About Achuar people...
La Selva Jungle Lodge
This program is run as an extension, and is therefore non-exclusive to ElderTreks. You will be joined by travelers from many other parts of the world and various age groups.
The Kapawi Project began in 1993. The goal was to commence a new trend in eco- tourism by providing a means of economic support and jobs to the Achuar people located in Kapawi as well as in other communities while protecting their cultural and environmental Reserve. By 2011, 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 or architecture (not a single nail was used!). All buildings have high peaked thatched roofs and are built on stilts at the edge of the lagoon. Achua is the name of one of the four groups of the linguistic family Jivaro (Achuar, Shuar, Aguaruna and Huambisa). At the beginning of the 1970s the Achuar were the only Jivaros who had not suffered any loss of culture due to contact with the western world.
At Kapawi, you have an opportunity to meet and learn from a people rarely visited due to their remote location. Here, you will feel you are a guest of a very different culture.
Situated on the Pastaza River in an area with one of the highest biodiversities on earth, the lodge itself has set new standards in the ecotourism industry using solar energy, biodegradable soaps and electric outboard motors.
The lodge can only be reached by air — it is a 10-day walk to the nearest town! But even though it is remote, it is not without comfort. The lodge has 20 double cabanas each with a private bathroom, sun-heated showers and electricity provided by a photovoltaic system. From your covered balcony overlooking the lagoon, you will be able to relax and observe the daily visitors: ducks, hummingbirds, egrets, parrots, and listen to the sweet song of the frogs at night.
In the main lodge building, you will find a library, a small boutique, bar and large comfortable seating area. The dining room is where a daily fare of Ecuadorian and classic cuisine is served. Activities at the lodge include canoeing, rafting, bird watching, hiking the many forest trails and of course, a visit to a local community. Or you can just sit back, relax, and take it all in.
A journey to Kapawi makes a great addition to complete your stay in Ecuador.
About Achuar people...
Archeological remains found in the zone indicated that other groups prior to the Achuar lived in the area. They formed part of the Pastaza Phase. During 2200 and 1100 A.C. ceramic remains were demonstrating geometric designs in their work. As well as other indigenous communities of the
Amazon, their origin is uncertain. It is believed that migration took place from Colombia and Venezuela.
The Achuar did not always live on such large
territory. Their present expansion is the result of attempts from Spaniards to colonize. This affected the Amazon Region since the 16th century. Since the 18th century, the navigation on the Bobonaza River (one of the access routes into the
Amazons) was reserved to a handful of Jesuits and Dominican missionaries who were very audacious and accompanied by civil or military escorts.
The Achuar Region was saved from the rubber boom that during the middle of the 19th century created havoc in the indigenous communities in the Amazons.
Since the end of the 19th century and up to a second war, the Bobonaza River was occasionally visited by explorers, naturalists and ethnographers, proceeding its route through the Pastaza all the way to the Marañon. Among them were Pierre (1889),
Flornoy and Karsten (1935). However, none of them ventured into the Achuar Region; remaining “Terra Incognita” till the end of the 60s. In the 30s, Shell, a company from Holland, opened a base close to Achuar territory building an air landing strip, but the results were inconclusive. In 1941, the war between Ecuador and Peru broke out and divided this group into two nations. Until the beginning of the 70s, the Achuar were one of the last groups that did not have any contact with the western world. Since 1991, the majority of the Achuar belong to an organization called FINAE (Organization of Ecuadorian Achuar Nationalities).
Between 1968 and 1970, Catholics and Evangelicals established the first peaceful contacts with this group in order to evangelize them, a process that would deeply modify their way of living.
In 1995, the Achuar signed an agreement to
develop a unique project: The Kapawi Ecolodge and Reserve, which became their main source of income. In 1996, the Pachamama Alliance was founded
in San Francisco, California. At the same
time, Foundation Pachamama, its Ecuadorian counterpart, was founded in Quito. Both organizations have been actively working for the benefit of the Achuar culture and their environment.
La Selva Jungle Lodge
La Selva which in Spanish means “the jungle” is necessarily remote but one of the most easily reached destinations in Ecuador’s Amazon and ideal for avid travelers requiring fixed travel dates.
Located about sixty miles downriver from the town of Coca, La Selva Jungle Lodge is built in native design: rustic, authentic and comfortable. The 17 private bungalows are made entirely of secondary rainforest material designed to blend into the jungle. Each has a private bathroom with an unexpected amenity — hot water! There is a spacious but cozy bar with a wrap around view of the gorgeous lake, and a grand dining room, also with a cone-shaped gigantic, thatched roof.