Tena

Tena is a town in Ecuador's Amazon Jungle area. Tena is the capital of the Napo Province an attractive and quiet city in the Amazon rainforest. Tena is known as the “cinnamon capital" of Ecuador, Tena has emerged as one of the top industrialized center as founded by the missionary explorers. Tena is the home to a major regional hospital and many tourist related businesses, including a small size airport and a vital bus terminal.

Understand

Tena is a popular launching point for jungle, kayaking and rafting tours in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest region. The entry to the city is marked by a statue of the indigenous hero Jumandy, who courageously led an uprising against the Spanish colonizers in 1578, and was subsequently executed.

At the unification of the Tena and Pano rivers in the center of town lies a popular pedestrian bridge, "el puente peatonal". The rivers become the Tena River, which soon joins with the Misahualli and eventually flows into the Napo River. The Napo winds its way east into Peru and Brazil, and is in effect the 9th largest tributary to the Amazon River.

Tena is popular with travelers, since it is known as being peaceful, orderly, clean and more geared towards tourists. Many inexpensive hotels, tourist agencies, and restaurants cater to backpackers who commonly use the town as a jumping-off point for trips into the rainforest. Tena is surrounded by forested hills and is located at the edge of the Andes, which are visible to the west.

Tena and its surrounding indigenous communities are also bases for many volunteers working for reforestation projects, with community support in development initiatives in diverse, but connected areas such as bio-piracy, ecotourism and capacity building. Ecuador has one of the best politically organized indigenous populations in Latin America and Tena houses two major confederations, Fonakin (Federacion de Organisaciones de la Nacionalidades Kichwa de Napo) and Ashin (Association de Shamanes Indigenas de Napo); one of the major stand-offs during the 2001 indigenous uprising in Ecuador, took place here.

In comparison to Puyo, the capital of the neighboring province Pastaza, which is both bigger and growing faster, Tena has a lively night life with bars that cater to foreigners. Friday and Saturday nights crowds of volunteers, guides (both indigenous and foreign), and local young people assemble in the "discotecas" playing reggaeton, salsa, and pop music. One will also find a wide variety of "comidas tipicas", preparing and serving food in the traditional manners of the local peoples

Get in

Bus from Quito (about 6 hours). Busses normally don't stop during 6 hours. Make sure you don't drink too much before your travel. Locals selling food and drink will often come onto the bus at various stops selling food and drink at reasonable prices. Some buses will have toilet facilities on board, however many times they will not allow men to use these, only women, so be careful! . Costs: about 7 US$ (2013). Flights from Quito to the new airport Jumandy in Ahuano on the Napo river, 3 times a week.

Get around

A taxi trip in Tena costs 1 $ only for places outside it costs more. As an orientation a trip from Tena to Archidona costs 4 $, which is about 8-10 km, taxi to Misahualli $ 8.

Some roads in the Oriente are still unpaved, but many roads are now paved, like the road from Quito to Tena. There is regular bus service to Tena via Baeza from the Quitumbe bus terminal. Tena's new airport is in Ahuano, a taxi to/from there is about $15. It's a good idea to agree upon the price before riding in a taxi.

See

Biological Station "Jatun Sacha" (1 hour bus drive). Animals Rescue Station "Amazoonico". (1.5 hour bus drive).

Do

Tena is famous for the rainforest and rivers that surround it. The jungle, especially if you get outside the city 15 or 20 kilometers, is impressive. First-timers will be changed forever after they lay their eyes on a pristine stretch of Amazon. There is no shortage of jungle guides or tour operators, many have offices in the center of town on Avenida 15 de Noviembre.

·Archidona - a colonial town, founded in 1560, north of Tena, Archidona still serves as one of the region's main missionary outposts. It's also a business and social center for the small Quichua communities in its vicinity. Archidona's festivals attract people from all around and several times throughout the year there are Quichua beauty and culture pageants, in which contestants, drawn from the many Quichua communities in the area, compete for the title of "Queen of the Quichua". The pageants are a unique opportunity to hear Quichua spoken and sung and to see some very old dances and customs. There are several elimination rounds and the finale is usually held in April.

Protect the Amazon Rainforest near Tena! - For those of you interested in not only exploring the Amazon Rainforest but in conserving it, as well, you can do your part by adopting an acre of rainforest in the Ecuadorian Amazon or by adopting a chocolate tree, a vital resource in conserving this unique ecosystem for future generations.

Getting There: 1) you can go to Misahualli and arrange a tour with one of the tour agencies (beware of the canoe drivers on the main square, they are not licensed guides), who will take you there via boat along the Napo river (very beautiful, and you can also visit the Amozoonico zoo afterward).

2) you can hop on a bus going to Ahuano and ask them to let you off at Ñukanchi Kausay, or you can get dropped off at Jatun Sacha and check that out before walking over to the Nukanchi Kausay (only a 5 minute walk down the road).

3) I think you can also go there tubing from either Tena or Misahualli - ask around.

Gregorio is also well versed in Amazonian medicinal plants, and leads a number of exciting jungle walks to see and talk about medicinal plants, shamism, and various jungle animals. If you have some time, stick around for a while. The community even has a bar.

Buy

Eat

Tena's selection of good eateries is sparse. But there are a few recommended:

Sleep

Go next

The bus terminal is quite small, there are buses leaving to Puyo, Quito and Baños regularly - about every 3-5 hours during day and night. The prices and services of the different bus companies are nearly the same, so you just need to check for the departure time.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 17, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.