Pastaza River

The Pastaza River (Spanish: Río Pastaza, formerly known as the Sumatara[4]) is a large tributary to the Marañón River in the northwestern Amazon Basin of South America.[5]

It has its headwaters in the Ecuadorian province of Cotapaxi, flowing off the northwestern slopes of the volcano Cotopaxi and known as the Patate River. The Patate flows south and in Tungurahua Province it is joined by the Chambo River just upstream from the town of Baños de Agua Santa just north of the volcano Mount Tungurahua and becomes the Pastaza.[6][7] Seven kilometers east of Baños, it is dammed for the Agoyan hydroelectric project, which has created a silty lagoon by the village of La Cieniga.[7] The Agoyan dam was placed in that location specifically to leave the famous Falls of Agoyan, about 5 km further downstream, intact. After the waterfall the river enters a gorge where there is very fast whitewater with class-4 rapids; it is often used for whitewater rafting although it is not considered to be of the same quality as the Tena River and is therefore less popular for the sport.[8]

From the junction with the Chambo, the Pastaza flows almost due east for about 275 kilometres (171 mi) where it then turns south-east, as it is joined by the Topo River.[9] The Troncal Amazonas highway parallels the river from Baños to Puyo, passing through seven tunnels, and four major waterfalls that are touristic destinations for many Ecuadorians (Agoyan and Pailon del Diablo being the most popular.) Just past the town of Santa Inez, the Pastaza River crosses into the province of Pastaza, where it forms the boundary between that province and Morona-Santiago. At the town of Mera, shortly before reaching Puyo, the river exits the mountains and flows into a wide valley, becoming wider and shallower.[10] After Shell Mera the river becomes braided and meanders, leaving oxbows and sloughs along its route across the Amazonian floodplain.

After cutting through Ecuador, the Pastaza passes into Peru at the village of Hito Zoilaluz on Isla Zoilaluz[11] and flows south into the Marañón River near Puerto Industrial.[2]

Pastaza River
The Pastaza at Mera, Pastaza Province
Amazonriverbasin basemap
Amazon Basin with Pastaza River in the far west
Native nameRío Pastaza
CountryEcuador, Peru
Physical characteristics
SourceCotopaxi Province
 - coordinates0°40′0″S 78°27′0″W / 0.66667°S 78.45000°W
 - elevation4,570 m (14,990 ft)[1]
MouthMarañón River
 - coordinates
4°54′29″S 76°24′32″W / 4.90806°S 76.40889°WCoordinates: 4°54′29″S 76°24′32″W / 4.90806°S 76.40889°W
 - elevation
120 m (390 ft)[2]
Length710 km (440 mi)[1]
Official nameComplejo de humedales del Abanico del río Pastaza
Designated5 June 2002
Reference no.1174[3]


The Pastaza has numerous tributaries, both above and below the hydroelectric dam. These contribute to its rapid flow and to its tendency to flood. On the highway side of the Pastaza, a tributary river occurs about every 3–4 km for a stretch of about 50 km; on the opposite bank, the number of tributaries is slightly lower. The major tributaries are the Chambo, Bobonaza, and Huasaga,[5] also important are the Ambato, the Pindo, and the Puyo.


Ecuador bridgeoverthePastazas2
Bridge over the Pastaza River between Puyo and Macas

There are no major fisheries on the Pastaza River - it is primarily used as a means of transport by canoe.[4] Its rise and fall are rapid and uncertain, and it is shallow and full of sandbanks and snags.[12] Flooding occurs seasonally.[4]


In Ecuador, there are very few bridges across the Pastaza. The most significant ones are in Tungurahua province - namely a large span over the exact point of headwaters, just north of Baños, and the secondary span created by the Agoyan dam. After this, bridges tend to be of the suspension type, suitable for foot or small vehicle passage only. However, it is notable that the Pastaza can be forded during the dry season in a 4x4 truck, going across the floodplains below the town of Mera.

See also


  1. ^ a b Ziesler, R.; Ardizzone, G.D. (1979). "Amazon River System". The Inland waters of Latin America. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 92-5-000780-9. Archived from the original on 8 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b Topographic map San Isidro, Peru, Series J632, Sheet 1661, 1:100,000 Instituto Geografico Nacional (IGN), Lima, Peru, October 1993, reprinted by the U.S. National Imagery and Mapping Agency
  3. ^ "Complejo de humedales del Abanico del río Pastaza". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Enock, Charles Reginald (1914) Ecuador: its ancient and modern history, topography and natural resources, industries and social development Charles Scribner's sons, New York, pages 177–178, OCLC 2453173
  5. ^ a b Ziesler, R. and G.D. Ardizzone, G.D. (1979) "Amazon System" Las Aguas Continentales de America Latina / The Inland Waters of Latin America (COPESCAL Technical Paper No. 1) Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, ISBN 92-5-000780-9, in English and Spanish
  6. ^ Instituto Geografico Militar del Ecuador, Mapa Tungurahua 50,000:1
  7. ^ a b Topographic map Baños, Ecuador, Series J721, Sheet 3989 IV, 1:50,000 Instituto Geográfico Militar (IGM), Quito, Ecuador, September 2000, reprinted by the U.S. National Imagery and Mapping Agency
  8. ^ Guia Turistica del Tungurahua, Ministerio de Turismo Ecuador
  9. ^ Topographic map Rio Negro, Ecuador, Series J721, Sheet 3990 II, 1:50,000 Instituto Geográfico Militar (IGM), Quito, Ecuador, June 1996, reprinted by the U.S. National Imagery and Mapping Agency
  10. ^ Topographic map Mera, Ecuador, Series J721, Sheet 3989-I, 1:50,000, Instituto Geográfico Militar (IGM), Quito, Ecuador, 1989, a reduced image is available from IGM
  11. ^ Topographic map Checherta, Peru, Series J632, Sheet 1565, 1:100,000 Instituto Geografico Nacional (IGN), Lima, Peru, June 1995, reprinted by the U.S. National Imagery and Mapping Agency
  12. ^ public domain Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Amazon". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 788.

The Agoyán (also known as El Pailón del Diablo [The Devil's Cauldron]) is the tallest waterfall of the Ecuadorian Andes. It is located approximately 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from the city of Baños. It is formed by the waters of the Pastaza River that plunge 61 metres (200 ft) in a gorge located in the Occidental Cordillera.

In 1987, the Ecuadorian government inaugurated the Agoyán hydroelectric plant, which has been part of the country's power grid since then, with a total power output of 156 MW. The plant was built upstream of the waterfall, so as to preserve it.

Alférez FAP Alfredo Vladimir Sara Bauer Airport

Alférez FAP Alfredo Vladimir Sara Bauer Airport (official name Alférez FAP Vladimir Sara Bauer Airport) (IATA: AOP, ICAO: SPAS) is a small regional airport serving Andoas, in the northern Loreto Region of Peru. It is currently not served by any scheduled airline but it is by private and charter airlines. The airport is less than 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) in from the Pastaza River and is 20 kilometres (12 mi) downstream from the Peruvian border with Ecuador.

The Andoas VOR-DME (Ident: OAS) is located on the field.The airport is named after Vladimir Enrique Sara Bauer, who died in a helicopter accident on October 6, 1977.

Allobates fratisenescus

Allobates fratisenescus is a species of frog in the Aromobatidae family. It is endemic to Ecuador where it is known from the upper reaches of Pastaza River drainage, on the eastern side of the Cordillera Oriental.

Its natural habitats are tropical rainforest.

Allobates kingsburyi

Allobates kingsburyi (common name: Kingsbury's rocket frog) is a species of frog in the Aromobatidae family. It is endemic to the Amazonian slopes of the Andes in Ecuador, near the Reventador volcano and in the Pastaza River trench. Its natural habitats are tropical premontane forests within a relatively narrow altitudinal zone, 1,140–1,300 m (3,740–4,270 ft) asl. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Ambato River (Ecuador)

The Ambato River is a river of Ecuador. It flows near the city of Ambato. It empties into the Pastaza River, and ultimately via the Amazon into the Atlantic Ocean.

Andoa language

Andoa is an extinct Zaparoan language of Peru. It was found in the Pastaza River region of Peru. It is also known as Shimigae/Semigae and Gae/Gay. The Andoa people have integrated into the Quechua and now speak either Pastaza Quechua or Spanish. The last known speaker died in 1993.


Andoas is a village on the Pastaza River in the Loreto Region of Peru. It is 44 kilometres (27 mi) downstream from the Peruvian border with Ecuador, and is 696 kilometres (432 mi) from the region's capital, Iquitos. Its location is almost exactly 200 miles south of the equator.

Andoas is near Exploitation Lot 192, one of the oil fields in Peru.Andoas is served by the Alferez FAP Alfredo Vladimir Sara Bauer Airport, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) upstream at the village of Nuevo Andoas.

Bobonaza River

The Bobonaza River is a river in Ecuador. It drains into the Pastaza River, and ultimately (via the Marañón River) into the Amazon River at Iquitos in Peru.

Its course runs mostly through Amazonian tropical rainforest, much of which is still sparsely populated. One of the few notable settlements along the Bobonaza River is Sarayaku.

Colostethus fugax

Colostethus fugax is a species of frog in the family Dendrobatidae. It is endemic to the valley of Pastaza River, on the eastern slope of the Cordillera Oriental, southern Ecuador.

Its natural habitats are moist forests, in a transition zone between humid tropical forest and very humid premontane forest. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Farlowella knerii

Farlowella knerii is a species of armored catfish endemic to Ecuador where it occurs in the Napo and Pastaza River basins. This species grows to a length of 16.2 centimetres (6.4 in) SL.

Lake Rimachi

Lake Rimachi (Lago Rimachi in Spanish) is a lake in northern Peru in the Amazon Rainforest of about 300 hectares (1 sq mi) of extension. It is located on the western banks of Pastaza River, being its main inflow source the Chapuli River, and its main outflow the Rimachi River. The lands around the lake were home to the Murato people, who are now extinct.


Mashient is a small Achuar jungle village within the Province of Pastaza in Ecuador. This village lies conveniently next to the large Pastaza river, in which the Province was named. The population is at about 100.

The name of the village comes from the chief, who was the founder.

Morona River

The Morona River is a tributary to the Marañón River, and flows parallel to the Pastaza River and immediately to the west of it, and is the last stream of any importance on the northern side of the Amazon before reaching the Pongo de Manseriche.

It is formed from a multitude of water-courses which descend the slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes south of the gigantic volcano of Sangay; but it soon reaches the plain, which commences where it receives its Cusulima branch. The Morona is navigable for small craft for about 300 miles above its mouth, but it is extremely tortuous. Canoes may ascend many of its branches, especially the Cusuhma and the Miazal, the latter almost to the base of Sangay. The Morona has been the scene of many rude explorations, with the hope of finding it serviceable as a commercial route between the inter-Andean tableland of Ecuador and the Amazon river.

Osteocephalus deridens

Osteocephalus deridens is a species of frog in the family Hylidae. It is found in the Napo and Pastaza River drainages in eastern Ecuador and in the Loreto Region, northern Peru. The specific name deridens is derived from Latin deridere, meaning "make fun of someone". This alludes to the males calling from the treetops that sound "as if they are laughing at the collectors' vain attempts to reach them". Common name funny slender-legged treefrog has been coined for this species.


Pastaza may refer to:

Pastaza River of Ecuador and Peru

Pastaza Province, Ecuador

Pastaza Province

Pastaza (Spanish pronunciation: [pasˈtasa]) is a province in the Oriente of Ecuador located in the eastern jungle. The capital is Puyo, founded on May 12, 1899 and which boasts 36,700 inhabitants. The city is now accessible by paved roads, a recent development; the main road from Baños follows the Pastaza river into the province.

The Pastaza River surges into the province from the west and as the landscape flattens, meanders on to the Napo, a tributary of the Amazon. Natural resources of Pastaza are bananas, grapefruit, tobacco, cocoa and coffee. Tea has successfully been cultivated by a few British companies, and in the mid eighties one of the companies was honored by a visit from Princess Margaret from the royal family of Britain.

The landscape is mostly mountainous in the western part of the province and becomes relatively flat toward the east as it nears the Peruvian border with rivers and plains characterizing most of the province. The highest elevation is 1,820 meters (5,970 ft). The climate is warm and humid due to the almost 7 meters of annual rainfall (22 feet) in the parts closest to the western mountains, but with significant amounts of rainfall throughout the province. The median temperature is 18 to 24 Celsius. It is rumored that there is a lot of gold in the rivers of Pastaza; however, to date no significant discoveries of gold have been reported.

Snakes and other venomous creatures, such as tarantulas and scorpions, are common in the province. Travellers are advised to be cautious in any trekking through the jungles, parks and trails. Some of the snakes blend extremely well even in trees, so walking sticks and/or machetes are a good precaution for hiking.

The flora of the region is spectacular. A few local parks have been developed with myriad natural orchids from the area and admittance to these parks is relatively inexpensive. Rainy day gear is advised since the rains are present almost year-round, many times in the late afternoon, but occasional all day as well. The rain is quite warm compared to those in North America.

Pastaza is the largest province in Ecuador and the richest in biodiversity. To the north of Pastaza are the provinces Napo and Orellana, to the south is Morona Santiago, to the east is the country of Peru, and to the west are the provinces Tungurahua and Moronga Santiago. The total population is about 83,930 inhabitants.

Pastaza corydoras

The Pastaza corydoras (Corydoras pastazensis) is a tropical freshwater fish belonging to the Corydoradinae sub-family of the family Callichthyidae. It originates in inland waters in South America, and is found in the Pastaza River basin in Ecuador. It is named for the river in which it is found.

The fish will grow in length up to 6.1 centimetres (2.4 inches). It lives in a tropical climate in water with a 6.0 – 8.0 pH, a water hardness of 2 – 25 dGH, and a temperature range of 22 – 26°C (72 – 79°F). It feeds on worms, benthic crustaceans, insects, and plant matter. It lays eggs in dense vegetation and adults do not guard the eggs.

The Pastaza corydoras is of commercial importance in the aquarium trade industry.

Puyo, Pastaza

Puyo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpuʝo]), also known as El Puyo, is the capital of Pastaza, a province in Ecuador. Puyo is located at an altitude of approximately 950 AMSL by the Puyo River, a tributary of the Pastaza River, which eventually leads into the Amazon River. True to its name, derived from the Kichwa word for "cloudy", the local climate is a wet one and the weather is often overcast.Puyo was founded in 1899. Located between Baños, and the Amazonian cities of Tena and Macas, Puyo is the commercial, cultural and political capital of the region. The city is connected by road to Ambato, Tena, and Macas and from there to the major urban areas of Ecuador. In late 2006, the city had approximately 25,000 inhabitants. It was the fastest growing city in Ecuador in 2006. The seasonal changes in the climate are relatively small, and daytime temperature typically range between 18-24 °C, with sun and generally short, but heavy periods of rain daily.

A small airport is located in the small town of Shell, approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north-west of Puyo. Small aircraft, both private and commercial, depart daily to small airstrips in the Amazon Rainforest, and occasionally to Quito in the case of severe medical emergencies.

The Puyo Carnaval, a famous Ecuadorian holiday, is celebrated each year in the days leading up to Lent. The custom is to have small neighbourhood parties, and water fights are sometimes involved. Other major holidays are the Day of the Ecuadorian East Amazon on February 12, and the chonta-palm festival.

Rhynchodoras woodsi

Rhynchodoras woodsi is a species of thorny catfish endemic to Ecuador where it is found in the Bobonaza River (a tributary of the Pastaza River) of the upper Amazon River drainage. This species grows to a length of 10.5 centimetres (4.1 in) SL.

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