This 25-sq-km biological station and rainforest reserve is located on the south shore of the Río Napo, 23km east of Puerto Napo. It is run by Fundación Jatun Sacha, an Ecuadorian nonprofit organization that was formed to promote rainforest research, conservation and education.
Many new species have been discovered here since the 1990s, including the butterfly Passiflora jatunsachensis, and biodiversity is very high for the area, with an estimated 1500 types of plants in a single hectare.
With neighboring areas being rapidly cleared for logging and agriculture, the biodiversity of Jatun Sacha is precious. Besides counting and tracking local species, the foundation develops reforestation initiatives and agro-forestry alternatives with local farming communities and indigenous groups.
Biostation workers and other guests stay in rustic cabins with shared bathrooms just up from the entrance on the Misahuallí–La Punta road. Water is solar-heated and meals are included. The restaurant by the office at the reserve entrance serves healthy Ecuadorian and international meals.
Go bird-watching or meander through the surrounding forest trails, then check out the plant conservation center and botanical garden. You can also borrow a climbing harness and scale the vertigo-inducing 30m observation tower in the middle of the reserve. There are discounts for groups and students, and guided tours are offered for large groups for $40.