Ecuador – Huaorani’s Amazon Expedition

1 - 7 Days
DIFFICULTY

Medium

MIN. AGE

12 Years

£ TBC

Amazon Kayak Expedition

Kayak into the pristine heart of the Amazon as a guest of the Huaorani tribe. The biodiversity of plants, birds and animals will be sure to astound you, however one of the trip highlights has got to be the privileged interaction with one of the world’s most primordial forest tribes.

The Huaorani (also known as Waorani) have lived as hunters and gatherers in the rainforest for hundreds of years, entirely without contact from the outside world until the end of the 1950s. This expedition will give you a deeper understanding of the forest as you learn how the Huaorani Indians use it to forge a living.

You will have a chance to see more than 100 different species of tropical birds, including the prehistoric Hoatzin. Moreover, during this expedition you will have a great opportunity to learn how to use a blowgun, throw a spear, forage edible fruits, weave tree fibers and identify medicinal plants.  You will Kayak through the lakes of a flooded forest and possibly enjoy sightings of the Black Caiman crocodile, a formerly endangered Amazon species. Your visit will also promote Huaorani cultural identity and the conservation of their rainforest home. Our stay in the Shiripuno community eco-lodge especially provides increasing benefits to the Huaorani people. You will hear impressive Huaorani stories and reciting of traditional chants. This kayaking expedition is about experiencing first hand one of the most important and bio-diverse ecosystems on Earth through the eyes of the people who have lived here for millennia.

Price On Request

Price based on 4 pax. £600pp supplement applies if less than 4.

Excludes international flights.

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Tailormade Departures

Jan - Dec (min 2 pax, significant reductions for more pax as above)

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Day by Day

From Quito, we board a morning flight to the Amazon frontier town of Coca. A scenic two-hour drive south brings us to the banks of the Shiripuno River, where our kayaks are waiting for us. After lunch and a safety briefing, we paddle down the Shiripuno River, surrounded by breathtaking jungle scenery. Our guide introduces us to the magnificent plants and wildlife of the Amazon. In the late afternoon, we reach our campsite near the Noneno Community and receive a visit from a Huaorani family. They share with us the stories of creation that define Huaorani cosmology and explain how the Huaorani view their existence. Together, we recite traditional chants that detail the creation of the jungle and the mountains. We enjoy a fresh gourmet dinner together prepared by our guides.

After breakfast, we visit the nearby Noneno Community, a Huaorani settlement made up of both traditional thatch huts and wooden houses. From our encounters in the community, we learn more about the Huaorani way of life and customs. We exchange gifts and are taught how to use a blow gun and spear – traditional hunting tools of the Huaorani. We then try our hand weaving with chambira, a palm tree fiber used locally for a variety of purposes. After our community visit, we continue paddling down the Shiripuno in our kayaks. Meanwhile, the Shiripuno widens as we move downstream, with small tributaries feeding into the river. We are delighted by the sights of tropical flowers and exotic trees, which give cover to wildlife such as birds, monkeys, and other mammals that our guides help us find. We may also come across medicinal plants that our guides show us how to use. At the end of the day, we reach our fully equipped campsite and prepare for dinner.

After breakfast, we continue our journey down the Shiripuno to explore another awe-inspiring section of the jungle. We keep an eye out for more plants and wildlife with the help of our naturalist and Huaorani guides, and stop to explore the micro-ecosystem of a giant Ceiba tree, many of which are more than 500 years old. In the afternoon, we reach the comfortable accommodations of the Shiripuno Lodge, with a wooden observation deck and social area with hammocks to relax in. In the early evening, we set out into the rainforest for a short guided hike in search of nocturnal wildlife, such as frogs, snakes, spiders, owls, rodents, and bats.

After an early breakfast, we travel by canoe to reach a nearby trail head and begin a 4-hour-long hike into the rainforest. During our hike, we explore old growth forest, including varzea (flooded) forest, and terra firme forest. We will appreciate a variety of plant life, including Parkia, Ficus, and Ceiba trees, which are common in this area. As for wildlife, we are likely to spot the common woolly monkey and white-lipped peccary, in addition to numerous bird species. Jaguar tracks are also a common find. Our guides lead us to a hill which overlooks the jungle to appreciate the canopy from above. They also introduce us to a wide range of medicinal plants, which help us to understand the Huaorani's practical, medicinal, and spiritual relationship with the rainforest. After returning to the lodge for lunch, we hike to a group of small lakes and explore the ecosystem of the flooded forest (also a popular fishing site with the locals).

If we are lucky, we will be able to see tapir - South America’s largest land mammal. We are also likely to spot Black Caimans (formerly endangered crocodilian specie) and birdlife including the Hoatzin (a prehistoric bird unique to this area). We explore giant ant colonies to learn about their social structure, as well as the fascinating interaction between insects, animals, and plants in the jungle. After a long day, we are able to relax in hammocks before dinner.

After an early breakfast, we head back to Coca by motorized canoe. Along the way, we stop to observe wildlife - especially monkeys like the red howler monkey, the spider monkey, and the woolly monkey. We may also stop if we pass by Huaorani families cooking or making handicrafts, as they often invite us to eat fresh yucca with them. In the afternoon, we reach the bridge across the Shiripuno River, where our vehicle is waiting to take us to back to the frontier town of Coca. We spend the night at a hotel and enjoy one last evening before our return to Quito.

After breakfast, we drive to the Coca airport to board our return flight to Quito.

***NOTE*** this itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions and/or river water levels.

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