This intensive journey will be led by Peruvian ceremonial leader, healer, and author Arkan Lushwala and Pachamama Journeys Director David Tucker, and will include extended immersions with our indigenous partners in the rainforest and the Andes, deep ceremonial work, and Arkan’s teachings and translations of indigenous wisdom.
Featured will be a first-time intimate visit to the Zápara people, the first organized outside group they’ve ever received. The Zápara are a small indigenous group that were thought to be extinct in recent times and whose culture and language has now attained U.N. World Heritage status.
Similar to the Achuar and our other indigenous partners, the Pachamama Alliance is working closely with the Zápara as they courageously stand to protect the rainforest from oil exploitation. We’ll be accompanied by national indigenous leader and dream shaman, Manari Ushigua, son of the last great Zápara shaman.
Friday, April 12th:
Arrival in Quito. Group stays at the charming hotel, Café Cultura.
Saturday, April 13th:
After a gourmet breakfast, orientation meeting and journey blessing by Arkan, we’ll head north to the scenic Andean region of Otavalo. After visiting the center of the world (equator) where we’ll gain a deeper understanding of Ecuador and the Andean worldview, we’ll continue on to the indigenous-owned, community-based project of San Clemente, situated on the flanks of the sacred Imbabura volcano. Welcome from community and discussions about the Andean calendar and cosmo-vision. Dinner and accommodations with our gracious host families.
Sunday, April 14th:
We’ll have the special opportunity to participate in a full-day ceremony practiced by Andean peoples for millennia which facilitates a deep connection with self, others and nature. Will include shamanic practices guided by Arkan, a cleansing ceremony with an elder Quichua Yachak (healer) and a traditional temescal (sweatlodge) followed, by a feast of local, traditional foods of the region.
Monday, April 15th:
Morning integration circle and discussion about living in sustainable community followed by activities with the village, including agricultural practices (oxen plow, planting/harvesting crops, grinding corn, etc.), and an Andean forest hike to learn about native medicinal plants. Evening dinner with families followed by cultural sharing and celebration, including traditional Andean music.
Tuesday, April 16th:
After breakfast and farewells with our indigenous host families, we’ll embark on a beautiful drive descending the Andes through the avenue of the volcanoes and the mysterious cloud forests until we reach the gateway to the Amazon rainforest. Dinner and evening discussion about entering the rainforest at your quaint hotel, El Jardin, located on the outskirts of Puyo. Discussion with Arkan around the significance of dreams, including practices for dreaming vividly.
Wednesday, April 17th:
We will travel to the nearby airport and be the first organized group to travel into Zapara territory. There we will be welcomed by the community and get settled into the village which will be our home for the next three days. We’ll spend time with the leaders and elders discussing their history, customs and vision for defending their forest for future generations of all life. We’ll join the community in a traditional meal, dancing and songs.
Thursday, April 18th:
Share in village activities and cultural traditions. Learn about the Zapara’s unique physical and spiritual connection to the rainforest. Hike through the pristine forest exploring the mega-diverse flora and fauna. In the evening, there may be an invitation to participate in a shamanic ceremony with an elder healer.
Friday, April 19th:
Morning integration and conversation with community and Arkan. Time for reflection, journaling and rest. Afternoon time on river for swimming and more village interaction.
Saturday, April 20th:
Morning dream sharing and interpretation by community elders and Manari. After breakfast, we’ll prepare our belongings to head into Achuar territory. Arrive by plane in the Achuar village of Chichirat. After a traditional Achuar greeting and visit with the community elder where we’ll be offered the traditional chicha beverage, we’ll walk to the Bobanaza river for a beautiful motorized canoe ride down to the village of Ti’inkias. Then we’ll walk to the nearby simple encampment built in traditional Achuar style that will be our home for three days and nights. Evening teachings with Arkan.
Sunday, April 21st:
Early morning dream sharing ritual with Achuar families, followed by time in the village participating in cultural practices and activities. Return to encampment for a siesta. 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 way back we’ll have some solo time in the forest to reflect and prepare for an evening ceremony the Achuar invite us to participate in. Evening ceremony with elder shaman.
Monday, April 22nd:
Morning debrief session with shaman. Time for integration, rest and integration discussion with Arkan. In afternoon, we’ll return to village for more interaction, including games with children, a refreshing swim in an oasis-like natural pool, a cultural exchange (feel free to bring small instruments, songs and dances for sharing), a traditional Achuar feast and a beautiful display of Achuar hand-made artisan items.
Tuesday, April 23rd:
We’ll enjoy early morning walking in the forest and time on the river en route back to the village of Chichirat, where we’ll fly back to the town of Shell. There our bus will take us to the cozy and inviting Hacienda Manteles in the Patate valley of the Andes, with sweeping vistas of the magnificent Tungurahua volcano. Free time for rest and reflection. Evening reintegration circle.
Wednesday, April 24th:
We’ll enter the majestic Llanganates National Park and its enchanted cloud forest, hiking to rivers and waterfalls of immense beauty. Arkan will facilitate shamanic practices and ceremony while out on the land.
Thursday, April 25th:
A day of completion, commitments and celebration. Head back to Quito for our final celebration dinner together. Stay at Cafe Cultura.
Friday, April 26th:
Itinerary is subject to change
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 Friday night.