Sunbathing on white sand shores, witnessing the sunrise reflecting in the water, playing with monkeys, discovering jungle wildlife, and wandering deep inside the rain forest where you will see ancient trees… these are just a few glimpses of what to do in Misahuallí, Ecuador.
Misahuallí, a charming village considered the oldest port in the Ecuadorian Amazon, is located 25 kilometers (15.5 mi) southeast of Tena at the junction of the Napo and Misahuallí rivers. It’s still a popular spot to organize jungle tours that includes visits to various indigenous communities.
Most Popular Attractions in Misahuallí
Capuchin monkeys will probably be the first locals to welcome you in Misahuallí! These cute mischievous buddies are used to interacting with humans but remember they are wild animals and will often take anything that appears attractive to them – from snacks to cameras – so enjoy these encounters but be wise enough to take good care of your belongings!
Have you ever pictured a beach in the heart of the rain forest? Well, it’s real! Or should I say surreal?
Undoubtedly Misahuallí’s most important natural attraction is its 700 mts. (0.44 miles) of white sandy beach, the best place to escape the hot and humid rain forest weather. It’s a very popular spot with the locals, especially on weekends.
If you are a butterfly lover you won’t want to miss the Misahuallí Butterfly Farm located a few blocks from the Central Park. This magical place is home to the stunning iridescent blue Morpho butterfly – among other species – and you can also learn about every stage of a butterfly’s life cycle.
Just a few steps from the Central Park on the banks of the Misahuallí River you will find Monkey Island, which was named for the insane number of Machin monkeys that live there. You’ll fall in love with these cheeky little creatures and perhaps one of them will make you believe it loves you too!
Still wondering what to do in Misahuallí, Ecuador? What about hugging an ancient tree?
Let me introduce you to the Ancient Ceibo Tree, which is more than 50 meters tall! Locals claim that it takes 27 men with arms outstretched to hug this colossus! This amazing tree is almost 400 years old and it’s located 3 kms. (1.9 miles) from Misahuallí near a small village called Pununo.
Only 15 minutes from Misahuallí on the road to Tena, you will find the Latas Waterfalls. A 40-minute trek beside the river will take you to three beautiful waterfalls, where a refreshing swim and the remarkable landscape are the perfect rewards for your efforts.
Extreme sports in Misahuallí
Are you craving adrenaline?
The Misahuallí and Napo Rivers are an open invitation for some adventure activities!
Rafting and kayaking
The beautiful Misahuallí River provides the perfect setting for extreme adventurers with plenty of rapids (level IV to VI+). Riding these waters you will have the opportunity to navigate jungle-lined canyons and admire waterfalls up to 9 meters high!
Tubing in the Napo River allows you to feel the energy of its waters while observing and hearing the beautiful diversity of animals and plants in the jungle. The Napo River is also recommended for beginner-level rafting and kayaking (level III max).
You can also book canoe trips on the Napo River to visit indigenous communities, some of whom have animal rescue centers. You may not consider this extreme until you meet some of the most amazing rain forest animals, such as the jaguar, the caiman, the boa constrictor and anaconda!
Local Indigenous Communities
Misahualli is located in Kichwa territory and 75% of its population consider themselves Kichwa.
Do you feel like immersing yourself in the Kichwa culture? Take a ride down the Napo River and visit the Shiripuno and Muyuna communities to learn about their ancestral music, dances, customs, and gastronomy, as well as their shamanic rituals and community tourism projects. Also, don’t forget to check out their traditional handmade crafts made with materials gathered from the rain forest!
Enjoy The Local Cuisine
Whether you decide to eat in one of the Ecuadorian restaurants in Misahuallí town center or try a traditional meal in an indigenous community, it will be an interesting experience, especially if you’re up for trying some jungle cuisine!
Are you ready for new flavors and textures?
- Maito de tilapia: This dish consists of a fish wrapped in leaves of bijao or plantain (maito means “wrapped” in Kichwa), cooked over hot coals and served with cassava (yucca) and salad. A variation of this dish is prepared with chicken instead of fish (maito de pollo).
- Chontacuro: Strange yet tasty, the base of this dish is a big grub or worm that inhabits a specific species of palm tree called the chonta. The worm is full of protein and you can try it either raw or grilled!
- Guayusa tea: You can drink this beverage either hot or cold. Indigenous communities traditionally drink this tea in the early morning hours before heading to work because it contains caffeine and is a good source of energy. They also drink it while analyzing their dreams!
But don’t worry, not every Amazonian meal will be a challenge!
- Chocolate: Yes, you read it right! One of the most fun activities provided by the indigenous communities in Misahuallí is harvesting, toasting, grinding, and of course, tasting this divine gift!
Ok, now that “what to do in Misahuallí – Ecuador” is solved, you may be thinking about the best options to get there. Lucky for you, we have the answers:
- Wander Pass Express: This trip includes the highlights of the Sierra. It starts and ends in Quito, passing through Cotopaxi, Quilotoa, Baños, Puyo, Misahuallí, Paikawe Lagoon, Tena, The Santa Rita Community (the home of the best chocolate in Ecuador), and Papallacta thermal springs.
- Amazona Pass: This pass immerses you into the jungle, taking you from Baños to Misahuallí, including stops in Puyo and Paikawe Lagoon.
- Wander Pass + Amazona Pass: The best of the Sierra, the rain forest, AND the coast all in one package! Don’t forget to bring your camera!
- Cotinga Pass: You’ll board in Baños and head to Quito, stopping en route to visit Puyo, Misahuallí, Paikawe Lagoon, Tena, The Santa Rita Community, and Papallacta thermal springs. What a treat!
- Amazon Rainforest Tours: Wanderbus also offers you two epic rainforest tours! Just book any of the prior passes, hop-off at Misahuallí, take a 20-minute taxi ride to Punta Ahuano, and then… let the jungle adventure begin!
What are you waiting for?!