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You are here:4.2.14 Gareno Lodge

4.2.14 Gareno Lodge

The Gareno Lodge is an Ecuadorian enterprise owned and operated by Pedro Guinda and his family.  He is from a visionary Quichua clan who started a lodge in conjunction with the Dayano Huaorani Community.   This agreement allowed the use of Huaorani community land for tourism, and included the construction of the basic, but comfortable, Gareno Lodge.  Gareno lodge is located in the section farthest west on the 716,000 hectare Huarorani Reserve.   This reserve borders on the 982,000 hectare Yasuní National Park.  The birding area is located between only 300 m and 400 m in elevation.  

Gareno Lodge is one of the few easily accessible Amazonian rolling Terra Firme sites in Ecuador.   The current Gareno Lodge bird list is 460 + bird species.  Special mention should go to the Harpy Eagle, because Gareno Lodge is one of the best places to see this species in Ecuador.  An active Harpy Eagle nest was followed for many years in Gareno. Unfortunately the nest has not been active in the last years and Gareno staff is still looking for a neighboring new nest.



Amazonian Rolling Hills Terra Firme Forest



Gareno Lodge

There is reliable bus transportation only to Tena, which is the closest big town to Gareno Lodge.  You can easily get a bus from Quito heading to Tena at the Quitumbe Bus Terminal.  Ask for bus lines heading to Tena.  From Tena there is sporadic bus transportation part way to Gareno Lodge, but I recommend renting a pickup/taxi from Tena to take you to the lodge.  It is always better to keep this transport with you throughout your stay, as having a driver and vehicle will expand your range of action to cover more birding areas in the region. The Gareno Lodge office can help you organize any kind of transportation.  More information regarding Gareno Lodge can be obtained at  Communication is possible from the contact page provided in, or contacting Neblina Forest Birding and Natural History tours at

No independent birding in the Gareno Lodge area is allowed. Visits must be organized beforehand throughout the Gareno Lodge administration.  Remember to ask for the written permission to access the last part of the road when heading to the Gareno Lodge.  There is a checkpoint close to the lodge and you will need to show that you have been given clearance to drive beyond.

The accommodations in Gareno are basic and rustic, but the rooms have private bathroom, hot water, and balconies with hammocks.



Gareno Lodge

You can easily visit the Gareno Lodge after your visit to the Orchids Paradise Lodge, or any of the sites located along the Loreto Road. To get instructions as to how to continue to this site, please see the birding instructions in 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.  Another 9.0 km from Archidona, following the E45 highway, will take you to the small city of Tena.

Drive across the city heading to the NapoRiver 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 references. 

(Click here to download Map. Gareno Lodge English).

Continue along the E45 toward the Napo River.  At about 3.1 km from Tena, you will cross on a long bridge over the NapoRiver.  Here at the end of the bridge you will reach a crossroad.  The right hand road is the continuation of the E45 highway heading to Puyo.

Take the left turn and carry on for 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 be successful in finding the uncommon Point-tailed Palmcreeper and the Sulphury Flycatcher.

The area ahead on the left hand side of the road turns into grassland for the next 0.6 km until you reach to a road exiting on the left.  This artificial grassland is a good place to look for:   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 at the entrance of the Jatunsacha Biological Station and Protected Forest. Continue along the main road for 2.2 km, or 28.3 km from Tena.  As of July, 2009, this was the end of the asphalt.  The left turn goes into the Cabañas del Suizo Hotel.

Carry on the main road for 3.1 km, or 31.4 km from Tena.  Here at the fork take the right road.  Continue for further 21.5 km, or 52.9 km from Tena.  The small village you drive through is called Nuevo Paraiso.  Keep on driving for another 1.0 km, or 53.9 km from Tena.

Here in the left side you will find a stand of Mautitia Palms. This is another site to look for Point-tailed Palmcreeper and Sulphury Flycatcher.

Continue on for 7.7 km, or 61.6 km from Tena.  Here a left hand road takes you to the NapoRiver into a port called San Pedro.  This is a place to remember, for if you are continuing to the Amazonian lowlands, you may board a boat to take you down to Coca and beyond.

Continue along the main road for further 1.8 km, or 63.4 km from Tena.  Here you will reach to a check point controlled by an oil company security staff.  In order to pass, these guards will request written permission to pass beyond the check point.  Here, just after the check point you will get to a fork.  Turn onto the right road and drive for another 0.3 km, or 63.7 km from Tena.   Here you will arrive at a fork with three roads going in different directions.  Go onto the road furthest to the right, and drive for a 1.0 km, or 64.7 km from Tena.

Here you will get to a yet another crossroad.  Take the left hand road as it goes to the Gareno Lodge.  The vehicle parking lot for the trail heading to Gareno Lodge is 5.3 km ahead or 70 km from Tena.  Before you get to this parking spot, keep on the lookout for a very disturbed area on top of a hill, before you get down to a short narrow bridge.   This is a good place to look for the Brown Jacamar.

As you arrive, one of the local guides from the lodge will be waiting for you.  If you have arrived when it is still daylight, he might take you to look for the Rufous Potoo roosting tree or/and the Fiery Topaz feeding tree. This rare hummingbird is quite reliable near the lodge. The best month to look for this species is September when topaz family groups are fairly common. Keep in mind that you must have the local guide with you at all times when you leave the lodge on trails to bird.

Once you arrived at the Gareno parking spot, reset you odometer to 0.0 km for the future excursions in the area.  From the parking place you can carry on for 2.0 km to a fork in the road right by the Huaorani village.  Take the right hand road toward the NushiñoRiver.

About another 2.0 km the road will descend into a habitat holding many of the species from the varzea forest.  Ask your guide to take you to the trail heading to the lake where the Huaoranis go fishing.   This varzea habitat area, the second growth forest near it, and the forest trail to the lake, are good for species you are not going to find near the lodge or on the long forest trail heading to the Harpy Eagle nest.  Look here for: Black Caracara, Buckley's Forest-Falcon, Speckled Chachalaca, Common Piping-Guan, Chestnut-headed Crake, Buff-tailed Sicklebill, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Black-fronted Nunbird, Scarlet-crowned Barbet, Chestnut-eared Araçari, Rufous-breasted Piculet, Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Blackish Antbird, Black-throated Antbird, Striated Antthrush, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Ochre-striped Antpitta, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, , Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Ringed Antpipit, Brownish Twistwing, Rufous-tailed Flatbill, Cinnamon Attila, White-winged Becard, Plum-throated Cotinga, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, White-bearded Manakin, Lawrence's Thrush, Coraya Wren, Grayish Saltator.

Continuing along for another 4.7 km, or 6.7 km from the Gareno parking lot you will reach a bridge over the NushiñoRiver.  The land on the far side of the bridge belongs to a different Huaorani community, and you might be allowed to explore that side only for a short stretch.  Here, in the habitat near the bridge look for: Chestnut-headed Crake, Blue Ground-Dove, Gray-fronted Dove, Dusky-headed Parakeet, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Blue-headed Parrot, Greater Ani, Swallow-winged Puffbird, Scarlet-crowned Barbet, Dark-breasted Spinetail, Long-billed Woodcreeper, Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper, Great Antshrike, Silvered Antbird, Black Bushbird, White-lored Antpitta, Masked Crimson Tanager, Red-capped Cardinal and Orange-backed Troupial. Here at this bridge we have seen the rare and local Gray-bellied Hawk several times.

Despite all the birding that can be done in areas away from the lodge, the best birding, and most of the specialties occur on the trails near the lodge. The trails heading to the road are good for Sapphire Quail-Dove, Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, Brown Nunlet, Cream-colored Woodpecker, Ocellated Woodcreeper, Undulated Antshrike, Plain-winged Antshrike, Pygmy Antwren, Moustached Antwren, Gray Antbird, Black-faced Antbird, Warbling Antbird, Yellow-browed Antbird, Spot-winged Antbird, Ash-throated Gnateater, Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant Chestnut-crowned Becard,  Bright-rumped Attila, Spangled Cotinga and Violaceous Jay.

The forest surrounding the lodge is also good for Nocturnal Curassow.  The best month of the year to look for the Curassow is August as the birds will be singing throughout the night.  You can go in search of the birds singing from their perches.

Other good birds from the lodge grounds include: Rufous-breasted Hermit, Pale-tailed Barbthroat, Straight-billed Hermit, Gray-breasted Sabrewing, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Black-throated Brilliant (seasonal) and Long-billed Starthroat.

The Pavonine Quetzal can be seen in the forest near the lodge.   Other species here include Yellow-billed Jacamar, Pied Puffbird, Undulated Antshrike, Gray Elaenia, Gray-crowned Flatbill and Black-capped Becard.


The trail that begins between the social area and the cabins climbs up the hill and continues inside forest along a ridge is good for Great Jacamar, Golden-collared Toucanet,Spot-backed Antbird, Scale-backed Antbird, Thrush-like Antpitta, Golden-crowned Spadebill, White-crowned Manakin, Western Striped Manakin (look for this bird at the end of the steep climb, as you get to the first flat area near the lodge), Wing-banded Wren and Moriche Oriole.

The road near the lodge is a great place to look for birds.  The road cuts through primary forest, and the habitat is little disturbed other than by the road itself. At times the road allows wonderful views of the canopy.  There are a couple of places that can be used as viewing lookouts.  Look for such places along the road from the lodge toward Tena. Ask your local guide, as he will know.  Walking along this road will be your best chance to see many canopy species and ideally you will bump into a couple of flocks.

Keep your eyes on the sky for soaring raptors when walking along the road. The road walk can give chances for: King Vulture, Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Gray-headed Kite, Tiny Hawk, White Hawk, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Red-throated Caracara, Great Potoo, Short-tailed Swift, Gray-rumped Swift, Pale-rumped Swift, Fiery Topaz, Pavonine Quetzal, White-necked Puffbird, Pied Puffbird, Lanceolated Monklet, Spotted Puffbird, Gilded Barbet, Lemon-throated Barbet, Golden-collared Toucanet, White-throated Woodpecker, Chestnut-winged Hookbill, Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper, Spot-winged Antshrike, Dugand's Antwren, White-lored Tyrannulet, Grayish Mourner, Eastern Sirystes, Dusky-chested Flycatcher, Pink-throated Becard, White-browed Purpletuft, Lemon-chested Greenlet, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Black-faced Dacnis, Yellow-backed Tanager, Rufous-bellied Euphonia, White-lored Euphonia, Masked Tanager, Opal-rumped Tanager, Opal-crowned Tanager, Paradise Tanager, Flame-crested Tanager, Fulvous-crested Tanager, Slate-colored Grosbeak, Red-rumped Cacique, Casqued Oropendola.


One of the main attractions in Gareno is the Harpy Eagle nest at the end of a 4 km inner forest trail.  The Harpy Eagle trail is a rewarding walk, but remember that you will be walking in a hot and humid place.   Even though the distance might not look that great, the walk is not that easy either. To complete the total trail length, while birding, you might need an entire day.  You will need to take a box lunch with you. Here along the Harpy Eagle trail the local guides have also found an active nest of the rare Ornate Hawk-Eagle, and near the end of the trail there is also a Western Striped Manakin lek.

Many good birds can be seen along this trail. Look especially for Sapphire Quail-Dove, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Great-billed Hermit, Gould's Jewelfront, Pavonine Quetzal, Yellow-billed Jacamar, Purplish Jacamar, Great Jacamar, Collared Puffbird, White-chested Puffbird, Speckled Spinetail, Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Rufous-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Olive-backed Foliage-gleaner, Spix's Woodcreeper, Undulated Antshrike, Rufous-tailed Antwren, Gray Antwren, Chestnut-shouldered Antwren, Yellow-browed Antbird, Spot-backed Antbird, Scale-backed Antbird, Banded Antbird, Sooty Antbird, White-plumed Antbird, Bicolored Antbird, Hairy-crested Antbird, Reddish-winged Bare-eye, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, White-eyed Tody-Tyrant, Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, Golden-headed Manakin, Blue-backed Manakin, Cinnamon Neopipo, White-breasted Wood-Wren and Southern Nightingale-Wren.


Birds to look for

Gareno Lodge

Grasslands (G), Second Growth Forest (2GF), Varzea Forest (VF),   Rolling Over Terra Firme Forest (RTFF), Mauritia Palms (MP), Rivers (R).

Common:  Speckled Chachalaca (VF),  Greater Yellow-headed Vulture,   Gray-headed Kite (VF, RTFF),  Black   Caracara (VF), Rufous-sided Crake (G), Neotropical Palm Swift   (MP), Black-fronted Nunbird (VF, 2GF), Blue-winged Parrotlet (VF, 2GF),   Cobalt-winged Parakeet (VF, 2GF), Blue-headed Parrot (VF, 2GF), Greater Ani (R),   Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl (VF, RTFF), Short-tailed   Swift (VF, RTFF), Gray-rumped Swift (VF, RTFF), Swallow-winged   Puffbird (VF, 2GF), Scarlet-crowned Barbet (VF, 2GF), Gilded Barbet (VF, 2GF, RTFF), Chestnut-eared Araçari (VF, 2GF, RTFF),  Cream-colored Woodpecker (VF, 2GF, RTFF), Dark-breasted Spinetail (2GF), Chestnut-winged Hookbill (VF, RTFF), Warbling   Antbird (VF, 2GF), Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (VF, 2GF, RTFF), Gray-crowned Flatbill (VF, 2GF), White-winged   Becard (VF, 2GF),White-bearded Manakin (VF, 2GF), Violaceous Jay (VF, 2GF), Coraya Wren (VF, 2GF), Wing-banded   Wren (RTFF), White-breasted   Wood-Wren (VF, 2GF, RTFF),  Masked   Crimson Tanager (VF, 2GF), Grayish Saltator (VF, 2GF), Red-capped   Cardinal (VF, 2GF), Lesser Seed-Finch (2GF,G),   Chestnut-bellied Seedeater (2GF,G).

Uncommon: Gray   Tinamou (RTFF), Common Piping-Guan (VF),  King Vulture, White Hawk (VF, RTFF),   Tiny Hawk (VF, RTFF),  Red-throated Caracara (VF, RTFF),  Blackish Rail (G), Gray-brested Crake (G),   Black-banded Crake (G), Chestnut-headed   Crake (2GF), Black-bellied   Cuckoo (RTFF), Blue   Ground-Dove (VF, 2GF),  Sapphire   Quail-Dove (VF, RTFF), Ruddy Quail-Dove (VF, RTFF), Gray-fronted   Dove (VF, 2GF),  Dusky-headed Parakeet (VF, 2GF), Crested Owl (VF, RTFF),  Rufous Potoo (RTFF), Great Potoo (VF, RTFF),  Pale-rumped Swift (VF, RTFF), Rufous-breasted Hermit (VF, RTFF), Great-billed   Hermit (VF, RTFF), Pale-tailed Barbthroat (VF, RTFF), Straight-billed Hermit (VF, RTFF), Gray-breasted   Sabrewing (VF, RTFF), Gould's Jewelfront (VF, RTFF), Fiery Topaz   (RTFF), Fork-tailed   Woodnymph (VF, RTFF), Black-throated Brilliant (VF, RTFF), Long-billed Starthroat (VF, RTFF), Pavonine   Quetzal (VF, RTFF), Brown Jacamar (2GF), Yellow-billed Jacamar (VF, RTFF), Purplish   Jacamar (VF, RTFF), Great Jacamar (VF, RTFF), Chestnut-capped   Puffbird (VF), White-chested   Puffbird (VF, RTFF), White-necked Puffbird (VF, RTFF), Pied Puffbird (VF, RTFF), Lanceolated Monklet (RTFF), Brown Nunlet (RTFF), Lemon-throated Barbet (VF, RTFF),   Golden-collared Toucanet (VF, RTFF), Rufous-breasted   Piculet (VF, 2GF), White-throated Woodpecker (RTFF), Long-billed Woodcreeper (VF, RTFF), Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper (VF, RTFF), Spix's   Woodcreeper (VF, RTFF), Ocellated Woodcreeper (RTFF), Speckled   Spinetail (RTFF), Point-tailed Palmcreeper (MP), Cinnamon-rumped   Foliage-gleaner (VF, RTFF), Rufous-rumped Foliage-gleaner (VF, RTFF), Olive-backed Foliage-gleaner (VF, RTFF), Undulated   Antshrike (VF, RTFF), Great Antshrike (VF, 2GF), Spot-winged   Antshrike (VF, RTFF), Plain-winged Antshrike (VF, RTFF), Pygmy Antwren (VF, 2GF), Moustached Antwren (VF, 2GF), Rufous-tailed   Antwren (VF, RTFF), Gray Antwren (VF, RTFF), Dugand's   Antwren (RTFF), Chestnut-shouldered   Antwren (2GF,VF), Blackish Antbird (VF, 2GF), Black-throated   Antbird (VF, 2GF), Spot-backed Antbird (VF, RTFF),  Scale-backed Antbird (VF, RTFF), Silvered Antbird (R,VF) Gray Antbird (VF, RTFF), Black-faced   Antbird (VF, RTFF), Yellow-browed Antbird (RTFF), Spot-winged   Antbird (VF, RTFF), Spot-backed Antbird (VF, RTFF), Scale-backed Antbird (VF, RTFF), Banded   Antbird (VF, RTFF), Sooty Antbird (VF, RTFF), White-plumed   Antbird (RTFF), Bicolored   Antbird (VF, RTFF), Hairy-crested Antbird (VF, RTFF), Reddish-winged Bare-eye (RTFF), Black Bushbird (VF, 2GF), White-lored Antpitta (VF, 2GF), Striated Antthrush (VF), Rufous-capped Antthrush (VF, 2GF), White-lored   Antpitta (VF, RTFF), Rusty-belted Tapaculo (VF), Ash-throated Gnateater (VF, RTFF), White-lored Tyrannulet (VF, RTFF),  Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher (2GF), Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant (2GF), White-eyed Tody-Tyrant (RTFF), Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher (VF, RTFF),  Golden-crowned Spadebill (VF, RTFF), Gray Elaenia (VF, RTFF), Ringed Antpipit (VF, RTFF), Brownish   Twistwing (VF, RTFF), Rufous-tailed Flatbill (VF), Dusky-chested Flycatcher (VF, RTFF),  Sulphury   Flycatcher (MP), Eastern Sirystes (VF, RTFF), Cinnamon   Attila (VF), Bright-rumped   Attila (VF, RTFF), Grayish Mourner (VF, RTFF), Screaming   Piha (VF, RTFF), Chestnut-crowned Becard (VF, RTFF), Pink-throated Becard (VF, RTFF), Black-capped   Becard (VF, RTFF),  Bare-necked   Fruitcrow (VF, RTFF), White-browed Purpletuft (VF, RTFF),  Western Striped Manakin (RTFF), Golden-headed Manakin (VF, RTFF), Blue-backed Manakin (VF, RTFF), White-thighed Swallow (VF, RTFF), Lawrence's Thrush (VF, RTFF), Southern   Nightingale-Wren (VF, RTFF), Black-faced Dacnis (VF, RTFF), Yellow-backed Tanager (VF, RTFF), Rufous-bellied   Euphonia (VF, RTFF), White-lored Euphonia (VF, RTFF), Masked Tanager (VF, RTFF), Opal-rumped Tanager (VF, RTFF), Opal-crowned Tanager (VF, RTFF), Paradise   Tanager (VF, RTFF), Flame-crested Tanager (VF, RTFF), Fulvous-crested Tanager (VF, RTFF), Slate-colored   Grosbeak (VF, RTFF), Caquetá Seedeater (G), Red-rumped Cacique (VF, RTFF), Casqued   Oropendola (VF, RTFF), Moriche Oriole (VF, RTFF), Orange-backed   Troupial (2GF,VF).

Rare: Nocturnal   Curassow (VF, RTFF), Buckley's Forest-Falcon (2GF,VF), Ornate   Hawk-Eagle (VF, RTFF), Harpy Eagle (VF, RTFF), Gray-bellied   Hawk (RTFF), Buff-tailed   Sicklebill (2GF,VF), Spotted Puffbird (RTFF),Collared Puffbird (VF, RTFF), Ochre-striped   Antpitta (VF), Plum-throated   Cotinga (VF), Spangled   Cotinga (VF), White-crowned   Manakin (RTFF), Cinnamon   Neopipo (RTFF), Lemon-chested   Greenlet (RTFF), Red-legged   Honeycreeper (VF, RTFF),.


For further information on the Gareno Lodge Bird List go to

Copyright © 2010 by Lelis Navarrete

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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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