Sacha Yacu is located within the Ecuadorian rainforest in the eastern region of the country called “El Oriente.” The closest small town is called El Triunfo, a mere 20 minute bus ride from the wildlife rescue. Although you will not find internet or phone access here (perhaps coming soon!), you can visit a couple of mom-and-pop type bars and shops to restock on snacks and mingle with the local people. Another forty minutes down the road (at an hour ride on the bus from the center), you will find Puyo. Puyo is the largest local town and offers a variety of services like laundry facilities, loads of Internet cafes, bars, clubs, and shops. They even have a water park! Puyo, also known as El Puyo, is the capital of Pastaza, a province in Ecuador. Puyo is located at an altitude of approximately 950 feet above sea level by the Puyo River, a tributary of the Pastaza River, which eventually leads into the Amazon River. True to its name, derived from the Quechua word for “cloudy”, the local climate is a wet one, with frequent daily downpours in a mix of sun and rain.
The main street of Puyo, c. 1900
Puyo was founded in 1899. Located between Baños, and the Amazonian cities of Tena and Macas, Puyo is the commercial, cultural and political capital of the region. The city is connected by road to Ambato,Tena, and Macas and from there to the major urban areas of Ecuador. In late 2006, the city had approximately 25,000 inhabitants. It was the fastest growing city in Ecuador in 2006.The seasonal changes in the climate are relatively small, and daytime temperature typically range between 18-24 °C, (64°F -75°F), though it can be quite a bit hotter mid-day. A small airport is located in the small town of Shell, approximately 10 kilometres north-west of Puyo. Small aircraft, both private and commercial, depart daily to small airstrips in the Amazon Rainforest, and occasionally to Quito in the case of severe medical emergencies. The Puyo Carnaval, a famous Ecuadorian holiday, is celebrated each year in the days leading up to Lent. The custom is to have small neighbourhood parties, and water fights are sometimes involved. Other major holidays are the Day of the Ecuadorian East Amazon on February 12, and the chonta-palm festival.