What You Will Experience
By engaging you as a whole person—heart, mind, body, and soul—Pachamama Journeys create an unforgettable experience that will inspire you for a lifetime.
A Soul-Stirring Experience
Pachamama Journeys are purposeful immersions that go beyond conventional eco-tourism and adventure travel, inviting you into deep relationship with the people and lands we visit through a community based tourism experience.
Travel with Purpose
Pachamama Journeys are not only transformative on a personal level; they are also connected to a larger vision for the world - one that is being successfully carried out together with the people and lands we visit.
- Reconnect with what it means to be alive and human at this moment in history.
- Gain new perspective on what “living well” truly means and how you can do it now.
- Deepen or reveal the unique gifts and passion that you have to offer the world.
- Become a part of, and contribute to, a highly effective partnership with indigenous people.
- Embark on a community-based tourism experience, where people are valued over profit.
Become an Ambassador for a Visionary Message
When you travel with us, you join a global community of privileged individuals who have embarked on this unique journey, making you an ambassador entrusted to carry the visionary message of the Achuar people and the rainforest out into the world.
Because we travel on the foundation of long-standing relationships and a shared purpose, we have the experience of being partners with our indigenous hosts, rather than voyeuristic tourists who are looking in from the outside.
Over the past 15 years, more than 1,200 people have journeyed with us to Ecuador. Participants have included travelers from age seven to age 78, adding a multi-generational perspective to an already powerful experience.
Rediscover Your Indigenous Self
In the rush of modern life, it is often hard to remember that humanity did not always live this way.
Thankfully, the Achuar people – our founding partners - and other indigenous people have maintained their reality, affirming on a daily basis that we, as a species, are still hardwired for connection with each other and our environment.
The Pachamama Journey is about accessing and remembering the indigenous part of ourselves. This can fulfill a deep longing for many and it’s also a useful, perhaps necessary, undertaking for effectively and creatively dealing with the challenges we face in our lives and world today.
Gain a New PerspectiveThe Pachamama Journey offers the extraordinary opportunity to step outside the familiar, bringing a fresh new perspective - often accompanied by a sense of peace, wellbeing and clarity - to one’s own culture and life. While stretching our comfort zone can sometimes be confronting, it opens tremendous space to feel, grow and see new possibilities.
When you hear the call to travel with us, you will be richly rewarded with the journey of a lifetime, one that restores your sense of wonder and connection and recalibrates you to the ancient rhythms of the natural world.
An Immersion with Our Indigenous Partners
We travel at the invitation of the Achuar people, who ask allies in the modern world to visit and learn about the their rainforest, culture, and worldview, and to carry their message home.
Follow the Warrior’s Path
Throughout most of their history, the Achuar people have been warriors, engaging in ongoing battle with neighboring tribes and between Achuar clans. Since coming into contact with the forces of the outside world in the 1970’s, their warriorship began to take a new form.
In the early 1990s, many indigenous traditions marked the end of 500 years of darkness under colonial rule, and heralded a transition into a new era of balance and possibility.
Masters of building strategic alliances for survival during wartime, the Achuar redeployed their skills to find allies in the industrialized world who would partner with them to strengthen the sovereignty of their ancient culture and their collaboration with other indigenous peoples.
The Achuar are still warriors, only now they defend their ancestral lands, wisdom, and traditions on behalf of all life.
The Pachamama Journey immerses you in this powerful new vision of warriorship. With the Achuar as your guides and teachers, you will have an extraordinary opportunity to experience first-hand the wisdom and ways of being that have sustained their culture and pristine rainforest home for centuries.
Discover Achuar Culture
Entering into Achuar territory is a rare experience, as theirs is one of the world’s most intact indigenous civilizations. Thanks to their interdependent approach to life, and their commitment to protecting it with their partners, the rainforest where they make their home is also among the world’s most pristine primary forests.
To facilitate your deepest connection with this place and its people, Journeys participants have the unique opportunity to stay in both an Achuar village - where we’ll share in daily traditions and may be invited to participate in sacred ceremonies - as well as the award-winning Kapawi Ecolodge or newly constructed Ti’inkias rustic lodge in a different part of Achuar territory.
Throughout your stay, you will have a chance to explore and embody the refined cosmovision that imbues all aspects of Achuar life, from the local plants and animals to traditional foods and crafts.
Connect with Andean Cultures
While time spent in Achuar territory is at the heart of the Pachamama Journeys experience, all groups begin in Quito and spend a couple of days in the Andean highlands with the Caranqui Quichua people before descending into the rainforest.
Travelers are welcomed into the family homes of the San Clemente community, an indigenous-owned and operated community-based project at the base of the sacred Imbabura volcano in the Otavalo region of northern Ecuador.
Unlike their more remote counterparts in the rainforest, the indigenous peoples of the Andes were confronted by outside influence from the earliest days of colonial activity in the region.
Thankfully, their traditions persevered, though deeply affected by centuries of oppression. The intention behind San Clemente is the revitalization of the indigenous cultures of the Andes, and the results are inspiring.
Open Yourself to a New Worldview
Besides providing an experience of the geographical and biological diversity of Ecuador, this part of the itinerary serves a vital time to open ourselves to a different worldview.
You will learn about native healing plants and the indigenous cosmovision of the area, engage in traditional agricultural practices, and have an opportunity to support the local artisans of the area at their open-air market.
We will also visit a local healer, where you’ll have the opportunity for a traditional cleansing to let go of anything that may weigh you down as you continue on your journey.
Become a True Ally
Throughout your time in Ecuador, you will be welcomed into the social and spiritual lives of these communities with unforgettable warmth, grace, and generosity.
Just as we take steps to minimize the ecological impact of our journeys, our journey leaders and other team members will offer guidance on how to minimize our social and cultural impact within the communities we visit.
As true allies, we are mindful not to romanticize our indigenous partners - both sides recognize that we each hold a significant, essential piece, and that ultimately, we are interconnected with a common future that is bound up together.
Visiting Ecuador’s Amazon and Andes
Each stop on a Journey is an opportunity for experiential learning and brings fresh appreciation of Ecuador’s immense geographical, biological, and cultural diversity, and the sense of creative possibility that pervades the country.
All of our journeys follow a similar, intentionally designed flow – time in the Andes to acclimate, connect, and open to the indigenous way of life; a descent into the rainforest for an immersion with the Achuar; and an ascent back into the Andes for integration and completion.
Beginning and ending in Quito, our capable team will handle all logistical arrangements within Ecuador, freeing you to focus on your experience. It is a wonderful opportunity for experiential learning.
Ecuador: A High-Stakes Microcosm of World Systems
Ecuador is a microcosm of the ecological and social challenges and opportunities humankind is facing globally.
The borders of modern-day Ecuador span environments among the most distinct and unique in the world, including the Amazon Rainforest, the Andes Mountains, and the Galápagos Islands. Climate ranges from temperate to tropical, depending on location and time of year.
With its wealth of natural resources, including minerals, metals, lumber and oil, Ecuador has been a highly coveted colony since at least the mid-16th century.
Like many parts of the world, Ecuador is urgently wrestling with the economic and political pressures of resource extraction, as well as the unjust social structures that grew out of colonialism.
The various human communities of Ecuador are engaging with new ideas for organizing their society, innovating models all of us can learn from as we work for a just, thriving, and sustainable future.
Travel the Avenue of the Volcanoes
For the indigenous peoples whose territories fall within Ecuador’s borders, innovating new social and political models must include respect and recognition for indigenous communities, ancestral lands, and ways of life.After a night in one of Quito’s historic hotels, we’ll spend a few days as guests in family homes at a community-based project in the Otavalan highlands focused on revitalizing the indigenous Caranqui Quichua culture.
We’ll then take leave of our hosts and embark on a beautiful drive descending the Andes through the Avenue of the Volcanoes, stopping at the Equator – the middle of the world – and completing with a beautiful stretch of mysterious cloud forest. There, at the gateway of the vast Amazon rainforest, we’ll stay the night in the town of Puyo at Hosteria El Jardín and prepare to enter the rainforest and Achuar territory.
Explore Achuar Territory
The Achuar people are among the least impacted indigenous people in South America by outside influences, and the contact they do have with the external world is by their own request.
Achuar lands have no roads and are therefore inaccessible to any form of overland travel. We will fly by small plane southeast into the Amazon Basin, deep into Achuar territory.
Depending on the itinerary of your specific Journey, you will stay at one or both of two lodges:
The acclaimed Kapawi Eco-Lodge, which has grown along with the Pachamama Journeys program.The newer, community-based Ti’inkias lodge, which provides a more rustic and direct experience of the rainforest and its people. These lodges are an important source of income for the Achuar, representing a sustainable alternative to oil development. Built, owned, and operated by the Achuar, both accommodations are situated within the nearly two million acres of Achuar ancestral territory. This pristine tropical rainforest is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world, home to plants, trees, insects, birds, monkeys, and the legendary pink river dolphins. During your stay, you will experience the fullness and richness of Achuar culture and the living rainforest at its heart.
Forge New RelationshipsAn extended team of people supports every Journey. Leaders are trained to facilitate the different facets of the journey and the team includes local guides who are well versed in the ecological, geographical, and cultural diversity of the region. They all have longstanding relationships with Pachamama and the local people we will visit, based on trust, integrity and mutual respect.
Perhaps most importantly, your fellow travelers will be sources of support, insight, and camaraderie. Many Pachamama Journey participants – even those who have never been drawn to group travel - cite the relationships forged with their group as one of the most precious and lasting effects of the journey.