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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.


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$ (2003). Flight from Quito. Often the local airport is not working.

Get around

Most roads in the Oriente are unpaved and subject to landslides and other delays, especially during the rainy season. The road from Quito to Tena is no exception, though it continues to be improved. There is regular bus service to Tena via Baeza, but you should book in advance as the buses fill up fast, particularly on Fridays and Sundays. There is a small airport outside of Tena with commercial flights, small white truck-taxis are abundant in the city. It's a good idea to negotiate your price before getting in because the taxi drivers in Tena, like everywhere else in South America, often overcharge.


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


Moreover, Tena has reached near legendary status with whitewater enthusiasts and boasts the best rafting and kayaking in Ecuador and, some say, the world. The jungle rivers on the Amazon side of the Andes are bigger and have more consistent flows than their west-Andean counterparts. They are also the cleanest and most scenic rivers in Ecuador. Ríos Ecuador is the best rafting and kayaking tour operators in the country and their headquarters is in Tena, that ought to tell you something about the quality of the rivers! Also look for River People.

Places to visit and things to do around Tena

·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 eliminatory 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.


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


Related Information

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