Ecuador – Kapawi Ecolodge and Reserve

Kapawi in Ecuador's Amazon Rainforest.

Visit Kapawi in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador.

The Kapawi Project began in 1993. The goal was to commence a new trend in eco-tourism, in partnership with the FINAE, by providing a monthly means of economic support and jobs to the Achuar located in Kapawi as well as in other communities. Since January 1st 2008, all installations belong entirely to the Achuar Indians. The lodge accommodates up to 38 visitors and was built in accordance to the Achuar concept of architecture (not a single nail was used!).

Kapawi is a place of multiple choices and is characterized by its flexibility. We do not offer fixed programs, but you can design with your guide and your group, the most suitable one to meet your interests and physical condition. In Kapawi you can do many activities and the most of the itineraries will include visits to the Achuar communities, you can share all of a day with the Achuar families, hikes in the rain forest, canoeing in rivers and lakes, swimming, watching piranhas, pinks dolphins, see caimans and other animals of the area, as well as bird watching, where there are more than 530 species.

Awards and International recognitions received by Kapawi:

1998 – Tourism for tomorrow, British Airways
2000 – Ecotourism Excellence Award, Conservation International
2002 – Ecotourism Award, Skal International
2004 – Conservation Category – Sustainable Tourism Award for Conservation (STAC) (Third place)
2009 – PRODUCT Awarded Top 50 Eco-Lodges 2009 by the Editors of National Geographic Adventure Magazine

Activities at Kapawi

There are three alternatives, according to your physical condition (not your age):

Easy: Programs that include short hikes in the rainforest (up to 1 hour 30 minutes) on well defined trails, visit to the Achuar community as well as trips in canoes. Meals are served in the lodge or light meals are taken for the trip. Typical Achuar meals are also offered in their communities. During overnight stays can be in the lodge or in tents.

Moderate: Programs that include medium-distance hikes in the rain forest (up to 3 and a half hour), sometimes crossing flooded areas. Trips in canoes and visit to the Achuar community are also covered. Light meals are taken for the journey or typical Achuar dishes are served in their communities. Overnight stays include the lodge, the Achuar communities and occasionally in tents.

Difficult: Demanding hikes of many hours or days in poorly defined and often flooded trails. Porters will carry food and supplies. Overnight stays are in tents or in the Achuar communities (previous notification to our Sales Department). Exploration journeys to virgin areas are occasionally offered. Trips on inaccessible rivers are done in inflatable rafts. Excellent physical condition is required!

Groups are always lead by one Naturalist Guide and one Native guide. Some of the possible activities that can be done at Kapawi are:

Hiking: Easy, moderate or difficult, a long the tropical rain forest visiting Achuar Communities.

Bird watching: It can take 2 hours approximately, generally this activity starts early in the morning, at 6 a.m.
approx. There have being seeing more than 530 bird species round the area.

Kayaking & canoe trips: This activity can be done a long short rivers as the Capahuari or some lagoons near the lodge. The canoe trips can be taken along rivers as the Pastaza. Canoe trips are part of the regular activities in companion of the naturalist and local guides.

Fishing: Catch and release prohibited.

Camping: This activity depends on the guests decision. Part of our staff takes the food to the camping area, we will try to give our guests the same services as they were staying at the lodge. This activity should be require in advance.

Achuar Community visits: This is one of our best activities offered in Kapawi, it is because of the significant cultural contribution to the Achuar people. We give our guests a briefing about the Achuar Culture, their ethics codes and some suggestions about how to behave during this activity.

Self-guided path: It can take 45 min approximately round the lodge.

Caiman watching: This activity is done during the nights because these reptiles are nocturnal animals.

Night Hikes: A very nice activity because it offers the opportunity to see a different perspective of the Rain Forest.

Note: Children under 7 years old we highly recommended to hire a private guide for the group.


How to get there
One of the most unique and attractive things about the Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve is its remoteness. This remoteness both adds complexity and challenges to the travel arrangements to reach Kapawi, and also provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a unique part of Ecuador and to see the tropical rainforest from the air, flying in small planes, low over a vast expanse of green. We will endeavor to make your journey to Kapawi as easy and rewarding as possible and to embrace you in Achuar hospitality from the moment your journey begins in Quito.

From Quito to Kapawi
Once in Shell, you will be met by a Kapawi representative who will assist you boarding to smaller airplanes able to operate on the shorter dirt airstrips in Achuar territory. In Shell, the waiting time is approximately an hour, depending on the number of guests flying into, and returning from, Kapawi. Our representative will arrange a variety of activities for you and snacks or lunch depending on the anticipated waiting time.
The flight from Shell is a 50 minute flight over miles and miles of unbroken pristine rainforest, arriving at the Achuar community of Wachirpas, located on the banks of the Pastaza River. There you will be welcomed by your Kapawi guides who will escort you on the final leg of your journey, a beautiful 30 minute canoe ride into the majesty and tranquility of this remote part of the world. You will travel up the broad expanse of the Pastaza River, then into the smaller Capahuari River, and moments later arrive at your destination, Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve.

Returning to Quito
The travel process is reversed and you will normally leave the lodge mid-morning by canoe, then fly by small plane from Achuar territory to Shell and there transfer to your private overland transportation in order to start your comfortable trip back to Quito accompanied by one of our tour guides. The transport to Quito is planned to arrive by mid or late afternoon depending. Your entire return journey will provide one final opportunity to experience the beauty of this unique part of the world.

Please note: Our scheduled travel days to and from Kapawi are each Monday and Friday. If you are unable to travel on these days, we may be able to arrange special charter flights to accommodate you.
However, weather conditions in the Amazon are unpredictable and can change quickly so please bear with us as at times we will need to change itineraries on the day of travel or even in-route.

Note 1: In the event that weather conditions prevent us from getting all guests into Kapawi on the scheduled day, we will provide accommodations at a comfortable hotel in Puyo (a 10 minute drive from Shell) and reschedule the flights to Kapawi as early as possible.