After an early start and a hearty breakfast, we drive to our put-in on the Upano River and begin our whitewater adventure. The upper part of the Upano is wide and relatively tranquil, with mostly Class III rapids and the occasional Class IV section where we navigate steep boulder passages. This reasonably laid-back start to our expedition helps us get used to paddling as a team and gives us the chance to appreciate the stunning rainforest scenery and wildlife around us.
The thatched-roof huts of the Shuar are visible along the riverbanks and local Shuar families can often be seen washing clothes or fishing from the shores of the upper Upano. After setting up camp on the riverbank near the town of Sucua, we head out to visit the nearby Shuar community where we will learn about their culture and ancient rituals including the practice of shrinking the heads of their fallen enemies. After our visit with the Shuar we will head back to our campsite where we will enjoy a tasty dinner and a peaceful night’s sleep on a sandy beach by the river.