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Pachamama Journeys / What You Will Experience

Visiting Ecuador's Amazon and Andes

Each stop on a Journey 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. Learn more about 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 Relationships

An 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.

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