The first time I was in Tena I’d heard about Lisanyacu from a volunteer who worked there as part of a rainforest project. He said that if I was interested in Insects, I should stay at the Cabañas.
Back then I didn’t have the time, as I was on my to Montañita and the CELTA course.
I’d been in Cuenca for a while and was thinking about going away for a few days, just to get out and see something different. I remembered Lisanyacu and got in contact with the responsible people at Mundo Puma. Usually the Cabañas are used to accommodate the people who book the Jungle Tours, but I was told I could stay there without having to book a tour, for $25 a day including food. I thought it a bit pricy, but on the other hand, like this I could do my Jungle tours whenever I wanted and I was free to come and go as I pleased. I got on a bus to Ambato and from there on another one to Tena, where I arrived at night and checked in to the Tena Ñaui for the night.
The next day one of the volunteers came with me to show me the way, it is a two and a half hour hike through the jungle from the nearest bus stop to get to the Cabañas Lisanyacu. Packed with food for four days, we left for the bus to Serena. Once we got off the bus, we crossed the bridge over the Jatunyacu river, and walked for about half an hour on a dirt road before entering the forest. On a jungle track, we followed the Iloculin river for a couple of hours. Although the hike was mostly over even terrain and not difficult, carrying my backpack and the food soon got me sweating by the bucket. Upon arriving, I found out that at the Hostel they forgot to pack linen for me, luckily there were plenty of blankets to be found. After lunch, my volunteer guide said farewell and went back to Tena, leaving me to enjoy the place in the silence of my own company. And a beautiful place it is indeed! The kitchen and the surrounding roofed hang-out-area, sit right on the bank of the Lisanyacu (more a stream then a river), from which one gets drinking water. It’s safe to drink straight out of it. Set back from the kitchen, on a slightly higher elevation, are the three Cabaña-buildings, surrounded by a hedge and a garden with bananas and pineapples.
It rained through the afternoon, keeping me from going “hunting”. This is the rainy season in the jungle, while it is the dry season in the mountains. In the evening the rain cleared and I went on my first bug-hunt. This was also to be the most interesting one, including encounters with a Lancehead viper and several Spiders and Insects I hadn’t seen before (this is not to say the other days weren’t, I took over 650 pictures during the four days at Lisanyacu).
Two aspects of the place really surprised me: one was the total absence of mosquitoes (great!), and the other were the cold nights. And I don’t mean a bit chilly, I mean really f-ing cold! I slept with three blankets every night. I had no idea it got this cold in the Rainforest and having to put on one’s damp cold clothes every morning was a rather unpleasant procedure. It did aid the wake up process though.
I ended up having company on the last day, as they’d sent another volunteer to pick me up, a day too early, although I’d clearly paid for four nights (they’re not very organised at the hostel, still I like it). It wasn’t an issue though, as we had enough food for both. The next day we made our way back to Tena, with me thinking this probably wasn’t my last visit.