Explore the Amazon

Mar 10, 2011
Outside Magazine
Rio Aucayacu

Life on the Amazon's Aucayacu

One of the best ways to experience the Amazon's incredible array of diversity is at Ecuador's little-known Huaorani Ecolodge, a solar-powered oasis in the heart of the 1.7 million acres of Amazon owned by the Huaorani, the tribe at the center of Joe Kane's 1995 book Savages. After a 40-minute flight from the small town of Shell—already the edge of civilization—you'll land in the village of Quehueri'ono (translation: Cannibal River, but don't be alarmed). Your guide will pole you down the slow-moving Shiripuno in a dugout canoe to the lodge, a traditional palm-thatched dining room surrounded by five simple cabins. There, you'll learn how to use a blowgun, perfect your machete swing, set traps for monkeys and peccaries, drink the banana-smoothie-like concoction called chucula, and meet the tribe's visionary leader, Moi Eno­menga. High points: spotting a jaguar on the riverbank while camping on a remote platform under the stars, then getting up before dawn to swim beneath a towering waterfall. Not many tourists have seen the Amazon this way. In fact, two branches of the Huaorani still live in virtual isolation downriver—and prefer it that way. Five days, $860 per person, double occupancy; huaorani.com

Filed To: Exploration, Ecuador