Amazon jungle in photos: Oil exploration, animals and local traditions

Each of the three days we spent in the Amazon jungle in Ecuador we spent hiking and exploring. When we weren’t getting paddled down a quiet river on a canoe, we were trekking through the jungle or climbing a lookout tower to peer over the leafy canopy. And I’d love to share with you our experience of the Amazon jungle in photos.

Canoes Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

Dave with the canoes we got around in during our Amazon stay

Although we spent a lot of time in Dominica venturing through the jungle, the Amazon is different because of the diverse species that are abundant in the trees.

I say ‘in the trees’ as many of the animals don’t even venture to the rainforest floor and spend most of their lives up within the green canopy.

Woolly monkey Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

A woolly monkey peers down at us from the rainforest canopy

During our time with Sani Lodge, we also had the opportunity to visit the Quechua people who are the native people of this part of the Amazon. We learnt about what they’d eat traditionally and how more and more of them are becoming employed in eco-tourism to earn a living.

Quechua handicraft Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

A woman twists material from a leaf which is used to make the bags

We were fortunate enough to have the Quechua people cook up a lunch for us, using their traditional food. We ate seeds from tree pods, which can be seen on the top left of the photo below, and even grubs, which are on the top right. I thought the grubs would be disgusting but they actually tasted a lot like chicken!

We ate the meal with yuca potato which is a root and much healthier than regular potato. All of it was washed down with chicha, which is the white beer you can see in the bowl. It’s brewed from yuca and corn and I can’t say I was really a fan.

Quechua food Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

Traditional Quechua food in the Amazon

Although less of the Quechua people are hunters and gatherers these days, they still cling to many of their traditions and don’t venture out of the community too much except to shop or to go to work.

Many of the men work in eco-lodges like the Sani Lodge and the women make traditional handicrafts to sell to tourists. I bought a bracelet and a bag. The objects are expertly made and it felt good to support the local people.

Sani Lodge Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

The beautiful Sani Lodge

Sani Lodge is run by the Quechua people and it was built after they granted an oil company the opportunity to explore their land, in return for the lodge’s construction. Thankfully, the oil company didn’t find any oil on their land so they left and the Quechua people got to keep their lodge.

Oil exploitation Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

The oil exploration can be seen everywhere throughout the Amazon and it really upset us to see it going on in such a special part of the world that should be protected

Oil exploration is evident throughout the Amazon though, and it’s heartbreaking to see. Oil and gas extraction is causing deforestation, pollution and biodiversity loss at an alarming rate.

Just looking at all the photos of the animals below and it’s easy to see how many species are threatened because of the evils of man.

Yellow spotted Amazon river turtle Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

The yellow-spotted Amazon river turtle. The Quechua people are breeding them in captivity because they’re endangered

Squirrel monkey Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

A squirrel monkey

Toucan Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

A toucan! I loved seeing these birds… their beaks are almost as big as they are!

Parrot clay lick Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

Parrots lick clay to cleanse all the toxins from their bodies which they digest from eating berries

Night monkey Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

My favourite monkey of them all – the night monkey. He has giant eyes to help him see in the dark and I think he looks like a living Furby! Sorry the quality of the photo isn’t that great but I had to max out my zoom to get a shot of him high in the tree.

Night frog Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

Many of the frogs are only active at night. Here the tree frog is swallowing an insect for his dinner

Cayman Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

A caiman peeks his head above the water at us. The caimans were much easier to spot at night as their eyes would glow red when we shone our flashlights over them

And it’s not only the animals that are threatened because of oil and gas exploitation – the local people are at risk of losing their homes. Our guide told us there have even been cases where Amazon people have been murdered by the oil companies because they wouldn’t leave their homes!

Panama hat material Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

Our guide shows us the natural material used to make the Panama hat (which is actually from Ecuador, not Panama)

Although it upset me to see the damage being caused by the oil companies, our visit did help me to realise just how precious the Amazon is and that we need to do more to try and protect it. Hopefully then one day my children will be able to explore it like I did.

Night sky Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

The sun sets over the Amazon

Sunset Ecuador Amazon Double-Barrelled Travel

Sunset in the Amazon

Thanks to Sani Lodge for hosting us in the Amazon. As always, our comments are our own.

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

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