Puerto Francisco de Orellana, also known as El Coca, is the capital of the province of Orellana in eastern Ecuador.
The city is located in the Amazon Rainforest at the confluence of the Coca River and the Napo River (the smaller Payamino River also merges into the Napo in the city). It has a population of 45,163 inhabitants as of 2010. It is visited by tourists going into the Amazonian forest and is served by the Francisco de Orellana Airport. The city is named for Francisco de Orellana, who explored the confluence of the Coca River and the Napo River.
It is incredibly hot and humid, temperatures range from 20-40 centigrade but generally humidity is very high and the temperature is at least in the high 20s.
The airport terminal is almost 2km north of town on the left-hand side of the road to Lago Agrio. The five-minute taxi ride there costs about $2. TAME flies between Coca and Quito three times daily (around $110 each way).
Coca has 2 bus terminals – the Nuevo Terminal Terrestre is 3km north of town, a taxi here costs $2. All main interprovincial destinations are served e.g. Quito, Guayaquil, Riobamba, Baños, Tena. There is 1hour of free wifi available in the terminal (per device). Approximate bus trip times (February 2016) Tena (4 hours), Baños (7 hours), Lago Agrio (2 hours) and Quito (10 hours). There are many departures daily and more info can be found at AndesTransit.
The old bus terminal serves mostly provincial destinations and the quality of buses is much lower, but consequently they are cheaper. It is located just off Avenida 9 de Octubre between Sergio Sainz and Luis Uquillas (east side of Avenida 9 de Octubre).
Daily speedboats run from Nuevo Rocafuerte, the village on the Peruvian border. They leave at 5am, arriving around 4pm in Coca. Fare is $18 per person. The boat makes a stop halfway for lunch in Panacocha, the lunch is included in the fare price.
Taxis are cheap and plentiful within the city. The Parque Central is a short walk from the passenger dock. You should only pay $2 to a hostel in the town from the bus station. Alternatively from the bus station you can make the short walk to Avenida 9 de Octubre and take a bus to the centre for $0.25.
Yasuni National Park is located south on the Napo River near the Peruvian border. Take one of the daily speedboats to Nuevo Rocafuerte and hire a guide to take you from there. You can also arrange a tour in Coca itself, but will pay more.
You can book a tour easily to see things around the town. The pomerade is very short, at one end (the other end to the bridge) there is a museum about indigenous peoples in the Amazon. Admission is $4.
There's a monkey island where you can see the woolly monkey. Theres a wildlife sanctuary that has free admission.
Limoncocha lagoon is 1-1.5 hrs away, you can take a taxi and then hire a boat and driver there to tour around it, or you can go by tour. Limoncocha is the only green colour water of body in the Oriente. It is the place to be the see unusual birds, and there are also caimán (alligators) that you can spot with a torch just after sun sets.
The city is built on the banks of the Napo River, take a boat from the passenger port near the bridge.
There are heaps of clothes boutiques. Clothes are fashionable and varied compared to other towns this size in ecuador. You can buy swimming outfits too.
There are many budget hotels/hostals in the city. Expect to pay around $8 per person. The VAT (12%) and city tax (10%) might not be included in the price.
A basic double bedroom ensuite in Hotel Coca is 20$ (24.40$ with taxes)
There are approximately 3 slow cargo boats per month leaving to Iquitos, Peru. Speedboats leave daily to Nuevo Rocafuerte ($15, 10hours) on the Peruvian border. From Nuevo Rocafuerte you can get another boat across the border to Pantoja (1hour speedboat, slower boats may also be available and much cheaper).