Tena, Capital of Cinnamon Country
Its official name is San Juan de los Dos Ríos de Tena, its beginnings in the Ecuadorian Amazon date back to the colonial era, but it is at the beginning of the 20th century with the arrival of the Josefina Mission, which increases its population index thanks to migration, becoming a development pole for the eastern region.
Commerce, agriculture, and tourism are its main activities due to the richness of flora, fauna, beautiful landscapes and the culture of its people.
History of Tena
Cantonization Date: May 29, 1861
Spanish Foundation: November 15, 1560
When Spanish explorers entered these lands it was very difficult to submit and seize the ancestral territory of the Quijos, just reason why they had to seek an agreement with the chief Jumandi, it is known, in principle they would be allowed to continue the exploration of more lands and the establishment of the town of Baeza, but when the abuses on the part of the Spanish colonizers to the Quijos began, this native town revolted, the fight would not have a favorable end for the Quijos. The conquerors used so much violence that they forced the natives, who had not yet been enslaved, to flee.
It is said that during the initial expansion of the Spaniards in the lands of the Quijos they established the city of Tena in the year 1560 as a town during their march in a company that would take many more years.
Places to discover Tena
The city of Tena has changed its economic focus by being an active part in tourist activities that are increasing its income and revitalizing its commerce, some of the attractions of this city are the following:
- Puerto Misahuallí: You can enjoy in its port the pangas (boats) that offer community visits within the Amazon, and you will be captivated by the fauna and flora of the territory.
- Amazonian Park (La Isla): Environmental interpretation center where the importance of the Amazon Tena forest and the preservation of natural resources through environmental education are taught. The Park constitutes a collection of the ecosystem of the Amazon, where the original flora is appreciated in all its grandeur.
- Sinchi Sami Museum: containing a diversity of pieces of the Kichua culture, is located on San Rafael Ahuano Island, in the Ahuano Parish, in the Tena canton.
- Monkey Island Protected Area: It is the environment of the Machin monkey species, located in Puerto Misahualli, between the Napo and Misahuallí rivers; It has an extension of 7 hectares.
- Jatun Sacha Biological Station: The place consists of a path that discovers the forest and its species, you can enjoy the pollution-free air, the sounds of the jungle and a place like no other in the area.
- Cascade of Cans and Umbuni: The enormous stones in the river route favor the waters to form jumps, waterfalls and beauty fords that make locals and visitors fall in love with the place.
Weather in Tena
The city has a tropical monsoon climate. In the whole year there are invariable rainfalls, so there is no dry season properly defined, and it has changing temperatures from 18 ° C to 36 ° C. The average annual temperature is 23 ° C.
Due to the proximity to the equator, the heat is constant in the local climate. There are no cold days during winter. If you visit the beautiful city of Tena you cannot miss the very useful repellent and sunscreen in your suitcase. A cute straw hat or cap and sunglasses will help you during the walks to the recommended tourist places.
Culture and Traditions of Tena
During the holiday period of the "Capital of the Country of Cinnamon" you can find handicrafts made by indigenous communities in the area, primarily items made of tagua, leather and materials of the territory such as seed accounts among others.
If you enjoy a trip to the indigenous communities you will be able to delight yourself with native dances and Amazonian music that accompanies the daily chores of these communities.
The House of Culture of this city also offers us a wide range of cultural expressions of its own and brought from other cantons: poetry recitals, theater, cinema, among others.
Gastronomy of Tena
Due to the great heritage of products and spices, animals and fruits, the city of Tena offers a gastronomic culture almost unknown by foreigners but very popular among native peoples.
- Fruits that are unique in eastern Ecuador include: cocona, arazá, borojó, chonta, among others.
- The most consumed animals in the town are; Guanta, chontacuro (chonta worm), culona ants, these typical dishes.
- Guanta: is a unique food from the Amazon region of Ecuador. Its main components are guanta meat (large rodent of the region), bananas, garlic, accompanied by rice or potatoes.
- Another primordial food is the chontacuro, or worm of the chonta, that accompanies with ripe and rice to captivate the palate of the visitor; but he also usually eats alive without any other ingredients.
- Maito and fish, in this territory is made from banana or cassava and meat covered in leaves of bijao or palm heart. It is usual to also add roasted chontacuro.
- Guayusa: natural energy drink based on leaves of the guayusa plant that have the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee and twice as many antioxidants as green tea.
- Cazave: Tortilla made with cassava flour of hard and toasted consistency. This food can be stored for a good time and is ideal as food for hunters.
- Muyo feet: or skewer of white cocoa: A unique endemic cocoa in the Ecuadorian Amazon, that when drying its seeds, it is usual to consume them and prepare them in different ways including fried or roasted, salted or sweet.
- Doodle yuyo (fern species): it is used as a vegetable legume, rich in many nutritional properties. It is prepared and served in salads, stews.