A Fresh-Baked, Fresh-Squeezed Start to Your Day
Fuel up for the journey ahead with complimentary breakfast at Ricon De Puembo, where you will find both Western favourites and traditional South American cuisine.
Descend into the Amazon Basin
Get your camera ready; this journey is one for the books! En route from Quito you will climb to heavenly elevations in the highlands, with awe-inspiring views of snow-capped volcanoes in this active geological area. Winding down mountain roads towards the Amazon basin brings tremendous change in your surroundings, as you descend into the lush cloud forest, home to rare wild orchids and the largest number of bird species in the world. Get comfortable – this trip will take approximately 7 hours.
Jungle Cruise River Expedition
Hop aboard for a quick, 20 minute outboard motor canoe ride up the Rio Napo, an Amazon River tributary situated in one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Feel the cool breeze on your face and watch the vibrantly coloured birds fly above as your driver and cultural expert gives you an insider’s view of Amazon River culture.
Minga Lodge Arrival and Orientation
Alli shamushca capay – welcome! Step off the boat at Minga Lodge just in time to take in your first spectacular Amazonian sunset over the Rio Napo. Your lush tropical surroundings will be glowing pink and orange as you snack on local treats like plantain chips and yucca fritters, washed down with a glass of chilled guayusa tea.
Explore Minga Lodge, tucked into the jungle overlooking the river, and follow a ME to WE team member along winding pathways and raised walkways to your cottage nestled into the natural hillside environment.
Meet with the team to learn about Free The Children’s unique Adopt a Village (AAV) model and how it works within the unique local environment. Free The Children developed the AAV model, which relies on five key pillars to break the cycle of poverty and achieve long-term community development:
1. Quality primary education
2. Health care services
3. Alternative income projects
4. Safe/clean drinking water and sanitation systems
5. Agriculture and food security
Let the aromas of cumin, oregano, garlic and onion be your guide as you make your way back to the dining hall from your cabin, along meandering stone pathways and over a footbridge across the creek. Feast on Western favourites and local delicacies like heart of palm, stinging nettle and fish cooked in palm leaves. Add some fire to the meal with a scoop of aji hot sauce, if you dare!
In this playful, educational and optional group session, you will learn key Spanish phrases that will help to foster your connection with new friends in the community. Challenge your senses with blindfolded taste tests and other interactive teaching tools, then partner up and practice your greetings with a fellow traveller.