The canton of Cuyabeno is considered an intangible territory, since it is within the Cuyabeno Fauna Production Reserve, having innumerable places of great tourist potential considered as the first ecological canton of the province.
The largest water system is the Aguarico River, which feeds on the Cuyabeno, Puarya, Sábalo, Sacundo Grande, Juanillas and Guepi rivers. The great Aguarico extends through the canton carrying its waters to the Amazon.
Cuyabeno is an interesting canton for ecotourism; offers jungle tourism, sale of crafts in a house-museum. It is a highly organized canton and is ready to guide you through its paths in the forest
Culture of the Cuyabeno Canton
The Cuyabeno canton is the only one that encompasses five indigenous communities, which are: Shuar (Charap and Teikiuae), Kichwas (mouth of the Cuyabeno River), Sionas (Tarapuy, Cuyabeno and Aguarico creeks), Cofan (Aguarico creeks) and Secoya (banks of the Cuyabeno).
Nature of Cuyabeno Canton
It has the Cuyabeno Fauna Production Reserve, as well as lagoons such as Delfincocha, El Encanto, Imuya, La Represa, Santillán and others.
Flora of Cuyabeno
Among the species that stand out are: orchids, heliconias and bromeliads. They present high diversity, ferns, morete or canangucho, cordoncillo, lips of black, chambira, spear point, chuncho, pambil, tagua, balsam, palms, ceiba, sani yura, guarango, bamboo cane, shimbillo, matapalo, ungurahua, palo de cruz , quince or python, cat's claw, huito, drago blood, mountain onion, toquilla straw, ribs of Adam, sanango, ayahuasca, balsa, copal, among others. In addition to tree of lemon ants whose hollow branches are inhabited by these insects that produce a citric acid acid, protecting the plant from possible predators.
Fauna of Cuyabeno
It is estimated that there are around 1320 species: 165 of mammals, 493 of birds, 96 of amphibians, 91 of reptiles and 475 of fish.
Mammals: Vampyrum spectrum (largest bat of America), tigrillos, mate head, tapirs, armadillos, peccary, saino, anteater, water foxes, woolly foxes, among others.
Among the most representative primates we can mention the leoncillo or pocket monkey, the black or yellow hand trunks, plovers, howler monkeys and barquis.
Aquatic mammals such as: pink dolphin, giant otter and manatee.
Birds: There are 493 species; 17 are considered threatened, 31 are rare, 3 very rare: common tern, perico tui and pigeon partridge violaceae.
Among the most important species that live within the area are: macaws (red and green) that can live from 30 to 40 years; pechipunteado carpenter, corotozul momoto, piquiliso garrapatero colonizing bird of open areas, turkeys, masked tanager, toucans, big kingfisher, pygmy kingfisher the smallest of the kingfishers, harpy eagle, crested eagle, aligris trumpeter, golicastaña colaespina, piquigrande seedbed , pechinaranja falcon, among others.
Amphibians: giant toad, poisonous toads, leaf frog, arboreal frogs, salamander, rotter and others.
Reptiles: anaconda, boa emerald, green snake, parrot, X, wart; turtles like: charapa, motelo and tapaculo; alligator goggles and dwarf alligator; Guichenot's iguana; salamancas, and the Tropidurus flaviceps.
Fish: Studies of the Aguarico basin indicate that there are 475 species of fish; the highest diversity of species than any other basin in Ecuador. The most represented species are white piranha, paco a large fish that is characterized by having a double row of teeth very desirable for its meat, and sabaletas.
Places to visit in Cuyabeno Canton
Cuyabeno Fauna Production Reserve (RPFC)
How to bequeath to the Cuyabeno Fauna Production Reserve from Quito?
You must reach the city of Lago Agrio by land (270 km asphalt road) or by air (35 minutes).
How to bequeath to the Cuyabeno Fauna Production Reserve from Lago Agrio?
Bridge of the Cuyabeno. Take the Lago Agrio - Tarapoa - Puerto El Carmen de Putumayo road until you reach the bridge over the Cuyabeno River (100 km) and where the control post for the entrance to the Reserve is located. From the bridge you navigate through the river to the Laguna Grande. The trip by the river takes 1h40 approximately, depending on the level of the river.
How to bequeath to the Cuyabeno Fauna Production Reserve along the Aguarico River?
You take the road to Puerto Mercedes, from where you navigate through the Aguarico River. Along the river there are several indigenous communities.
Cuyabeno Fauna Production Reserve is a place with great biodiversity, home to one of the largest concentrations of wildlife, both in flora and fauna. A complex system of rainy formations, 14 lagoons, rivers and a tropical forest that make the 603,000 hectares a record in terms of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world.
The Cuyabeno has more than 550 different species of birds: 60 species of orchids; more than 350 species of fish; a great variety of reptiles such as anacondas, caimans and river turtles. The plant species found within the reserve are estimated at 12,000. And many species of mammals, including the incredible Tapir (Tapirus terrestris).
The Reserve is also home to rare species, such as the mythical pink river dolphin, the Hoatzin or eagle of the region, with its eight-foot wing opening.
Since the Cuyabeno Reserve belongs to the National System of Protected Areas, very few Tourism Operators are qualified to work in this area. This is one reason why there are not many tourists visiting the area, so you can enjoy nature and its magnificent sounds.
In its western part, the reserve starts at the foothills of the Andes, but quickly entering the Amazon plains. Thus, west of the main entrance of the part, the terrain is still hilly, but quickly the terrain becomes flatter. There are two very flat floodplains, where you can find interconnected lagoon systems: the first is where the Laguna Cuyabeno (or Grande), the other on the border with Peru. Originally, the reserve only incorporates the entire basin of the Cuyabeno River, but with its extension, includes parts of the Aguarico and Putumayo Rivers. The terrain outside the plains consists of firm land on generally very low hills.
Due to the conditions that Cuyabeno provides, one of the main uses of the reserve is Ecotourism, both by private companies and by the residents of the sector, one of the main attractions of Delfíncocha since it offers the ease of swimming with the dolphins.
The pink dolphin, or river dolphin is a species that lives exclusively in rivers, lagoons and freshwater pipes of the Amazon basin. It can be found in shallow waters during the flood season, when its habitat is filled with trees and plants that are part of the forest floor, creating an interesting obstacle course through which the dolphin must move when going in look for its prey. For this reason the pink dolphin is more flexible and slow than the dolphins of the ocean.
Feeding the Dolphin
The pink dolphin feeds mainly on fish and can occasionally eat mollusks and crustaceans. This species seems to prefer to prey on solitary fish than schools.
The dolphin usually drag its prey to the bottom and tear off their heads before swallowing them. If the fish are very large, in addition to tearing off their heads, the dolphin usually breaks them in half with the back teeth before eating them.
Legends of the Pink Delfin
It is believed that the pink dolphin can live close to 30 years, but the data about its life period are still little known. There are no known records of predators for this species, however in the Amazonian region there are some legends that can endanger their lives.
- It is believed that this animal, on full moon nights, embarrasses any woman who enters the river while in her fertile period.
- Another legend says that on full moon nights when there are parties, the dolphin transforms into a man and goes to parties to seduce the women of the region, all dressed in white and wearing a straw hat to hide the blowhole. And it is believed that any woman who walks by the river in a canoe at the time of her menstruation, will one day receive a visit from the dolphin that will get her pregnant.
Because of these legends pink dolphins have been credited with the paternity of all the children without a father in the region and it is said that in some cases there are children registered in the notaries as children of the dolphin. For this reason the men of the region in many cases try to end the life of these animals because they do not want them to embarrass their women.