Where to go

Napo Cultural Center

Bona Fide Amazon experience, staying among an indigenous community...

Excellent Four hearts from 07 votes
Napo Cultural Center - Accommodation external
Napo Cultural Center - Accommodation external

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Napo Cultural Center offers a truly unique opportunity, lodging in the protected Yasuni National Park with the local Kichwa people. Whilst the accommodation might not be luxurious it certainly very comfortable; and the bilingual guides are both knowledgeable and passionate about the stunning biodiversity of their home. The development is approximately halfway between the town of Coca and their more opulent, sister property, Napo Wildlife Ecolodge. We suggest a stay at the Cultural Center for a couple of nights, before heading on to the Ecolodge: The best of both worlds and a great way to break up lengthy transfers.


As with any stay in the Ecuadorian Amazon, a 30-minute flight from Quito to Coca is required. From Coca, a brief transfer takes you to the pier on the Napo River. A motorised canoe is the final leg, taking just under two hours to reach the Napo Cultural Center. The Napo Wildlife Ecolodge is a further 90-minutes along the river.


Alighting the canoe on the bank of the Napo River, it is immediately clear to see why a stay at Napo Cultural Center goes better than carbon-neutral…it is carbon negative! Past the solar panels, water treatment apparatus, biogas silos and recycling area is a school field and classrooms. The Center funds the school, for over 100 local children. Further back is the main social area and bar/restaurant for guests; behind which lies the accommodation. A short walk on the other side of the field leads to the Kuri Muyu Culture Center – where genuine Kichwa buildings showcase the community’s 500-year old culture.


There are four large, thatched structures, each quartered into 4 corner-cabins. All cabins and designed and built by the Kichwa, using local materials. These quality, cosy cabins include an en-suite with hot water, safe deposit box, closet space and porch to laze in a hammock and take in the surrounding rain forest. They are spacious enough to allow for bedding formations to cater from a double or twin to a family of four.


A highlight of the Napo Cultural Center is the Kuri Muyu Center, where your guide will translate whilst women from the Kichwa population explain and demonstrate music, dance, cooking, crafts and customs of their history. The river provides a wealth of activities, such as canoeing, kayaking or an evening sail on an ancestral catamaran! There are also numerous wildlife trails to take, including a night safari and a hike to the 120ft-high Canopy Tower, for breath-taking views across the treetops of the Amazon. A trip to the nearby ‘Clay lick’ is a must, for fans of parrots & parakeets!

Fantastic Amazon experience where you can witness first-hand the benefits of your ecotourism.

We applaud the authenticity and ethic of the project, but the local dance display feels a little feigned.

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