The Pashpanchu wilderness experience is a new project of the Kichwa Pompeya community in the heart of the Yusani National Park in Ecuador. Head into the depths of Amazon rainforest for a firsthand experience with the beautiful nature and wildlife.
Exploring the rainforest, it is hard to expect what type of accommodations might be available. Well, let us put your worries aside as the comfortable rooms reminded us of the ones we had stayed the day before in the city of Coca.
Pashpanchu incorporates in the rituals of the Pompeya community. However, there is much more to experience than this cultural exchange. Their tours include walks in the jungle and a ride in a quill (small boat) in the Yanacocha lagoon (black water in kichwa).
How to get to the Pashpanchu cabins
At Pashpanchu you have two different options of how to experience your time in Yasuni National Park. There is the choice of an la carte option or an all-inclusive package.
For the a la carte option, you need to find your own way to the Pashpanchu cabins. From Coca to Pompeya you can take a boat ride for $12 per person roundtrip. Once in Pompeya the community can pick you up by boat for a flat fee of $10 per person roundtrip.
If you prefer taking the bus you can take it from Coca to Sacha ($1.25) and then transfer to another one from Sacha to Pompeya ($2.00) and then hop on the community provided boat.
A stay in the cabin, with a comfortable bed and separate bathroom is $12 per night per person. Food is $3.50 with soda and snacks also available for sale. The cost of each tours depends on what you select.
There is also the CICAME museum, of colonial ceramic, with a 30 minute tour. The museum costs $3, including the tour guide.
If you go for an all inclusive package there is much less planning and organizing required on your part. Accommodations, food, the museum, pickup and the tours are included for a total of $65 per person per night.
When we started adding up the costs of each individual part of the a la carte stay, we found that the price easily equaled that of the all inclusive stay, minus the headache of planning. It is important to remember you really are in the middle of the rainforest, so not taking the tours leaves you stuck in the cabins.
Exploring Yasuni National Park from Pashpanchu
Around the community land there are many jungle hikes you can take during the day to see different type of wildlife. The coolest one you get to seek out an up close glimpse with the colorful parrots of the Amazon. Some other animals you might see are agouti, turtles, monkeys and alligators!
They offer walking tours at night to ty and see owls and other nocturnal animals. It really depends on the weather and moon if you will even have a chance to see these animals. We totally recommend going, but remember, nature cannot be guaranteed.
You can sit with some of the Pompeya community members and learn more about their culture and their customs. Get invited into a home to see the way
Laguna Yana Cocha
The tour to Laguna Yana Cocha includes the funnest walk we took the entire time in Yasuni National Park. To reach the laguna it is a 30-45 minute walk through some forest and marsh. During our walk the tour guide picked some fresh oranges for us to enjoy on the walk. You get to walk on top of some piping through the marsh area, which can be slippery, so be careful and wear rain boots just in case.
Once you reach the laguna there is a small row boat to take you around the upper lagoon for around an hour. The peaceful lagoon reminded us of a fairy tail Japanese water garden. There are plenty of boas and cayman in the water, but you will not see them unless you are lucky, or unlucky depending on your fear of snakes.
The community recommends staying for two to three days to explore fully what they have to offer. This gives you ample time to explore the rainforest and learn a bit about the community.
Pashpanchu provides a personalized and comfortable stay as their cabins only have occupancy for 8 people. Even if they are fully booked your stay will feel like one with nature.
Their guides are only in Spanish at this time as this is a new sustainable project to bring people to learn about their community and provide jobs to community members. The goal is to have members of Pompeya community learn English to increase the options for foreign tourists.