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4-night Program Itinerary

Kapawi Ecolodge
4-night Program Itinerary

Trip Summary
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Price: Starting at USD 1,650 per person*

INCLUDED IN PRICE:

  • Accommodation, all meals.

  • All excursions and activities.

  • Rubber boots and Rain poncho.

  • Local bilingual guide.

  • Community visits.

  • Boat rides, kayaking and other river excursions and activities.

  • Chartered flights (USD 290 per person for the route Shell-Kapawi and Kapawi-Shell). Private charter flights on special dates can be arranged.

  • A contribution to the Achuar community fund USD 50. This fee per visitor, included in the price, is reinvested directly in local health and education community projects.

 

EXTRAS NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE:

  • Private land transfers Quito-Shell or Shell-Quito can be quoted separately upon request.

  • Complimentary travel arrangements: We work with our partner tour operator Trek Ecuador and can arrange any overland transfers and travel arrangements before and after the Kapawi experience. Sometimes our guests want to explore other destinations on the way to Kapawi or after Kapawi. We can gladly provide any travel assistance.

  • Alcoholic beverages, sparkling beverages (sodas, sparkling water).

  • Special customized activities (e.g. community overnight stays have an additional cost).

  • Tips and gratuities.

  • Personal expenses (handicrafts and other).

 

 

Travel with a purpose

Kapawi's 4-night program offers you the opportunity to travel to and immerse in the Achuar indigenous land in a remote area of Ecuador's Amazon Rainforest.

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Kapawi Ecolodge is an award-winning ecotourism enterprise located deep in the Achuar territory of Ecuador's south east Amazon Region.

About Kapawi Ecolodge

Kapawi Ecolodge is the perfect destination for single travelers, couples, families, and small groups. At Kapawi, you will be able to:

  • Experience moments of cultural immersion and learn about the Achuar indigenous way of life.

  • Travel to a remote location in the Amazon Rainforest to disconnect and enjoy time in nature.

  • Design your personal travel experience and travel at your own pace.

  • Choose from a menu of options including guided hikes (daytime and nighttime), boat rides and river explorations in an area with 4 navegable rivers, wildlife viewing opportunities, kayaking and swimming in the Capahuari river, and several community visits and overnight stays.

When Kapawi first opened its doors in 1996, it represented a pioneer ecotourism joint enterprise in Ecuador and the region. Kapawi was developed as an economic alternative to support biodiversity conservation and cultural preservation, while creating employment and income for local Achuar families. In 2019, Kapawi finished a complete renovation of its cabins and grounds, and opened new river, forest, and community activities.

 

The ecolodge is fully owned and operated by the Achuar communities, employing 100% of its staff from the local communities, and working with the local value chain to generate additional income for local producers and service providers. A percentage of every traveler's income is used to support community education, health, conservation, food security, and sustainable production needs. Kapawi also works to implement environmental standards to reduce its footprint, such as 100% energy consumption provided by solar cells.

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Kapawi Ecolodge has 10 individual bungalows, connected to the Capahuari river.

How to get to Kapawi

A visit to Kapawi Ecolodge starts and ends in the town of Shell, located 4-5 hours from Quito at the edge of the Amazon basin. There are no commercial flights from Quito to Shell, and to get to our ecolodge, our guests need to travel overland south along the Panamerican Highway running from north to south, before descending from the Andes to the Amazon down the canyon of the Pastaza river, past the small town of Baños and to the town of Shell. Our chartered planes are usually scheduled to leave from Shell at 9.30 am. The flight covers 160 kilometers to Kapawi and takes approximately 50 minutes before landing in the Achuar village of Kusutkau, one of the 3 Achuar communities that own Kapawi Ecolodge.

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Below is a more detailed description of our 4-night program. Please keep in mind that we can provide all services from and to Quito, including land transfers and other accommodation services.

DAY 1 - Flight to Kapawi.

Upon arrival to Shell at 9 am, our flight coordinator will welcome you and assist you as we get ready for the 50-minute flight to the Achuar community of Kusutkau. You will be handed your rubber boots which are needed for hiking at Kapawi.

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We use small chartered planes to fly deep into the Achuar territory, following the Pastaza river.

Upon landing in the community of Kusutkau, you will be greeted by your guide, and from Kusutkau you will take a 20-30 minute boat ride down the Capahuari River to the ecolodge. You will arrive at Kapawi's main dock, and our resident Manager will take you to the main social and dining area, where he will give an introductory talk about the ecolodge, provide some recommendations, and take you to your bungalow. Lunch will be served in our dining area at 1 pm.

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Kapawi's trail and river system occupies an area of roughly 2,500 hectares of primary rainforest with many opportunities for wildlife encounters. Hikes can range from 30 minutes to 6 hours.

The activity at Kapawi for the afternoon will include a short introductory hike in the forest. This hike is roughly 2-kilometers long, and it includes several stops, where the naturalist and local guides explain the ecology of the Amazon Tropical Rainforest. It is an easy hike that can take up to 2 hours.

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After the introductory hike and before dinner, you will have several options to choose from. Swimming or paddling in the river right from our dock is always available, as well as relaxing in our social areas by the river or in the main area where our dining area and bar are located.

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Dinner at the lodge is served at 7.15 pm, and after dinner you will go over the next day's plan and activities together with our guide.

DAY 2 - Time in nature: forest and river activities

Every day, the Achuar host a Wayus tea ceremony, held at the hearth hut next to our main dock (350 meters from the bungalows). Wayus time is a traditional activity in an Achuar household, taking place before dawn, usually starting at 4.30 am. This moment is special for the Achuar since it is a family moment to share dreams, plan the day's activities, or just to have a conversation about important issues. We offer this optional activity to join you Achuar hosts and have Wayus time with them, talk about dreams, listen to Achuar stories, and experience an aspect of the Achuar culture and life.

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Our hearth and hammock hut overlooking the Capahuari river is one of our guests' favorite places. Here you will have Wayus tea, and it is also a great place for just relaxing and enjoying the surroundings.

Wayus time ends at dawn, and after that we always offer an early wildlife watching boat ride to look for wildlife along the Capahuari River.

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Red howler monkeys (Yakum in Achuar) are a common sight along the river.

After the 1-hour boat ride, you will return to the lodge for breakfast. After breakfast, you will go on a forest hike to learn about the Rainforest from the Achuar's perspective of useful and medicinal plants. Forest species play a key role in Achuar construction, food, medicine, and tools, and our Achuar guide will interpret the Achuar knowledge of the forest and the importance of natural resources in the Achuar everyday life. You will return to the lodge for lunch at 1 pm.

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After a short break after lunch, you will enjoy a kayaking activity in the Capahuari river. This involves leaving from the dock at 3.30 pm for a boat ride upstream the Capahuari river, and then switching to single and double kayaks for a return paddle to the lodge following the current. This is a great opportunity for spotting wildlife in the trees, as well as for looking for pink river dolphins in the river.

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7.15 pm dinner

 

After dinner, you will have the option of a night hike in the forest surrounding the lodge. This hike takes about 1 hour, and it is designed to look for nocturnal insects, reptiles, amphibians, and other forest species that become active at night. This activity usually takes place between 8.30-10 pm.

DAY 3 - Learning about the Achuar culture

The day starts with an optional activity at 6.30 am to take a boat ride to the parrot clay lick on the Pastaza river. There are usually 4-6 different species of parrots feeding early in the morning on the minerals and nutrients in the soil: chestnut fronted macaws, dusky headed parakeets, and Amazon parrots are usually observed from the boat. Return to the lodge for breakfast at 8 am.

 

After breakfast, you will leave for a community visit at 9.30 am. There are several communities around Kapawi to choose from, and we take turns visiting families in different communities. This is a full-day activity, including enjoying a local meal prepared by the host family.

The area of influence of Kapawi Ecolodge covers roughly 50,000 hectares, 4 navegable rivers, and 10 Achuar villages. Some are located 15 minutes away while others up to 1.5 hours away by boat.

The community visit involves different moments, including a community walking tour, a visit to a family's Ajá (Ah-Ha), or family garden, a traditional lunch and a the option to buy local handicrafts and weavings.

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Tsekunts is one of the villages we visit. It is the smallest community with roughly 25 inhabitants, located 1.5 hours by boat from the lodge.

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Local food tasting is another great experience of the Achuar culture. Yunkurak, also called maito, is a meal wrapped with native leaves used for cooking fish, heart of palm, native wild cocoa beans, chicken, wild meat, and even grubs and plants collected in the forest. It is usually served on top of banana leaves with boiled manioc (yuca), plantain, papaya, pineapple, squash, sweet potatoes, and other products from the local gardens. This is always combined with local Nijiamanch (or chicha), which is a drink made of fermented manioc.

 

The Achuar always look forward learning about the outside world and people, so we suggest bringing to the community something from home to share with the Achuar. This can be from a story, photos, or a gift from home that helps the Achuar understand the traveler's life.

You will return to the lodge late in the afternoon. Sometimes depending on weather, watching the sunset from the Pastaza river is a great way to end the day. We usually light a fire every afternoon in the hearth hut by the dock and river. It is a relaxing activity at the end of the day. We can relax in a hammock by the river, or go for a swim in the Capahuari river. This is a safe activity, and your guides will always be up for a swim every afternoon, especially after a hot and sunny day.

 

7.15 Dinner

 

After dinner, we will have the option of a night boat ride . This ride takes about 1 hour. We leave the dock to go upstream the Capahuari river, and then we drift without the sound of the engine, with the boat top open for better visibility of the sky, and listen to the forest sounds as we look for nocturnal species, including cayman (related to alligators), capybaras, tapir, or nocturnal species of birds and bats.

DAY 4 - A menu of activities to choose from

So far, you have spent a full day in nature, and a full in an Achuar village visiting a local family. This day we usually leave it open for you to decide. Depending on the time of the year, there are always special nature and culture options to explore.

Optional activities to decide with your guide

An extra day at Kapawi allows you to relax and enjoy the location more slowly.

Visiting the Ishpingo river, about 1 hour by boat from the lodge, and explore it going upstream and looking for wildlife from the boat. You can take the kayaks for the day to paddle the Ishpingo river.

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A full day in the forest with a picnic lunch can also be arranged.

Hiking to a local waterfall led by a community guide is another option for the day.

Visiting another Achuar family or community is also an option

DAY 5 - Departure from Kapawi

We will offer the usual early activity options at Kapawi, followed by breakfast at the lodge. We will get ready and will leave the lodge after breakfast and around 10 am, taking a boat ride upstream to the community of Kusutkau. We will take the flight to Shell around 10.30 am, landing in Shell around 11.30 am.

 

We can also arrange additional travel services in Ecuador before and after a visit to Kapawi, including transfers, accommodation, or trip extensions to some of Ecuador’s unique destinations.

*PRICE

Starting at USD 1,650 per person*

 

INCLUDED IN PRICE

  • Accommodation, all meals.

  • All excursions and activities.

  • Rubber boots and Rain poncho.

  • Local bilingual guide.

  • Community visits.

  • Boat rides, kayaking and other river excursions and activities.

  • Chartered flights (USD 290 per person for the route Shell-Kapawi and Kapawi-Shell). Private charter flights on special dates can be arranged.

  • A contribution to the Achuar community fund USD 50. This fee per visitor, included in the price, is reinvested directly in local health and education community projects.

 

EXTRAS NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE

  • Private land transfers Quito-Shell or Shell-Quito can be quoted separately upon request.

  • Complimentary travel arrangements: We work with our partner tour operator Trek Ecuador and can arrange any overland transfers and travel arrangements before and after the Kapawi experience. Sometimes our guests want to explore other destinations on the way to Kapawi or after Kapawi. We can gladly provide any travel assistance.

  • Alcoholic beverages, sparkling beverages (sodas, sparkling water).

  • Special customized activities (e.g. community overnight stays have an additional cost).

  • Tips and gratuities.

  • Personal expenses (handicrafts and other).

* Groups and families get a special discount.

* We can waive the single supplement fee depending on dates and availability.

 

Final Important Kapawi flight considerations when planning your travel itinerary to Ecuador.

Weather is a factor when flying in the Amazon Rainforest. On very few occasions, weather can cause flight delays when traveling to Kapawi from Shell, or from Kapawi to Shell. We permanently monitor several weather forecast platforms and tracking systems.

Due to the nature of our flights to and from Kapawi, we recommend avoiding any immediate travel plans the day after the Kapawi experience. We suggest leaving a free day after Kapawi, especially if you have international flights or a flight to the Galapagos Islands planned after visiting us.

 

 

For more details and information, please contact us at info@kapawi.com

 

Or via WhatsApp at +593 98 058 9333

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