Where is Sacha Lodge?
The location of Sacha Lodge deep in Ecuador’s Amazon Basin is second-to-none, perched on the edge of Pilchicocha, a black water lake deep in the lush rainforest, in the eastern part of Ecuador. The lodge owns the 5,000 acres of land that surrounds it, and their commitments to looking after the environment are outstanding. Getting to Sacha Lodge is a memorable journey in itself, as you take a flight from Quito to Coca, one of the Ecuadorian Amazon’s main gateways, then transfer to the river for a two-hour motorised canoe ride to reach Lake Pilchicocha. From here, you take a short forest walk then locals paddle you across the lake in a dugout canoe to Sacha Lodge. The jungle adventure starts as soon as you touch down in Coca, as your guide points out monkeys and sloths in the treetops, river turtles perching on rocks and colourful birdlife around the riverbanks.
What can you expect from a Sacha Lodge trip?
The beauty of Sacha Lodge is that everything blends seamlessly into the authentic surroundings, so you can delve into the thick of the Amazon Jungle whilst enjoying excellent-quality facilities and modern comforts. Eat your breakfast as giant otters duck and dive just outside, look for caimans gliding under the walkways as you head back to your room each afternoon, listen to monkeys calling each other on your balcony and spot sloths hanging out by the cabins.
“Life here moves at a different pace, and you’ll find it easy to slip into the jungle way of life – early starts to watch the sunrise, daily excursions to visit remote tribes and learn about their culture, boat trips to see endless wildlife and night-time adventures to discover the magic that goes on when the sun sets and the jungle comes alive with nocturnal creatures.”
- Hannah, Llama Travel
Read Hannah’s blog to find out what to expect from an Amazon adventure in Ecuador.
Sacha Lodge also boasts some amazing accolades including the only canopy walk and exploration crane in Ecuador. There is also a 43-metre-high observation tower, a fine dining restaurant overlooking the lake which you can swim in. The lodge is close to Ecuador’s most accessible parrot lick, attracting hundreds of different species each morning, and one of the country’s largest butterfly farms which breeds nearly 40 local species. Other reasons to stay at Sacha include birdwatching, Amazon community visits and jungle walks.
Sacha Lodge Wildlife
The variety of fauna around Sacha Lodge is astounding, with up to 60 species of mammals including monkeys, marmosets, anteaters and sloths. A variety of lizards and snakes can also be found along the trails, including boas, vine snakes and even the giant anaconda. Frogs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the tiny colourful poison-dart frogs to tree frogs and leaf frogs. Birding at Sacha Lodge is something to behold too, with almost 600 species (that’s a staggering 7% of the species found in the entire world). On a normal day, it is common to see parrots, toucans, hummingbirds, tanagers, hawks and oropendolas.
Sacha Lodge Rooms
Staying at Sacha Lodge is an amazing experience, as you get to be right in the heart of the rainforest with monkeys chattering outside your balcony and parrots squawking close by, yet the high thatched roofs, private shaded terraces, air conditioning, hammocks and comfy beds of your room leave you feeling utterly relaxed and looked after. Each cabin is constructed with traditional materials to blend into the lush surroundings, with air conditioning, ceiling fans, insect screens and en-suite bathrooms with hot showers. Electricity is available throughout Sacha Lodge including the rooms, provided by a generator. There is internet connection in the open areas of Sacha Lodge, available for an additional charge.
Sacha Lodge Facilities
One of Sacha Lodge’s most renowned features is the three canopy walkways which allow you to become immersed in the canopy and experience the jungle from three different heights, getting an insight into life in the Amazon at each level. The walkway is 36 metres high and a staggering 275 metres long, fixed to the ground by three metal towers ad with netted walls to keep you safe. Watch this short Youtube video to help you visualise it.
The 43-metre-high observation tower is cleverly built into the upper branches of a Kapok tree to offer you another impressive perspective of the surrounding jungle. This vantage point lets you get above the treetops to view the eagles, parrots and packs of monkeys below.
Canopy Exploration Crane
Brand new in 2020, the exploration crane is a spectacular feat of engineering offering a unique perspective of the canopy treetops, from 45 metres above the ground. The metal basket is suspended on a 45-metre-long boom which moves up, down, forwards and backwards as well as rotating 360 degrees, allowing you to get close to the monkeys, sloths, toucans and macaws of the lush Amazon Jungle. Check out this video to get an idea of how it works.
Sacha Lodge is home to one of the largest butterfly houses in Ecuador, with over 40 species born and bred in the safety of the conservatory, where you can watch them fluttering around, showing off their beautiful wings. Species include glass-wing butterflies, blue morphs, tiger longwings, bright yellow swallowtails and giant nocturnal owl butterflies.
Wining & Dining at Sacha Lodge
Sacha Lodge Restaurant
Dining at Sacha Lodge is a memorable affair, and the restaurant offers a great place to socialise with the rest of your small group and fill up on hearty meals between excursions. In the evening there is an a la carte fine dining menu, using fresh, organic produce to create delicious dishes including paiche, a meaty white fish found in the Amazon. For breakfast and lunch, you’ll be spoilt for choice with an extensive buffet offering traditional Ecuadorian and international dishes, including meat, fish and vegetarian options. Sacha also puts on lakeside barbecues so you can sit back and enjoy tasty grilled fish, meat and vegetables. Safe drinking water is available at various points at Sacha Lodge, so you don’t need to worry about bringing bottled water.
Much like on a classic safari holiday in Africa, your Amazon Rainforest tour has you getting up early to make the most of the early-rising animals on a jungle excursion, before returning to the lodge to chill out in a hammock and catch up on some reading. The same goes for the evenings – after you’ve got back from an exhilarating rainforest hike or boat trip, you’ll probably want to freshen up with a shower then sit with a glass of wine on the covered alfresco lounge terrace (the ‘Balsa’), looking out for giant otters, caimans and birds around the lake, and taking in magnificent sunsets and thunderstorms before dinner.
Sacha Lodge Bar
In case you needed another place to unwind and sip a refreshing cocktail or cold beer in the evening, Sacha Lodge has a high-roofed bar in the style of a safari lodge, made from bamboo with high stools and cosy sofas.
Sacha Lodge Activities
The only one of its kind in the Amazon region, Sacha Lodge has cordoned off a section of the Pilchicocha Lake to be used as a swimming pool, encircled by a mesh cage. Cool off in the shimmering black waters after each jungle excursion, taking in the raw sounds of nature as you disconnect from modern life.
Yasuni Parrot Lick
For birdwatchers and nature lovers, the Yasuni Clay Lick near the Sacha Reserve is an experience you will remember forever. Early in the morning, you head out with your group for a short canoe ride to reach the clay lick here hundreds of colourful parrots, macaws and parakeets get their nutrients during the coolest time of day.
Community Visits & Tourism in the Amazon
The Ecuadorian Amazon Jungle supports a huge number of indigenous communities (including Kichwa, Siona, Huaorani and Achuar) who maintain their traditional way of life, with some even remaining completely uncontactable by the outside world. Visiting a local community during your stay at Sacha Lodge is a fascinating and eye-opening experience. Sacha Lodge has an excellent relationship with local indigenous groups, supporting them through various sustainable projects to help them make a living. For example, the Shipati Warmi project was started by the women of the Yasuni National Park to create dialogue between visitors and locals whilst washing and drying clothes and learning to prepare a traditional dish including fish wrapped in a leaf and steamed on the open fire and chicha, a drink made from fermented yucca. Visitors can also learn about traditional hunting techniques including blow guns.
Although there are a number of problems in the Ecuadorian Amazon, such as the legacy left by oil companies as well as the rights of the indigenous tribes of the region, the jungle lodges have provided a strong incentive to protect the forest as tourism has become an increasingly important part of the local economy. Tourism in the Amazon has meant that the indigenous communities can maintain economic independence without having to rely on the oil companies who offer lucrative revenue in return for deforestation and exploitation of the national park’s petroleum resources. By appreciating the culture and way of life during community visits, tourists can have a very positive impact on the jungle. Sacha Lodge prides itself on balancing economic development with rainforest conservation and local human advancement, whilst respecting the local culture.
By night, the trails and rivers around Sacha Lodge become filled with weird and wonderful nocturnal creatures, from caimans and snakes to giant insects and frogs, which you can observe with a flashlight and the help of your expert guide.
Sacha Lodge Weather
In the Ecuadorian Jungle, the climate is hot and humid all year, with regular rainfall. Temperatures can reach 30˚C during the day, dropping to around 15˚C at night. April to June is the wettest period, but rain is common throughout the year.
Sacha Lodge Packing List
We recommend using the following as a basic guide on what to pick for your visit to the jungle:
- Lightweight, light-coloured cotton trousers and long-sleeved shirts
- Shorts and short sleeves
- Absorbent socks
- Pullover or jacket for the evening
- Sun hat
- Waterproofs (a plastic poncho is often the best thing)
- Bathing suit
- Wellington boots are provided for jungle excursions when it is wet although these are subject to availability at the lodges. These are available up to European size 47 at Sacha Lodge
- Sturdy trainers
- Camera gear
- Water bottle
- Sun cream and insect repellent (cream or gel, not spray)
- Day pack for jungle excursions
- It is useful to have a bin bag to protect clothes from the humidity and a plastic bag to protect cameras and binoculars from rain
- Biodegradable soap and shampoo are provided. If you would like to use your own, please ensure this is also biodegradable
Is there malaria at Sacha Lodge?
Sacha Lodge, in the Ecuadorian section of the Amazon, has the great advantage of sitting on the edge of a black water lake. Why is this a good thing? Mosquitos aren't an issue (they don't breed in black water), so you don’t need to worry about taking malaria precautions. The black water lake also means there is wildlife literally on the doorstep (caimans inhabit the depths), it makes a great setting for your breakfast and lunch, and with the new protected swimming area, you can now take a scenic dip, safely, during the hottest time of the day. Yellow Fever inoculation is usually recommended, however.
What do our customers say about Sacha Lodge?
Our passengers who have travelled to Sacha Lodge speak extremely highly of it, often saying that it is the highlight of their holiday to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador. People like it for how remote it is, so you can switch off from modern day life and get back to nature, whilst enjoying the unique facilities and being well and truly looked after by the friendly staff at Sacha Lodge. Here are some examples of our customers singing the lodge’s praises:
“Just wanted to say we had an amazing time, beyond expectations! Your travel service was exceptional with all transfers running like clockwork! Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Sacha Lodge was amazing. I can't adequately describe the amazing scenery and wildlife we have seen! We will remember this holiday forever."
- Ms W
“The perfect paradise, we recently stayed here during our honeymoon adventure round South America and it was the highlight of our trip! So close to so much wildlife. Hugely knowledgeable guides, a fantastic staff team and outstanding food!"
- Ms M
How much does it cost to stay at Sacha Lodge?
During your stay at Sacha Lodge, all meals and activities are included, so you are getting a lot for your money. At the time of writing, you can travel to Sacha Lodge in the Amazon Jungle with Llama Travel for £3,129 per person for 14 days (including flights, accommodation, transfers and some excursions) on our Grand Tour of Ecuador. This mainland Ecuador holiday starts in the Andean capital of Quito where you can visit the cloud forest and indigenous markets, before flying to Coca and transferring to Sacha Lodge to spend a few nights experiencing the slow pace of life in the jungle. You’ll traverse the Avenue of the Volcanoes and visit remote communities then continue onto the colonial city of Cuenca where you explore beautiful national parks before heading to the coastal lowland city of Guayaquil. Alternatively, if you want to combine your Sacha Lodge jungle experience with a trip to the world-famous Galapagos Islands, you can do this on our Galapagos Island Stay + The Jungle trip.