**FOOD & DRINKS
Our kitchen gives preference to local products that are in season in our Farm to Table menus.
Organically grown fruits and vegetables, fresh fish and a variety of meats.
If you read the guest comments about the food at the Yachana Lodge, you might get the impression that we have a chef trained in professional school.
Our cooker has not trained in haute cuisine and didn’t need to be as he is very talented and knows how to use his own local ingredients to perfection.
The Yachana Training Center’s kitchen staff is made up of graduates from the Yachana’s schools or other young people from nearby communities.
Our guests are continuously surprise with the combinations of flavors, local ingredients, nouvelle recipes and simple presentation.
At the Yachana Training Center we want to hold the same reputation than our guest reviews have been writing on webs of the meals we served in all 5-star comments about the old Yachana Lodge’s food.
In addition, we received support from the National Geographic Conservation Trust toward our “Lost Foods of the Amazon” initiative and this effort remains a major culinary component for Yachana today.
Our menu is constantly evolving to reflect what is fresh locally or to the dietary needs of our guests.
Part of every culture is its food; at Yachana emphasizing traditional foods becomes an education and a delight to the guest.
The Dining Venue
- Breakfast served at 7:30 am [except on early birding mornings]
- Lunch served at 1:00 pm daily
- Dinner served at 7:00 pm daily
Expect locally sourced, freshly prepared meals.
Breakfasts consist of homemade bread, locally sourced tropical fruits, yogurt, eggs, pancakes, oatmeal and juice and coffee/teas.
Lunches and dinners aconsist of a soup course, main course with vegetables and salad, and desserts combining Ecuadorian and international cuisine.
All fresh fruits and salads are thoroughly disinfected using our ownozonated water.
At all times we also provide ozone treated drinking water, coffee or tea and we provide natural fruit juices during breakfast, lunch and diner.
If any visitor has special dietary requirements, we are happy to make individual arrangements, but please notify us when booking.
An extraordinary eating experience is our Lost Foods of the Amazon lunch.
You will take a tour of a local farm, harvest produce then return to our kitchen to cook authentic foods directly with our chef.
Dishes include : Maito [fish wrapped/cooked in a rumi panga leaf], Chontacuro [chonta palm larvae raw or fried], Stinging Nettles [boiled served as salad] and Heart of Palm [freshly harvested].
The experiences we offer at Yachana Training Center Hotel-School will elevate your expectations of what you can learn about the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin.
Excursions are led by qualified and experienced local guides who will engage your senses and help you explore the area surrounding the lodge.
The Ecuadorian Amazon is home to thousands of indigenous and mestizo people who have lived her for millennia.
To visit the area and not learn about the past history, the now and the future of the area would not be “living the Amazon”.
Our excursions are designed exclusively for our guests and are included in your package visit when you visit us.
For those looking for a custom and personalized itinerary, optional and specialized tours are also available.
Some of the more popular activities we offer are listed below and apply to either 4 or 5 days packages.
When not directly participating in daily tours please explore our beautiful gardens that surround the Center or relax and absorb the sounds, smells and environment of the area.
All formal activities include one of our experienced guides to ensure you get the most of your experience.
Activities are subject to change due to weather conditions, desires, logistical limitations and the duration of your stay at the lodge.
Local guides give expert interpretation of the varied flora and fauna you can expect to experience the rainforest of the Yachana Ecological Reserve.
Opportunities for hikes in both primary and secondary rainforest are offered.
Each hike has a different theme and you will learn about medicinal plants, trees, vines, and flowers and observe the wildlife found in both primary and secondary forests.
A nocturnal hike is also offered for those wanting to see what is around after dark.
Early Bird Tours
Yachana Reserve is home to over 750 different species including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies.
Early morning is the best time to find the largest number of birds.
Our guides can easily identify their calls and songs and will help you spot them in tree tops are in open fields.
Bring your binoculars to help aid in the experience.
Visit the Curandero – Traditional Healer
Visit the home of a local healer or curandero and his family and participate in a traditional cleansing ceremony before testing your skills in the indigenous art of hunting with a blowgun and spear.
You will also have the opportunity to make chicha, a fermented drink made from yucca.
Our guides offer an interpretation of the ceremony, teach about the making of the hunting equipment and will amaze you with their own skills of marksmanship.
Ask about options for a “full Kichwa Cultural Immersion” program activity.
Yachana Training Center Activities
The Yachana Foundation believes in a practical, hands-on approach to learning.
When you are at the Yachana Foundation Training Center you will have time to talk to our students and to learn about their lives in the rainforest, the place they call home.
Visit the campus, see the excellent facilities and learn what some of the educational challenges are that the young people from the region face.
See some our new projects: Aquaponics, Composting Toilets, Banana Circles or work in the classroom with our students on english.
Tour a Local Farm
Participate in an extensive Amazon culinary Farm to Table adventure.
A visit to a local farm is where you will see the farming methods and variety of products being grown all organically.
You will harvest produce from the farm to take to our kitchen where you will spend the rest of the morning preparing your lunch under the guidance of our expert chef.
Learn to make Maito, taste Chontacuro [chonta palm larvae], make a salad of Stinging Nettles, and experience fresh Heart of Palm for the first time.
Our cooking class will provide you with the knowledge of traditional recipes and cooking techniques needed for adding authentic Ecuadorian cuisine to your repertoire.
In this program you will prepare several courses of “local” cuisine using the products harvested from the local farm (Chocolate).
Yachana’s head chef will lead you through the hands-on preparation process.
When finished you will eat all the courses as your lunch time meal of the day!
Learn About a Micro-credit Program
Visit a local village that has a micro-credit program, initiated by Yachana, where you will have the opportunity to actually visit the homes and farms of the beneficiaries of small micro loans.
You will be able to hear their stories and see their lives.
A additional contribution of $50 per person to help capitalize their bank is requested.
Other experiences may include: making chocolate from locally grown cacao beans while you learn of the economic importance of cacao in the area, take a 30 minute ride on the road to visit a spectacular waterfall, hike to visit a huge Ceibo tree, paddle a canoe on a small branch of the main river to see the wildlife and experience the jungle just before nightfall, visit a family panning for gold along the riverbank, or ask about our full Kichwa Cultural Immersion experience [extra cost] when you make your reservation.
At Yachana we provide local bilingual guides [English and Spanish] who have attended Yachana Foundation schools and have received additional training from organizations like Global Vision International or while attending classes in the United States.
Our guides are trained in the environment, interpretation of the rainforest, ecological processes and natural history.
Being locally born they naturally have knowledge of medicinal plants, trees, animal behavior, and local beliefs and myths about the plants, animals and culture of the area.
Our guides will help to interpret things seen on each and every activity from the perspective of their local knowledge.
Additional the will also contect scientific facts about what you are seeing to further enrich your experiences.
At any time our guides are ready to answer questions about the plants, birds, insects, animals and the people of the zone.