Transform your life with a Journey to the Amazon rainforest
Experience the Amazon rainforest at the invitation of the Achuar and Sápara people of the Sacred Headwaters region.
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A Closer Look
Here's what you'll experience on a Journey
(Photo by Julie Hall)
Your Journey Begins
Meet your fellow journeyers in the highlands of Ecuador and prepare to venture into the unknown. In the next 24 hours, you will descend through the Avenue of the Volcanoes and traverse through the cloud forest and Pastaza River Canyon. It is here that you will prepare to fly into the heart of the natural world.
Enter the Amazon
Your destination cannot be reached by road or boat, so you will take to the sky for a breathtaking plane ride with views of lush, virgin rainforest as far as the eye can see. Breathe deeply—the air in this region is more oxygenated than any you’ve ever breathed before. Welcome to the lungs of the planet.
Meet the Keepers of the Natural World
As you descend into this pristine paradise, meet its keepers—the Achuar and Sápara people of the Ecuadorian Amazon. These people are the protectors of the forest and its inhabitants. Connect with communities that are immersed in nature to learn about their way of life and their unique relationship to the rainforest.
Share Traditions and Ceremonies
You are invited to participate firsthand in the daily traditions and sacred ceremonies that have maintained these cultures for thousands of years to the present day. This may include ceramic making, blowgun practice, or work in the gardens, to waterfall purifications and shamanic plant medicine ceremonies. In this region, there is a culture of reading dreams, and your hosts will offer you pre-dawn dream sharing rituals where the spiritual and physical, night and day all converge. You will be invited to share an important cultural practice from your life, too.
(Photo by Andy Isaacson)
Connect with Pristine Nature
Learn from the Indigenous people about how they live interdependently with the forest and work with its plants for food, medicine, and shelter. When the spirit of nature is maintained in its healthy, thriving state, the Achuar people say that Arutam—the power of the forest—is alive. To be in the presence of a forest whose spirit is intact is a uniquely visceral and enlivening experience. You begin to feel, remember, and experience life through every sense. Your deepest self emerges, the one you’ve been waiting and yearning for.
Surrender to the Mystery
Reconnect to a sense of childlike wonder and indulge your curiosity for the world around you. Every journey is unique. Each group of travelers has its own special bond. It’s impossible to know what you will experience on a Pachamama Journey. We invite you to join us on this one-of-a-kind immersion into the heart of the world.
Our travelers say it best
This trip was not only a trip, it was a human adventure, a jungle discovery, a nature bath, an english and spanish class, a group coaching session, a wisdom inspiration, and a way to protect nature. I just loved it, one of the best things of my life.
Our eco-journey with the Pachamama Alliance exceeded all our expectations. The leadership is great, everything is very well organized, so that you can fully relax and lean into the experience. We very much enjoyed the small group size as it allows for an intimate and deep exchange with the Indigenous people. It was a beautiful and deeply transformative journey, hard to capture in words.
My journey into the rainforest with Pachamama surpassed expectations! Far beyond the typical eco-tourism experience, the trip provided opportunities to be with and learn from Indigenous peoples in a natural manner. Both the Pachamama and local guides were highly skilled and cared well for the group. The trip taught me much about the rainforest and its peoples, but also a great deal about myself.
First off I'll say that Pachamama Alliance is very thoughtful in the preparation of this journey. They anticipate your needs, so you always feel fully supported in everything; bathroom comfort, food restrictions, physical and emotional needs. The complete unplug that you experience on this journey gives you tremendous clarity. And then there's one more element....the difference you can make by taking time to bare witness to the lives of the Indigenous tribes so you can truly hear and understand them. Just sign up. You won't be disappointed and you're in loving hands with Pachamama Alliance.
The Rainforest trip was THE most liberating experience I have ever had in my entire life. I’m free. This journey changed my life completely.
This is the journey of a lifetime, one I will repeat. I have been on many learning journeys throughout my life. I feel as if they were all leading to this one. It was awesome, in the highest sense of that word. I was awed, humbled, inspired and embraced by the experience.
I can’t think of an experience that would parallel my trip with the Pachamama Alliance. It is simultaneously entertaining, relaxing, and transformational. Furthermore, the trip is structured and led in such a way that I never had to think about what I was going to do next, which really allowed me to be in the present with those around me.
I have been to 78 countries and visited shamans and Indigenous tribes before. This was the best trip I have ever been on! The participants were open, well prepared, and well traveled. The guide was the most personal and involved guide I have experienced. The scenery was magnificent. The meals were great. The spiritual insights will evolve with me slowly over time. The Indigenous were generally un-Westernized. The purpose for the trip, of saving the rainforest and Indigenous ways of life, was an overarching meaning for our experiences. I can’t say enough about how wonderful this trip was!
This journey is way more than a trip to the Amazon. It is a journey into a deeper relationship with yourself and our home, Pachamama. Be prepared to be surprised, challenged, moved to tears, tenderly comforted and changed forever.
The journey was absolutely amazing – transformative in a cellular sense for which I am profoundly grateful. My sense of connection, and interconnection with our Earth, has been multiplied, deepened, expanded.
My journey into the heart of the rainforest with Pachamama was one of the most potent experiences of my life. I had the feeling of being guided back in time as I went deeper into my own true self. I returned so alive and much more awakened to my life’s greater purpose.
This journey changed my life. Being in the rainforest with the Achuar was transformative on many levels. Coming from the chaotic and confusing world as we know it, the rainforest provided the quiet, contemplative space that allowed me to listen to my heart and come to know what had always been there – such a gift.
A trip with the Pachamama Alliance to Ecuador is an absolutely extraordinary experience. It gave me a unique opportunity to deeply engage in who I am as a leader and a citizen of the world. It was one of the most transformational and strengthening journeys of my life.
This journey will change your life—profoundly!
This journey for me was about rediscovering purpose, passion, possibility and power in everyday life. I am not only re-inspired and recommitted to making a difference, I am also profoundly aware of how we are all connected in ways we cannot imagine.
The trip was joyful, inspiring and has given me the gift of BEING in connection with everything, not just knowing it intellectually.
This journey is a work of art! It has everything — beauty, mystery, education and fun.
Dates & Itineraries
Our itineraries are thoughtfully organized and skillfully curated, making your time in Ecuador as seamless as possible and freeing you to focus fully on the experience.
Have more questions?
Schedule a time with Steve to ask questions and learn more.
He will guide you through the process of deciding which Journey is right for you, booking your experience, and preparing you for the trip of a lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions
When you travel with us on this experiential learning adventure, you’ll benefit from 20 years of familiarity with the land, culture, traditions and people. Our itineraries are thoughtfully organized and skillfully curated, making your time in Ecuador as seamless as possible and freeing you to focus fully on the experience.
What does the payment include?
The cost of the trip includes meals, lodging, transportation, guides, and equipment within Ecuador. It does not include international air travel to and from Quito, gratuities, or optional activities such as shamanic experiences. Dates, prices, and itineraries are subject to change.
Please note that your Journey fee is priced to cover program expenses alone. It does not include a donation to help finance the overall work of the Pachamama Alliance, and there will be an opportunity toward the end of your Journey to continue your partnership with the Pachamama Alliance and our partners in Ecuador.
How do I register?
When and where should I arrive/depart?
Your experience with Pachamama Alliance will begin and end in Quito, Ecuador and participants make their own flight arrangements. The dates of your journey include travel dates both into and out of Quito – for example, if your journey is scheduled for May 6 – 17, you should plan on arriving at the designated hotel (included in trip fee) by midnight on May 6. There will not be any group activities planned for the 17th and you will be free to begin your travel back home that morning. While it is fine to arrive and depart on the specific travel days, we do recommend that you arrive one or more days early to rest and acclimate to the altitude of the Andes. It also ensures that possible travel delays do not hold you up from joining the group on time. After the journey is complete, participants often find it helpful to have a day or two to integrate the experience before heading back home.
What ages travel with you?
Our trips have included travelers from age 8 to over 80. Children and teens are welcome and, in our experience, have made great additions to groups, adding a multi-generational touch and perspective.
Are vaccinations required?
While the Center for Disease Control recommends certain vaccinations, neither Ecuador nor Pachamama Journeys require any vaccinations to enter the country. Some of our participants choose to pursue the full spectrum of vaccinations, while others choose not to have any. Please consult with your personal physician or local travel clinic for advice on your specific needs.
What about malaria?
Since the rainforest region where we travel does have a history of malaria, we recommend you consult with your personal physician for advice on what preventative measures you should take.
Is it advisable to bring gifts for our hosts?
While gift giving is a generous and common practice throughout the world, we are trying to minimize our impact on the cultures and territories we visit. And due to the shared nature of Achuar society, giving gifts to individuals can disrupt the balance of the community. Certain unplanned acts of generosity that emerge organically on the journey are natural, but please do not burden yourself or our Indigenous partners with lots of ‘stuff’. The biggest gift for them is your presence and partnership.
What are some other places to visit if I decide to come early or stay on in Ecuador?
The Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador and a fascinating place to visit. The area of Vilcabamba in the southern part of the country is beautiful and well prepared for visitors as well. For a very relaxing stay following your journey, the Termas Papallacta hotel and hot springs is just 1.5 hours outside of Quito.
What kind of clothes should I bring?
A complete packing list will be provided to you to guide you as you prepare everything you need. We suggest layering your clothes for warmth/coolness and changing climate conditions.
What is the weather like in the Ecuadorian highlands and rainforest?
The weather in Ecuador is fairly consistent year-round since it straddles the equator. In the mountains, temperatures can reach the upper 60′s to low 70′s during the day and drop to the low 50′s to 40′s at night. In the rainforest, the daytime temperature is typically in the upper 70′s to low 80′s with humidity and in the evenings it can drop to the low 60′s. Because we are in a primary forest with lots of canopy and rivers, the heat is less intense than most expect. In our experience, rainy seasons are highly unpredictable and don’t necessarily correlate with accuracy to a specific time of year. As we will be entering the rainforest, you can expect some rain and it will not adversely impact activities on the trip.
How many people are in one of your groups?
We generally have from 10-15 participants on our journeys, with a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 18 to maintain intimacy. While some participants have experience with group travel, for many this is their first time. And a consistent highlight for most participants is the connections and experiences they share with their fellow travelers.
Will I need a visa to enter Ecuador?
For North American or European travelers, a visa is not necessary to enter Ecuador, though you will need a passport that is current for six months following your date of entry into Ecuador (VERY IMPORTANT). If it is not, you must renew it before departure or otherwise be denied entry. For travelers from other countries, please check with your embassy.
How do Pachamama Alliance Journeys offset the carbon emissions associated with air travel?
Though air travel is a fairly carbon-intensive mode of transportation, Pachamama Alliance Journeys offer participants the unique opportunity to live in harmony with nature during their trip. A key component of this is Kapawi Ecolodge, where Journeys participants stay during their time in the Amazon. Kapawi Ecolodge, which is owned and operated by the Achuar, was built sustainably using materials from the forest and is powered by solar energy. The food offered at Kapawi is locally sourced, and the many activities offered during the trip, such as guided rainforest hikes, have relatively little to no carbon outputs. Another unique aspect of Pachamama Alliance Journeys is an invitation to support the efforts of our Indigenous partners to preserve the Amazon rainforest. Community-based ecotourism is a key alternative to oil development and mining in this region, and our Indigenous partners invite allies from around the world so that they can share the message and power of the Amazon. Your visit helps forward the important work of preserving 86 million acres of primary rainforest and the many Indigenous groups that live there.
Will I be able to charge batteries?
Yes, there will be electricity in all locations except for the time spent in the Achuar village. There is no need for conversion for the type of electricity or the plugs if you are coming from North America. Ecuador operates on 110v electricity. Check with currentsolutions.com for your specific needs if you are traveling from outside North America.
How do I know if this experience is right for me?
We trust that people are called to this experience and go when the time is right. If you would like support in looking to see if this is the right experience and timing, please contact Pachamama Journeys Director, Steve Torneten, who has been leading groups for over 8 years. He is very familiar with the unique opportunity of the journey and the potential it has to offer. He can also support you as you prepare logistically for this experience and is available to offer any assistance. Most importantly, trust your heart.
What are the altitudes that the group will travel through?
The Ecuadorian capital, Quito, is the highest elevation of the itinerary. For people particularly sensitive to altitude, an altitude sickness remedy may be helpful. Below is a chart indicating the various altitude points on our itinerary:
- Quito: 9,500 feet, 3,000 meters
- Banos: 5,905 feet, 1,820 meters
- Otavalo: 8,641 feet, 2,633 meters
- Achuar Territory (Rainforest): 900 feet, 295 meters
What happens if I need to cancel?
A deposit is required to hold your reservation. In the event you cancel:
Cancelling your journey
You may cancel your journey 90 days prior to the start of the Journey without charge. Otherwise please refer to the schedule below:
|Days prior to journey||Fee|
|90 days||No cancellation fee|
|90 to 60 days||Deposit amount|
|59 to 45 days||50% of the total journey cost|
|Less than 45 days||Full cost of the journey|
Pachamama Journeys reserves the right to cancel a scheduled journey at any time. In the event that Pachamama Alliance must cancel the Journey you have joined, your full payment will be refunded to you. In the event that your Journey is cancelled due to factors outside of Pachamama Alliance's control such as natural disaster, political unrest, etc., we will issue refunds where possible. We encourage all travelers to obtain travel insurance including trip cancellation or delay, loss of luggage, etc. to protect your purchase.
Take a look inside the Journey of a lifetime
Rainforest Diaries shares a behind the scenes look at a Pachamama Journey
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This email series follows the exciting experiences of Pachamama Journeys Director Steve Torneten as he leads journeys of a lifetime into the Amazon Rainforest. Every two weeks, you can expect an email from Steve sharing the adventures of the latest visitors to the Amazon rainforest, with videos, photos, and more!
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