By far, the easiest way to visit El Oriente is with an organized trip to one of the well-established jungle lodges. These trips usually last 4 or 5 days. Depending on where you're staying, the journey generally involves a commercial flight to Coca or Lago Agrio. Some lodges, such as Kapawi, can only be reached by a charter flight. All the jungle lodges listed below either include transportation from Quito in their packages, or they can arrange transportation for you. Note: Because many of these lodges are extremely isolated and difficult to reach, I strongly encourage you to book your trip in advance, either before you come to Ecuador or while you're in Quito, Baños, Cuenca, or Guayaquil.
If you're looking to reduce costs -- or if you want to conveniently combine some time in Baños or Riobamba with a visit to an Amazon-basin nature lodge -- consider staying at one of the lodges in or around Tena or Puyo. Most of the lodges listed in these sections are easily accessed by bus, taxi, or rental car.
Climate -- Guarded by the high Andes mountains to the west, the lowland rainforests of El Oriente have a climate that's hot and wet most of the time. Well, it's always hot, and often wet. Annual rainfall throughout much of this region ranges from 300 to 450cm (118-177 in.), with some areas getting even more. The wettest months are March through June, the driest August through November. During the rainy season, you'll find swollen rivers, muddy trails, and frequent downpours. In the drier months, things dry up some -- but never completely. Some of the smaller rivers, canals, and lagoons either dry up or become impassable. Rain is possible throughout the year, and it's a good idea to pack rain gear and fast-drying clothes. All the lodges listed in this chapter provide thick rubber boots for hiking.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.