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Yachana Lodge, Mondaña 

Tel: 593 2 2523 777
Tel: 888 922 4262
view web site ›'s insider take:

Deep in the Amazon rain forest, on the banks of the Napo River between Puerto Misahuallí and Coca, is this unique micro-city. Built in 1995, the lodge is a branch of the Foundation for Education and Integral Development (FUNEDESIN), a nonprofit organization that works to educate and support the indigenous Montaña community. Yachana means "a place for learning" in the Quichua language, and indeed this environmentally friendly hotel plunges visitors into the indigenous lifestyle. Guests take river trips in dugout canoes, watch shamans perform healing ceremonies, learn about local flora and fauna, and eat local food, including Yachana Gourmet fair-trade chocolate (which, okay, you can also buy at Whole Foods Markets back home). This all takes place in relative luxury—relative being the operative word: Solar-powered lights and hot water, twin- or queen-size beds, closets, balconies, and hammocks are the extent of it. But this is the best place to be safely immersed in the fascinating and mysterious ways of El Oriente (not to mention the annual 12 feet of rain).

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