This trip has as its focus a visit to the Cofan village of Zabalo, on the Rio Aguarico. For anyone who has a sincere interest in learning about life in an Amazonian rain forest community and about the historical and contemporary struggles of its members to find a place in a rapidly changing world, this trip is for you. Wonderful opportunities to view rain forest birds and other wildlife on short or extended guided walks combined with evening discussions on the Cofan way of life with community members will leave you with an understanding of Amazonian reality that few can equal. Both before and after the Zabalo segment of this trip, you will be able to experience other aspects of Ecuadorian life, relax, and shop for handmade souvenirs.
Day 1: Quito. Arrival and transfer to your base of operations during your stay in Ecuador - the home of Pablo and Maria Isabel Morena. Here you'll get an orientation concerning your upcoming excursions and a chance to relax and soak away the jet lag in your hosts' wonderful stone Jacuzzi! You'll love this place! Includes: (D).
Day 2: Travel to Dureno. Travel by minivan to village of Dureno in Ecuador's far northeast corner. This is about an eight-hour drive, traveling through increasingly remote country. Dureno is an interesting Cofan village which is divided into two parts - one part accessible by road and "developed" and the other part across the Rio Aguarico and much more traditional. You'll hail a dugout canoe upon your arrival in the latter and shuttle across to another world. Overnight in a traditional Cofan hut. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Travel to Zabalo. Travel by motorized canoe down the Rio Aguarico to the community of Zabalo. This is about a 6-7 hour boat ride, so bring a book and some sunscreen! Lots of photo opportunities as we pass fisherman and traveling families in dugout canoes and the occasional village community on the banks of this fairly large river. Upon arrival in Zabalo, you'll be installed in your own little "cabaña" and given time to freshen up before a short introductory walk around the village and an orientation to the variety of activities available in Zabalo. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Days 4-6: Zabalo. Take your choice of long or short treks, including overnights camping in the rain forest. The farther you get from inhabited areas, the more wildlife you will probably see. Although the Cofan are actively involved in projects to protect their native wildlife, they still hunt for subsistence and this, together with the human activity inherent in any village, makes wildlife scarcer near the community. During your stay in Zabalo you will learn of their history in dealing with the oil company and other incursions on their lands, their traditional methods of hunting, fishing, and living in the village, and the ways they propose to cope with the ever-growing pressures on their way if life. There is much to see and do here and you'll probably wish you had another day or two! Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Approximate Air Travel Cost: $ 600 from Miami.
Also see tour packages in:
South America Ecuador Local Culture Cultural Journey