Tena has evolved as the ambassador of the jungle, a cheerful hodgepodge with two fat rivers intersecting at its heart. White-water paddlers get giddy in the rafting and kayaking capital of Ecuador; there are so many rafting options and a cold beer and toasty bed back in town. Even if the river’s not your cup of tea, this is a good place to kick back and visit nearby waterfalls and indigenous communities. Breezes off the Río Tena and Río Pano keep the climate comfortable.
The capital of Napo province, Tena was founded in 1560 and plagued by early indigenous uprisings. Jumandy, chief of the Quijos, led a fierce but unsuccessful revolt against the Spaniards in 1578. Today, the area is largely agricultural – cattle ranches and coffee and banana plantations abound.
The anniversary of Tena’s foundation is celebrated on November 15, when live music and community events take place the entire week.
Tena destination guides
Speed is the watchword for this high-adrenaline active tour around Ecuador. Across nine action-packed days, you’ll bike Cotopaxi (an Andean stratovolcano), raft down rushing rivers, trek the lush foothills of Baños, and much, much more.
Ecuador on a shoestring
Get an insight into the wonderful South American country of Ecuador on this week-long journey. Discover the culture and charisma of the famed Otavalo Markets, explore the incredible Amazon while guests of a local family, relax in the laidback town of Banos and soak in the charm of Quito, one of South America's most beguiling capitals.