Despite being hidden away in Ecuador’s Amazon basin, Sacha Lodge is surprising hassle-free to reach. A half-hour flight from Quito get you to El Coca, a large town on the confluence of the Napo and Coca river. A transfer from the airport to the dock in less than ten minutes.
From here, the lodge is a 2-hour ride up the Napo River, in a motorised canoe. A short, serene paddle up a channel off the Napo river brings you out onto Pilchicocha lagoon and across to the lodge.
The canoe docks by the Balsa Lounge, a thatched structure with a small bar and combination of al fresco dining and comfy chairs to relax and gaze over the lagoon. This is also the access point to the captivating blackwater lagoon pool – a floating ‘cage’ on the lagoon surface that allows guests to cool off in the water without any unwelcome visitors! A series of boardwalks lead away from the lagoon and into the forest, where the main restaurant and bar are first located, followed by the accommodation.
The main restaurant and bar area were fully renovated in 2020. This was no mean feat, as all materials had to be brought in the same way as everything else - via a canoe along the river! However, the Herculean effort was worth it, as the new restaurant is a treat to dine - offering delicious local cuisine paired with wonderful views of the surrounding forest and lagoon.
Sacha Lodge has 26 rooms, including three pairs of interconnecting units, which can be in single, double or triple formation. The high thatched roofs, large ceiling fans, wooden floors are mosquito-netted windows keep the rooms cool. The en-suite bathrooms feature wonderful showers with floor-to-ceiling views of the rainforest. Rooms 101-106 have glass viewing-walls, while the others have mosquito netting in place of the glass. All rooms also include a private terrace with seats and hammocks; and the orientation of the accommodation means that all showers and terraces look out onto the forest (no room is overlooked by another). The new Family Suites are particularly good. All rooms also include a safety deposit box and a “dry box”, which is a specialised unit to keep equipment dry and free of any moisture in the air. Wi-Fi is available in the communal areas, for an additional charge.
The latest addition at Sacha Lodge is their Canopy Crane, whereby guests are lifted 150ft up in an ‘elevator capsule’ by a crane, to explore the treetops. There is also the impressive Canopy Walk, a 940ft long suspension bridge, 94ft above the ground. The Kopak Tower is an ingenious observation tower, built around a Kopak tree, that boasts viewing platforms from 135ft up! Additionally, Sacha Lodge offers guided visits to their butterfly house, numerous forest hikes, the renown Yasuni NP Parrot Lick, creek paddling, bird-watching and after-dark caiman spotting. Also provided for guests are gumboots, umbrellas and ponchos (all of which are likely to be required at some point of your stay!).