Discover the culture of a Huaorani community while exploring the wonders of the beautiful Amazon that surrounds the community. Explore the Amazonian creatures and wildlife while discovering the unique history and culture of the community.
Swim in the fresh river water besides the creature of the Amazon and along side members of the Huaorani community. The river is a central role in the communities life and the members love to play in the water! Exploring the handicraft market of the community is a strong way to experience the community. The production of crafts is one of the ways the Huaorani maintain their culture, and buying crafts is the way to provide direct support to the Huaorani families. It provides employment in the village and another reason to protect the natural areas around the community.
By purchasing this tour, you help this community-based ecotourism initiative to maintain a way of life for the Huaorani people, independent of gifts and handouts from oil companies. This venture links the communities to tourism as an alternative manes of income to their irreversibly-changed world, enabling them to preserve their culture, heritage and traditions and at the same time conserve the land while protecting the tropical rainforest.
- Downstream expedition on the Amazon to view the wildlife of your Amazonian adventure.
- Learn the secrets of rainforest survival from a local Huaorani guide.
- Swim in the fresh river water with locals.
- Explore the local handicraft market.
- Canoe or kayak down the Shiripuno River.
Quito / Huaorani community
Be picked up in the morning at your hotel and leave the bustling metropolis of Quito. You will be treated to beautiful sceneries of the Ecuadorian countryside as transportation heads south, transitioning from the Andes to the Amazon. The excurision winds along the impressive Avenue of Volcanoes, passing traditional haciendas, indigenous villages and protected natural areas, giving you a taste for the local culture. With luck and clear weather, you will be able to see the remarkably steep peaks in all their glory, including the cone-shaped Cotopaxi, one of the the highest action volcanoes in the world.
Arrive to the town of Shell (named after the oil company) about 4 or 5 hours later. Around noon you will depart in a light aircraft to the Huaorani community of Quehueri’ono (key-weri-oh-noh), only to be warmly greeted by your guests after a short 35 minute flight.
Start you expedition downstream in a shallow dugout canoe called a quilla (kee-yah). Luggage is taken separately so be sure to keep cameras, binoculars and sunscreen on board with you. Rubber boots and rain ponchos will be distributed and immediately, you will begin to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the Amazon. The downstream paddle will be filled with amazing wildlife viewing, and you will likely catch a glimpse and photo of the many riverside birds, including the Yellow-rumped Cacique, the Greater and Lesser Kiskadees, and any of the four Amazonian kingfishers.
Ending your downstream paddle you will arrive at the Ecolodge. Settle in and have lunch along with an introductory briefing about the Huaorani culture and their relationship with the rainforest at the discovery trail. After dinner, feel free to rest up for day two of your Amazonian adventure, or if you have the urge to start exploring, as your guide to lead you on a night walk.
Enjoy breakfast and then a Huaorani guide will accompany you on a long nature hike into the forest. The local guides are also experienced hunters and they will teach you the secrets of the rainforest survival without killing any of the creatures that live there. You will learn how to set traps, make fire without matches, build a shelter in minutes, use a blowgun, and practice the perfect swing of the machete. Your guild may also point out and let you taste edible insects, identify and explain the used of medicinal plants, and show you which clay is used to make pottery.
Afterwards, you will have time to change into your swimsuit and take a dip in the fresh river water, swimming beside the creatures of the Amazon. Do not worry thought the animals will not bite. Most likely, members of the Huaorani community will join you for the swim; the river plays a central role int heir lives and they love to play in the water! Shortly after you will fill up on a hearty lunch near the community.
Your afternoon will be spent with he community, when you will get to know the members personally. The relaxed, informal visit may lead you to share a bowl of chuckle (a sweet drink made of ripe bananas) under the filtered light of the thatched houses, or admire the beautiful handmade artifacts, including woven hammocks and bags, blowguns, traps and necklaces. You will also have the chance to visit the Bi-cultural Ecology Education project and learn how to harvest manioc, also known as yucca or cassava. If you would like, you can visit the community’s handicraft market and purchase some of the products.
You return to the lodge by canoe at the end of the afternoon to relax and have dinner, then your naturalist guide will offer a half hour discussion, or charka, on a subject of interest. Like the day before, if you would like to extend your day and continue observing, as your guide to bring you on a short night hike.
After breakfast, you set off canoeing down the Shiripuno River in traditional Huaorani style, or you can choose to kayak instead. Today the day starts extra early in order to catch a glimpse of the many different birds out at these hours. The tranquility of the morning will allow you to appreciate the true peace and calm of the rainforest, and is the perfect time to relax and engage in intimate conversations, reflect on the past few days of the journey, or to learn some Huaorani vocabulary.
Next up is a stop at the Apaika community, which lives inside the Yame Reserve, a 55,000-hectare protected area managed by the Huaorani Association, who leads the region’s ecotourism initiatives. Here you will enjoy a quick snack and visit Apaika’s mini interpretation center, where you can learn more about Yasuní National Park.
To complete the afternoon, you’ll be able to join the community in some of its daily activities and share in its history, myths and magic. Afterwards, the group continues a couple more hours downriver near the Huaorani village of Nenquepare. You will spend the night here, camping out along the Shiripuno River, sleeping with the sounds of the Amazon’s animals. The well-constructed and comfortable campsite is part of a community initiative, so you will really get to participate in and support community tourism at its finest.
Huaorani community / Quito
Before the return journey and after being treated to a delicious breakfast, you will have the opportunity to hike the community trail to visit an impressive waterfall, one that has special importance for the Huaorani. Once there, you can take a dip in the energizing waters to recharge for the trip back to Quito. The fairly easy walk is three hours altogether, and your naturalist guide will be sure to point out any special plants and animals you may come across.
Once back at the campsite, the group will bid farewell and start the return journey downstream in canoe. This will begin the “toxictour,” an introduction to how the oil industry has impacted the Huaorani lands. The group will head to the border between traditional Huaorani territory and that of the petroleum companies, though it all used to belong to the Huaorani. Here you will see the road built by oil companies in the early 1970s, which crosses the river, and transitions from forest to “civilization.”
On this short tour, you will witness the crude reality of our collective thirst for oil as you ride alongside miles of pipelines, which go from the Huaorani community of Tihuino to Lago Agrio, the oil hub of el Oriente, to be pumped across the Andes to the port of Esmeraldas. This brief journey through oil territory illustrates the reality of the threat facing the rainforest and the Huaorani people. You will also realize why your visit to this Lodge was so important!
After a 2-hour overland ride down the auca road, you will reach the banks of the Río Napo and the town of Coca, where you will catch your flight to Quito.
- Meet and greet on arrival at Airport.
- Accommodation and meals as indicated in the itinerary (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner).
- Entrance fees where applicable.
- Tours as indicated in the itinerary.
- Professional English-speaking guide/driver guide.
- Travel Protection is offered on all packages at an additional cost.