Coca Ecuador near the Napo river, is the perfect city to start an Amazon Rain Forest tour adventure.
Coca was found in the 1960's by Catholic Capuchines and was a missionary post for the fast Christianization of the Huaorani Indians.
The city is a good starting point for adventure tours in the Ecuadorian Rain forest. The city is located very near the dense tropical jungle and from Coca city it's easier to get to several jungle lodges and natural reserves such as as Yasuni or Misahualli.
Thirty years ago Coca was a relatively small, backwater Amazon town of little regional importance.
With the discovery of nearby oil reserves in the 1980s, Coca city rapidly grew in size and population, with the help of investments from foreign oil companies.
It now has a population of about 20,000 inhabitants. In the late 1990s, Coca Ecuador local government began to shift course.
While oil remains an important industry, city government has been investing in tourism infrastructure and marketing the area to travelers for the past ten years.
Yasuni National Park: The Yasuni National Park is the largest Ecuador National Park (982,000 hectares).
UNESCO declared it an International Biosphere Reserve in the same year of its foundation (1979). This large area in the rainforest protects three types of vegetation ranging from woodlands on dry soil to semi-permanently flooded forest.
Rubber boots are imperative for exploring the numerous wetlands, marshes, and swamps. This Rain forest Park covers the basins of the Yasuni, Nashino, Curaray, Cononaco and Tiputini rivers in the Napo province.
The flora and fauna found in the park is varied. You will encounter vegetation such as large cedars, laurel, chonta, and sangre de drago.
Among the mammals inhabiting the park, the most noteworthy are jaguars, harpy eagles and crocodiles.
This reserve contains densely vegetated hills, timber trees and many species of birds. There are also flat areas with extensive marshes.
Temperatures range from about 23º C to 35º C. Coca Ecuador is the starting point to reach the reserve.
Limoncocha Biological Reserve: has an area of 4,600 ha. This Reserve is located on the north shore of the Napo River between the Coca and Aguarico rivers, is on mostly level ground characterized by the presence of wetlands and swamps.
The Limoncocha Reserve is one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world, but its flora and fauna are continually threatened by increasing oil activity.
Scientific studies have identified over 450 bird species in the area and unique trees such as the giant ceibo, cedars, laurel, the balsa, and the Pambil are common.
The Reserve also contains the Limoncocha lake, which is famous for being an excellent birdwatching site.
It contains vast stretches of jungle vegetation, primary and secondary forests and majestic rivers.
It is famous for being the habitat of the black cayman. Access is from Nueva Loja, traveling down the Napo river from Coca Ecuador.
Pañacocha: Is a lake where you can observe the vast vegetation of the jungle and the wildlife.
The piranha lake is one of the nearest possibilities to get to know the intact jungle.
Fishing piranhas, observation of the flora and the fauna are activities that make an unforgettable adventure experience.
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Cuyabeno Reserve: Is located in the Napo and Sucumbíos Provinces of the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest.
The reserve has over 500 species of birds, 250 species of fish and 100 species of mammals, the Cuyabeno Reserve is a superb example of the Amazon's tropical richness and beauty.
A variety of Indigenous groups, including the Cofan, the Siona, and the Secoya have traditionally inhabited the area.
Some of these indigenous communities are involved in "Indigenous Community Controlled Ecotourism," and offer jungle tours that support responsible tourism.
The Cuyabeno Reserve is best accessed via Lago Agrio, which is an oil town approximately nine hours east of Quito City by bus or 30 minutes by plane.
Once there, you can join a jungle tour, which generally passes through Puerto Chiritza, down the Aguarico River and into the Reserve as far as the Peruvian border.
In Coca Ecuador and its National Reserves, you will have the opportunity to know the indigenous people Huaorani, who live in communities in this wild region.
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The flowers are small, and disposed in little clusters on short stalks; the corolla is composed of five yellowish-white petals, the anthers are heart-shaped, and the pistil consists of three carpels united to form a three-chambered ovary.
The flowers mature into red berries. The plant resembles a blackthorn bush, and grows to a height. The branches are straight, and the leaves, which have a green tint, are thin, opaque, oval, and taper at the extremities.
A marked characteristic of the leaf is an areolated portion bounded by two longitudinal curved lines, one line on each side of the midrib, and more conspicuous on the under face of the leaf.
The Coca plant is traditionally cultivated in the lower altitudes of the eastern slopes of the Andes, or the highlands depending on the species grown.
Since ancient times, its leaves have been an important trade commodity between the lowlands where it is grown and the higher altitudes where it is widely consumed by the Andean peoples of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Bolivia.
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