San Juan de los Dos Ríos de Tena, also known as the Capital of Cinnamon and Yasunusa or simply Tena, is the capital of the Napo province in Ecuador. Located at the convergence of the Tena and Napo rivers, southeast of Quito. Tena is known for its wonderful landscapes, for being one of the best places in Ecuador to go rafting or kayaking, and for its delicious cuisine.
The city of Tena, located in the Amazon region of Ecuador, has a rainy tropical climate that that has the highest rainfall from April to June, with June being the month with the most rain on average and February the driest. The average temperature is 23°C, with a low of 18°C and a high of 36°C. The warmest months are September and October.
How to get to Tena, Ecuador?
- From Quito: The city of Tena is 190 km away and takes about 3 to 4 hours to get there. You can take a bus to Tena from Quito at Quitumbe land terminal.
- From Guayaquil: Guayaquil de Tena is 430 km away and the trip takes between 7 to 8 hours. You can take a bus at the Terminal Terrestre de Guayaquil.
What adventurous sports can I do in Tena?
The most popular extreme sports or activities in Tena are hiking in the jungle, rafting, kayaking, tubing, canyoning and trekking. All these activities need to be done with a guide, of which there are many reputable tour operators in the city.
The 9 best things to do in Tena
Visit the Central Park of Tena
In this small park there is a monument that honors the Kichwa culture and the ancestral people of the province. Around the park there are two churches with beautiful facades that you can visit.
Tena Scenic Boardwalk
The scenic boardwalk of Tena is one of the things to do in Tena. This boardwalk follows the Tena River and you will find several food kiosks, shops and bars. From the boardwalk you can cross the river by a bridge and go up to a lookout tower where you can enjoy a 360 panoramic view of the city and the convergence of the Tena and Napo rivers. Going up to the viewpoint is free and if you are lucky on a clear day you will be able to see the mountains of the jungle.
The Tena Linear Park was the home of the old airport that closed due to the lack of flights and passenger demand. In the park you can go mountain biking, play soccer and volleyball. It is the perfect park to play sports and enjoy a picnic with the family.
Amazon Park “La Isla”
The Amazon Park “La Isla” is an environmental interpretation center and animal rescue center. Without a doubt, it is another of the places to visit in Tena. In this park you will find wildlife, such as tapirs and monkeys, and a botanical garden with flora from the area and you can learn about the importance of the Amazon Tena forest along with the preservation of natural resources. This beautiful park is located below the Tena viewpoint.
Visit the Jumandy Caverns
The Jumandy Caverns are located on the outskirts of the city, near the town of Archidona. To visit the caverns you need to hire a guide which tends to cost $3 an hour.
To visit these caves you have to be prepared with shoes that can get wet and have a strong grip. If you are afraid of the dark or closed places, this may not be the best activity for you, since when you enter these caves you will find everything dark, in addition to walking through a stream until passing through a narrow corridor.
If are looking for a bit of luck in building your family, don’t forget to touch the fertility rock.
Swim in the Cascada de Latas
On the way to Puerto Misahualli from Tena you will find the Cascadas de Latas. The trail that takes you to the waterfalls takes approximately 45 minutes.
Visit Puerto Mishahualli
Puerto Misahualli is located 30 minutes from Tena and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Ecuadorian Amazon. In Misahualli you can sail on the Napo River, bathe in Misahualli beach, see the capuchin monkeys up close, glimpse the best panoramic landscapes from several viewpoints (including the giant Ceibo tree), visit the Isla de Los Monos and meet local communities.
Ahuano is located 35 minutes from Tena and is home to the Blanco River, Runa Wasi, the Sacha Samai Museum, La Selva, the Amarum Pachha Waterfall, the Pavas Island, the Amazonian animal rescue center and the estuary of the white alligator.
If you are a person who loves adventure, you cannot leave Tena without having a go at rafting, canyoning or kayaking.
One of the reasons many visit Tena is for the amazing kayaking and rafting opportunities. There are rivers galore around Tena, all of varying difficulty for rafters and kayakers. This means there really is something for everyone, regardless of your ability.
Dishes you must eat in Tena
- If you like to try new things you can try the chontacuro (a chonta worm) or the culona ants.
- The seco de guanta which is made of guanta meat (large Amazonian rodent), plantain, garlic, accompanied by rice or potatoes.
- The maito de Tilapia, which It is made of plantain or yucca and the fish is covered in bijao or heart of palm leaves.
- You cannot leave Tena without having a Guayusa, which is a natural energizing drink made from leaves of the guayusa plant.