Cuyabeno, Ecuador, Aguarico, Amazon Rainforest

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Lago Agrio

This town pulses with the life of the oil industry, a chaotic market, dusty streets, thick traffic and gritty bars. The first oil workers nicknamed Lago Agrio ‘bitter lake,’ after Sour Lake, Texas, the former home of Texaco, which pioneered local drilling. The city’s official name is Nueva Loja, although no one calls it that. Locals settle for ‘Lago.’ Certain realities exist here, including a high amount of sex work and crime related to the nearby Colombian border: take care at all times, especially after dark. Lago is mainly visited as the entry point to the spectacular Reserva de Producción Faunística Cuyabeno (Cuyabeno Reserve), which offers some of Ecuador's best wildlife-spotting opportunities.

Leave the planning to a local expert

Experience the real Lago Agrio. Let a local expert handle the planning for you.

Get started


Must-see attractions for your itinerary

Plan with a local


Purchase our award-winning guidebooks

Get to the heart of Lago Agrio with one of our in-depth, award-winning guidebooks, covering maps, itineraries, and expert guidance.