- What is the weather like in the Ecuadorian highlands and rainforest?
- How many people are in one of your groups?
- Will I need a visa to enter Ecuador? What about a passport?
- This seems like a carbon intensive trip, is this consistent with the Pachamama Alliance’s message?
- How do I know if this experience is right for me?
- How do I register?
- When and where should I arrive/depart?
- What ages travel with you?
- Are vaccinations required?
- What about malaria?
- What kind of clothes should I bring?
- Will I be able to charge batteries?
- What are the altitudes that the group will travel through?
- Is it advisable to bring gifts for our hosts?
- What are some other places to visit if I decide to come early or stay on in Ecuador?
What is the weather like in the Ecuadorian highlands and rainforest?
The weather in Ecuador is fairly consistent year-round since it straddles the equator. In the mountains, temperatures can reach the upper 60′s to low 70′s during the day and drop to the low 50′s – 40′s at night. In the rainforest, the daytime temperature is typically in the upper 70′s to low 80′s with humidity and in the evenings it can drop to the low 60′s. Because we are in primary forest with lots of canopy and rivers, the heat is less intense than most expect. In our experience, rainy seasons are highly unpredictable and don’t necessarily correlate with accuracy to a specific time of year. As we will be entering the rainforest, you can expect some rain and it will not adversely impact activities on the trip.
How many people are in one of your groups?
We generally have from 10-15 participants on our journeys, with a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 18 to maintain intimacy. While some participants have experience with group travel, for many this is their first time. And a consistent highlight for most participants is the connections and experiences they share with their fellow travelers.
Will I need a visa to enter Ecuador? What about a passport?
For North American or European travelers, a visa is not necessary to enter Ecuador, though you will need a passport that is current for six months following your date of entry into Ecuador. If it is not, you must renew it before departure. For travelers from other countries, please check with you embassy.
This seems like a carbon intensive trip, is this consistent with the Pachamama Alliance’s message?
While we certainly acknowledge that the journey to Ecuador takes resources, nearly all travelers find it to be a wise carbon investment, as the payback in terms of inspiration, rejuvenation and most importantly commitment to action upon return are significant. Many people rediscover their purpose and passion. Also, it is important to remember that the invitation to travel comes from the Achuar people. Community based eco-tourism is their main alternative to oil development and they want allies to visit from the modern world so that they can share the message and power of the rainforest with the world. Your visit helps forward the important work of preserving 10 million acres of primary rainforest and the many indigenous groups that inhabit the region. And it gives the Achuar strength and enhanced pride knowing they have people from the outside who value and respect their culture and are standing with them in partnership.
How do I know if this experience is right for me?
We trust that people are called to this experience and go when the time is right. If you would like support in looking to see if this is the right experience and timing, please contact Pachamama Journeys Director, David Tucker, who has been leading groups and overseeing this program for over a decade. He is very familiar with the unique opportunity of the journey and the potential it has to offer. Our Travel Coordinator, Pat Jackson, has supported hundreds of traveler’s prepare logistically for this experience and is available to offer any assistance. Most importantly, trust your heart.
How do I register?
You can register online or by downloading a registration form (PDF) and faxing or mailing it. A $500 deposit holds your space. See full payment and cancellation policy.
When and where should I arrive/depart?
Your experience with Pachamama will begin and end in Quito, Ecuador and participants make their own flight arrangements. The dates of your journey include travel dates both into and out of Quito – for example, if your journey is scheduled for May 6 – 17, you should plan on arriving at the designated hotel (included in trip fee) by midnight on May 6. There will not be any group activities planned for the 17th and you will be free to begin your travel back home that morning. While it is fine to arrive and depart on the specific travel days, we do recommend that you arrive one or more days early to rest and acclimate to the altitude of the Andes. It also ensures that possible travel delays do not hold you up from joining the group on time. After the journey is complete, participants often find it helpful to have a day or two to integrate the experience before heading back home.
What ages travel with you?
Our trips have included travelers from age 7 to 78. Family, children and teens are welcome and in our experience have made great additions to groups, adding a multi-generational touch and perspective.
Are vaccinations required?
While the Center for Disease Control recommends certain vaccinations, neither Ecuador nor Pachamama require any vaccinations to enter the country. Some of our participants choose to pursue the full spectrum of vaccinations, while others choose not to have any. Please consult with your personal physician or local travel clinic for advice on your specific needs.
What about malaria?
Since malaria is found in the rainforest region where we travel, we require that each participant take an anti-malarial preventative medicine. The most effective allopathic medicine with the least amount of side-effects that we’ve encountered is called Malarone. Herbal remedies such as those with Artemisia (wormwood) can also be a good option. Again, please consult with your personal physician for advice on your specific needs.
What kind of clothes should I bring?
Will I be able to charge batteries?
Yes, there will be electricity in all locations except for the time spent in the Achuar village. There is no need for conversion for the type of electricity or the plugs if you are coming from North America. Ecuador operates on 110v electricity. Check with currentsolutions.com for your specific needs if you are traveling from outside North America.
What are the altitudes that the group will travel through?
The Ecuadorian capital, Quito, is the highest elevation of the itinerary. For people particularly sensitive to altitude, an altitude sickness remedy (such as diamox) may be helpful. Below is a chart indicating the various altitude points on our itinerary:
- Quito: 9,500 feet, 3,000 meters
- Banos: 5,905 feet, 1,820 meters
- Otavalo: 8,641 feet, 2,633 meters
- Achuar Territory (Rainforest): 900 feet, 295 meters
Is it advisable to bring gifts for our hosts?
While gift giving is a generous and common practice throughout the world, we are trying to minimize our impact on the cultures and territories we visit. And due to the shared nature of indigenous society, giving gifts to individuals can disrupt the balance of the community. The biggest gift for them is your presence and partnership.
What are some other places to visit if I decide to come early or stay on in Ecuador?
The Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador and a fascinating place to visit. The area of Vilcabamba in the southern part of the country is beautiful and well prepared for visitors as well. For a very relaxing stay following your journey, the Termas Papallacta hotel and hot springs is just 1.5 hours outside of Quito.