Rain Forest

Posted by Cassie, October 22nd, 2010

We spent four days in the rain forest at Cabañas Aliñahui, the Butterfly Lodge. I went there with my parents when they came to visit me when I was done with my study abroad program in 2003. I had such a wonderful time that I returned with Jonathan and his mom.

Our cabin

The Butterfly Lodge lived up to its name. We saw lots of butterflies. The most beautiful butterflies were the brilliant blue morpho butterflies. However, they were impossible to photograph because you could only see the brilliant blue side of their wings while they’re in flight. We have lots of photos of blue blurs, but we did manage to get a few good photos. Check out the rest of our photos of butterflies.

Morpho butterfly

There are tons of insects in the rain forest, and they all seem to be super-sized. We saw huge ants called Conga ants that have huge jaws, and if you are bitten by one, you will get a fever.

Conga ant

We also saw tons of spiders. The craziest spider we saw was the poison water spider. It was the biggest spider that I have ever seen apart from a tarantula. If you get bitten, it will leave a huge hole that won’t heal for six months. Very nasty. They hide under the logs in the creeks, and they’ve very hard to spot since they blend in with the log. I was very glad that I was wearing thick rubber boots while hiking through the rain forest.

Poison water spider

Hiking through the rain forest in our stylish rubber boots

Cabañas Aliñahui had a pool table, and we tried to play pool one night. This turned out to be a disaster. We had to turn on the light, and all the bugs came out. We tried playing anyway, and then I was trying to the get the ball in the hole only to discover an enormous grasshopper was in the hole. We gave up after this. Check out the rest of our photos of the insects in the rain forest.

Enormous grasshopper!

Cabañas Aliñahui is right on the Napo River, which is one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River. Since I was at Cabañas Aliñahui last, the meander of the Napo River that went by the lodge was cut off, so it was further to get to the river.

View of Napo River from lodge

We spent a day traveling along the Napo River. We visited a family at an indigenous community and helped make chicha beer from yucca.

Mashing up yucca to make chicha

We also visited a museum about the indigenous people that live in the area. Our guide painted our faces like the indigenous do in their ceremonies. Then, we also go to try out the blowgun, which was lots of fun.

Us with our painted faces on the boat

Cassie with a blowgun!

We also visited an animal rescue center called amaZOOnico. They help to rehabilitate animals that have been illegally kept as pets and release them back into the wild. It was difficult to see animals when walking through the rain forest, so it was neat to be able to see the animals close up.

Squirrel monkey at amaZOOnico

We really enjoyed our time at Cabañas Aliñahui. Check out the rest of our photos. Unfortunately, we’re probably going to be one of the last people to visit. The government of Ecuador decided to build an huge airport right next to Cabañas Aliñahui. No one is going to want to go a lodge in the rain forest if jets are flying over all the time. So, it looks like Cabañas Aliñahui is going to be closing down before the airport opens next year. It made our visit even more special knowing that we would one of the last people to enjoy the beautiful setting of Cabañas Aliñahui.

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