Journey Overview

Join us on a powerful journey that begins with an intimate stay in the high Andes with the inspiring Karanqui-Quichua people of San Clemente. Situated on the flanks of the sacred Imbabura volcano, this traditional culture miraculously emerged from centuries of conquest with their hearts and ancestral traditions intact. The journey continues deep into the Amazon rainforest for an immersion with our founding indigenous partners, the legendary Achuar. Still recent in their contact with the outside world, they are fiercely committed to protecting the forest on behalf of all life and to forging strong alliances. They generously share their daily traditions and most sacred ceremonies so that we may understand how they see the world and be filled with energy and spirit of the forest to support our lives and work upon our return.

With stays in San Clemente, the Achuar community lodge of Ti’inkias and the Achuar’s acclaimed Kapawi Ecolodge there will be lots of opportunity for intimate connection and sharing with these remarkable people.

Journey Leaders: Pat and Dave Usner

Pat and Dave Usner have been traveling to the Amazon rainforest since 1989, when they fell in love with the rainforest and the people who live there.
More about Pat & Dave

Day 1: Saturday, August 11th

  • Group meets at a charming mountain lodge north of airport at 5pm for opening circle,
    orientation and evening meal together.

Day 2: Sunday, August 12th

  • Inspiring visit to the Equatorial line at the middle of the world
  • Browse one of the largest open-aired indigenous markets in South America
  • Traditional cleansing with elder Quichua shaman
  • Arrival in San Clemente, home of the kind-hearted Karanqui-Quichua people
  • Settle in with family in simple, comfortable accommodations, preparing meals together with local foods grown on the land

Day 3: Monday, August 13th

  • Learn about Andean cosmology and calendar with locals
  • Work in the fields plowing, planting or harvesting, depending on the season
  • Discover the traditional natural medicines on a walk through the Andes
  • Traditional outdoor feast with locally grown and harvested foods
  • Dance, sing, celebrate life with live Andean music played by villagers

Day 4: Tuesday, August 14th

  • Farewells to gracious host families and community
  • Descend Avenue of Volcanoes, cloud forests and waterfall-laden Pastaza river canyon to Amazon gateway
  • Dinner and evening discussion about entering the rainforest at our charming hotel in Puyo

Day 5: Wednesday, August 16th

  • Flight over primary rainforest to Achuar Territory
  • River canoe trip and hike to Ti’inkias community and lodge, traditional welcome with
  • local beverage, Chicha

  • Get settled, take in magnificence of the rainforest

Day 6: Thursday, August 17th

  • Early morning dream sharing ritual with Achuar families
  • Cultural traditions – ceramic and basket making, weaving, blowdart practice, etc.
  • Rainforest hike with emphasis on medicinal plants and Achuar spirituality
  • Storytelling around fire

Day 7: Friday, August 18th

  • Dream sharing ritual
  • Hike to beautiful black water lagoon and explore in dugout canoes and kayaks
  • Refreshing swim in oasis like natural pool
  • Cultural exchange with Achuar dances, chants, etc. (bring songs/dances to share, small
  • instruments)

  • Traditional Achuar feast

Day 8: Saturday, August 19th

  • Market with hand-made artisan pieces (available for purchase) and farewells
  • Three hour canoe ride up Pastaza river to encampment of elder Achuar traditional healer
  • Evening shamanic ceremony

Day 9: Sunday, August 20th

  • Morning sharing with elder shaman
  • 30 minute canoe trip to acclaimed Kapawi Lodge
  • time for rest and integration
  • kayaking, swimming and floating in refreshing waters of the Capahuari

Day 10: Monday, August 21st

  • Rainforest hike focused on Achuar’s sustainable relationship with forest
  • Visit massive Kapok tree for solo meditation and reflection
  • Lunch in forest
  • Open space at Kapawi
  • Night walk to witness the incredible nocturnal life of the forest

Day 11: Tuesday, August 22nd

  • Early morning bird and animal watching on river
  • Canoe to airstrip for flight out of forest
  • Take in the forest from above, seeing it with new eyes
  • Awaiting bus takes us to a cozy hacienda next to Llanganates National Park
  • Enjoyourmet food, relax fireside

Day 12: Wednesday, August 23rd

  • Time for rest and integration
  • Hike to a beautiful waterfall, enjoy beautiful grounds
  • Group discussion and Symposium

Day 13: Thursday, August 24th

  • A day of completion, commitments and celebration
  • Travel to Quito where the group will stay at a quaint local hotel
  • Farewell dinner

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 explore Quito if you wish.