Imagine being a guest in two of the most remote indigenous communities in South America, one nestled in the Andes Mountains and the other in the Amazon Rainforest, where people are oblivious to cameras and tourism is nothing more than a subtle contribution to their unspoiled lifestyles. Nuevo Mundo Expeditions invites you to do just that on a superb 12-day adventure to meet and interact with Kichwa and Waorani cultures!
Part One - Ultimate Andes Mountains
Our exquisitely handcrafted program starts out in Quito, a World Cultural Heritage Site, where we will walk through cobblestone streets and enter hidden patios no other travelers are aware of. We then experience the geodetic forces that the equator has on our bodies by visiting the zero latitude line at a forgotten village, free from tourist crowds.
Next are the foothills of the second highest active volcano on earth, Mt. Cotopaxi, where we can reach the snowline and feast our eyes on its glaciers, forming one of the most perfect volcanic cones in the world. We enjoy overnight at a charming 300 year-old farm before changing gears to surmount dirt and gravel roads that lead us the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains and an indigenous village that the passing of time has overlooked. At first it may seem abandoned, but after our night at a simple but charming community lodge, you will experience it come to life with its weekly market packed with Kichwa natives dressed in bursting colors, and fair warning: your finger will not be able to leave the shutter release! And shopping? Well, as we will be so far away from standard tourist sites, we will have to settle for what the country folks barter for: cotton and sisal string bags, authentic highland ponchos, scarves of all sorts, plus a visit to a coop where women turn their home knitting and embroidery into boutique quality goods hard to pass up. We will also enjoy seeing rare fruits and vegetables that defy identification, plus livestock escorted down footpaths accented by checkerboard fields – and never will we have realized green could have so many hues!
Our sojourn continues for a welcoming break and downtime at an exquisite lodge that features thermal springs to soak our bones and “charge our batteries” before our second phase of the trip: the remote Amazon basin.
Part Two - Ultimate Amazon Rainforest
Today we fly over the Eastern Andes and into the immense Ecuadorian rainforest that boasts the highest biodiversity on Earth. This genuine expedition rambles through gravel roads and motorized dugouts down a tributary of the Amazon River that offers a wondrous introduction to this unique ecosystem before arriving to our operations base. Five evenings will be spent between our lodge and expertly designed campsites for close encounters of the natural and cultural kind like you´ve never experienced before in your life.
Together with our Waorani hosts and professional naturalist guides, we will be amazed by the wealth of medicinal plants utilized by indigenous people (accounting for nearly 70% of all pharmaceutical drugs used today by the modern world), as well as their simple lifestyles that make us wonder if we are missing something by living in our developed civilization. And it´s not just terra firma that is worth seeing, but also the winding streams and lagoons with over 700 species of fishes, including the infamous piranha we can actually swim with and then fish it out as a supplement to the delicious organic meals to be enjoyed! The orchestrated sounds of creatures that alternate their calls between our daytime treks and our evening outings is another language in itself that the locals will teach us to understand, for there will be more eyes than we can imagine – wondering who we are – including caimans, hoatzins, night jars, jungle cats, toucans, capybaras, tapirs, peccaries, macaws, just to mention a few, some of which we might be lucky enough to stare back at. Of course birds with the most striking colors will be the easiest to spot in the understory as well as at clay licks, so as to make us earn frequent flyer miles, ornithologically speaking!
But perhaps the most unforgettable experience will be sharing this habitat with the Waorani community that, due to their voluntary isolation from the modern world, still keep most of their traditions, such as hunting with blowguns and poisoned darts, making sustainable use of their “natural supermarket”, still speaking their unique Wao Terero language and sharing these ethnicities to a lucky handful of explorers: us! These are the reasons we are here, with them, for ecotourism activities bring revenue to all the families as an outlet for handcrafts, canoe drivers, native guides, housekeeping, kitchen assistants, plus local activities we will be part of so as to makes us “love what we know, and protect what we love”. In short, after our 12th day we would have come home – changed. That´s the magic of this kind of travel.
Day 1: Sat Arrival transfer to Quito, Ecuador. Hotel Sebastian.
Day 2: Sun Colonial Quito & Equator. Hotel Sebastian (BL).
Day 3: Mon Cotopaxi Volcano National Park. Hacienda La Cienega (BLD).
Day 4: Tue Andean Kichwa Community. Community Lodge (BLD).
Day 5: Wed Indigenous Market & Papallacta Thermal Springs Lodge (BLD).
Day 6: Thu Amazon Rainforest of the Waorani. Campsite Under the Sky (BLD).
Day 7: Fri Amazon Rainforest of the Waorani. Campsite Under the Sky (BLD).
Day 8: Sat Amazon Rainforest of the Waorani. Campsite Under the Sky (BLD).
Day 9: Sun Amazon Rainforest of the Waorani. Jungle Lodge (BLD).
Day 10: Mon Amazon Rainforest of the Waorani. Jungle Lodge (BLD).
Day 11: Tue Return to Modern Civilization. Hotel Sebastian (BLD).
Day 12: Wed Departure transfer for return flight home.
Note: Extensions to Nuevo Mundo Expeditions' Galapagos Islands & Peru are available.
Andes & Amazon
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Quito and the Middle of the World
Otavalo and other indigenous markets
Cuenca via the Central Andes
Quilotoa circuit hike and drive
Amazon cruises and lodges
Volcano watch and mountain climbing
Shamanism and natural healing
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