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Sentient Experientials introduces you to

"Nature as Teacher and Timeless Wisdom for Self, Community and Planetary Healing"

An Intercultural Wilderness Journey

November 15 - 24, 2010
10 days/9 nights

Space available for 15 travelers
Registration closes September 30, 2010

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Come in solidarity
beholding the majesty of primary Rainforest
on the banks of the Aguarico River in the
Upper Ecuadorian Amazon
with elders and youth -
forest masters, traditional healers, visionaries, ethnobotanists, and tropical biologists.

We intend this event to be an unforgettable experience
with unforgettable people that in some way
will nourish, enrich and strengthen the root of your life.

For more information, please contact Dahlia Miller at:

Proceeds benefit Grupo Osanimi / The Osa Foundation's
Rainforest Conservation and Cultural Heritage Projects
in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes

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See Fotos En Route from the Andes to the Amazon

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Sentient Experientials' "Nature as Teacher and Timeless Wisdom for Self, Community and Planetary Healing" is an opportunity for the conscious traveler to experience the splendour of the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest and meet some of her unpretentious forest-dwelling people. This journey is designed for those who are genuinely concerned about the well-being of all species and who care for human communities, healing, and personal growth.

This event is a wilderness, grass-roots, intercultural experience coordinated, since 1995, by ethnobotanist Jonathon S. Miller Weisberger, whose work, with commitment and life-long dedication, is a collaboration of indigenous elders and youth. You will be in the company of forest masters, healers, visionaries, tropical biologists and ethnobotanists engaged in long term ground-level rainforest conservation projects and cultural heritage transmission among the generations.

The organizers of SE have a long-standing friendship based on dedicated years of work toward cultural and territorial autonomy with the Secoya Community, who live on the banks of the Aguarico River in the upper Amazon Province of Sucumbíos. We have been asked and invited by Secoya elders to host these journeys as a means of alternative economy for community members as well as a forum where an intercultural exchange can take place.

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Jonathon and QiraJonathon S. Miller Weisberger is an Ethnobotanist, Conservation Biologist, Guide, Director of Fundación Osa / Council for Cultural & Biological Diversity . In Costa Rica, he is the founder and steward of Guaria de Osa Wilderness Centre & Ethnobotanical Gardens on the Osa Peninsula.

Since 1990 he has been actively involved in the Ecuadorian Amazon among five distinct Indigenous communities working on Rainforest Conservation and Cultural Heritage Projects with the Secoya, Kichua and Huaorani Peoples.

Born in Berkeley, California, he studied Deep Ecology with Bill Devall and Botany with Rudy Becking, legendary professors at Humboldt State University, who inspired him on the path of eco-centric awareness, environmental thinking and mindful action. Jonathon was one of the first guides to lead people in the 80's into Headwaters Forest in Northern California. Influencing further his intimate connection with Nature, Jonathon gives honorable gratitude to the Secoya, Kichua and Huaorani elders of Ecuador and to Australian Bill Mollison, father of Permaculture.

Jonathon's zest for life is contagious, his story telling is astonishing, and a hike with Jonathon cannot be missed! Ultimately, Jonathon's work is to support the re-awakening of humanity's harmonious relationship with Nature, a world-view of interconnectedness he considers to be the roots of a joyous life.

With Jonathon, as your guide and interpreter, a few other Indigenous leaders from other communities, and Secoya elders and youth, you will be introduced to an intercultural exchange with forest-dwellers of the Upper Napo Region of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

This includes:

  • an over-view of the area's bio-region;
  • an immersion into an Indigenous Paradigm where Nature is a Nurturing Teacher;
  • a direct experience with the important role plants play in life;
  • learning creative conservation strategies;
  • an empathetic re-enchantment with the complexities and undeniable importance of Rainforest survival with her Indigenous Gardeners for self, community, and planetary healing;
  • while having a stellar experience!

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“Yo extiendo un saludo fraterno y en agradecimiento por el labor que vienes realizando con beneficio del pueblo Secoya.” -- CELINDA PIAGUAJE, ex-Presidente de OMSE, Mujeres Secoya del Ecuador

“I extend a sisterly greeting and in gratitude for the good work Grup Osanimi does in benefit of the Secoya Nation.” -- CELINDA PIAGUAJE, former President of OMSE, The Secoya Women’s Organization of Ecuador

“Con estas pocas palabras, quiero agradecer profundamente a Jonathon por la gran asistencia que él da al Pueblo Secoya.”
-- ANGEL CELESTINO PIAGUAJE, educador e autor Secoya

“With these few words, I wish to infinitely thank Jonathon for the great assistance that he gives the Secoya People.” -- ANGEL CELESTINO PIAGUAJE, Secoya, educator and author

“Este trabajo viene de nuestro entendimiento que es nuestra oblicación actuar cuándo vemos que tenemos que actuar. Entonces cuándo tenemos amigos quien nos apoya, cómo Grupo Osanimi, nuestros sueños se realizan con más posibilidades.” -- ALFREDO PAYAGUAJE, Secoya ethnobotánico y autor

“This work comes from our understanding that it is our obligation to act when we see we must. Then to have friends that can support us like
Grupo Osanimi makes it possible to fulfill these dreams.”
-- ALFREDO PAYAGUAJE, Secoya ethnobotanist and author

“Nos place informarle que uno de los proyectos de aporte cultural es la construcción de un Jardín Etnobotánico, el cual albergará a especies vegetales de importancia ancestral para este pueblo, de cuya información se elaborarán documentos que puedan servir como una guía instructive para capacitar a las nuevas generaciones en la utilización de las plantas y preservar el conocimiento cultural de los Secoyas. Jonathon Miller es un técnico que pertence a nuestra institución el cual, para efectos de ejecución de este proyecto, actuará como coordinador, general asegurándose de esta manera el éxisto esperado.” — Econ. LUIS ORTIZ, ex-Director Executivo de UTEPA

“One of the projects of cultural support is the construction of the Secoya Ethnobotanical Garden which will harbor plant species of ancestral importance for this community, whose information will expand into documents which can serve as an instructive guide to provide the younger and future generations in the implementation of the plants and preservation of the cultural knowledge of the Secoya. Jonathon Miller is a technician associated with our institution who will put into effect this project and act as the main project coordinator to assure the expected success.” — Economist, LUIS ORTIZ, a former Executive Director of UTEPA

“The remarkable thing about the Sentient Experientials staff is their connection with traditional native peoples, not by eco-tourist agreement but the time honored relationship of trust, friendship and open heart.” — PETER SWETLAND, Kokopelli Imports, Canada

“I feel that with Jonathon not only did I gain access to a remarkable region of the world, I was also given insight and understanding.” — PAUL THEROUX, author of The Mosquito Coast

“I directly experienced the spiritual depth, beauty and living presence of the rainforest-- the power and beauty of the earth, Pachamama, as a living being. I recommend this journey for all conscious individuals seeking to connect with their original nature-- exploring potential for greater healing and wholeness.”— VERNICE SOLIMAR, Chair of Consciousness Studies, John F. Kennedy University, California

“The Sentient Experientials tour, while not the easiest thing I have ever done in my life, was an extremely meaningful experience for me. The journey was an extraordinary opportunity to visit an indigenous tribe in the deep Ecuadorian Amazon, learn about their spiritual traditions and plant medicines, and commune with the tribal elders and the shaman. It was also thought provoking and heart-wrenching, as we were confronted, along the way, with the devastation caused by over-development and, above all, the pure exploitative greed of the oil companies. What made the trip particularly remarkable was the relationship of trust that the Sentient Experientials staff has formed with the Secoya Indians. That sense of trust radiated throughout the journey. I recommend this tour to anyone who wants to know what is really going on in the world today.”— DANIEL PINCHBECK, author of Breaking Open the Head (Chapter 22: “My Shamanic Vacation”)

"The Secoya journey was an empowering experience, not only for myself as an advocate for tropical and temperate rainforest conservation. During these times of intensifying technological and developmental pressures in their territory, Jonathon's work is one of the only western influences in Secoya history which is firmly rooted in respect and honor for the Secoya's physical and cultural survival." — DAVID WALSH, Ancient Forest International (AFI) and Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC)

"I felt comfortable and safe in the forest. Completely at one with the spirit of the forest." — EMILY SWETLAND, Kokopelli Imports, Canada

"Needless to say, the trip was and continues to be memorable, life transforming and just plain incredible. I think about it all the time and it has hardly receded in my memory despite the return of the routines of work, driving, shopping, the same old grind. It's hard to put into words all that took place and, as you mentioned, we will be processing this for months. The most important thing for me though is that my heart has been truly opened and hungers for a return." — BARBARA NELSON, psychologist

“The days I spent in the emerald green light of the rain-forest still shine in my consciousness and I can still hear the night song of the insects and monkeys chattering with each other... I hear the chanting shaman.  I can close my eyes and again I am hanging in a handwoven hammock, in the night, by the firelight, the shaman songs take off with my spirit for a journey...   to the heart of nature and my own heart, to the wisdom of nature and my own wisdom.  The time I spent with the Secoya People in the summer of 2000 still informs my daily life — it has helped to make my spirit unselfish and open to the profundity of Nature and the wisdom of Indigenous People.” — SYLVIA GIBSON, teacher 

“Since 2000, I think about Ecuador and the time I spent there almost every day, at least every week. It is one of the most important events in my life. It changed my soul radically forever. Giving me an enduring connection to Source. A knowing. A taste of reality in this topsy turvey world. It is a blessing that I give thanks for constantly. Thank you for your purpose and wonderful self. Thank you for raising two great kids with their heads on straight. The world really needs it. For the magical abilities that manifest through you.” — MORGAN GILLIO, massage therapist

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The region has an incredibly high biological diversity, harboring over 300 tree species per hectare, and a combined average of nearly 1600 species of flowering plants. Biological inventories have shown Ecuador to have nearly one half of South America's bird species. Over 500 species of birds are found in our area, including Macaws, Amazon parrots and Oropendulas (a bird which impeccably imitates the calls of other birds). The area is also home to many species of monkeys including Howlers, Wholly, Capuchins, Squirrel Monkeys, Pygmy Marmosets, and Tamarin Monkeys. Many species of mammals can be found in the area, including giant armadillo, giant anteater, sloth, ocelot, puma and jaguar, Coati mundis, kinkajou, tamandua, peccary and agouti. Over 700 species of butterflies have been identified in the greater area. Anaconda, caimans, or river turtles may also be seen sunning up-river on the banks. If one is a keen, patient and lucky observer, all kinds of wildlife may be seen. However, we make no promises because wildlife has a unique way of being invisible.

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The Secoyas are an ethnic minority, autochthons of the Upper Napo Region of the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest, numbering approximately 350 people in Ecuador and 500 in Perú. Their language belongs to the Western Tukanoan linguistic group and their name, Secoya, means "People from the Multi-Colored River." They are an original people of the Amazon, whose culture and ancestral homelands are now imperiled due to imposed political discrepancies, industrial civilization and the encroachment of colonization. Despite the struggle in which they find themselves, the Secoyas have a strong sense of engagement with their history of the past and present, and maintain their rich oral tradition. They are true masters and mistresses of the forest.

The Secoyas, who traditionally live amidst 100,000 acres of whitewater "varsea" and blackwater "igapó" rainforest ecosystems, in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon in the Province of Sucumbíos, have for thousands of years nurtured a deep relationship with the forest and its myriad varieties of plants, insects, and animals. They have relied upon subsistence agriculture and the bounty of the forest to provide for their family needs. Secoya traditional elders and healers use over 350 species of medicinal plants, regarded as sacred family treasures.

We have known and interacted with the Secoyas for many years. We are considered personal friends. During this event, our teachers and guides who will facilitate healing, story telling and dream interpretation are representatives from the community spanning at least 3 generations. Participants will be in the company of forest masters/mistresses with knowledge of extensive plant lore embodying ageless traditions, experience and wisdom.

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International Arrival Date into Quito, Ecuador
Please arrive on or before Sunday, November 14, 2010!
Come earlier if you want to tour the city of Quito.

International Departure Date from Quito, Ecuador
Note: We strongly recommend not hurrying home right after the trip.
The earliest to depart from Ecuador is November 25th

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US$1600/person for 10 days / 9 nights

Space is limited to 12 travelers in good health who can take long deep forest hikes and live for several days in a traditional, indigenous, grass-roots style; i.e. without the modern conveniences and values of the techno- world. Physically, this is not an arduous journey.

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Please Note: Because Sentient Experientials channels funds toward ground-level rainforest conservation and cultural heritage projects via Grupo Osanimi / The Osa Foundation as well as, create an economic opportunity for the indigenous staff, guides and workers involved in the event, we are obliged to keep expenses low and maximize each dollar. Therefore, investment does not include:

  • Airfare to and from Ecuador
  • All Quito expenses: hotel, meals, and taxis
  • Mandatory health-evacuation insurance
  • Ecuadorian exit airport tax
  • We suggest you bring trail mix, dried fruits and nuts for wilderness camping
  • We suggest each traveler bring US dollars in cash to pay for the following expenses for Day 1, 2, & 10:
    • about $200 - to cover your meals, beverages and hotels at Papallacta Hot Springs and the town of Shushufindi (to and from the jungle); and entrance fees
    • although optional yet greatly appreciated: about $100 tips ($10/day) gratuity for guides, community helpers, cooks, porters

      Please give your monetary acknowledgment to Jonathon, your guide, who will disperse your gift to all those whose efforts put this shape-shifting, auspicious celebration together for you in the jungle ... and beyond.
    • about $300 if you'd like to buy a strong, lace-like Secoya hammock, hand-made by the elders. These hammocks take at least a month to create; they hold 2 - 3 people, and last forever

      Please Note: Wear a money belt under your shirt or blouse.
      Please do not wear it around your neck.

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land transportation • river transportation • guides • translators • porter service • meals, ceremonies, and the itinerary of activities below during Day 3 to 9.

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Day 1 - Route

  • From the Andes to the Amazon by land
  • Quito to Papallacta Hot Springs (about 2 hours)
  • to Lago Agrio or Shushufindi (to be decided)

About 9 a.m., after breakfast we leave Quito on a chartered bus that has reclining seats so one can nap. The bus ride takes us through the Andes Mountains were we view the breathtaking scenery as we ascend a 14,000 foot high mountain pass, then begin our descent down the Andean slopes to the Amazon basin, through steep valleys covered in cloud forest, past waterfalls, fast flowing rivers, and gorges.

About 11 a.m. we stop in an Andean polylepsis forest. These trees are in the rose family, indigenous to the Andes Mountains, with thick, paper-like bark. We then head on for a light lunch followed by an entire afternoon in Papallacta Hot Springs. The river there is very beautiful and there is much to explore. If the mist that engulfs this region most of the year lifts, we will be granted a view of 19,500 ft. Mount Antisana. This gorgeous snow-capped volcano, home to condors and the Andean Spectacled Bear, is blanketed in cloud forest to just below its snowline - a breathtaking sight while we relax in the springs.

After three hours of soaking in the hot baths, we'll have our lunch, then continue to Lago Agrio or Shushufindi where we sleep in a comfortable hotel.

Day 2 - Route

  • Road trip to Papallacta to Lago Agrio or Shusufindi (about 3 hours)
  • to Chiritza to begin the river trip on the Aguarico River (about 3 hours down-river)
  • to Secoya

After breakfast in either Lago Agrio or Shushufindi - classic wild - west / petrol towns - we'll pick up some last-minute necessities for the journey. Our road trip continues for about 3 hours to Chiritza, stopping to buy some coconuts at a local farm.

The river trip begins at Chiritza, a small settlement of 5 - 7 houses on the bank of the Aguarico River located at the end of the road. Our Secoya friends will meet us at Chiritza with their dugout canoes. Downriver from here lies the tremendous vast un-roaded wilderness of the Amazon, Ecuador's Amazonian Province of Sucumbios.

We travel 3 hours down-river to our destination - between the two Secoya Communities of San Pablo and Seguaya in Secoya Territory.

On the way down-river we stop to visit San Pablo, a Secoya village where we pick up several elders who will accompany us during our intercultural visit. We arrive at the lodge by early afternoon. We set up our sleeping arrangements, swim, and have dinner.

Day 3 to Day 9

During these days we have ample time for all kinds of experiences: meet the forest and the Secoyas, each other, and acquaint ourselves in our new 'home.' Each day will be unique.

ACTIVITIES (in abc order)


  • All of the activities are optional because we understand to do less is sometimes to do more.
  • Come, be present and attentive, explore the forest and mingle.

Sprinkled throughout our stay, we offer:

  • Arts and Crafts with the Secoyas. For example, gathering materials in the forest to make traditional-style crowns, pottery and baskets
  • Bead-making with the Secoya women, men, and children. Please bring a variety of colorful glass, small beads, needles and nylon threads
  • Befriend rainforest medicinal plants, such as Uña de Gato, Sangre de Drago, Chuchuguasu and others
  • Bird - Watching: Some 400-500 bird species may be present, although comprehensive inventories have not yet been compiled
  • Canoe excursions on the Aguarico River
  • Chi Gong-Taoist breath tonic and light Tai-chi and Yoga body stretches to increase our personal stamina throughout the tropical day - with Jonathon
  • Climb very tall old trees
  • Come together with distinguished elders and shamans
  • Conversations (with translations) with the elders on their mythology and their world-view - a paradigm representing cultural heroism, and mythic achievement
  • Cultural all night ceremonies guided by the elders
  • Direct experience learning from the plants themselves
  • Dream interpretation and copal incense purification smudging
  • Engage in healing ceremonies for replenishment and well being
  • Experience a wilderness adventure off the 'beaten path'
  • Experience a traditional plant diet for wisdom and strength
  • Forest hikes into the Amazon Rainforest to learn about the local flora and fauna and marvel at the magnificence of the primary forest
  • Hammock 'meditations' / siestas (an ancient stress remedy)
  • Identify plants and monkeys, toucans, and other wildlife
  • Learn the nature of forest ecology and tropical nature
  • Listen to Amazonian legends and ancient myths from the Secoya elders around their cosmology, mythology story-telling, and worldview counting on its Origin mythology
  • Plant collecting for local Secoya Ethnobotanical Gardens and to learn Ethnobotanical Field Techniques
  • Pleasure yourself with lots of laughter
  • River swimming & bathing
  • Secoya-style face and body painting with natural traditional pigments
  • Sunset canoeing and midnight river outings, hopefully, to spot caimans napping on the river banks
  • Sunrise drinking with Yoco (sapindaceae, Paullinia yoco), a vine containing caffeine which the Secoyas rasp and drink at sunrise to begin a day's work.
  • Paullinia yoco, Richard Evans Schultes et Killip, Bot. Mus. Leafl. Harvard Univ. 10 (1942): taruco yoco (Witoto); totao yoco, po yoco, yoco cú (Kofán) yoco, yoco blanco, cananaguche yoco, huarmi yoco, tigre yoco, verde yoco, yajé; yoco, yoco yajé, yoco colorado, yoco de brajo, yoco negro (Columbia). Scultes in The Healing Forest writes (pgs. 407 - 409):

    "In the westernmost Amazonia of Columbia, Ecuador, and northern Perú, many of the tribes employ yoco as a daily stimulant and occasionally as a febrifuge. The plant - an extensive liana - is apparently never cultivated, probably because of its slow growth.

    Although not a food, it is one of the most important plants in the diets of the Indians. Every Indian household keeps a supply of yoco stems, and few natives ever make a trip of more than a day through the forests without carrying two or three pieces. Because of the great demand for yoco, the liana is becoming hard to find near Indian settlements. Its scarcity is one of the causes of occasional abandonment of excellent sites by an entire group of Indians.

    In the tribes using yoco - Kofáns, Sionas, Inganos, Koreguajes, Secoyas and probably others - the bark is rasped into [only] cold water and kneaded to prepare a very bitter drink. It is normally taken in the very early morning before any food is ingested. The stimulant effects are felt within 15 to 20 minutes. It is the only stimulant plant of the Secoyas and Sionas."

Day 10 - Departure Route

  • From Secoya to Papallacta Hot Springs to Quito
  • Anticipated arrival time into Quito may be around 8 pm.

After breakfast, we depart Secoya going upriver to Chiritza where we board our bus to travel up the Andean Mountains towards Papallacta. If time permits, we make a visit to an oil well site. As we wind up from the lowlands to the pre-mountain and then the Andean Mountain regions we experience the vegetation and climatic transitions.

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This journey offers an introduction to an Indigenous worldview of culture, spirituality and rainforest ecology, including the plight of the rainforest and the Secoya, and other indigenous people(s). We will dialogue on the effects of colonialism on landscape and mindscape, our notions of the rainforest and indigenous cultures, the exploitation of forest resources, and the effects of deforestation. Issues will also include: embodied ecological awareness, social justice and social responsibility, representation of the other, and the insights and contributions of shamanism and indigenous wisdom towards sustainable survival and meaningful living in our contemporary world.

Nature as Teacher and Traditional Wisdom

  • Nature as Teacher, Deep Ecology and the Indigenous Self: how Nature itself can be our greatest teacher; cultural and biological diversity of the tropical rainforest of the Ecuadorian Amazon with an overview of the area's bio-regionalism, traditions and worldview.
  • Spiritual development: the relationships between people, the natural world, and divine universal realms.
  • The role of several plants: exploring and learning how traditional wisdom is becoming increasingly pertinent for the unraveling of the secrets necessary to harmoniously navigate through these tumultuous times.
  • Mythology, cultural heroism and mythic achievement: myths are condensed information packages that reveal great lessons, unfolding secrets connected to fundamental principles pertaining to our daily lives.
  • Introduction to the useful and medicinal plants of the region that surround teeming the jungle lodge.

Rainforest Conservation Strategies

  • Territorial and cultural autonomy: demarcation and recuperation of ancestral homelands and de-colonization of landscape and mindscape.
  • The New Ethnobotany seeks new methods for cultural transmission: basic ethnobotany field techniques, ethics and skills; how ethnobotany can serve as an effective tool for rainforest and cultural conservation; how this new ethnobotany can create meaningful forums and opportunities for conscious individuals to journey among Indigenous peoples and allow for deep truths to be learned.
  • How Sentient Experientials serves as a rainforest and cultural heritage conservation tool and how participants can get involved.

The Plight

  • Colonization and its many social, mental and ecological implications; the collision of the ancient world with the modern; the inside story of the petroleum invasion and its ecological and social consequences; the situation that Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon currently face, including territorial and cultural erosion; and the causes and consequences of deforestation.

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Please write your check for US$1600 investment payable to: to:
Sentient Experientials

Mail your check and Hold Harmless Agreement to:
Sentient Experientials at Guaria de Osa
c/o Dahlia Miller
PO Box 1004, El Cerrito, CA 94530


  1. For US citizens, please send your investment check and Hold Harmless Agreement Document via Express Mail to the above address.
  2. In the memo of your check please write the dates of the Secoya Journey.
  3. International participants, please ask how to pay via Paypal or how to send a bank wire.
  4. Please e-mail the Reservation Document to contact person elow.

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Dahlia Esther Miller
Tel: (510) 235-4313

Thank you for networking this Event!

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  • 1 photocopy of photo/info page in your passport
  • Health insurance-evacuation policy number
  • Bring only US Dollars in cash or traveler's checks
  • Bring $300 - $700 cash for expenses in the jungle (tips, arts & crafts, hammocks)

Note: Postal money orders or personal checks are not valid in Ecuador

Clothes for Quito

Quito is quite cool in the evening so bring a jacket, a sweater and a pair of jeans or cotton pants, socks and/or tights, flannel or long-johns sleepwear, sandals and walking shoes. Average daytime temperature is in the 60's F (16 C); average night-time temperature is in the low 50's F (10 C). It may rain.

Please note: Because of Quito's high-altitude and dry climate, we suggest you bring chapstick for your lips may get dry.

Rainforest Clothes

Clothing for chilly nights and daytime tropical jungle heat

  • Lightweight fabrics wash and dry easier in the rainforest
  • No camouflage (military) patterns
  • Clothing for chilly nights and daytime tropical jungle heat
    • A special warm outfit for special cultural events
    • Refrain from dark colors, red, or busy, bright, tie-dyed designs
    • White (not all white)
    • Pastel colors are appropriate
    • Women can bring a skirt and/or dress (rayon, quick-dry, lightweight)
  • Bathing suit (respecting cultural sensitivities, no skinny dipping, please)
  • Footwear:
    • Lightweight quick dry hiking boots
    • Knee-high rubber boots can be bought for about $30 for size 11 (43) or less; if you wear size 11 / 43 – please bring your own
    • Sandals: waterproof; not leather
    • Sneakers: an old pair (one that you may have in the back of your closet)
    • Pants: 2 pairs; long, loose, fast-drying, light-weight; rayon/cotton
    • Rain Poncho: lightweight
    • Shirts: 2 long sleeves; lightweight, cotton/rayon
    • Shorts: 2 pairs; quick-dry, light-weight
    • Sleepwear: lightweight, thermal, flannel, long-johns, or sweats for cool jungle evenings
    • Socks: 3 to 5 pairs, fast-drying
    • Sun/Rain hat: lightweight, foldable; visor, baseball cap or straw hat. Note: the famous Panama Hats are made in Ecuador.
    • T-Shirts and/or tank tops: 3 to 5; lightweight


  • Backpack or Duffle Bag
  • Biodegradable toiletries: bath soap, natural toothpaste, dental floss, sanitary needs (washable sponges or washable pads are sold at health food stores), sunscreen, sunblock, natural shampoo and conditioner. We recommend Dr. Bronner's liquid all-purpose soap for everything-- teeth, body, hair, and clothes!
  • Day Pack for diurnal and nocturnal rainforest trekking
  • Cameras (digital): Extra memory chips for photos, 2-3 extra batteries (best to charge them in Quito
  • Water-proof pouch for your camera, batteries, and memory chips. Optional: small, folding plastic mini-tripod.
  • Citronella candles and soap - to distract visiting mosquitoes
  • Dictionary/phrase book - bilingual (Spanish - your language)
  • Headlamp with LED bulbs; medium strength light
  • Garbage plastic bags (4-6)
  • Gomasio: a combination of sesame seeds and sea salt; effectively picks up one's energy during the heat of the day; can be purchased at a health food store or made at home
  • Hammock: you will need to bring 2 simple caribiners and 20 feet of strap (or webbing)
  • Journal and writing tool(s); art paper & drawing tools
  • Mess kit (a camping set of plate, bowl, cup, and utensils)
  • Mosquito net & mosquito repellent
  • Pocket Knife
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Sleeping bag liner, light sleeping bag, or lightweight blanket and, for chilly nights, a wool/cotton blanket (can be purchased in Ecuador inexpensively.)
  • Sleeping pad
  • Stuff sacks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Tarp: plastic; 10x12 or 16x20 (with grommets) and 50 feet of inexpensive nylon rope about 5 millimeters thick (to use as an extended roof off from your tent and/or a ground cover)
  • Ground Tarp: 4 feet x 7 feet plastic for under your tent
  • Tent: lightweight, portable
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, comb
  • Towels – 2 – quick dry
  • Twine: one roll
  • Water Bottle
  • Ziplock bags - a variety of sizes to protect, just about everything from moisture

Optional Items

  • Aromatic essential oils
  • Bandannas or handkerchiefs (to replace paper tissues)
  • Bed Sheet (to go with a blanket); not needed if you bring a light sleeping bag and/or a sleeping bag liner
  • Binoculars
  • Camp Chair (or a 'ThermaRest' attachment to your sleeping pad)
  • Cigarette Lighters: 3 - 4, even if you don't smoke
  • Clothesline: static, 20 ft., nylon
  • Flashlight
  • Magnifying Glass: to amplify intricate details seen on hikes
  • Map of the South American Star Sky chart; contact Audubon Society for their "Field Guide to the Sky"
  • Musical Instruments: portable and small
  • Pillow: 'Thermarest' pillows can be purchased at camping stores
  • Sewing Kit
  • Tape-recorder: pocket size with extra batteries, and blank tape cassettes
  • Telescope: portable and small
  • Trail mix, energy bars, dried fruit & nuts if you have high metabolism
  • Thermos
  • Umbrella: useful for sun and rain on the river trips
  • Water purification tablets or water filter
  • White Sage smudge sticks

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Please Note: The transition to the jungle environment is not easy or immediate, even if you may be a well-seasoned traveler. We recommend that you prepare yourself ahead of time and bring some simple western and/or traditional remedies to assist your body in this change.


Although no shots are needed to enter Ecuador, the following is recommended by the American Medical Association:

  • Tetanus and polio booster
  • Hepatitis A - preventative or vaccine
  • Typhoid - oral
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination

Take Daily - 3 weeks before departure

Important: For your benefit, no matter how "seasoned" a traveler you are, we recommend that you prepare for this journey.

Past participants report the following have been very beneficial to take:

  • Nutri-biotic Grape Fruit Seed Capsules (not the tablets nor the liquid form) is designed to enhance your immune system; it contains Artemisia, an anti-malarial ingredient; available at most health food stores; please read instructions. Or, to order, contact Nutribiotic Company (707) 263-0411 to find out what location close to your home you can purchase. The Canadian broker is EcoTrend Products, Tel. (604) 876-0466.
  • Vitamin B1 - For people who attract insects take Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) - 100mg plus B Complex - 100mg
  • Acidophilus capsules - helps to digest new foods
  • Vitamin C - about 1,000 - 2,000 mg. Daily
  • Goldenseal - a bitter herb that protects the body in new environments

A Note on the Local Micro-organisms

We guarantee quality food and juices in the spirit of health, hygiene and sanitary service throughout the journey. Nevertheless, it is important to be always prepared for any unforeseen occurrence, especially for those who have never traveled to South America. Although the region we will be visiting has a low disease occurrence, by just traveling into a new environment, we will expose ourselves to new micro-organisms. For those participants who eat healthy foods on a daily basis, your body will act differently in the Amazon in contrast to how it works at home. However, on our past journeys we are proud to say that we have had no major illness and only minor and temporary discomforts.

Although we have a first aid kit for the group with homeopathic remedies and some allopathic first aid, the following is a suggestion of additional items that may be useful for you to consider bringing. These can be purchased at most health foods stores around the world and/or at a wilderness camping store.


The risk of getting malaria is very low in the area we will be staying. Although mosquitoes are not that common at our destination, bring a good and environmentally - safe mosquito repellent.

If you want to sleep outside of your tent, you can buy mosquito netting in Ecuador. If you are especially sensitive to mosquitoes, consider wearing light long-sleeve clothing.

Alternative Malaria Prophylactics

Past Participants have told us they found complimentary remedies to Larium, such as, Lomatium, Olive Leaf Extract Avlocor, Paludrine.

One recent participant recommends eating local honey ('local' meaning within a mile from your home) for health maintenance.

Another suggestion is a homeopathic malaria prophylactic, in pill or liquid form, which you can order from BOIRON, Tel. (800) 876-0066.

Allopathic Prophylactic


  • mefloquine, 250 mg - is also a preventive.
  • One pill is taken one week before departure into the rainforest, then one pill for each week in the rainforest, and four pills for four following weeks.
  • Drink with a full glass of water and food.
  • Six Larium pills for 12 days in the jungle is sufficient. However, please consult your physician for proper dosage and indications.

Please Note: Larium is not advised for anyone with a history of mental health problems. For updated information on tropical diseases, contact The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. Telephone: (404) 332-4555

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  • Aloe Vera Gel - for sensitive skin; good to rub on after a sunny day
  • Aconite - a homeopathic remedy - excellent for onset of any physical upset; internal tablets
  • Arnica - a homeopathic remedy - for bruises, sprains, reduces swelling; internal tablets and/or external ointment
  • Band-aids and moleskins
  • Blue Green Algae - as a nutritional supplement
  • Calendula - a homeopathic remedy - ointment for minor wounds and mosquito bites
  • Cranberry capsules - for kidney maintenance
  • Echinachea - Goldenseal tincture or gelatin capsules - excellent for general immune system and or infections
  • General Vitamins with minerals as a dietary, daily supplement
  • Milk Thistle capsules - for liver maintenance
  • Mosquito Repellents
    • "Jungle Juice" or any natural alternative
    • Avon Skin-So-Soft is an effective 'folk medicine' for repelling mosquitoes
    • Calamine anti-itch lotion in addition to Mosquito repellant.
  • Personal medications, if any
  • Rescue Remedy - a Bach Flower remedy; internal
  • Tea Tree Oil - a natural topical antiseptic
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E - for internal or external use for your skin

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Guests will undertake full accountability for all that is experienced because essentially your sojourn to the Ecuadorian Amazon, albeit an enriching adventure, is a personal experience.

Sentient Experientials' reserves the right to change the itinerary if by chance there may surprisingly arise any unforeseen circumstances, such as raw weather, ocean conditions, including last minute cancellations by guest teachers, or other unforeseen circumstances. Please trust that whatever changes are made will not affect the quality of the experience.

Although we do our best to 'keep on schedule' we understand that there is more than one notion of 'time' that does not always coincide with the western notion of linear time. We like to call it "jungle time." Therefore, we ask you to please be open and flexible to appreciate the multiple realities of what might be considered 'the norm.'

For the 'seasoned traveler' – or otherwise – please come to with a 'beginners' mind.'

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Breaking Open the Head by Daniel Pinchbeck
Chapter 22: My Shamanic Vacation

Deep Ecology for the 21st Century by George Sessions

El Bebedor de Yajé by Alfredo Payaguaje, Secoya Territory

Ethnobotany: Evolution of a Discipline
by Richard Evans Schultes and Siri von Reis

Neotropical Rainforest Mammals by Louise H. Emmons

One River by Wade Davis

Requiem por los Espejos y los Tigres: Una Aproximación a la Literatura y Lengua Secoyas por Alfredo Payaguaje and Jonathon Miller Weisberger

Romancing the Beloved: A Sacred Sexual Adventure into Love; Her Story
by Joan Heartfield - Chapter 2 Eco Emissaries

Running the Amazon by Joe Kane

Salud y Vida: Familiaricémonos con Nuestra Cultura. Una Guia de Revalorización Cultural para los Jóvenes Siecopai Sobre la Herencia Ethnobotanica del Pueblo Secoya por Jonathon Miller-Weisberger, 1999

Savages by Joe Kane

Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstacy by Mercea Eliade

Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing by Michael Taussig

The Cosmic Serpent, DNA and the Origins of Knowledge by Jeremy Narby

The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World by David Abram

The Three Halves of Ino Moxo, Teachings of the Wizard of the Upper Amazon by César Calvo, translated from original Spanish by Kenneth A. Symington

The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems by Fritjof Capra

The Yajé Letters by Allan Ginsberg and William Burroughs

Tropical Nature: Life and Death in the Rain Forests of Central and South America by Adrian Forsyth and Kenneth Miyata

Useful Plants of the Siona and Secoya Indians of Eastern Ecuador by William Vickers and W.T. Plowman

World as Lover, World as Self by Joanna Macy

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rainforest - paradise beaches - bird watching - scuba diving - surfing - ethno botanical gardens - yoga
massage - trekking - chi gong - meditation - tai chi - rainforest projects - original architecture