Kapawi is located in the Ecuadorian Amazon
Basin, 100 miles east of the Andes. Part the
Napo Pleistocene Refuge, Kapawi is a center of high endemism with an
amazing diversity of animals, plants and ecosystems: dry and flooded forest, lakes,
swamps and an extraordinary system of rivers.
Map of Ecuador showing location of
This Amazon Rainforest Lodge is situated
deep in the nearly two million acres of the Achuar people's traditional
territory near the confluence of the Pastaza and Capahuari Rivers-the former a
major, the latter a minor tributary of the Amazon-near the border between
Ecuador and Peru.
This Amazon jungle area is one of the most
remote and well-protected parts of the western Amazon Basin. It is a remote and
pristine region, untouched by logging, mining or petroleum extraction.
The closest road is a ten-day walk from
the Amazon lodge. The rivers are not navigable to the lodge from the nearest
outposts of civilization. Kapawi is accessible only by air.
The entrance to the jungle lodge and to
Achuar territory, flying in a small plane over the uninterrupted vastness of
green triple-canopy rainforest, is one of the unique highlights a visit to
Your official Amazon Jungle excursion
begins in Shell, near the Amazonian frontier town of Puyo. This is the
headquarters for the Achuar people outside of their rainforest territory.
Shell can be reached overland from Quito
in about four and one-half hours by public bus, or by private car, van or motor
coach. The route from Quito travels south through the spectacular "Avenue of the
Volcanoes", then descends to the important tourist center of Baños. Shell is
then an hour away, down the majestic Pastaza River canyon, filled with
waterfalls and a beautiful entrance to the Amazon rainforest.
Located on the shore of the Kapawi lake, every room has a wide terrace where you can
observe the daily visitors: ducks, hummingbirds, egrets, parrots, or you can listen to the
music of the myriad of frogs singing at night.
We serve a tasty combination of international-Ecuadorian food with emphasis on local
products. A wide variety of exotic fruits will be offered. Soft drinks,
snacks and hot water for coffee and tea are available all day. A well endowed
library is open all day long. Paperbacks, magazines and books are available. A small
boutique stocks essential items, as well as handicraft and souvenirs.
Isolation from the rest of the world doesn't mean a lack of comfort, at least not in
Kapawi, we offer 20 double rooms, each with its private bathroom, sun-heated
showers, and electricity provided by photovoltaic system.
We, the Achuar
We were born in the forest. We were the last indigenous group in the Ecuadorian
rain forest to remain isolated for centuries until the early 1970's. Our traditions are
still intact, our land untouched by logging or oil companies, our skies covered by flocks
of colored macaws and we have fought for this conversation. Now we want to start
this project that can lead towards a sustainable development for our people, for our
future. We want you to be part of it!
is one of those places that you visit that leaves an everlasting
impression. A place one will wish to visit over and over again.
It is an incredible example of a private organization giving
something back to the land and communities that enable them to
make a profit. Everyone wins and the land and environment are
sustained. It is a wonderful way to learn about the land and the
indigenous people of the area. And by going to Kapawi you are
contributing to the future growth of the Achuar people! It is a
must see while in Ecuador! I'm so glad you recommended this
beautiful place to us. It was the highlight of our trip"
- Jan Markham, Canada
Ecotourism in Kapawi
It has been said that an Achuar is a living encyclopedia. An Achuar can recognize everyone
of the 500 species of birds found in Kapawi. The same person can distinguish every tree
and explain their medical or practical uses. That is why in Kapawi you will
be lead by an Achuar guide and a Naturalist guide as well. Both of them
will make your experience unforgettable.
Kapawi is a place of multiple choices and is characterized by its flexibility we do not
offer fixed programs, but you, with your guide and your group can design the most suitable
one to meet your interests and physical condition.
Easy: Programs that include short hikes in the rain forest (up to
3 hours) on well defined trails, visits to the Achuar communities as well as
trips in canoes. Overnight stays in the lodge or in tents.
Moderate: Programs that include medium-distance hikes (up 5
hours) sometimes crossing flooded areas. Overnight stays in the lodge, the
Achuar communities, and tents.
Difficult: Demanding hikes of many hours or days in poorly defined and
often flooded trails. Porters will carry food and supplies. Explorations journeys to
virgin areas are occasionally offered. Trips dawn inaccessible rivers are done in
inflatable rafts. Excellent physical conditional is required!
Most of the itineraries will include visits to the Achuar communities, hikes in the
rain forest, canoeing in rivers and lakes as well as bird watching.
The Forest and Its Creatures
The Achuar live in perfect harmony with their environment, where all animals and plants
have human-like attributes with a soul and an independent life. According to the
Achuar every plant or animal has its own language and some elements of this language can
be understood by the Achuar.
The rain forest doesn't posses any secrets for these people. They know every type
of tree and every animals species. They know where to fish, how to hunt and when to
sow their crops. The forest is their nourishing mother.
The Achuar also believe that when somebody dies, some parts of the body become
autonomous and will reincarnate in species animals. Thus, the lungs and the
butterflies, the shadow becomes a deer, the heart lives in a bird and the liver is an
owl. Therefore, the iwianch are materialized forms of a person's soul. The iwianch
animals are never hunted or eaten by the Achuar, since in doing so they would be
Kapawi is a magical place.
A place full of legends, myths and wildlife.
Come and enjoy
the best preserved natural sanctuary
in the Ecuadorian Amazon basin!
"In tropical forests, when quietly walking along the shady pathways, and
admiring each successive view, I wished to find language to express my ideas. Epithet
after epithet was found to weak to convey to those who have not visited the intertropical
regions the sensation of delight which the mind experiences."
Kapawi Ecological Reserve
Rain Forest, the tropical forest of the earth's equatorial zone, found in areas
where the rainfall is abundant year-round and totals 200-400 cm (80-160 in) annually.
There are more species of plants and animals in tropical rain forests than all the rest of
the world's ecosystems combined. About 70 percent of all plant species in these forests
are trees, with the upper tree story composed of solitary, 60-m (200-ft) giants.
A lower story of trees characteristically forms a continuous canopy, which grow
on other plants. Little light reaches the forest floor. Leaf litter is minimal and
nutrients released through decomposition are quickly reabsorbed by the trees.
Rain forests often provide the only home for thousands of known or as yet
undiscovered species of animals and plants. The destruction of these rain forests is
eliminating many of these irreplaceable species at an alarming rate.
NOTE: Due to varied weather conditions, we recommend that you consider adding an extra
day to your itinerary after visiting Kapawi to make sure you meet your connecting flights
from Quito to your next destination.