Example Kapawi Ecolodge Itinerary
Kapawi Ecolodge is located in one of Ecuador's last large tracts of primary Amazon Rainforest, in South-east Ecuador, inside the Achuar nation's territory, a remote indigenous land of more than 7,000 square kilometers (around 1.75 million acres).
This sample itinerary shows our travel experience that starts in the town of Shell, when you board the small chartered plane that will take you to Kapawi. You can work with our partner tour operator, Trek Ecuador, to make overland travel arrangements to Shell and then from Shell to your next destination after the Kapawi experience.
Kapawi Ecolodge is a 100% community enterprise and operates in close collaboration with several Achuar indigenous communities. This map below shows the location of Kapawi Ecolodge and the surrounding Achuar communities that work with and collaborate with us. This region within the Achuar territory offers our visitors with the opportunity of spending time in nature and immersing in the Achuar culture.
Our experience starts in the town of Shell, from where we fly to the Achuar territory on a small 3-, 5-, or 9-seater small chartered plane. The flight covers approximately 160 kilometers as we enter to the last area of isolated Amazon Rainforest.
We fly deep into the southeastern region of the Ecuadorian Amazon. The Pastaza river can be seen as the plane flies into the Achuar territory.
We will fly to the community of Kusutkau, located 20 minutes upstream from Kapawi. Upon arrival to the ecolodge, you will be taken to the main gathering and dining area, where we give you an introductory talk about the Ecolodge, the Achuar territory, and the different possibilities for activities, both natural and cultural. After the introductory briefing, you will be shown to your cabins, and lunch will be served in the dining area.
After lunch, you will choose, together with your guides, the best activities for the afternoon. Kapawi offers a wide range of activities in the trails surrounding the ecolodge, and also in the Capahuari river. We usually start with a hike in the forest, to understand the incredible ecology of the Amazon Rainforest. Some hikes start right from the lodge, while others start near the lodge a few minutes away by motorized boat.
Return to the lodge after the activity for some free time. Swimming 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. We will have dinner at the lodge at 7.30 pm, and after dinner you can go over the next day's plan and activities together with your guides. Overnight at Kapawi Ecolodge.
DAY 2, 3, & 4...up to 7
(IN OUR WEEK LONG ITINERARY)
Every day, we will have an optional early activity, which involves time in the river (birdwatching and looking for wildlife). The early activity is usually between 6-8 am, followed by breakfast at the lodge. After breakfast we can include a full-day or a half-day activity. The activities vary every day between time in the forest, kayaking and paddling in a river, or visiting a community. You plan these activities the night before together with your guides. For example, you can choose from several 1-6 hour hikes, or a 2-3 hour visit to a local community.
Squirrel monkeys are one of 7 different species of primates that you can find around Kapawi Ecolodge on the river and inside the forest.
Kayaking the smaller Kusutkau river requires paddling upstream a flowing river, and is usually an activity that requires medium kayaking experience.
Kayaking the wider and bigger Capahuari river is an easy activity that can range from 1 hour to 3-4 hours in the river enjoying the scenery and looking for wildlife (birds, primates, and pink river dolphins, among other possibilities.
The Capahuari and Pastaza rivers can be explored with our motorized boats.
This spectacular strangler fig can be found in the trails that start from the cabins, and it's a great and easily accessible hike that can be done before breakfast, during the day or at night.
Our self guided trail has been designed to allow easy hiking right from the lodge inside primary Amazon Rainforest.
A visit to a local community allows a close interaction with an Achuar family to learn and experience the Achuar way of life.
Weaving different types of baskets is done by the men and is a cultural tradition in all communities.
Handicrafts and pottery are made by the Achuar women and are for sale in the communities around the ecolodge.
Local food tasting is another great experience of the Achuar culture. "Maitos" wrapped with native leaves and used for cooking fish, heart of palm, native cocoa beans, chicken, and even grubs collected in the forest, and served with manioc, plantain, squash, and other products from the local gardens. The experience includes visiting a local garden and helping in the harvest of local products.
An Achuar woman harvesting manioc (yuca), the main staple food for the Achuar.
DEEP COMMUNITY IMMERSION
One of the unique highlights of traveling to Kapawi Ecolodge is the opportunity to experience the Achuar culture by visiting our neighboring communities and their families. Our community immersions can be half- and full- day outings, and even community overnights. A community immersion offers the visitor the opportunity to visit an Achuar family in their home, and carrying out a cultural activity with them. These activities can include: learning about the Achuar way of life, visit their farming gardens (called chacras) to learn about local agriculture and medicinal plants, learning about weavings and pottery, practicing with a blow gun (used for hunting), and even hikes in the forest lead by the Achuar host, and fishing.
Some people want a deeper immersion and exploration of the Achuar culture. We visit several communities and offer 1- and 2- night overnight experiences in an Achuar community.
OTHER OPTIONAL DAILY ACTIVITIES
NIGHT HIKES & BOAT RIDES
Night activities offer a very different experience of the rainforest. Some species of amphibians, reptiles, insects, and mammals are active at night. We offer boat rides, hikes, and sometimes more adventurous experiences (night kayaking) for our clients.
WAYSENSA TEA CEREMONIES
Our Achuar Wayus House by the river allows for different activities during the day and night. It is a great place to relax, observe wildlife, listen to the sounds of the forest, meditate, or even practice yoga, overlooking the Capahuari river. Every afternoon we light a fire and the house is always open. The Achuar culture involves a daily routine of drinking wayusa tea every morning before dawn and before starting the day's activities. We offer this optional activity every day, together with the local staff.
ACHUAR MYTHS & TRATIONS
Also offered at the Achuar Wayus House, after dinner, your Achuar guide will offer a conversation about the Achuar culture, often including an Achuar story, myth, tradition, or answering any questions you may have about the Achuar way of life.
RELAX & HANGOUT
You can enjoy the Amazon Rainforest and the Achuar culture from within the grounds of the lodge. Our Wayusa House by the river is an excellent place for relaxing day or night.
Our cabins have outside decks, great places for relaxing and enjoying the sounds and views of the Amazon Rainforest.
Kapawi Ecolodge is owned and run by the Achuar, so hanging out with the hosts is also a great way to learn about the Achuar culture and its relationship with the Amazon Rainforest.
We will offer the usual early activity (river or forest) at Kapawi, followed by breakfast at the lodge. We will leave the lodge after breakfast for a boat ride upstream to the community of Kusutkau. From there we will take the flight to Shell. Weather permitting we should arrive back in Shell before noon.