Why visit Tena. Things to do in Tena. Many travellers skip Tena because of the lack of information. This little corner of Ecuador has more to offer than you might think. I have had a great time in Baños de agua santa (one of the most popular places of tourism in my country), Quito (the capital and its colonial part can be done in one day), and Riobamba (a city in the highlands that is very popular for its landscapes and it’s climbing opportunities), but what you are missing here is big time. I will explain you why:
– You can stay with communities and ethnic groups around Napo, Anzu, and the Misahualli river. You will be able not only to stay in rustic houses made of bamboo, but also you will be able to experience a normal day of a Quechua family.
– In Tena and it’s surroundings, you will experience the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin, with more than 250 endemic species.
– 20 minutes away from Tena, you will find the Jumandy Caves. There were a refuge for Jumandy, an Inca warrior during the spanish invasion. There is a lot of history and scientific research in these caves. These caves are similar to other ones in Brazil because of the similarity in temperature, stalactite forms, and the species (animals and plants) found there. A short tour can take 45 minutes and can be scary because of the darkness, but they are definitely something that has to be seen. It has not been proved of the caves have an end.
– The food in this area is amazing. It is normally prepared on firewood and cooked in bamboo or rolled in a leaf similar to the banana leaf. This way of cooking is called Maito and makes the food taste delicious. Mainly fish and chicken will be cooked this way. Another typical food is the chontacorro (worm of chonta palm) for all the worm lovers. Some communities less connected with the society even eat monkey, turtle, and snake. That should not be surprising to you when Ecuadorians are worldwide known as guinea pig eaters. The food is totally different to the food in the highland and coast of Ecuador.
– The rivers are definitely a main attraction in Tena. They are famous worldwide for the green kayak and rafting activities. It is something that you cannot miss, especially if you are in Ecuador around January (Kayak festival) or in February (they celebrate Carnival like crazy). During the rafting tours, the combination of good weather, landscape, and nice food is something to remember.
– There are more than 20 waterfalls spots that you can visit, rivers and lakes only a few minutes away by bus.
– From Tena, you will also be close to the biggest waterfall of Ecuador. La cascada San Rafael is 150 m high and is 15 m wide. It is a spectacle.
– There is also a large range of options for volunteering work. For example, you can work with animals in nonprofit organizations like the Amazoonico Ecological Reserve, teach English and German in communities located in the middle of the jungles, or you can learn about fauna with organizations like Jatun Sacha. Normally you will need to stay at least 2 weeks to participate in these activities.
– You can do an express trip by motorized canoe in the Napo River (it is best to do it in groups) or a chilled one by canoa remo combined with fishing while enjoying the beautiful sunset.
– There are many more interesting reasons why to visit Tena but you will have to experience yourself.
The offer for hostels, tourist agencies, and restaurants is big and adjusted to all budgets.
I will do a post with more detailed information about all what I mentioned above. I hope you found this post informative. See you next time.