Journey Overview

Join us for an unforgettable immersion with two extraordinary and complementary cultures, the Achuar and the Sápara. They are powerful allies for one another and have been working with the Pachamama Alliance for two decades to preserve their ancestral cultures and territories. The legendary Achuar, with their courageous warrior spirit are dedicated to protecting the pristine rainforest on behalf of us all. The deeply spiritual Sápara who’s commitment to the healing power of the forest and finding viable alternatives to oil exploitation has preserved their culture against all odds.

With stays at the Achuar community lodge of Ti’inkias and the Sápara community-based project of Naku, there will lots of opportunity for intimate connection and sharing with these remarkable people.

Journey Leaders: Anita Sanchez and Kit Tennis

Meet Anita and Kit

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Journey Begins, Orientation, Welcome Dinner

Saturday, June 11

Group meets at 5pm at the Quito hotel, Café Cultura for a welcome and orientation followed by a group dinner together. Accommodations at Café Cultura.

Day 2: Descend Andean Avenue of the Volcanoes to Gateway of Amazon

Sunday, June 12

After breakfast and an orientation meeting at Café Cultura, we’ll head south on a beautiful drive descending the Andes through the Avenue of the Volcanoes and the waterfall-laden Pastaza River canyon, the gateway to the Amazon rainforest. Dinner and evening discussion about entering the rainforest and the Achuar and Sápara territories at your hotel, El Jardin, located on the outskirts of Puyo.

Day 3: Fly Over Pristine Rainforest to Achuar Territory, Visit with Elder and Family, Ti’inkias Arrival

Monday, June 13

Head to the nearby town of Shell where we’ll take a 45-minute flight deep into the Amazon rainforest to the Achuar village of Chichirat. After a traditional Achuar greeting with their staple beverage, chicha, we’ll visit with the community elder and his family. Then we’ll hike to the Bobanaza river for a beautiful motorized canoe ride down to the village of Ti’inkias. A 30-minute hike will bring us to the simple forest encampment built in traditional Achuar design that will be our home for three days and nights.

Day 4: Dream Sharing, Cultural Practices, Medicinal Plant Hike, Achuar Spirituality

Tuesday, June 14

Early morning dream-sharing ritual with Achuar families over guayusa tea (the green tea of the rainforest). During this intimate time, the Achuar will interpret our dreams and share with us the significance of this tradition for their culture. After breakfast, they will openly share their cultural practices, including basket and ceramic making, weaving, dart making and blowgun practice. Return to encampment for lunch and siesta. In the afternoon, we’ll set out on a rainforest hike with our Achuar guide explaining medicinal plant use and Achuar spirituality. Evening group circle and story-telling around fire.

Day 5: Free Time, Hike to Lagoon, Kayak, Forest Solo-Time, Swim, Cultural Exchange, Traditional Feast

Wednesday, June 15

After breakfast, we’ll head out on a hike through the lush forest to a beautiful black water lagoon, which we’ll explore in dugout canoes and kayaks. We’ll visit a large Kapok tree and spend some quiet and contemplative solo time taking in the vibrant forest before returning to the 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), and a traditional Achuar feast.

Day 6: Artisan Market, Farewells to Community, Plane Ride to Sápara Territory, Welcome, Purification, Arrival at Naku

Thursday, June 16

After breakfast, we’ll prepare our belongings and begin the hike back to the river, stopping in the community to say our farewells and be treated to a beautiful display of hand-made Achuar artisan items (available for purchase in support of the culture and community). Go back to the village of Chichirat where we’ll take a 25-minute flight to the Sápara village of Llanchamacocha. Receive a warm welcome with smiles, embraces, and their staple beverage, chicha, followed by an individualized purification ritual. After orientation to the Naku project, we’ll take a refreshing swim in the river and settle into our simple encampment, enjoying the peaceful environment of the rainforest and kindness of our hosts.

Day 7: Dream Sharing, Cleansing Ceremony, Cultural Activities, Hike to Medicinal Plant Garden

Friday, June 17

In the morning, we’ll share our dreams as the Sápara do each morning, and go through a cleansing ceremony using ancient and highly effective techniques. We’ll then learn about their unique culture through hands-on participation in their village activities and traditions and by conversing with the children, adults and elders, including Grandmother Mukusawa, one of the last native speakers of their language (which has received world-heritage status by the U.N.). We’ll hear about their incredible history and inspiring vision for the future. Afternoon hike through the primary forest to learn about the Sápara’s unique physical and spiritual connection to the rainforest. We’ll be shown a garden of carefully cultivated medicinal plants in the middle of a primary forest and a Sápara plant master will share with us their many uses.

Day 8: River Excursion, Swimming, Fishing, Hike, Shamanic Ceremony

Saturday, June 18

After dream sharing, we’ll set off on a special excursion down the Conambo River to the pristine and uninhabited Sápara reserve, where the flora and fauna thrive in their natural state. After time on the river swimming, fishing and having fun, we’ll have a sacred tobacco ritual and then hike back to our encampment. In the evening we’ll be invited to participate in an ancient shamanic ceremony.

Day 9: Time for Rest and Reflection, River, Intimate Sharing with Sápara Friends

Sunday, June 19

Morning integration time for reflection, journaling, rest and simply being in the natural environment and beauty of the rainforest. Afternoon river swim before sharing intimate conversation with our Sapara friends, partaking in traditional foods, music and experiencing Sumak Kawsay (Good Living) together.

Day 10: Dream Sharing, Farewells, Fly Out of Forest, El Jardin, Relax, Symposium

Monday, June 20

After dream sharing and breakfast, we’ll gather our belongings and exchange words of appreciation with our hosts, then fly 25 minutes to the small town of Shell, where our bus will take us back to hotel El Jardin, the perfect spot for rest and reintegration with its lush environment, nourishing meals and immaculate wooden-barrel hot-tubs. Evening educational Symposium.

Day 11: Completions, Celebrations, Hot Springs

Tuesday, June 21

Morning circle to share gratitude and commitments. Drive back up through the cloud forest to an Andean highland retreat and natural hot springs called Termas Papallacta (remote, but only 1 hour from the Quito international airport). Relax in the hot springs before a final celebration dinner.

Day 12: Departures

Wednesday, June 22

Itinerary is subject to change