Pathways through cloud forests, routes through thousand-year-old caves and visits to thermal springs are some of the activities that can be enjoyed in the north of the province.
Ecuador's great Amazonian plain starts precisely where the mighty Andes end and also where the Antisana mountain lies, a place of eternal snows and great biodiversity.
Napo is very privileged in terms of its geographical location. It starts at the edge of the eastern part of the Andes mountain range and descends into an Amazonian plain. Its western border boasts mountains such as Cerro Hermoso, part of the Llanganates mountain range, as well as Sincholagua, Cotopaxi, Antisana and Saraurco. On this border line, there are also hundreds of lagoons, most of which are unknown to the majority of the population. In the third mountain range's stretch, there is the Sumaco volcano, Pan de Azúcar, Cerro Negro and Reventador. Macaws fly in a south-easterly direction due to the location of three watering holes.
To the north, there is the mouth of the River Quijos. The Quijos and its tributaries begin in the Eastern Andes. They flow north to finally turn east where the Quijos, along with the River Coca, flow into the River Napo in the heart of the city of Puerto Francisco de Orellana (Coca). Here we find the cantons of Quijos and El Chaco. Baeza was the first city that the Spanish founded in the province of Napo. The sacred Quijos valley is an area rich in flora and fauna, archaeological remains, thermal springs, lagoons, waterfalls and fast-flowing rivers which are ideal for adventure sports like kayaking and rafting.
In the centre, there is the mouth of the River Misahualli. The River Misahualli and its tributaries begin in the third mountain range. They form a beautiful valley right where the cities of Tena and Misahualli are found. The Misahualli flows into the River Napo in the heart of the city of Misahualli.
To the south, there is the mouth of the River Napo. The River Napo joins with the rivers Jatunyaku and Anzu which begin in the eastern mountain range. The Anzu forms the valley of the canton Arosemena Tola.
HERE ARE SOME REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT THE AMAZING PROVINCE OF NAPO
TENA: Due to its unique characteristics, Tena is considered one of the most biodiverse places in Ecuador's Amazon region and is therefore one of the most visited places. It is popular amongst foreigners and Ecuadorians who come looking for adventure or a place to relax in. It is also loved by nature experts who come to investigate different species that inhabit the area.
Tena, the provincial capital, is a departure point for many tours to discover the magic that surrounds the Amazon region with its birdsongs, its rainbow-coloured butterflies, its deep caves, its ancestral myths and legends, its fast-flowing rivers, the murmur of its waterfalls and the beauty of its forests.
The local people, cuisine, culture, customs and traditions are part of the richness that Tena offers. Community tourism is a popular option, allowing people to live with indigenous communities who maintain their culture by living in harmony with nature.
The adventure sports like rafting, kayaking and tubing along the River Napo are some of the emblems of the province which allow tourists to delight in the natural surroundings. Bird-watching trips are also popular for those who want to experience the Amazon region in all its splendour. Only three hours from Quito and three and half hours from Ambato, Tena is a place where dreams come true.
GENERAL FACTS ABOUT THE PROVINCE
SAN JUAN DE LOS DOS RIOS DE TENA
TENA: founded by the Spanish captain Gil Ramírez Dávalos on 15th November 1560.
LOCATION: located in the heart of the Amazon region in the province of Napo, 186 km from Quito- Ecuador's capital city.
POLITICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS
Cantons: Tena, Archidona, El Chaco, Quijos, Arosemena Tola
Tena, the provincial capital, is made up of seven parishes: Tena, Puerto Misahualli, Ahuano, Chonta Punta, Pano, Puerto Napo y Talag.
Total surface area: 12.476 Km.
Altitude: 526 metres above sea level
Population: 82.610 inhabitants
Climate: hot and humid
Temperature: between 9ºC and 28ºC
Demographics: Napo has the highest population of all the Amazon provinces. The two most important ethnic groups are Kichwa and Huaorani.
• Sumaco National: to the northeast
• Antisana Ecological Reserve : to the west
• Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve: to the north
• Llanganates National Park: The park entrance is found in the south of the province. One entrance point is from the community of Talag.
• Papallacta: Located between Quito and Baeza, it is famous for its thermal springs where visitors can relax in the refreshing waters. The Papallacta Lake provides Quito and the surrounding area with drinking water and also with trout.
• San Rafael Waterfall: This is one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern area of Ecuador. The waterfall, part of the River Quijos, is 160 metres high. The entrance to the waterfall is found right at the border between Napo and Sucumbíos on the main road between Quito and Nueva Loja (Lago Agrio). It takes about half an hour to walk from the road to the waterfall and you can see rich flora along the way.
DRIVING DISTANCES FROM TENA TO OTHER MAIN CITIES
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From Quito to Tena, the main road is the Troncal Amazónica which goes through the towns of Papallacta, Baeza and Archidona. The other road is from Quito to Tena is via Ambato, Baños and Puyo. There are also tarmacked roads between the city and rural parishes, making it possible to visit local tourist attractions.