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You are here:4.2.13 Jatun Sacha Reserve

4.2.13 Jatun Sacha Reserve

The Jatun Sacha reserve located in The Napo Procince was established in 1985. The 2500 hectare reserve is managed and protected by the Jatun Sacha Foundation. From the total extension of the reserve 70% is primary forest and the remainder is secondary growth in different stages, which is used by the foundation for reforestation experiments, agro-forestry trials, and various other projects aimed at providing the people of the region with examples of more sustainable land uses.

The Jatun Sacha Field Station was one of the pioneer stations for the studies of tropical rainforest in Ecuador. Much research is still taking place at the station, where visitors are also welcome.



Amazonian Lowland Rainforest.



Jatun Sacha Reserve

You can visit the Jatun Sacha Reserve and Field Station after visiting the Orchid Paradise Lodge and El Para Reserve. There is reliable bus transportation only to Tena, which the closest big town to Jatun Sacha Reserve. You can easily get a bus from Quito heading to Tena in the Quitumbe Bus Terminal. Ask for bus lines heading to Tena. From Tena there is sporadic bus transportation passing by Jatun Sacha Reserve heading to EL Ahuano/Nuevo Paraíso. I strongly recommend rent a pickup/taxi from Tena to take you to the Jatun Sacha Reserve. It will be always better to keep the transport with you throughout your stay for it will enlarge your range of action to bird different areas from the reserve or drive your own vehicle. The birding in the Jatun Sacha Reserve is mainly performed on foot where you can bird open country and forest edge habitat as well as inside forest trails. The Jatun Sacha Reserve administration can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You have to prearrange your visit beforehand. The prices are $ 22 USA per day for Ecuadorian citizens and 33 $ USA per day for foreigners. Accommodations include all meals. For further information you can call the Jatun Sacha office in Quito phones: (2) 2432 240, (2) 2432 173, (2) 3317 163 or (2) 3318 191.  The Jatun Sacha reserve field station has two huts with 3 rooms each.  Each room holds two persons in bunk beds, and bathrooms are shared among the visitors. 

There is a long self guided trail going through secondary and primary forest and you can visit it at any time with no restrictions. To explore any of the many other trails you will need to hire a ranger/guide at the price of 20 $ USA per day regardless the number of persons in your group, even if you are traveling alone.

Alternatively you can stay in the nearby Cabañas Aliñahui. Cabañas Aliñahui also has a 100 hectare private preserve and you can use it as a base to explore the bigger Jatun Sacha Reserve. You can find further information regarding Cabañas Aliñahui at



Jatun Sacha Reserve

You can easily visit the Jatun Sacha Reserve after your visit to the Orchid Paradise Lodge. To get instructions as for how to continue to this site, please see the birding instructions on the respective chapter on how to get there. From the start of the Loreto road along the E45 continue toward Archidona and Tena. The distance from the start of the Loreto road to Archidona is 24.4 km. Further 9.0 km from Archidona following the E45 highway will take you to the city of Tena.

Drive across the city heading to the Napo River along the E45 highway. Once you exit the city on the roundabout near the “Universidad Politecnica” reset your odometer to 0.0 km for future reference. Continue along the E45 towards the Napo River, at about 3.1 km from Tena you will be crossing on a long bridge over the Napo River. Here at the end of the bridge you will get to a fork. The right hand road is the continuation of the E45 highway heading to Puyo. Take the left turn and carry on for further 16.2 km or 19.3 km from Tena. Park here and look for the Mauritia Palms on the right hand side of the road. At times you can find the uncommon Point-tailed Palmcreeper and the Sulphury Flycatcher here. The area ahead on the left hand side of the road is turned into grassland for the next 0.6 km until you reach to a road exiting on the left. This artificial grassland might be a good place to look for the Blackish Rail, Gray-breasted Crake, Rufous-sided Crake, Lesser Seed-Finch, Caquetá Seedeater and Chestnut-bellied Seedeater. If you have enough time, you can survey this side road and drive for 1.8 km. Here in the wetlands look for the Black-banded Crake. The second growth along this side road is a good place to also look for the Black Bushbird. Return to the main road and continue for 6.2 km more or 26.1 km from Tena. Here you will arrive to the entrance to Jatun Sacha Biological Station and Protected Forest.

Once in the lodge you can bird the self guided trail at leisure. The canopy tower is built like a power-line tower and you have to climb it up on a ladder using a safety jacket.


Birds to look for

Jatun Sacha Reserve












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Meet the Author

Lelis Navarrete – Birding tour leader. Lelis has 19 years of experience as a birding guide and naturalist in the field. He has led groups of birders throughout most of Latin America, guiding frequently in countries like his native country of Ecuador and in the Galapagos Islands, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Panama. A Biology B.Sc. graduate from Universidad Católica in Quito, Lelis has supported Jocotoco Foundation since its founding in 1998 and was an active Board Member until 2010 supporting Ecuadorian bird and wildlife conservation. Lelis divides his time between his two great passions in life: birding and spending time with his wife Solange and son Fabian with whom he lives in Quito.


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