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Ecuador Yoga Retreat FAQ
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The Ecuador Yoga Program

On this unique  Journey offered in partnership with Pachamama Alliance, connect with a group of like-minded, awake individuals for the Journey of a lifetime into the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Yoga and self-inquiry will be utilized to integrate the profound experience of being with our indigenous partners in the rainforest on the levels of mind, body, heart, and soul.

Join us for a life-changing immersion with two extraordinary and complementary cultures: the legendary Achuar, whose courageous warrior spirit is dedicated to protecting the pristine rainforest on behalf of us all, and the deeply spiritual Sápara whose commitment to the healing power of the forest and finding viable alternatives to oil exploitation has preserved their culture against all odds. They are powerful allies for one another and have been working with the Pachamama Alliance for over two decades to preserve their ancestral cultures and territories. With stays at the Achuar community lodge of Ti’inkias and the Sápara community-based project of Naku, there will be many opportunities for intimate connection and sharing with these remarkable people.

 

SCHEDULE

itinerary subject to change

Day 1 – Saturday, October 6th:

Arrival in Quito (early arrivals encouraged for acclimation)
Group meets at charming hacienda, conveniently located a short drive from the famous Otavalo indigenous market
Evening yoga and meditation, welcome, and orientation

Day 2 – Sunday, October 7th

Morning yoga and breakfast
Descend Avenue of Volcanoes and waterfall-laden Pastaza river canyon to Amazon gateway
Dinner and evening discussion about entering the rainforest at our hotel in Puyo

 Day 3 – Monday, October 8th:

Flight over primary rainforest to Achuar Territory
River canoe trip and hike to Ti’inkias community and lodge
Traditional welcome

 Day 4 – Tuesday, October 9th:

Rainforest hike with emphasis on medicinal plants and Achuar spirituality
Experience cultural traditions: ceramic and basket making, weaving, blowdart practice, etc.
Afternoon yoga
Storytelling around fire

 Day 5 – Wednesday, October 10th:

Dream sharing and ancient cleansing ritual
Time for contemplative meditation with the forest
Visit sacred waterfall and purification ritual
Achuar invitation to participate in evening shamanic ceremony

 Day 6 – Saturday, October 11th:

Sharing time with shaman
Time for rest and reflection in hammock, journaling, etc
Evening cultural exchange with Achuar: dances, chants, etc. (bring songs, small instruments)
Traditional Achuar feast

 Day 7 – Friday, October 12th:

Ti’inkias farewells
Flight to Sápara territory
Arrival at Naku lodge, welcome ceremony with traditional beverage chicha
Excursion and swimming in Conambo river
Sharing around campfire

Day 8 – Saturday, October 13th:

Morning yoga
Learn about Sápara’s physical and spiritual connection to the forest
Sacred tobacco ritual and solo meditation
Sápara invitation to participate in evening shamanic ceremony

 Day 9 – Sunday, October 14th:

Open space for reflection, journaling, and simply being with beauty of the forest
Afternoon river swim and then sharing intimate time with Sápara friends
Yoga and meditation, traditional food, music and sharing

 Day 10 – Monday, October 15th:

Goodbyes to Sápara friends
Flight out of rainforest
Travel to mountain spa hotel located between rainforest and Andes

 Day 11 – Tuesday, October 16th:

Yoga and meditation
Time for rest, spa treatments, reintegration, and sharing with group
Celebration, acknowledgement, and commitments moving forward

 Day 12: Wednesday, October 17th:

Morning yoga
Travel home or on to next destination

* Transfer schedule To Be Determined

**subject to change

Where is this retreat and how do/when do I get there?

Your experience with Pachamama will begin and end in Quito, Ecuador and participants make their own flight arrangements. The dates of your journey include travel dates both into and out of Quito – for example, if your journey is scheduled for October 6 – 17, you should plan on arriving at the designated hotel (included in trip fee) by midnight on October 6.

There will not be any group activities planned for the 17th, but it is a 2.5 hour drive from Banos to Quito so please book your flight for 12pm or later if you choose to return home on the 17th.

While it is fine to arrive and depart on the specific travel days, we do recommend that you arrive one or more days early to rest and acclimate to the altitude of the Andes. It also ensures that possible travel delays do not hold you up from joining the group on time. After the journey is complete, participants often find it helpful to have a day or two to integrate the experience before heading back home.

What will the retreat be like?

What is Included?

1 night in quaint Quito hacienda
1 night at quaint hotel at the Gateway to the Amazon
7 nights rustic accommodation in the Amazon (at 2 spots)
2 nights at beautiful lodge & spa in the mountain town of Banos
Daily Yoga / Mediation Classes in an amazing studio
All Meals during your journey
All transportation including flights within Ecuador
River canoe trip and hike to Ti’inkias community and lodge
Rainforest hike with emphasis on medicinal plants and Achuar spirituality
Experience cultural traditions: ceramic and basket making, weaving, blowdart practice, etc.
Sacred tobacco ritual and solo meditation
Sacred Ceremony Available
Visit Otavalo indigenous market
Excursion and swimming in Conambo river

What’s not Included?
Airfare and transport outside designated times
Spa treatments and resort extras
Alcohol or other beverages not included with meals

What does the payment include?

The cost of the trip includes meals, double accommodations, transportation, guides and equipment within Ecuador. It does not include international air travel to and from Quito, gratuities, or optional activities such as shamanic experiences. Dates, prices, and itineraries are subject to change.

What is the weather like in the Ecuadorian highlands and rainforest?

The weather in Ecuador is fairly consistent year-round since it straddles the equator. In the mountains, temperatures can reach the upper 60′s to low 70′s during the day and drop to the low 50′s – 40′s at night. In the rainforest, the daytime temperature is typically in the upper 70′s to low 80′s with humidity and in the evenings it can drop to the low 60′s. Because we are in primary forest with lots of canopy and rivers, the heat is less intense than most expect. In our experience, rainy seasons are highly unpredictable and don’t necessarily correlate with accuracy to a specific time of year. As we will be entering the rainforest, you can expect some rain and it will not adversely impact activities on the trip.

How many people are in one of your groups?

We generally have from 10-15 participants on our journeys, with a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 18 to maintain intimacy. While some participants have experience with group travel, for many this is their first time. And a consistent highlight for most participants is the connections and experiences they share with their fellow travelers.

Will I need a visa to enter Ecuador? What about a passport?

For North American or European travelers, a visa is not necessary to enter Ecuador, though you will need a passport that is current for six months following your date of entry into Ecuador. If it is not, you must renew it before departure. For travelers from other countries, please check with you embassy.

This seems like a carbon intensive trip, is this consistent with the Pachamama Alliance’s message?

While we certainly acknowledge that the journey to Ecuador takes resources, nearly all travelers find it to be a wise carbon investment, as the payback in terms of inspiration, rejuvenation and most importantly commitment to action upon return are significant. Many people rediscover their purpose and passion. Also, it is important to remember that the invitation to travel comes from the Achuar people. Community based eco-tourism is their main alternative to oil development and they want allies to visit from the modern world so that they can share the message and power of the rainforest with the world. Your visit helps forward the important work of preserving 10 million acres of primary rainforest and the many indigenous groups that inhabit the region. And it gives the Achuar strength and enhanced pride knowing they have people from the outside who value and respect their culture and are standing with them in partnership.

How do I know if this experience is right for me?

We trust that people are called to this experience and go when the time is right. If you would like support in looking to see if this is the right experience and timing, please contact Pachamama Journeys Director, David Tucker, who has been leading groups and overseeing this program for over a decade. He is very familiar with the unique opportunity of the journey and the potential it has to offer. Our Travel Coordinator, Pat Jackson, has supported hundreds of traveler’s prepare logistically for this experience and is available to offer any assistance. Most importantly, trust your heart.

How do I register?

You can register online or by downloading a registration form (PDF) and faxing or mailing it. A $500 deposit holds your space. See full payment and cancellation policy.

When and where should I arrive/depart?

Your experience with Pachamama will begin and end in Quito, Ecuador and participants make their own flight arrangements. The dates of your journey include travel dates both into and out of Quito – for example, if your journey is scheduled for May 6 – 17, you should plan on arriving at the designated hotel (included in trip fee) by midnight on May 6. There will not be any group activities planned for the 17th and you will be free to begin your travel back home that morning. While it is fine to arrive and depart on the specific travel days, we do recommend that you arrive one or more days early to rest and acclimate to the altitude of the Andes. It also ensures that possible travel delays do not hold you up from joining the group on time. After the journey is complete, participants often find it helpful to have a day or two to integrate the experience before heading back home.

What ages travel with you?

Our trips have included travelers from age 7 to 78. Family, children and teens are welcome and in our experience have made great additions to groups, adding a multi-generational touch and perspective.

Are vaccinations required?

While the Center for Disease Control recommends certain vaccinations, neither Ecuador nor Pachamama require any vaccinations to enter the country. Some of our participants choose to pursue the full spectrum of vaccinations, while others choose not to have any. Please consult with your personal physician or local travel clinic for advice on your specific needs.

What about malaria?

Since malaria is found in the rainforest region where we travel, we require that each participant take an anti-malarial preventative medicine. The most effective allopathic medicine with the least amount of side-effects that we’ve encountered is called Malarone. Herbal remedies such as those with Artemisia (wormwood) can also be a good option. Again, please consult with your personal physician for advice on your specific needs.

What kind of clothes should I bring?

A complete packing list will be provided to you to guide you in your preparing everything you need. We suggest layering your clothes for warmth/coolness and changing climate conditions.

Will I be able to charge batteries?

Yes, there will be electricity in all locations except for the time spent in the Achuar village. There is no need for conversion for the type of electricity or the plugs if you are coming from North America. Ecuador operates on 110v electricity. Check with currentsolutions.com for your specific needs if you are traveling from outside North America.

What are the altitudes that the group will travel through?

The Ecuadorian capital, Quito, is the highest elevation of the itinerary. For people particularly sensitive to altitude, an altitude sickness remedy (such as diamox) may be helpful. Below is a chart indicating the various altitude points on our itinerary:

  • Quito: 9,500 feet, 3,000 meters
  • Banos: 5,905 feet, 1,820 meters
  • Otavalo: 8,641 feet, 2,633 meters
  • Achuar Territory (Rainforest): 900 feet, 295 meters

Is it advisable to bring gifts for our hosts?

While gift giving is a generous and common practice throughout the world, we are trying to minimize our impact on the cultures and territories we visit. And due to the shared nature of indigenous society, giving gifts to individuals can disrupt the balance of the community. The biggest gift for them is your presence and partnership.

What are some other places to visit if I decide to come early or stay on in Ecuador?

The Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador and a fascinating place to visit. The area of Vilcabamba in the southern part of the country is beautiful and well prepared for visitors as well. For a very relaxing stay following your journey, the Termas Papallacta hotel and hot springs is just 1.5 hours outside of Quito.

When are final payments due?

Final balances are due 60 days before the departure date of the trip. If final payments are not received by 60 days prior to departure, YOGASCAPES reserves the right to cancel your reservation and accept new reservations for your space. If you do not think you can pay in time please contact us via email.

How do I prepare for my yoga retreat in Ecuador?

PACKING TIPS:

Packing List:
Passport (check that it will be valid) and copy that you keep separately
Yoga & exercise clothing- (multiple pairs)
Comfortable walking shoes/lightweight hiking boots
Slip on shoes/Sandals for around hotels
Comfortable socks
Swimsuit (multiple pairs)
Casual Clothing & Warm layers (long sleeve, jacket, sweats)
Journal and Pen
A good book or two
Rain jacket/poncho & Plastic bags for packing
Snacks – Bring anything you know you’ll want to be snacking on so that if the food doesn’t sit well with you you’ll have some back up. Always good to have some granola bars etc.
Water bottle to refill
Sunscreen & Hat & Sun Glasses & Lip Balm
Bug repellent (not necessary)
Moisturizer/ Aloe / Coconut Oil
Camera & Chargers
Digital Alarm Clock or Watch
Small day backpack (highly recommended)
Hat/Cover up
Hair ties
Ear plugs
Toiletries (bring soap/shampoo etc.)
Credit Card, Debit Card, (check foreign transaction fees – Capital One usually is good)
Cash for gratuities, purchases, optional excursions and treatments. We suggest about $10/day.
Open heart & sense of adventure

 

Yoga Retreat Packing List

 

What else do I need to know?

5 Things to Bring on a Yoga Retreat

 

Getting Ready for Your Yoga Retreat with YOGASCAPES

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