National Geographic Traveler official selection
Journey Leader: David Tucker
This special journey to Ecuador features a visit to the Sarayaku-Kichwa who are boldly standing with awe-inspiring commitment to protect their culture and forest. We then head further into the rainforest to engage deeply with our founding warrior partners – the Achuar – in their communities, Ti’inkias lodge and world-renown, Kapawi Lodge, experiencing their ancient culture, pristine land, and unwavering stand for life.
Saturday, October 18:
Arrival, group stays at the charming hotel Café Cultura in Quito.
Sunday, October 19:
Gourmet breakfast followed by a welcome and orientation meeting. Travel by chartered bus down the Avenue of the Volcanoes stopping at an Andean indigenous community along the way for lunch and cultural sharing. Continue down the waterfall-laden Pastaza River Valley to the border of the Amazon rainforest. In the evening you will receive a special briefing about entering the rainforest. Stay at the quaint hotel, El Jardin, situated in the outskirts of Puyo.
Monday, October 20:
The immersion begins. Our chartered bus will bring us to the indigenous pueblo of Canelos where we’ll board large motorized dug-out canoes that will take us several hours down the Bobonaza river to the remote Sarayaku-Kichwa village, our home for the next three days and nights. Here, we’ll immerse ourselves in the land and traditions of this millennial culture.
Tuesday, October 21:
Early morning dream sharing. Share in village activities and cultural traditions. Set out on a guided rainforest hike to learn about the spectacularly diverse fauna and flora. Afternoon siesta. In the evening, we’ll have the invitation to participate in a shamanic ceremony with a revered elder Yachak (shaman).
Wednesday, October 22:
Debrief sharing with the shaman and community members. Rest and integration time. Afternoon time on the river for swimming, fishing and enjoying the peaceful environment. Evening cultural sharing and traditional feast.
Thursday, October 23:
In the morning, we’ll bid our farewells and fly further into the rainforest to Achuar territory and their village of Chichirat. After an Achuar greeting with their traditional beverage, nijaamanch (known as chicha) and visit with the local elder and his family, we’ll walk to the Bobanaza river for a beautiful motorized canoe ride down to the village of Ti’inkias. Then we’ll walk 30 minutes to the simple encampment built in traditional Achuar style that will be our home for three days and nights.
Friday, October 24:
Early morning dream sharing ritual with Achuar families followed by time in the village participating in cultural practices, including weaving, pottery making, blowgun practice, etc. Return to encampment for breakfast and rest. In the afternoon, we’ll hike through the forest to a beautiful black water lagoon, which we’ll explore in dugout canoes and kayaks. On the return, we’ll take a refreshing swim in the oasis-like natural pool close by the community followed by cultural exchange where the Achuar will share ancestral chants, music and traditions. We’ll be invited to share, too (feel free to bring small instruments, songs and dances for sharing) and we’ll end with a traditional Achuar feast from local foods.
Saturday, October 25:
A gentle morning will allow time for journaling and reflection in the pristine and peaceful environment, followed by a jungle excursion to learn about how the Achuar live sustainably in their rainforest home, including their cosmo-vision and spirituality. There will be some quiet and contemplative solo time in the forest. In the evening, we’ll be invited to participate in a traditional ceremony with an elder Achuar shaman.
Sunday, October 26:
After breakfast, we’ll have a debrief meeting with the shaman and then some integration time before gathering our belongings and heading to the river for our journey to Kapawi Lodge. We’ll pass through the community to say our farewells and express our gratitude and then embark on the 4-hour relaxing boat journey down the Bobanaza River and up the mighty Pastaza River, taking in the magnificence of the forest from the water. We’ll arrive at the acclaimed Kapawi Lodge where we’ll be for two nights.
Monday, October 27:
Free time to reflect on our experiences in the comfortable and peaceful environment of Kapawi, and then we’ll set out on a hike with our Achuar guide to learn about medicinal plants and the traditional uses of the rainforest. Later in the afternoon, we’ll go out on the river to swim and float in kayaks or canoes with the option of fishing – mingling with the legendary pink river dolphin if we’re lucky. Evening walk to explore the unique nocturnal forest life with Achuar guide, before sleeping at Kapawi.
Tuesday, October 28:
Morning bird and animal watching. Depart Kapawi and fly to the small town of Shell where our bus will take us back to the nearby El Jardin hotel. Situated on the edge of the rainforest, with gourmet food and redwood hot tubs, it is the perfect place to relax and integrate our rainforest immersion.
Wednesday, October 29:
Morning circle to share experiences, learnings and commitments for returning home. Drive back through the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Quito area for farewell dinner and lodging.
Thursday, October 30:
Departures to home or next destinations.
We recommend having a day or more on the front and back side of the formal itinerary to acclimate, rest, integrate and see Quito if you wish. Those personal reservations for hotel and airport transfer can be made through www.CafeCultura.com. Pachamama Journeys will arrange lodging at Café Cultura for Saturday night.