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Introducing Misahuallí

The sleepiest of all jungle towns, Misahuallí (Mee-sah-wah-YEE) sits swathed in greenery on the junction of two major rivers. On Saturday night, lights blink on and off the main square (more shortages) and a waitress from the coast longs for the thrill of a steamy salsoteca (salsa nightclub). Locals may be bored but many a traveler is attracted to this very inertia, of swirling river currents and sunny sandbanks. The proverbial end of the road, Misahuallí (also called Puerto Misahuallí) is still boxed off by water but across the river a dirt road links small villages as far as Bellavista.

This used to be a bustling connection for jungle tours, but nowadays most trips are booked in Quito. The surrounding area has been colonized for decades, and most mammals have been either hunted out or had their habitats encroached upon to the point where they cannot survive. What you can see, if you keep your eyes open – or better still, with a local guide – is a variety of jungle birds, tropical flowers, army ants, dazzling butterflies and other insects.

Misahuallí still offers good guide services and most of them will go further afoot to Parque Nacional Yasuní or Cuyabeno for big jungle adventures. While setting up a trip, enjoy the rolling and rugged physical geography of Misahuallí’s outskirts and the hospitable village life.