Unusually for a jungle transport hub, Tena is a charming place where many travelers find themselves hanging around quite happily for days before or after a trip into the rainforest. While it won’t win architectural prizes anytime soon, Tena has a friendly population, a gorgeous setting surrounded by jungle-covered hills and lots of backpacker infrastructure. White-water fanatics from around the globe come to paddle and play on the high concentration of surrounding rivers, and the town is home to lots of experienced and highly recommended kayaking operators.

The capital of Napo province, Tena was founded in 1560 and plagued by early indigenous uprisings. Jumandy, chief of the Kichwa, led a fierce but unsuccessful revolt against the Spaniards in 1578. The anniversary of the town’s foundation is celebrated on November 15 with live music and community events.