Hidden within the heart of the Amazon basin in eastern Ecuador lies a mesmerizing wonder: Cuevas de Jumandi, commonly known as Jumandi Caves. This expansive network of caves stretches an impressive two miles, delving deep into the Cotundo Valley.
For those seeking an unforgettable travel experience, these ancient and mystical caverns offer a unique journey into the mysterious beauty of nature’s underground realm.
In this post, we recount our brief but memorable experience in the Jumandi Caves.
Where to Find Jumandi Caves
The Jumandi caves are located in Napo province, not far from Archidona. They are just 2 kilometers away (a quick 10-minute ride) from Canton Tena.
How To Get To Jumandi Caves
By Bus via Archidona
To reach the incredible Jumandi Caves, you can hop on a bus from Quito to Archidona in the eastern part of Ecuador. Simply head to the Quitumbe bus terminal in Quito, where buses depart regularly.
By Bus via Tena
You can also reach the Jumandi Caves by taking a bus to Tena from Quito. This bus route offers spectacular views. As the bus sets off from Quito, it traverses the majestic Andes, crossing a mountain pass near Papallacta. The bus gradually descends into the lush valleys of the jungle, where the scenery transitions from open moors to enchanting, dense forests.
Via Private Tours
We were able to reach Jumandi Caves through private transportation from our booked tour in Tena. There are several tour agencies offering tours in Tena, which include Jumandi Caves in the itinerary.
Exploring the Caves
We explored the Jumandi Caves with our tour guide, who assisted us as we gradually went deep into the caverns. Aside from our tour guide, there is also a local cave guide who is from the indigenous group, Kichwa. Our guide was a seventeen-year-old Kichwa girl. She only speaks their native language, and our tour guide, Luis, only translates what she says.
As we ventured into the depths of the Jumandi Caves, an indescribable sense of awe washed over me. The air was cool and damp, echoing with the gentle trickle of water droplets.
The stalactites in the caves were visually stunning, as if they were formed for art’s sake. There were some parts in the cave wherein we needed to stoop down and crawl a bit. We also waded through pools of water.
While walking in the dark cave, Luis told us about how the Jumandi Caves served as a refuge for Kichwa people in the old days. He briefly mentioned the story of Jumandi, the warrior chief of Quijos, who the cave was named after.
We spotted some catfish swimming in the cave waters. We were caught off guard when a fellow tourist shrieked upon seeing a scorpion spider along the way. Good thing it wasn’t me who spotted it first. Bat caves also inhabit these caverns (which is very typical, of course). We made sure not to disturb their colony inside the cave while we were touring.
Time seemed to stand still as I marveled at the ancient beauty surrounding me. The silence in the caverns was broken by the sound of water drops and my own breath, which reminded me that I was but a tiny speck in this vast underground realm.
The Jumandi Caves are awe-inspiring natural wonders in Ecuador that are also historically significant. The caves now stand as a poignant reminder of a turbulent period in Ecuadorian history when indigenous peoples faced Spanish control of their ancestral territories.
Immersing myself in exploring these caves was a transforming adventure that sparked a great sense of awe within me, leaving an everlasting impression on my spirit.
If you are planning a trip to Tena, make sure to include the Jumandi Caves in your itineraries.