Join us for an unforgettable immersion with two extraordinary and complementary cultures: the legendary Achuar, whose courageous warrior spirit is dedicated to protecting the pristine rainforest on behalf of us all, and the deeply spiritual Sápara whose commitment to the healing power of the forest and finding viable alternatives to oil exploitation has preserved their culture against all odds. 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.
With stays at the Achuar community lodge of Sharamentsa and the Sápara community-based project of Naku, there will be lots of opportunity for intimate connection and sharing with these remarkable people.
Laura Weaver, MA, is a facilitator, guide, author, poet, and organizational consultant with over two decades of experience in education, writing, facilitation, and non-profit and social change work. More about Laura
Day 1: Arrival into Quito
Sunday, December 3
Arrival into Quito. Group lodges at Hotel La Rabida.
Day 2: Descend Avenue of Volcanoes and Cloud Forest to Amazon Gateway
Monday, December 4
After breakfast and a short briefing meeting, we will 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 our small hotel, El Jardin, located on the outskirts of Puyo.
Day 3: Fly Over Rainforest to Achuar Territory, Arrival in village of Ti’inkias
Tuesday, December 5
Tuesday, December 5
Head to the nearby town of Shell where we’ll take a 45-minute flight deep into the Amazon rainforest and arrive at the village of Ti’inkias via forest hike and canoe ride down the Bobonaza River. The simple forest encampment built in traditional Achuar design that will be our home for the next four days and nights.
Day 4: Dream Sharing, Cultural Practices, Medicinal Plant Hike, Achuar Spirituality
Wednesday, December 6
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, Shamanic Ceremony
Thursday, December 7
After breakfast, we’ll hike through the lush forest to a beautiful black water lagoon, which we’ll explore in dugout canoes and kayaks. We’ll have the opportunity to visit a large Kapok tree and spend some quiet and contemplative solo time taking in the vibrant forest and preparing for an evening ceremony the Achuar invite us to participate in. Evening ceremony with elder shaman.
Day 6: Meeting with Shaman, Rest and Reflection, Cultural Exchange, Traditional Feast
Friday, December 8
Morning debrief session with shaman. Time for integration, reflection, journaling, meditation, relaxing in hammock, etc. In the afternoon, we’ll return 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. Return to encampment for rest.
Day 7: Farewells, Flight to Sápara, Purification
Saturday, December 9
After breakfast, we’ll prepare our belongings, exchange farewells and head back up river for the flight to the Sápara village of Llanchamacocha. Receive a warm welcome followed by an individualized purification. After an introduction and orientation to the Naku project, we’ll take a refreshing swim in the river and settle into the beautiful Naku encampment, enjoying the peaceful environment of the rainforest and kindness of our hosts.
Day 8: Dream Sharing, Cleansing Ritual, River Excursion in Canoe, Forest Hike
Sunday, December 10
Dream-sharing and cleansing ceremony using ancient techniques. After breakfast, we’ll head down the Conambo River in hand-made dugout canoes. We’ll stop along the way to swim and enjoy local freshly cooked food. The return will be on foot or boat depending on preference. Hike through the primary forest to learn about the Sápara’s unique physical and spiritual connection to the rainforest visiting a medicinal plant garden in the primary forest. Sacred tobacco ritual and solo meditation. Evening stories around fire.
Day 9: Time for Rest and Reflection, River, Sharing with Sápara
Monday, December 11
Morning integration, time for reflection, journaling and simply being in the natural environment and beauty of the rainforest. Afternoon river swim before sharing intimate conversation with our Sápara friends, partaking in traditional foods, music and experiencing Sumak Kawsay (Good Living) together.
Day 10: Farewells, Fly Out of Forest, El Jardin, Relax
Tuesday, December 12
After 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 wood hot-tubs.
Day 11: Lodging at Termas Papallacta, Completion, Farewell Dinner
Wednesday, December 13
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 an hour from the Quito airport). Relax in the hot springs before a final celebration dinner.
Day 12: Travel day
Thursday, December 14
Travel home or to next destinations