Reaching Waorani (also spelled Huaorani) territory deep in Ecuador’s swath of the Amazon rainforest takes time and commitment. From Quito, take a van ride to the lowlands, board a small twin prop plane with one small and carefully weighed backpack, touch down on a narrow grass airstrip in the middle of the forest, and travel by dugout canoe for several hours to a the community-owned Huaorani Ecolodge, which was created to cater to intrepid travelers. Given the logistics to even get there, it’s perhaps not surprising that this elusive tribe of hunters were one of the last ones in the western Amazon to make contact with the rest of the world.
Responsible tourism is considered the least harmful of possible income streams in this part of the world. Oil exploration and extraction leave deep scars and pollution throughout the greater area. Palm oil plantations tear down healthy rainforest and
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