The vast tract of land locally known as Amazonía holds more drama than a rip-roaring flood or crackling lightning storm. Rivers churn from the Andes into the dense, sweltering rainforest on course for the Amazon basin. Along the way, ancient indigenous tribes call riverbanks home and astounding wildlife can be glimpsed. Those lucky enough to reach the remoter jungle lodges (several hours downriver from the nearest towns) will be able to fish for piranhas on silent blackwater lakes, hear the menacing boom of howler monkeys, spot the shining eyes of caiman at nighttime and – perhaps – spy one of those elusive bigger mammals such as a tapir or jaguar.
Exploring the Oriente gives you the unforgettable experience of seeing the natural world up close and personal. But this region is not just jungle. Ecuador's best thermal spa, most spectacular waterfall, most active volcanoes and most formidable white-water rapids also await.