The Kapawi Project began in 1993. The goal was to commence a new trend in eco-tourism, in partnership with the OINAE, by providing a monthly means of economic support and jobs to the Achuar Indians located in Kapawi as well as in other communities. In 10 years, all installations will belong entirely to the Achuar Indians. The lodge accommodates up to 40 visitors and was built in accordance to the Achuar concept of architecture (not a single nail was used!).
Environmentally friendly methods such as solar energy and trash recycling are also being utilized.
Kapawi is located in the most remote area of the Ecuadorian Amazon basin, in the province of Pastaza. Flight destinations are to Sharamentsa from where motorised doughnut canoes will take you to Kapawi in a comfortable 1-hour and a half ride. We use the best aircraft, with very high standards. Nevertheless due to type of weather of the tropical rain forest some delays can be expected. Our recommendation is for you to please consider adding an extra day to your itinerary after visiting Kapawi to make sure you meet your connecting flights to your next destination!
Completed in 1996, Kapawi is the newest of the Eco-lodges in South America. Built in partnership with the indigenous organisation OINAE, and the private enterprise CANODROS, Kapawi is a State-of-the-art-project. The lodge was created in accordance with the Achuar concept of architecture without a single metal nail. Environmentally friendly methods such as solar energy, biodegradable soaps, and trash-recycling systems are also being utilised.
Achuar is the name of one of the four groups of the linguistic family Jivaro, (Achuar, Shuar, Aguaruna and Huambisa). With a global population of about 80.000 people, the Jivaro group is by far the most important homogeneous culture on the Amazon basin. Well known in the past for their internal wars, the Achuar they now live peacefully in small villages.
As suggested by the missionaries, they obtain their products in small plots -"chacras"- and from hunting, fishing and gathering in the rain forest.
At the beginning of the 1970's the Achuar were the only Jivaros who had not suffered any loss of culture due to contact with the Western world.
Access: We offer two different alternatives to access Kapawi from Quito, depending on the number of passengers and/or the logistical facilities at the time of your arrival and departure.
Route One: Quito-Kapawi
Direct flight Quito-Kapawi (1 hour). It can be straight to Wayusentsa or over Montalvo, a near military air base. If the last, it involves an extra 20 minutes flight.
Route Two: Quito-Avenue of the Volcanoes-Shell-Kapawi
Road trip from Quito to Shell, along Humboldt's Avenue of the Volcanoes. Shell is a town located at the eastern slopes of the Andes (total driving time: 5 hours). Transfer onto a small aircraft for a 50 minutes flight to the final destination.
Important: Once in Kapawi, you will be miles away from what you know as civilization, as the nearest town is 2 weeks walk away through the forest for the local people. This remoteness is what makes Kapawi such a special and unique place. Please remember that because the only way in and out of the area is by air, we are 100% reliant on the weather. We request that you leave an extra day after your stay at Kapawi as a buffer day in case an act of God prevents your departure.
Eco-Tourism in Kapawi: Kapawi is a place of multiple choices and is characterized by its flexibility. We do not offer fixed programs, but you can design with your guide and your group, the most suitable one to meet your interests and physical condition.
In Kapawi you can do many activities and the most of the itineraries will include visits to the Achuar communities, you can share all of a day with the Achuar families, hikes in the rain forest, canoeing in rivers and lakes, swimming, watching piranhas, pink dolphins, see caimans and other animals of the area, as well as birdwatching, where there are 480 species.
There are three alternatives, according to your physical condition (not your age):
Programs that include short hikes in the rainforest (up to 3 hours) on well defined trails, visits to the Achuar communities as well as trips in canoes. Meals are served in the lodge or light meals are taken for the trip. Typical Achuar meals are also offered in their communities. And during overnight stays in the lodge or in tents.
Programs that include medium-distance hikes in the rain forest (up to 5 hours), sometimes crossing flooded areas. Trips in canoes and visits to the Achuar communities are also covered. Light meals are taken for the journey or typical Achuar dishes are served in their communities. Overnight stays include the lodge, in the Achuar communities and occasionally in tents.
Demanding hikes of many hours or days in poorly defined and often flooded trails. Porters will carry food and supplies. Overnight stays are in tents or in the Achuar communities. Exploration journeys to virgin areas are occasionally offered. Trips on inaccessible rivers are done in inflatable rafts. Excellent physical condition is required!
Kapawi is a great place for birding. In ten days you can get a list of almost 400 species. The river islands often have Horned Screamers and Orinoco Geese. Muscovy Ducks are more prevalent. Other birds of exceptional interest featured in Kapawi are two species of Ant wren recently discovered (Herpislochaus and Terenura, sp. Novum), Salvin´s Curassow, Buckley’s Forest-Falcon, Sapphire Quail-Dove, Blue-winged Parrolet, Scarlet-Shouldered Parrolet, Black-billed Cuckoo, White Chested Puff bird, Spotted Puff bird, Tawney-throated Leaftosser, Black Bushbird, Amazonian Umbrella bird, Orange-eyed Flycatcher (Tolmomyas trailli, sp. Novum), Moriches Oriole and the most amazing thing is that you can see and record new species on the islands (like Arremonops, sp. Novum)!
Energy: The lodge is powered by solar energy. Sixty-four solar panels of 75 watts each cover 80% of all the lodge's energy needs. Every room has 4 lamps: 1 in the bathroom and 3 in the bedroom. We kindly request you to conserve energy by using no more than three lamps at a time.
Water: The tap water is filtered through charcoal filters and purified with UV rays. Bottles of drinking mineral water are available in your room.Solar showers provide 5 gallons of hot water per person each day. For your convenience we recommend that you take showers at the end of the day.
Rain: Each room is provided with an umbrella that you can use to go to different areas of the lodge.
Night: No artificial illumination exists along the boardwalks since it could modify the behaviour of nocturnal animals. You should carry a flashlight with you.
Swimming: Swimming can be safely done in lakes and calm rivers. Nevertheless, as the water level goes down in the dry season, this activity can is not always available.
Meals: We serve a tasty combination of international food and traditional plants. A wide variety of exotic fruits are also available. Soft drinks, snacks and hot water for coffee and tea are available all day.
Breakfast: Starting at 5.00 a light breakfast is provided to birdwatchers. A full breakfast is available from 7.00 on.
Lunch: Lunch is provided in the dining room from 12:30. Box lunches are provided to visitors taking full-day trips.
Dinner: Dinner is served from 19:00.
Library: A well-endowed library is open all day long. Paperbacks, magazines and books are available.
Boutique: A small boutique stocks essential items you may have forgotten (film, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sunscreen, insect repellent, hats etc.), as well as handicrafts and souvenirs.
Soap: All soaps used in the lodge are biodegradable. In the shower as well as in the sink you will find shampoo and soap dispensers. Please do not use non-biodegradable soaps.
Trash: Trash is sorted into two classes: biodegradable (food, paper, etc.) and non-biodegradable (metal, plastics, glass, etc.). Please deposit garbage in the appropriated trash containers, which you will find in your room.
What to bring: Since we use small aircrafts to fly to Kapawi, it is imperative to limit your luggage to the basic minimum as listed below. Luggage not needed can be stored in your city hotel or in Shell. It is also better to travel with backpacks instead of suitcases.
One large backpack or one duffel bag.
One small daypack.
3 lightweight -cotton or other fast drying material- long pants. Avoid blue jeans.
4 or 5 long-sleeved cotton shirts.
1 pair of knee-high cotton socks for each day in the rainforest.
Underwear (avoid synthetics), Shorts.
1 light windbreaker.
1 light sweater or jacket. Brim hat.
1 waterproof poncho (available in the lodge) or a waterproof parka.
Sunglasses with a strap.
1 pair of comfortable walking shoes.
1 pair of thongs or Tevas
1 pair of rubber boots (available in the lodge).
Extra eye glasses/contact lenses.
Sun block lotion (at least protection 8).
Personal first aid kit.
Tampons or sanitary towels
Plastic water bottle.
Flashlight (headlamps models are better).
Self-sealing plastic bags.
Dry bags (available in the lodge).
Swiss Army knife.
Reading material (available in the lodge).
Small notebook and pencil.
Personal sewing kit.
Snacks: chocolates, candies, etc.
Cameras & Binoculars: Camera gear. High speed films or fine-grain, high resolution and relatively slow colour transparency, this last one to be used with electronic flash. Binoculars. This is an essential item, even if you are not a birdwatcher. The best ones are the waterproof models with high light transmission. An excellent size: 10 X 40. Films.
Advised: Remember that we are guests of a very different culture. Some of their traditions may appear quite odd to us, but is does not mean that we are in a position to criticize them. Please, follow the rules imposed by the Achuar communities and respectfully try to learn about this extraordinary culture.
Be careful with photographs or video recordings. Ask your Achuar guide first if it is possible to take photographs or to make video recordings in Achuar communities. Avoid close up shots, and never remunerate people with money for a photograph.
The Achuar are very pleased when you buy their handicrafts. They have a fixed price, which is similar in each community. You can also exchange some of your personal items (flashlights, batteries, etc.) for handicrafts if the Achuar are interested in doing so.
Please do not buy handicrafts made of feathers, animal skins or insects.
Avoid any physical contact with members of the communities.
Please do not give money, presents, or sweets to the kids.
If you have educational material (pens, note-books, colored pencils, etc.) that you would like to donate, please give them to the resident manager. He is in charge of distributing to the different schools of the area.
Please do not enter an Achuar house without an invitation.
The Achuar are very jealous. If you are a man, you should never look directly at a woman's face.
Remember that the Achuar house has a sexual division. Please, do not go to the ekent or female area.
Nijiamanch: The manioc beer, is always offered; refusing might be considered an insult. If you do not like this drink, you should at least pretend to drink it.
Do not go out alone.The chances of getting lost are very high. The only exception is the self-guided trail. During the hikes, never leave the trails and stay with the group at all times.
It is essential to wear rubber boots during the hikes.
Drink plenty of liquids during your stay.
Keep at least one set of dry clothes in the lodge.
Fishing is allowed.
Please, do not take any animals or plants out of the area. Hunting is not permitted.
Do not leave any trash in the forest. In the Achuar communities you will find trash containers.
Please do not use radio gear without personal earphones.
Donations to the FINAE, the Achuar Federation, or to the different sustainable projects or scientific researches can be coordinate through The Pachamama Alliance.
Tips can been given at the end of the trip to:
Your guide: US$10.oo to US$20.oo per passenger.
The staff that works in the lodge. You can leave your tip in the tipping box. It will be divided amongst the personnel: US$10.oo to US$20.oo per passenger.
If you make reservations for a group, for several concurrent services or on certain dates we are usually able to offer special prices on these occasions – Please contact us!
4 Days: USD 926,- per person Single Supplement: USD 259,-
5 Days: USD 1155,- per person
Single Supplement: USD 347,-
8 Days: USD 1677,- per person
Single Supplement: USD 551,-
Included in the price
Transportation Quito-Kapawi-Quito, 1 transfer hotel-airport in Quito, all meals, English-speaking naturalist guide, accommodation in a double room with private bathroom, excursions according to the program, all general equipment including mosquito nets and bed linen, rubber boots.
Not included in the price
International flights, Achuar community fee USD 10.- per passenger, international airport tax. In Kapawi: Soft and alcoholic beverages, tips and personal items. binoculars, alcoholic beverages and travel insurance.