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Amazon Rainforest Ecuador – Bameno Community Experience

Immerse yourself in an ancient culture that lives deep in the Amazon rainforest!

5.00 out of 5 based on 12 customer ratings
(12 customer reviews)
USD $1,265.00USD $1,783.00

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Bameno Community Experience in Amazon Rainforest Ecuador

If you are interested in doing this tour, please contact us at info@keteka.com! We will check your travel dates with the local guides and get back to you as soon as possible!

Highlights

  • 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

Description

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!

Social Impact

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.

Tour Information

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 info@keteka.com and will contact the community to check availability for your dates! The tour must be booked one month in advance.

Getting There

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.

Canoe

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 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

Essential :

  • 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
  • Sunscreen
  • 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

Optional :

  • 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
  • Books
  • Rubber bands
  • Extra food (snacks)

Important Notes

  • 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.

Map

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Bameno Community Tour

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Bameno Community Tour -1.100656, -75.806908

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

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    I went to Bameno twice with two different groups and it was a truly amazing and unique experience each time. It was incredible to learn about the Huaorani while at the same time learning about myself and my friends. The Huaorani truly are amazing and they offer a one-of-a-kind experience that I will never forget. One of the best trips I have ever been on, and I hope to return soon!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

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    This was the most unique trip I’ve ever been on. Incredibly remote place and inspiring people. Worth the expedition- it’s half the fun!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

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    What an amazing trip! A visit to Bameno is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the incredible biodiversity of the Amazon with the best guides anyone could ask for–the Huaorani. I was blown away by how welcoming the Huarni were, as well as their excitement to explain their way of life, including the challenges they face from the ongoing exploitation of the rainforest. I couldn’t recommend the trip more highly: whether you’re concerned with current environmental issues, interested in traditional cultures, trying to see amazing wildlife, or just up for an adventure, this trip is the answer.

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    This was by far the most incredible trip I have ever taken. The natural beauty of the Amazon, combined with the friendliness and openness of the Huaorani, made this experience truly life changing. From the first day, when we went jogging into the jungle hunting small pig, to the last, when we spent our final hours playing soccer with the kids, we were immersed in an authentic and enriching environment that is hard to find anywhere else. It is like we had leapt into the pages of National Geographic and found some of the nicest people on earth. I would not trade this experience for any other.

    I’ve been to a number of incredibly interesting and beautiful places around the world, but the experience with the Huaorani is unquestionably the most unique and immersive one I’ve had. It continues to be the tour from which I have my best stories.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

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    In a word, my experience with the Huaorani was unforgettable. In several words, it was unique, intimate, educational, eye-opening, breathtaking, special and altogether amazing. In my seven days with the community I saw scenery, wildlife, and culture that most people only read about or see on television. The ride down the Tiguino and Conanaco rivers, into the secluded heart of the jungle, was filled with monkey, macaw, and toucan sightings, and my time in the community was full of elemental, pure fun: I learned how to climb trees like the Huaorani, had mud-fights in the river with kids, silently canoed through a lagoon to see anaconda, practiced throwing spears and shooting blowguns, and learned about a culture that until fifty years ago had never seen a westerner. And the best part was that the Huaorani were eager to share all of it with me. From the day I met them in Coca, they were friendly, outgoing, and eager to learn about my culture and share theirs with me. I wasn’t merely a visitor; I became a part of a large family that I will never forget. Thank you!
    -Michael Boyle, Visited Summer, 2008

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

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    Truly an unforgettable experience; a trip into the heart of Huaorani territory is like traveling back in time a few thousand years: The jungle was so pristine and the wildlife so amazing. We saw hundreds of species of birds, bats, insects, and reptiles, not to mention the monkeys, which were everywhere. This is an experience unlike any other.

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

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    While I was initially wary about the trip into the rainforest with the Huaorani, I came out of my week adventure with some of the best experiences of my entire life (no joke). The trip had everything I wanted in it–treks through the Amazon rainforest, hunting for wild boar, a boat ride through undisturbed primary forest, tropical bird watching. We saw animals doing things I’d thought I would only see on national geographic, from monkeys jumping 25 feet to an anaconda regurgitating its last meal. More importantly, the relationships I developed with the trip planners, the leaders, and even the tribe will last a lifetime. Everyone was extremely open and nice, and made the trip plans flexible enough so that I could do whatever I wanted to do. Whether it was literally hunting/picking our dinner for the day, swimming and bathing in the Amazon, or shooting a blow dart 30 feet, I enjoyed every moment of the trip and would go back in a heartbeat.

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

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    The memories of living with, and experiencing even for a moment in time, the daily lives and love of the Huaorani culture will stay with me for a lifetime. From morning canoe rides up the Cononaco river and night excursions into the jungle in search of exotic fauna, to hiking amid the greenest and most abundant forest I have had the pleasure of seeing firsthand, followed by practice lessons in the various Huaorani traditional hunting techniques; everyday spent in the Amazon was non-stop adventure. But, for me, it was meeting the Huaorani people themselves that has been one of the most extraordinary delights of my life to date. While fierce and loyal and strong, they are at the same time playful and mischievous and teasing. Our days were spent in happy discovery of their traditional pastimes and festivities, and to exist even for a week among them was to see firsthand a culture full of smiles and friendship. In short, one of the best trips I have ever been on. I would go back in an instant if I could!

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

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    The day that we left Bameno, sitting in a restaurant awaiting my first lunch outside of the forest after a trip of five days, I could only think about returning to the community. I felt a great desire to continue getting to know the Huaorani, to continue learning their history and their present reality. I wanted to continue sharing the experience of living in their home, their forest, of observing and sharing in their way of life and their traditions. Having been born very far away, so distant, it was incredible to feel so welcome there. Being uniformed about the Huaorani, their lives and traditions and about the place where they live, in very little time the community of Bameno showed me and taught me a lot more than I could have anticipated. I am so thankful for having met the Huaorani, for having met the children who invited me to play with them, for having met the young Huaorani with whom I shared laughs and conversations about things in common, and for having met the elders – for having the privilege of having listened to their unique stories that I never imagined I would ever hear. This was a trip that exceeded my expectations and was without a doubt more than I could have possibly imagined.

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

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    My trip to Bameno was everything I could have hoped for and more. For nature lovers, the Ecuadorian rainforest offers the chance to see a breathtaking assortment of plants and animals you can’t find anywhere else. But the real joy of the trip was getting to spend time with the Hourani. The community was so welcoming and interested in sharing their experiences and way of life with us. Besides having a great time, I left with a greater appreciation of the value of the rainforest, the need to protect it, and the challenges facing those who depend upon it.

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

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    There are few truly great adventures – places or experiences that let you step far beyond the bounds of normal – just as there are few truly life-changing experiences: Bameno tours is absolutely both. Going deep into the Amazon, running through the jungle and getting very close to some serious wild-life (boars, capybaras, anacondas, just to name a few) is an authentic thrill that is truly unmatched. Seeing, interacting with and living with a tribe that has very, very limited interaction with the outside world offers a unique perspective on the human experience. And just as important as these factors is one simple fact: it was FUN! The Huaorani people delight in sharing their culture with you and are very curious about our own, leading to a lot of exchanges which are as educational as they are entertaining. Learning how to hunt (throw a spear or shoot a blow gun) is a blast, as is just taking in the beautiful scenery. I could not recommend this trip more – I’ve gone twice!

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

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    I did a trip to Bameno in March 2014 and it was awesome! To see the way the Huaorani live is just something to never forget. We learned about their difficulties in the struglle against the oil-companies and they told us stories that were very impressive and inspiring. Great to be with them and experience their friendlyness and hospitality. We had great food every day. Just the accomodation wasn’t very comfy, but ” hey”.. that’s not what I came for! Besides seeing the way they live, ofcourse we also saw a lot of wildlife.

    I’d recommend it to everyone who wants a real-life experience of living in the jungle as most Huaranies do at this time!

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