We are found within a 5000-acre private ecological reserve in Ecuador's Amazon region, an accessible yet pristine rainforest sanctuary where you and your family may enjoy a true jungle adventure in safety and comfort.
Sacha Lodge (“Sacha” is the Quichua Indian word meaning “forest”) was a dream founded by Arnold Ammeter, or as he is more commonly known, "Benny."
In 1985, Benny opened his first tourist lodge, " La Casa del Suizo," on the Upper Napo at the village of Ahuano . Today, La Casa del Suizo is still functioning there as a successful tourist resort.
As civilization slowly approached Ahuano, Benny, who was captivated by the wilderness, decided to search for a location to construct a lodge deeper in the forest. While he liked many of the sights he visited, he found that they weren't suitable for his vision of a rainforest lodge, since all of the land was government owned. One day after leaving Pañacocha (Iocated two hours downstream from Sacha Lodge) he stopped to speak with one of the locals living on the bank of the lower Napo. Benny spoke of his dream and the gentleman told him that he knew of the perfect place for a lodge. Together they hiked through a swamp, not knowing that the trail would soon become Sacha's present day boardwalk ("El Anden"), and arrived at an isolated lagoon. Benny immediately fell in love with this lake, called Pilchicocha, and decided that it was the site he had been looking for. He then met with ten local landowners in nearby Coca, and purchased 500 hectares of their properties surrounding Pilchicocha. In October of 1991, 170 employees began construction of Sacha Lodge and it's famous wooden tower (“ La Torre ”).
Six months later, the initial construction of Sacha was complete. In April of 1992, Sacha Lodge was officially opened with six guest rooms, a dining room, and housing for guides and other staff. During the first six months, Benny lived at and managed the lodge himself.
Since its foundation in 1992, Sacha Lodge has proven that it is possible to sustain a healthy balance between economic development, rainforest conservation, local human advancement and respect to local culture. We pride ourselves by maintaining this social and ecological responsibility, which is the basis of true Ecotourism. Sacha is an Ecuadorian company and 100% of its proceeds remain in Ecuador, generating employment for more than 100 families who form a part of our team. Most Lodge employees come from local communities (the few exceptions being the administrator, chef and bilingual guides), making Sacha the largest tourism-sector employer in Ecuador’s Amazon region. This not only brings direct economic benefits to these communities, but also provides them with a practical alternative to harmful activities such as logging and oil exploration. In addition, having employees work as native guides offers them the opportunity to share their ancestral knowledge with others plus an incentive to continue passing it on to their children in a changing world. Since 1995 Sacha has also invested heavily in acquiring land from neighboring colonists. Not to be confused with rainforest natives, these colonists came from cities and would have relied on heavy farming and hunting to survive. Thanks to such efforts, we have saved over 5000 acres from deforestation and are now the largest private reserve in the Ecuadorian rainforest. Through our efforts, we hope to help ensure that future generations of both natives and visitors have the opportunity to continue enjoying the wonders of the tropical rainforest.
The journey to Sacha Jungle Lodge begins in Quito, Ecuador's capital city. From here, a 25-minute flight takes you over the Andes Mountains' majestic snow-covered peaks and down over 8500 feet (2600 meters) into the Amazon Region. The flight destination is the port town of Puerto Francisco de Orellana where you will be met by a bilingual guide and taken to a private dock. From the docks it is a 2 hour canoe ride with opportunities to spot many birds on the river. Upon arrival to Sacha Lodge's 5000-acre (2000-hectare) private reserve, our guests will take their first walk along a raised boardwalk through dense flooded palm forest where several species of monkeys are often sighted. The path leads to Pilchicocha lake, a blackwater paradise where you'd least expect to find any sign of people, but dugout canoes (and even paddlers) await to carry you even farther. As you cross the lake, the cries of tropical birds lead you to your final destination and home base for an exciting jungle experience.