New for 2012, Adventure Life's 7-day Huaorani EcoLodge trip is designed to immerse travelers in the people and environments of the Amazon. Trip includes multiple hikes, waterfall excursion, Amazon camping, visits with Huaorani community and 4 to 6 hour sea kayaking excursions on the twisted Shiripuno River. Accommodations at the Hauoarni Lodge and campsite are comfortable but basic.
A visit to the Huaorani Lodge is about learning about the remarkable Amazon forest from the people who have lived here for centuries. Community interaction and education is a significant part of this itinerary. The Huaorani Lodge is a community owned and operated lodge – designed specifically to help preserve the territory and traditions of the Huaorani community.
The fight to protect the Huaorani culture and environment first came to the fore in the mid nineteen nineties. Moi Enomenga of the Quehueri’ono community was featured by the New Yorker magazine and was the principle character of Joe Kane’s book ‘Savages’ (1995); an NBC television documentary later told of his struggle to protect his people’s land from oil companies. Moi’s experiences gave him a new perspective. He came to believe that ecotourism could provide a means by which his people might receive an income while maintaining the integrity of their culture and conserving their rainforest territory.
The ecolodge is one of the outcomes of Moi’s vision. The project to build and run the lodge was developed by the Ecotourism Association of Quehueri’ono – representing five communities on the upper Shiripuno River - and a well know pioneer ecotourism operator based in Quito. Low impact and local participation were given priority.
Carefully chosen expert guides (who have spent significant time with the Huaorani) and Huaorani community members join travelers throughout this trip. Not only are travelers accompanied by local guides on this trip, but they will also spend time visiting the Huaorani Community of Quehueri’ono. There is no set agenda for the community visits – sometimes visits will include a welcome ceremony, sometimes a dance, sometimes travelers are welcomed into a household for the afternoon, sometimes they help the Huaorani in the field... It all depends on what the community's agenda is for the day. Travelers can also purchase crafts directly from community members. It is very common for community members to causally stop at the lodge and campsite to visit travelers.
Unique for our Adventure Life Amazon tour is the extensive sea kayaking excursions on the Shiripuno. Travelers will actually provide their own means of transportation from the lodge to the campsite by sea kayak, allowing for an intimate view of the jungle. This itinerary includes time at the lodge, as well as an overnight at the lodge’s newly developed campsite, Nenkepare. Like the lodge, the remote campsite is only accessible by the Shiripuno and allows access to a trail to a waterfall. A secluded, beautiful, refreshing waterfall (I speak from personal experience).
The Huaorani Lodge is one of the lodges that Adventure Life has worked with on an USAID funded project with the Rainforest Alliance. The purpose of this project is to support to community owned lodges in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The goals of this project include the preservation of at least 200,000 hectares of Amazonian rainforest in Ecuador -- combined with training and technical assistance to community-owned lodges located in or adjacent to protected areas. The focus is on reducing negative impacts associated with tourism -- and reevaluating the most successful and practical practices of responsible tourism. The Huaorani Lodge – as all lodges involved in the project – specifically requested to be involved.