Tips for traveling in a rain forest By Nadine Godwin / June 11, 2004 Share 1 -- COCA, Ecuador -- The jungles of Ecuador are appealing even in the rain, and Quito-based Metropolitan Touring made the group with which I was traveling as comfortable as one can be in a rain forest in May. In Ecuador, the rainy season spans February to June. (It also rains in the "not-rainy" season, just not as much.)During our stay at La Selva Jungle Lodge on Ecuador's Napo River, late-afternoon and early-morning activities introduced us to an astonishing array of interdependent plant and animal life as well as majestic scenery and sunsets -- the jungle's rewards for those who travel prepared.We saw butterflies at the lodge's butterfly farm that had markings that look like eyes on the sides of their wings. Frogs abound; there are more frog species there than one can count.Binoculars are essential (waterproof, at 10 x 42 power, our guide urged), and fast film is recommended.Here's a bit of information the uninitiated should consider when preparing for the trip:• If clothes get wet, they won't be dry after three days. I know.• Jungle lodges are not on main roadways.• An Ecuadoran jungle trip can be a damp slog if travelers aren't prepared.To get to La Selva, we flew from Quito to Coca (35 minutes), where we boarded a "motorized canoe" for a three-hour ride to a makeshift dock that led to steps cut into the dirt bank.Our luggage was wrapped in plastic and carried overland to our next over-water ride -- in a dugout canoe.We walked 15 minutes on a typical rain-forest walkway, a raised path made of bamboo about three feet wide, before boarding the dugout that would take us across a lake to the wooden dock at the base of our lodge's main lounge.The 20-minute ride was not without incident. The heavens opened and we were drenched, although our plastic-wrapped luggage remained dry -- which brings us to these hints:• Carry a plastic poncho for downpours and wear quick-dry clothing (that won't get bone-dry, either) and old walking shoes; store cameras and valuables in resealable plastic bags.• Carry insect repellent and sunblock.• Seek medical advice before jungle travel. Some La Selva guests did not have malaria prophylactics; others did.For details, call Adventure Associates in Dallas, the Metropolitan Touring office in the U.S., at (800) 527-2500; or visit www.metropolitan-touring.com.You can reach the journalist who wrote this article at firstname.lastname@example.org.