Things to do in

Lago Agrio (Nueva Loja), Ecuador

Top Activities and Attractions in Lago Agrio (Nueva Loja), Ecuador
Lago Agrio (Nueva Loja), Ecuador

Lago Agrio (Nueva Loja), Ecuador


Located in the province of Sucumbíos, Lago Agrio’s main tourist draw is its proximity to Cuyabeno Reserve and Limoncocha Biological Reserve. Most visitors only spend a few hours in Lago Agrio on their way from Quito to jungle excursions they have booked in advance. In most cases, tour agencies and operators will arrange bus transportation to Lago Agrio and then meet guests at a specific place in Lago Agrio within an hour or two. Your trip organizer will arrange your stopover so that it is as efficient as possible. While in Lago Agrio, it is recommended to avoid wandering outside of designated drop-off and pick-up areas.


Nueva Loja (new Loja) was sparsely settled by colonizers who came directly from the southern Ecuadorian province of Loja. When they arrived in the Amazon, they named the site after the colony they had just established. In the 1960s, Nueva Loja mushroomed in size and importance, as a base camp for the US oil company Texaco. According to some sources, the city was then called Source Lake, but was later changed to Lago Agrio (sour lake) because foreign oil workers suffered from long work days and strenuous working conditions. Others claim the name Lago Agrio comes from Sour Lake, Texas, which is the US headquarters of Texaco. The city is now known as both Nueva Loja and Lago Agrio. The area has experienced dramatic environmental degradation in the following decades. Despite – or perhaps because of – Lago Agrio’s industrial importance today, its ecology has been terribly mismanaged, mostly at the hands of foreign oil companies.


Like most of Ecuador’s Amazon basin, Lago Agrio has a warm, rainy climate. The heaviest rainfall comes during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer (June through August). Temperatures range from about 23º C to 35 º C. See our packing list for advice about preparing adequately for your trip to Ecuador


Buses leave Quito’s Terminal Terrestre Cumandá for Lago Agrio about every 20 minutes. The trip from Quito is about 7 hours and the cost should be about $8. Buses also go between Lago Agrio and TenaCoca, and Baeza several times a day. You can also fly to Lago Agrio from Quito on TAME or Aerogal.

What to Do

There are few sites of interest in Lago Agrio itself. As mentioned above, most visitors just stop through here for as short a time as possible, before continuing on to organized jungle tours in Cuyabeno Reserve and Limoncocha Biological Reserve.

Related Pages

Provider Spotlight

Free Galapagos Trip Planner at Galapagos Islands .com – easily plan your Galapagos vacation online, find great value, and a wide selection of customized Galapagos cruises and vacations.

Galapagos Tour Experts – Adventure Life Specialize in luxury Galapagos cruises, and land-based Galapagos tours. Adventure Life can help you design the perfect trip to Ecuador. As seen in Outside Magazine, NatGeo, and the New York Times.

Voyager Galapagos Tours haS excellent Galapagos cruise deals & last-minute offers, and land-based Galapagos tours (aka Island Hopping).

Galapagos & Ecuador Insiders use their local expertise to assist you in planning the perfect Galapagos cruise or Ecuador tour for your precise budget, needs, and interests.

Latin Trails craft customized journeys to the Galapagos Islands, the Ecuador mainland, the Amazon rainforest, and Peru. They operate the highly-rated Galapagos cruising yacht: Seaman Journey and the day tour yacht the Galapagos Hopper.

Andando Tours – Pioneers in Galapagos tourism. Two generations of sailing and shipbuilding showcase unparalleled knowledge in creating the most unique Galapagos Cruises. Owners & Operators of S/S Mary Anne & M/Y Passion.

Gulliver Expeditions – Learn more about our Ecuador ToursPeru ToursEcuador Climbing Expeditions, Galapagos Land Tours, and Machu Picchu Tours. Gulliver Expeditions offer fantastic travel experiences since 2005.

Surtrek Galapagos Cruises – has offered exceptional custom-designed trips to the Galapagos for over 20 years. They now bring their brand of off-the-beaten-path trips to other countries in South America such as Peru’s Machu PicchuBolivia’s Uyuni Salt Flats, and Chile’s Atacama Desert.

ViaNatura – provides excellent value Galapagos cruises on the Monserrat yacht, a luxury cruise experience on the Hermes yacht, and a variety of tours in Ecuador and Peru.

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