Bameno Community Experience in Amazon Rainforest Ecuador
If you are interested in doing this tour, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org! We will check your travel dates with the local guides and get back to you as soon as possible!
- Immerse yourself in a culture that only made contact with western civilization 50 years ago
- Explore pristine Amazon rainforest
- Your booking supports cultural preservation initiatives
This experience is an amazing combination of adventure, nature, and rich indigenous culture! Discover the homeland of the indigenous Huaorani people, who came into contact with Western cultures only in the late 1950. The Huaorani are proud to be warriors and guardians of the Amazon. Your booking supports a community-based tourism project whose proceeds go toward defending Huaorani culture, protecting the rainforest, and providing health and education opportunities to community members. You will travel to The Intangible Zone within the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve of eastern Ecuador.
The Huaorani community of Bameno is located 14 hours by canoe from the nearest road and is truly one of the most remote villages in Ecuador. The experience begins by winding down the Shiripuno and Conanaco rivers and deep into the Amazon rainforest. Keep an eye out for Macaws, Tapirs, and Jaguars!
Once in Bameno, you will get to stay with the community, who will tell you about what life was like before contact with western civilization (only 50 years ago!). Listen to a language that predates the Spanish conquest of Latin America, and to ancient chants that are thousands of years old. You can accompany the Huaorani as they hunt packs of wild boar with 10 foot spears and howler monkeys with blowguns. Immerse yourself in a culture of proud people, who are fighting to live free and preserve an ancient way of life.
More than a tour, the Bameno Community tour is an experience of a lifetime!
Bameno Community Tours is a Huaorani-owned eco-immersion business that is operated with minimal outside help from volunteers. Keteka is one of a few travel companies deemed socially-responsible enough to be one of the tour’s online distributors, and we are proud to work with them.
Duration: The duration of the tour is flexible, but if you are traveling by canoe, you will need at least a week.
Start location: Either Coca or Shell Mera, depending on which type of transport you choose (see Getting There, below)
End location: Either Coca or Shell Mera, depending on which type of transport you choose (see Getting There, below)
Availability: The tour is theoretically available all year, but please email us at email@example.com and will contact the community to check availability for your dates! The tour must be booked one month in advance.
You can get to Bameno either by motorized canoe or by charter plane. The duration of your tour is flexible, but if you are traveling by canoe, you will need at least a week.
Motorized canoes leave from Francisco de Orellana (Coca), and take about two days. These can be arranged for groups of at least 3 people. The Huaorani guide will meet you in Coca. Coca is 10 hours by bus from Quito or one hour by commercial plane.
Charter planes depart from Shell Mera and take just over an hour to arrive in Bameno. They are much faster and more comfortable than the boat, but more expensive. Shell Mera is a 5 hour bus ride from Quito, or 2 hours from Baños.
What to Bring
- 4-5 synthetic T-shirts
- 7-8 underwear
- 7-8 pairs of synthetic socks
- Rain jacket and pants
- 1 hat or cap
- 1 pair of rubber boots (can be purchased in Ecuador)
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 1 pair of synthetic pants
- 2 pair of synthetic shorts
- 1 pair of sandals/flip-flops/water shoes
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 large backpack for clothes and equipment (no suitcases)
- 1 small backpack for the day
- 1 sleeping pad
- 1 towel
- Waterproof sacs/ziploc bags
- 2 large bottles of water
- 1 whistle
- 1 compass
- 1 headlamp or flashlight
- Insect repellent
- Toiletries (minimal amounts of biodegradable soap/shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.)
- Over the counter medicines (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc.)
- Anti-diarrhea medicine (Cipro is best)
- Antibiotic ointment
- 1 waterproof watch with alarm
- Contacts and glasses if necessary
- 1 backpack cover
- 1 tent
- 1 tarp
- 1 pocketknife
- 1 bug net hat
- 1 light jacket
- 1-2 bungee cords
- Iodine tablets, droplets, or water filter (potable water is provided)
- Anti skin irritation products (Glide, etc.)
- Anti blister products
- Anti rash products
- Electronic items (camera, iPod, etc.) – expect community members to spend significant amounts of time using your electronics
- Extra batteries
- Journal/notebook with pens
- Spanish/English dictionary
- Rubber bands
- Extra food (snacks)
- Bameno community tours are coordinated by Penti and Tepena Baihua. Both are licensed guides and respected political leaders. Penti is the General Coordinator of Ome Gompote Kiwigimoni Huaorani (Ome Yasuni). Penti and Tepena are fluent in both Spanish and Huaorani.
- Actual itineraries and activities in Amazon Rainforest Ecuador may vary. The Huaorani cannot guarantee experiences of all that is listed above. Please, consult your tour guide for trip with specific activities.
- A minimum of 3 participants is needed to organize the trip. Please book your trip at least one month in advance.
- Price: The price includes a $200 USD per person community collaboration fee to help provide healthcare to members of Ome Yasuni communities. We at Keteka do not take any commission from the community when we sell the tour, we simply charge a small mark up to the customer to cover costs and fees associated with selling the tour (credit card processing, money transfer fees, etc.).
- Vaccines: The Ecuadorian government requires that all travelers visiting the intangible zone provide proof of up to date vaccinations for the following: yellow fever, hepatitis A & B, influenza, and tetanus. For tours originating from Coca, visitors will be taken to the ministry of health to present proof of vaccinations before beginning their trip. For tours originating in Puyo/Shell, visitors are responsible for visiting the local ministry of health on their own before departing for Bameno.
- Drug Tourism: Under no circumstances will the Huaorani of Bameno prepare or administer mind-altering drugs for visitors; this includes but is not limited to ayahuasca. The Huaorani will not under any circumstances cater to requests to exploit ayahuasca for its recreational or hallucinogenic properties.
- Hunting Tourism: Under no circumstances will visitors be allowed to kill animals when accompanying the Huoarani on traditional hunts. The Huaorani have sustainably hunted animals such as monkey, peccary, and tapir for thousands of years. For millennia, traditional Huaorani hunting practices have synced with the incredible biodiversity of their forest surroundings. Exceptionally fit tourists may with great care follow the Huaorani on traditional hunts, but under no circumstances will they themselves be allowed to participate in a hunt.
- Entrance into Bameno: All visitors to the community must first communicate with Penti Baihua or another current resident of Bameno before traveling to the village. Entrance into the community with outside guides or without proper permission from community residents is prohibited.
- Projects for Commercial or Public Use: Filming, research, or investigation in the community of Amazon Rainforest Ecuador resulting in projects of a commercial or public nature require a written proposal approved by Penti Baihua and Bameno’s international counsel, Judith Kimerling. All filmmakers, authors, artists, etc., without exception, entering the community for such projects must pay $135 per day for a customized visit plus a $200 community/conservation fee. In addition, location fee, royalties, and other residual compensation must be discussed with Penti Baihua and Judith Kimerling before entering the community.
- Booking and Cancellation: There is a 25% non-refundable deposit, the rest of the payment can be refunded up to 1 month before the start date of the tour.