22nd of May 2017
Tena is the capital of the Napo province and features incredible views of the Andes as well as the Amazon Rainforest and stretches of the Amazon River. The town has a large hospital, bus terminal, small airport, many inexpensive hostels and an lots of tourist focused businesses. There is a pedestrian bridge, el Puente Peatonal, in the centre of the town under which the Pano river flows and eventually connects to the Napo River.
Tena is a transport hub so many travellers will find themselves in the town before a jungle expedition or on their way to other parts of Ecuador. (see the bus timetables here) A 5-6 hour bus trip from the capital Quito takes you through along roads with dramatic mountain views of the Andes and through sections of jungle.
Tena is said to be the best place to access the Amazon rainforest from with many jungle treks departing from the city. Trips start from as short as one day and can extend to as long as a week with accommodation being provided in the jungle along your journey.
White water rafting is one of the extreme sports Tena is known for, adrenaline junkies and novices come from around the world to take a trip down the branches of the Amazon River. It’s not surprising that rafting is so popular in Tena with the breath-taking scenery, clear rivers and lots of rafting routes to choose from, it’s a rafter’s heaven.
Much like white water rafting, Tena is also a hub for kayakers who have access to some routes on the nearby rivers which are not possible for rafters to get to. The Napo River has both relaxing routes for those who want to take in the beautiful scenery as well as wild routes with lots of technical paddling and drop-pools.
With a population of under 15,000 Tena’s inhabitants have managed to maintain much of their culture and traditions even though they are the Napo province’s commercial capital. The local people of Tena are friendly and love educating the tourists about their environment and culture through guided jungle tours or teaching tourists their traditional dances.
The Jumandi caves are an hour outside of Tena by bus or just a 20 minute taxi ride. Knowledgeable guides will take you around the caves where you’ll be able to see stalactites and stalagmites and you’ll even be able to swim through some of the areas of the caves. There is also an underground waterfall where you can bathe and pools you can jump in.
At the bottom of a dormant volcano lies San Rafael waterfall. To get to the waterfall you will need to travel 4 hours by bus from Tena the trek for about 30 minutes through the forest to reach your destination but it is worth the journey! The waterfall is 152 metres tall and a very impressive sight.
8. Chocolate making
Ecuador is well known for producing chocolate and you can even make your own in Tena! On the Raft Amazonia farm cacao trees are grown and their cocoa pods are harvested to be turned into chocolate. Visitors to Raft Amazonia can make and eat their own chocolate with the farm’s cocoa beans.
9. Animal Rescue
Animazoonico looks after animals that have been kept in captivity, some are then released into the wild but others will stay at the rescue centre where they can be looked after. The guides love the animals and provide a great tour of the animal homes within the centre. They have all kind of animals from ocelots to anacondas . Entry cost $4 all of which goes towards the care of the animals and maintenance of the centre.
Around 30 kilometres north of Tena is Sumaco Napo-Geleras National Park home to the Sumaco Volcano. It is possible to trek through the national park to the volcano but you will need a guide to take you through the dense jungle. To do the 41.06 kilometre round route to the summit of the volcano takes a tough three to four day trek but is said to be the most extreme experiences in Ecuador.
15th of May 2017
South America is one of the best white water rafting destinations in the world where rafting trips can take place all year round thanks to the warm temperatures and heavy rainfall. Ecuador is known for having some of the most interesting rafting routes with rivers sweeping through tropical rainforests filled with wildlife, tropical plants, blue lagoons and sandy beaches. The main river for rafting in Tena is the Jactun Yacu which translates as “Big River” in English. The Jactun Yacu is part of the Amazon River and flows through the beautiful and wild Amazon rainforest making it a truly unforgettable experience.
Tena is a great for rafting enthusiasts because it has lots of diverse rivers (Find out more about Tena in our next blogpost). With such a wide range of routes to choose from there are rafting trips to suit every age and experience level from complete beginners to the seasoned adrenaline junkies.
Each rafting route is given a classification from I to VI to indicate its level of difficulty. Most of the rafting routes in Tena are Class III which are recommended for adults only but there are also some Class II rapids which are suitable for families with children as well as more challenging rapids to entertain experienced rafters.
* Class I, II and III are the easiest with no experience being needed to raft on these routes.
* Class II is a gentle ride with basic paddling skills being used to move through patches of rough water and around rocks.
* Class VI rapids are exceedingly dangerous and rarely used for rafting at the risk of severe injury or death.
We hope you enjoy your next rafting trip wherever in the world you are!
Raft Amazonia 🙂
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