The Kapawi Conservation Area on the border with Peru and Ecuador in the Amazon jungle is one of the most remote ecotourism projects open to visitors. Full ownership was recently turned over to the local Achuar people, completing an international project that has successfully integrated a remote and neglected primitive community of 6,000 hunter-gatherers into the modern world of tourism. The arrangement looks extremely promising. For the visitor, Kapawi provides a unique and authentic glimpse into the rapidly disappearing world of indigenous Amazon communities.
The only way into Kapawi is by air charter. The lodge is located on the Pastaza River, a major tributary of the Amazon. It is one of the most pristine and isolated places in the entire Amazon Basin.
There are 19 comfortable double guest rooms, each with private bath and fully screened from the outside. Solar panels provide all the electricity for the lodge. A large dining room and a separate bar and library are connected to the raised rooms by a beautiful raised, wooden boardwalk. The boardwalk continues from the lodge and winds its way down to the river through the jungle and onto the large lagoon that is the center of much visitor activity.
Modern educated Achuar run the lodge’s business and are its guides. Excursions occur deep within this nearly two million acres of undeveloped Amazon. There are hikes of varying difficulty, canoe and kayak trips, visits to area villages and specialty walks for birds and plants.
The jungle area is one of the most biodiverse in South America. The streams and lakes are great for swimming. (Guests occasionally bump into the beautiful pink dolphin!) The lodge also operates night time forest hikes and canoe trips.
The variety of bird life is among the Amazon’s best, including numerous types of macaws and parrots as well as the prehistoric hoatzin. Animal life includes caiman regularly spotted on night-time canoe trips, plus a variety of monkeys. Achuar guides delight in pointing out endless types of reptiles, frogs and smaller creatures as well, many which figure prominently in Achuar daily life.