff.
  • A good tropical hat is very handy to take.
  • On the jungle trips, you always wear rubber boots. These are available in the lodge. This also applies to a rain poncho. It can sometimes rain very heavily and then a poncho is pretty important.
  • Do bring sandals or slippers to wear in the lodge.
  • Bring small binoculars to see the game.
  • For the nightly excursions, a flashlight, or even better, a headlamp is necessary.
  • Take as little luggage as possible to the lodge. There is not much space on the boat.
  • A waterproof bag to store your camera or phone is handy.
  • There is no coverage in the lodge. However, you can charge your phone when the generators go on in the evening.