Tena is a city in the Ecuadorian rainforest; it is the capital of the Napo province. It was founded by missionaries in the mid 16th century and was the site of many uprisings by indigenous tribes. The entry to the city is marked by a statue of one uprising leader, the famous Jumandy, who led his tribe against the Spanish just after the city was settled. Tena is the jungle hub - the place where most Amazonian hikes kick off and end. As a result, you’ll find a lot of hostels, cheap bars, cafe, and shopping for the South American backpacker crowd. You may also come across some Peace Corps members here, as Tena is home to several different sectors of volunteer organisations.
The only way to get to Tena is by bus from Quito, since both airports no longer take passenger flights (2017) - this may change in the future. Luckily, the bus from Quito goes through the jaw-dropping Papallacta Pass in the Andes Mountains. The ride takes around four to five hours by bus.
Most hostel accommodation in Tena is near the bus station and grocery stores, but since Tena is quite small, you won’t have too much trouble getting around town. Hostels here cater to the hiking and backpacking set, so they’re efficient and well-equipped but not flashpackery. If you want a party crowd when you get back from the jungle, choose a hostel on the main drag, otherwise choose one that’s a few streets away.
One of the most popular activities in Tena - beyond setting off into the jungle - is kayaking. The town is home to numerous kayak guides and tour operators. Some operate whitewater kayaking, so if you don’t want to risk your life on the rapids, consider a more sedate paddle. Whitewater rafting is another exciting activity. Tena is definitely the base for your pre- or post-jungle trek relaxation.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Tena hostels. Welcome.