When most travelers start researching trips to the Rio Napo in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador, they find a list of very expensive lodges accessible only by plane or by boat. But the Oriente of Ecuador is full of small, local communities wedged in between the urban towns and the wild places. The following photos were taken from a small community on the Rio Napo.

It’s been a couple of years since we visited this exact location. We stayed at the Casa del Suizo and I left a scathing review on Trip Advisor. I accused them of false advertising – basically they are selling a jungle experience when they are not in the jungle at all. While the location is removed from the town of Tena, it is not as remote as their website would lead you to believe.

I wouldn’t have minded a weekend in this location if I had honestly understood that the hotel lies within a small town with a school, stores, restaurants, artisan’s shops, streets, and cars. This might come as a suprise to tourists who arrive by boat and have been sold an escape to the wilds of eastern Ecuador. Day trips required climbing into a boat to go even further upriver. No hiking trails on site.

These photos serve as a lesson to travel in Ecuador. It is never impossible to find subject matter, even when the trip at hand fails to meet the your expectations.

Originally published in Ecuador Por Mis Ojos, these photos are part of a joint project between myself and the Ecuadorian Geographic Military Institute. If you would like to purchase prints, please visit the Napo Gallery on my photography sales site.