The pressures on the Ecuadorian Amazon and its inhabitants from oil and timber have never been greater. The decision for the Sapara community to open their territory to ecotourism came six years ago in an attempt to protect against further exploration by Chinese oil companies.
The community receives no more than 130 visitors each year. There are no roads or mobile signal. Access is by Cessna from the airstrip at Shell, a steamy frontier town on the edge of the Amazon. Flights are impossible in rain, so patience is required on entry and exit.
The camp sits on the banks of the Conambo River, a gently swelling tributary of the Amazon made for dipping, fishing and swimming.
The 5 or 7 day programmes focus on meditation, traditional healing rituals, botany, dream interpretation, jungle treks and river swims.The experience is led by Manari Ushigua, indigenous leader and shaman.
Emphasis is placed on the importance of taking time, living in the moment, avoiding anxieties and connecting with the spiritual world. Guests can learn to weave, hunt with blowpipe and fish sustainably with poisonous roots. There are also opportunities to teach in the local school.
NAKU, meaning jungle, is the resulting foundation, established to protect and promote Sapara territory and traditions. It forms the backbone of our new Journeys of Discovery collection.