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Amazon Jungle Kayaking Extension

An Exploratory Paddling Expedition into Some of the Last Pristine Rainforest on Earth
We’re thrilled to introduce this rare opportunity to join Olaf Malver on a first-ever paddling adventure into one of the most pristine tracts of upper Amazon rainforest. Deep in the heart of the Oriente, Ecuador’s far-eastern Amazon basin near the Peruvian border, we’ll paddle into Achuar Indian territory among prolific jungle wildlife. Far removed from modern civilization, the Achuar Nation is comprised of 68 indigenous communities—about 8,000 people in all—living in an area of more than 1.75 million acres of untamed jungle. As a means to preserve their land and subsistence culture, the Achuar have created a vast wildlife reserve, inviting ecotourism and fostering “green” development. Our journey will be part of helping to preserve their lives—while changing yours.

Special Extension Itinerary

This exclusive post-trip extension is only offered at the end of our November 15-25, 2013 Galapagos Hiking & Kayaking Adventure departure. $1,995 (Single Supp.: $365)

Day 1: Quito / Chichirat / Bobonaza River / Tiinklas Camp
We depart Quito early this morning for a 5-hour overland drive to a remote airstrip where we’ll board a chartered plane for a 1-hour flight deep into Ecuador’s upper Amazon basin. Flying east, we look down upon the immense rainforest sprawling to the horizon, an endless expanse of emerald green. The small Chichirat airstrip near the Peruvian border is barely discernible, but our experienced jungle pilot lands us easily. From here we’ll hike for a half-hour to reach the Bobonaza River where our river guides and kayaks await. Following lunch and a short paddling orientation, we spend the next three hours kayaking roughly 10 miles downstream. From our takeout it’s a short walk to reach our camp at Tiinkias, a small Achuar settlement where eight families currently live. After dinner tonight we’ll receive an introduction to their culture and the surrounding environment that sustains them during interpretive lectures from our naturalist and local guides. We’ll also learn about how this ecotourism camp project helps to protect the rainforest and support their traditional cultural practices.

Day 2: Jungle Paddling / Achuar Cultural Visit
Our day begins before sunrise as we hike back to our kayaks to continue exploring the Bobonaza River. A small side stream leads to Wankanim Lagoon where wildlife-viewing opportunities await—we may see several species of primates including howler monkeys and squirrel monkeys, myriad birds, and, if we're lucky, giant river otters, which can weigh up to 150 pounds. After our morning outing we make the short hike back to Tiinklas for an extended cultural visit. Community members have prepared a traditional lunch for us, featuring fish from the river, manioc, plantains, homemade hot pepper sauce, and the popular local drink called nijiamanch made from fermented manioc.

This afternoon we’ll visit an Achuar house where we’ll talk with the head of the family, tour the chacra, or family garden, to see what local families plant for food and medicinal purposes. We’ll also learn how blow guns are used, and the women in our ranks may have a chance to create pottery with the local women. There will be plenty of time to just “hang out” with the community, perhaps playing some soccer or volleyball or wading in the small stream that runs alongside the village. As evening falls we make the short hike back to the center of Tiinkias, reaching camp before sunset, where we have a visit with the tribal shaman for a demonstrative healing session after dinner.

Day 3: Paddling the Bobonaza & Pastaza Rivers / Kapawi Lodge
A big paddling day awaits as we return to our kayaks on foot, then head out from the Wanakanim Lagoon to reach the Bobonaza River, continuing on to its confluence with the Pastaza River – about five hours on the water in all, covering 15 to 20 miles. We’re surrounded by verdant vegetation and a host of wildlife as we experience a complete immersion in the ecology of the Amazon. Paddling farther up the Pastaza River, we reach Kapawi Lodge, a community-owned luxury ecolodge opened in 1996 that was the original entry point for the first visitors to Achuar territory. It has won several awards in the years since, including recognition from a National Geographic Adventure as one of the 50-best ecolodges in the world. We’ll have dinner at the lodge and savor its comforts as a welcome finale to our fantastic Amazonian adventure.

Day 4: Optional Capahuari River Paddle / Fly to Quito
All too soon it's time to say goodbye to wild Amazonia and return to the busy capital of Quito. However, enthusiastic paddlers have the option for a sunrise paddle on the Capahuari River near the lodge. Later this morning we fly back to the Shell airstrip from which we departed and make the return drive to Quito. We’ll check in to the Hotel Sebastian by late afternoon and celebrate our exploits with a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 5: Quito / Depart
We make a group transfer after breakfast this morning to Quito International Airport for flights home.

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