Huaorani Kayak Expedition | Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive to Quito... You’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel for one night.

Day 2: INTRODUCTION TO THE RAINFOREST. From Quito, we board a morning flight to the Amazon frontier town of Coca. A scenic two-hour drive south brings us to the banks of the Shiripuno River, where our kayaks are waiting for us. After lunch and a safety briefing, we paddle down the Shiripuno River, surrounded by breathtaking jungle scenery. Our guide introduces us to the magnificent plant and wildlife of the Amazon. In the late afternoon, we reach our campsite near the Noneno Community and receive a visit from a Huaorani family. They share with us the stories of creation that define Huaorani cosmology and explain how the Huaorani view their existence. Together, we recite traditional chants that detail the creation of the jungle and the mountains. We enjoy a fresh gourmet dinner together prepared by our guides. (B, L, D)

Day 3: HUAORANI COMMUNITY AND PADDLING DOWN THE SHIRIPUNO. After breakfast, we visit the nearby Noneno Community, a Huaorani settlement made up of both traditional thatch huts and wooden houses. From our encounters in the community, we learn more about the Huaorani way of life and customs. We exchange gifts and are taught how to use a blow gun and spear - traditional hunting tools of the Huaorani. After our community visit, we continue paddling down the Shiripuno in our kayaks. Our Huaorani guide accompanies us and shows off some of his paddling, fishing, and jungle skills. Meanwhile, the Shiripuno widens as we move downstream, with small tributaries feeding into the river. We are delighted by the sights of tropical flowers and exotic trees, which give cover to wildlife such as birds, monkeys, and other mammals that our guides help us to find in the foliage. We may also come across medicinal plants that our guides can show us how to use. At the end of the day, we reach our fully equipped campsite and prepare for dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 4: SHIRIPUNO LODGE AND NOCTURNAL WILDLIFE HIKE. After breakfast, we continue our journey down the Shiripuno and explore another awe-inspiring section of the jungle. We keep an eye out for more plant and wildlife with the help of our naturalist and Haorani guides, and stop to explore the micro-ecosystem of a giant Ceibo tree, many of which are more than 500 years old. In the afternoon, we reach the comfortable accommodations of the Shiripuno Lodge, with a wooden observation deck and social area with hammocks to relax in. In the early evening, we set out into the rainforest for a short guided hike in search of nocturnal wildlife, such as frogs, snakes, spiders, owls, rodents, and bats. (B, L, D)

Day 5: RAINFOREST HIKE AND FLOODED FOREST EXPLORATION. After an early breakfast, we travel by canoe to reach a nearby trail head and begin a 4-hour-long hike into the rainforest. During our hike, we explore old growth forest, including old varzea (flooded) forest, and terra firme forest. We will appreciate a variety of plant life, including Parkia, Ficus, and Ceiba trees, which are common in this area. As for wildlife, we are likely to spot the common woolly monkey and white-lipped peccary, in addition to numerous other bird species, and jaguar tracks are a common find. Our guides lead us to a hill which overlooks the jungle to appreciate the multicolored canopy from above. They also introduce us to a wide range of medicinal plants, which help us to understand the Huaorani’s practical, medicinal, and spiritual relationship with their rainforest environment. After returning to the lodge for lunch, we paddle by canoe to reach a group of small lakes and explore the ecosystem of the flooded forest (which is a popular fishing site with the locals). We are likely to spot birdlife including the Hoatzin, a prehistoric bird unique to this area, along the water banks. We may also spot Black Caiman crocodiles - which were once on the verge of extinction - lurking in the vegetation. We explore giant ant colonies to learn about their social structure, as well as the fascinating interaction between insects, animals, and plants in the jungle. We return to our lodge, where our Huaorani guide teaches us how to work with chambira, a palm tree fiber used locally for a variety of purposes. At the end of the day, we relax in our hammocks before dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 6: RETURN TO COCA. We make an early start after breakfast to return to Coca by motorized canoe. On the way, we find time to stop to observe wildlife, especially monkeys like the red howler monkey, the spider monkey, and the woolly monkey. We may also stop if we pass by Huaorani families cooking or making handicrafts, who often invite us to eat fresh yucca with them. In the afternoon, will reach the bridge across the Shiripuno River where our vehicle is waiting to take us to back to the frontier town of Coca. We spend the night at a hotel in Coca and enjoy one last evening before our return to Quito. (B, L, D)

Day 7: After breakfast we will be transfer to the airport of Coca for our flight back to Quito. On arrival you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel for a one night stay. (B)

Day 8: You’ll be met at your hotel and transferred to the airport to check-in for your return or continuing flights. (B)

B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner


Any day except Saturdays & Mondays (No flights to/from Coca on Sundays)


4 people/
2 dble rooms/tents

2 people/
1 dble room/tent

Travel Style
either a recommended custom itinerary or group trip