Expedition with an expert and professional ethnologist to Casiquiare tributaries to Yanomami Indians

VENEZUELAN AMAZONIA


February 13 to 28, 2022
Tour Amazonia, Venezuela

expedition to Yanomami Yanomamo Indian tribe Amazon Venezuela Orinoco Colombia Casiquiare Siapa River tour to Amazonia ethnic travel tours to South America tour to Venezuela

Dassanech Karo tribe Bulls jumping ceremony Assale Afar
Remote expedition for those who are always in search of the unique! Starting from the extreme east of Colombia, on the border of Llanos and the Amazon rainforest, in the lost world of Tepui, Сerro and thousands of rivers and creeks, by charter plane we get into the wilds of the Venezuelan Selva, where we take a boat on the Casiquiare River towards the Orinoco Basin. On the banks of the small tributary we find a village of Yanomami Indians living in the traditional Shabono. Yanomami, famous for their warfare culture, endocannibalism practices and culture of the yopo hallucinogen blowing, have always been of particular interest from ethnographers and travelers. Some of the traditions have already become history, but we have a great opportunity to touch the authentic culture of the Yanomami living truly alone with nature.

The expedition is co-led by our expert – the German passionate ethnographer Jurgen Kuller – a unique traveler who has been to Amazonia and Orinocia for ethnographic research far more than 10 times, of which 4 times in the Yanomami tribe. Jurgen's first meeting with the Yanomami happened 25 years ago, in 1995!

Due to the difficult economic situation in Venezuela, the expedition program to the Venezuelan Amazon is to be implemented via Colombia, to optimize logistics and guarantee the achievement of the expedition's goals.

Remote expedition for those who are always in search of the unique! Starting from the extreme east of Colombia, on the border of Llanos and the Amazon rainforest, in the lost world of Tepui, Сerro and thousands of rivers and creeks, by charter plane we get into the wilds of the Venezuelan Selva, where we take a boat on the Casiquiare River towards the Orinoco Basin. On the banks of the small tributary we find a village of Yanomami Indians living in the traditional Shabono. Yanomami, famous for their warfare culture, endocannibalism practices and culture of the yopo hallucinogen blowing, have always been of particular interest from ethnographers and travelers. Some of the traditions have already become history, but we have a great opportunity to touch the authentic culture of the Yanomami living truly alone with nature.
The expedition is co-led by our expert – the German passionate ethnographer Jurgen Kuller – a unique traveler who has been to Amazonia and Orinocia for ethnographic research far more than 10 times, of which 4 times in the Yanomami tribe. Jurgen's first meeting with the Yanomami happened 25 years ago, in 1995!

SCHEDULE & COST:

Dates: February 13 to 28, 2022

Duration: 16 days / 15 nights

Number of participants: 6 – 10

Cost per person:
- 5990 USD subject to 10 participants,
- 6590 USD subject to 8 – 9 participants,
- 7290 USD subject to 6 – 8 participants, based on twin/double accommodation.

10% early booking discount (in case you book before October 13, 2021)

Everything is included except for international flight to Bogota, medical insurance, lunches and dinners in Bogota and Puerto Inirida.

Estimated flight cost from Moscow to Bogota roundtrip is about 900 – 1300 USD.
Estimated total cost for lunches and dinners in Bogota and Puerto Inirida is about 100 USD.


Single supplement: 400 USD (provided both in hotels and tents)





TRAVEL PROGRAM: TOUR TO VENEZUELAN AMAZONIA


Day
1. February 13, 2022. ARRIVAL IN BOGOTA (COLOMBIA)

Early arrival by plane in Bogota. Transfer to the Hotel Casa Deco 3* or similar. After short rest, today we go for city tour, by minibus to the historical center of Bogota. After lunch we head to the Gold Museum Then visit to the cable car station to go up to the Montserrat mountain and have a nice overview over the whole city of Bogota.
In the late afternoon we drive back to our hotel and at night we have some time to go out to a nice restaurant in the neighborhood. Overnight in Hotel Casa Deco or similar.

* Recommended flight:
- flight AM-717 from Mexico City (MEX) with AeroMexico, departure at 1:15 am, arrival in Bogota (BOG) at 6:50 am on February 13, or
- TK-801 from Istanbul with Turkish Airlines, departure at 10:05 on February 12, arrival in Bogota (BOG) at 15:40 on February 12 (extra night in Bogota needed, to be extra paid), or
- flight AF-422 from Paris with Air France, departure at 17:15 on February 12, arrival in Bogota (BOG) at 22:05 on February 12 (extra night in Bogota needed, to be extra paid), or
- flight LH-542 from Frankfurt with Lufthansa, departure at 13:10 on February 12, arrival in Bogota (BOG) at 19:30 on February 12 (extra night in Bogota needed, to be extra paid), or
- another flight from any city with arrival in Bogota (BOG) before 8 am on February 13.

Meals included: no
Accommodation included:
Hotel Casa Deco 3* or similar


Day 2. February 14, 2022. BOGOTA – PUERTO INIRIDA
Early morning we arrange PCR COVID test. Breakfast and short walk in Candelaria district near our hotel, where many souvenir shops can be found. Transfer to the airport. Flight to Puerto Inirida with Satena Airlines at 13:25.
Arrival in Pto Inirida, Colombian Orinocia at 14:55. Transfer and check-in at the Hotel La Cabanha Guainiana. Rest and dinner.

Meals included: breakfast
Accommodation included:
Hotel La Cabanha Guainiana or similar


Day 3. February 15, 2022. PUERTO INIRIDA – SAN FELIPE

After breakfast transfer to the airport and flight by cargo plane Douglas DC-3 to the south to San Felipe, the big village situated on the Rio Negro River, in the Colombian Amazonia.
Upon arrival in San Felipe, installation at the local house of the station manager. Today we have chance to buy some presents for the Indians, such as tobacco. Walk around to see the local life in the outskirts of Amazonia.
Dinner and overnight in local guest house.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included:
local guest house in San Felipe


Day 4. February 16, 2022. SAN FELIPE – SAN CARLOS DE RIO NEGRO (VENEZUELA) – CASIQUIARE RIVER CAMP

After breakfast we go down to the port and cross the river to San Carlos De Rio Negro on the territory of Venezuela. We speak to the Venezuelan National Guard and then we continue to the junction of Guainia River (Rio Negro River) and Casiquiare River.
Casiquiare is a typical example of bifurcation – it connects two great rivers - the Amazon (through Rio Negro River) and Orinoco. This place is called the beginning of Rio Negro. From here we go on the Casiquiare River, trespassing some rapids, until we reach the small community before the rapids. This afternoon we have time to take a refreshing bath in the Casiquiare River.
Overnight in tents or hammoks under a big palm roof or on the bank of the river.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: camping in
tents or hammoks


Day 5. February 17, 2022. CASIQUIARE RIVER – NINHAL – RIVER BANK

After breakfast the journey continues into the Casiquiare River. Stop to observe petroglyphs on the rocks in the middle of the river. From here we continue and pass the big rock called Culimacare rock. After one hour (depends on the water level in the river) we arrive at the little Indian town of Niñal. Here we stop and make a little walk around to get an acquaintance with this settlement of Curipaco Indians.
Afterwards the journey continues to the "Destination River". We set our camping at a beautiful white sandy beach. This is a fantastic place to enjoy nature at the nice black water river and have also a bath at the white sandy beach. Black water river is cleaner, contains no parasites and hosts much less mosquitos and other insects.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: camping in
tents or hammoks


Day 6. February 18, 2022. RIVER BANK – YANOMAMI COMMUNITY

After breakfast we travel upstream the river to the place where we meet the Yanomami Indians in the shabono.
Yanomamo traditionally lived in villages, with an average of 40 to 300 people. All residents occupied the one huge oval dwelling called "shabono" with an open center. Under the roof of the shabono, the dwellings are divided by supporting pillars. Due to the fact that all building materials are of plant origin, such a house is being gradually deteriorated due to heavy rains, wind and insects; every 4-6 years, Yanomamo were divided into groups and founded new villages. The construction culture of the Shabono has undergone a significant transformation: since the 90s of the previous century, Yanomamo massively stopped building shabono and began to settle in separate traditional huts. Such huts are often built around the village square, thereby imitating the concept of the shabono.
The Yanomamis we visit are living widely in this Shabono or in the jungle, when they are collecting fruits and go for hunting. Some 15-20 families live here, amongst whom there are children, elders and a number of shamans.
Today we learn about the traditions and their way of living in the jungle. We go from family to family to observe what they are doing and cooking on the fire. Also we introduce ourselves and talk with them about what we want to see and experience in coming days. After lunch we go with Yanomami to the place of their pride – a plantation cultivated by the method of slash-and-burn agriculture, and study the plants that the Indians usually grow not far from the village: above all, cooking plantain and manioc plant, banana and papaya plants.
Our camp will be settled right in the shabono. Overnight in tents or hammocks.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: shabono (Yanomami traditional dwelling) in
tents or hammoks


Day 7. February 19, 2022. YANOMAMI COMMUNITY

After breakfast we accompany the Indians in the nearby lagoon for fishing. For that we have to go back to the main river and travel with our boat a little bit up river to get into the lagoon.
We will observe how they are doing it. It depends on the water level how Indians will fish the different fishes like Piranhas or Peacock Bass. If the river level is very low, they will fish with baskets in the river.
The Yanomami know the fishing techniques using the Barbasco root, when the Indians "poison" the water downstream the river. Some endemic plants have a nerve-paralytic effect on fish when they get into the water. However, this method is used rarely in order to save nature and is always subject to the decision of community and depends on the season.
After lunch we observe the makeup and the preparation of the whole village for the dances. It is women specially to paint the whole body with a natural color called "Rojo de Onoto" (made of bixa Orellana).
Dinner and overnight at the Shabono in tents or hammocks.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: shabono (Yanomami traditional dwelling) in
tents or hammoks


Day 8. February 20, 2022. YANOMAMI COMMUNITY

After breakfast we will accompany the Indians into the jungle to learn about the medical plants. We will observe how Yanomami climb up Ceje palm tree to collect the fruits they use for alimentation! They have a very special method to climb up the palm with two wooden sticks to get the fruits without cutting the tree!
Yanomami are known as people who constantly live in a state of war between settlements (warfare culture) and have a very quick temper. We will observe the material and spiritual life of these people. In their rituals, Yanomami men use the hallucinogenic Yopo powder extracted from the seeds of the Anadenanthera peregrina plant which is blown into through the nose. Yanomami do not traditionally smoke tobacco, they roll fresh tobacco leaves in a tube, put it behind the lower lip and gradually sip its juice.
After lunch we experience the most important ceremony. The men blow themselves Yopo powder into their noses. This is very spectacular because the shamans then get into trance and get in contact with their Hecuras from whom they get that ability to cure ill people! The Hecura are types of small ghosts, which the Indians see during their trance. The ghosts have the shape of animals or dwarfs and they help the shamans to cure the invalids. There is the possibility to try the yopo powder for the participants of expedition. However it is really tough and can be harmful for the body, - we do not recommend to do it.
Overnight at the shabono in tents or hammocks.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: shabono (Yanomami traditional dwelling) in
tents or hammoks


Day 9. February 21, 2022. YANOMAMI COMMUNITY – JUNGLE HUNTING CAMP

After breakfast first thing we go with the women to see how they are preparing the typical Indian bread made of manioc root. We will see how they prepare the mass of milled manioc and then they bake this on the fire. This work is reserved for women.
Then after lunch we set off into the jungle with all our stuff that we need for one night in the jungle. On the way the Yanomami will look for this typical palm from which they get the "Palmito". This is the soft part in the middle of the palm which you can eat. After their work to put out this stuff, we can try this tasty soft palm-heart.
Then continue into the deep jungle to find a place nearby a little creek, where we will build up our camp. In a few minutes the Indians will build up this provisional shelter for us. Those people who like to sleep in hammock will use this shelter, the others can sleep in tents.
In the night by the fire we will talk with Yanomamis about hunting in the jungle. Then after dinner we will go into the jungle with the Indians to hunt. It's not so easy because Indians are moving very quickly in the jungle, so we try to stay with them. A lot of animals are very active at night and so – with a little bit of luck – we will find some animal to bring back to our hunting camp.
Yanomami traditionally hunt peccary boar, tapirs, monkeys and other animals using the tight bows and very long arrows made of reed. Depending on the season, Yanomami also hunt caimans at night with a help of flashlight and a machete, and often grabbing small crocodiles with bare hands.
In the late night we will return to our camp to sleep.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: jungle hunting camp in
tents or hammoks


Day 10. February 22, 2022. JUNGLE HUNTING CAMP – YANOMAMI COMMUNITY

After breakfast we pick up all our stuff and continue trekking through the jungle. We will try to look after little crabs in the creeks and try to catch them together with the Indians.
Also the Yanomamis will show us a lot of fruits they gather in the jungle. It's amazing how many fruits they have to eat.
For lunch we should be back in the shabono. Upon arrival, we will see all women painting their bodies with a typical red color, putting also with black color some signs on their bodies. They prepare themselves for the dance in order to show the traditions of Yanomami dancing.
In terms of material culture, men and women practice face and body painting, and women in some places still insert sticks into their nose and lower lip. For rituals and festivals, the Yanomami make the traditional face painting applying red paint (made of onoto plant) and black paint (made of wood charcoal), and they also wear bright feather decoration.
Yanomami traditionally practiced endocannibalism, that is eating the ashes of cremated relatives. The body is wrapped in leaves and placed in the forest some distance from the shabono; then after insects have consumed the soft tissue (usually about 30 to 45 days), the bones are collected and cremated. Bone fragments from the cooled ashes, which are ground into flour after a week, and then they are mixed with plantain soup and everybody in the village eats it.
Overnight at the shabono in tents or hammocks.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: shabono (Yanomami traditional dwelling) in
tents or hammoks


Day 11. February 23, 2022. YANOMAMI COMMUNITY – LOCAL COMMUNITY ON CASIQUIARE RIVER BANK

After breakfast, early in the morning, we pack all our stuff. We go back to the river where we left our boat. From here we will travel back the whole day downstream the river and further along the Casiquiare River till the local community beyond the rapids of Casiquiare.
Overnight in tents or hammoks under a big palm roof in the local community in the village of Ninhal.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: camping in
tents or hammoks


Day 12. February 24, 2022. LOCAL COMMUNITY ON CASIQUIARE RIVER BANK – RIO NEGRO RIVER ISLAND

After breakfast the journey continues to the junction of Casiquiare River and Guainia River and then along the Rio Negro to San Carlos de Rio Negro. We stop at the beautiful white sandy beach island on the Rio Negro before San Carlos, where we have lunch and set the last camp. After lunch we will have time to take a bath in the nice black water of the river of Rio Negro.
Overnight in tents or hammoks or, if the team prefers, proceed to San Felipe for overnight stay at the local guest house.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: camping in
tents or hammoks on the river bank or at local guest house


Day 13. February 25, 2022. RIO NEGRO RIVER ISLAND – SAN CARLOS – SAN FELIPE (COLOMBIA) – PUERTO INIRIDA

After breakfast we will reach by boat San Carlos de Rio Negro and we will make the check-out procedure with the Venezuelan National Guard. Then we will cross again to San Felipe (Colombia). Flight by cargo plane Douglas DC-3 to Puerto Inirida situated to the north, coming back from the Colombian Amazonia to Orinocia.
Arrival in Puerto Inirida and transfer to the hotel La Cabanha Guainiana. In Pto Inirida we will go to see the port and the most interesting places in the city/surroundings. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: Hotel La Cabanha Guainiana or similar


Day 14. February 26, 2022. PUERTO INIRIDA

This is a buffer day in Puerto Inirida.
Wake up late and lazy breakfast after the long way from the jungle. Free time in Pto Inirida and surroundings.
Also on this day we have the opportunity to make optional tour to the Cerro Mavicure mountain (full day trip at extra cost of 110 USD per participant).

Meals included: breakfast
Accommodation included:
Hotel La Cabanha Guainiana or similar


Day 15. February 27, 2022. PUERTO INIRIDA – BOGOTA

After early breakfast transfer to Puerto Inirida airport and check-in for our scheduled flight with Satena Airlines. Departure for Bogotá at 8:40 am. Arrival in Bogota at 10:10 am. Upon arrival transfer to the Hotel 109 Suites 4* or similar. Free time. Rest in the hotel.
We will have time to arrange the PCR Covid test in the hotel, that we will need to get back to Europe or other destination.
An excursion to Zipaquira, where we can visit very impressive underground church in the big salt mine.

Meals included: breakfast
Accommodation included:
Hotel 109 Suites 4* or similar


Day 16. February 28, 2022. BOGOTA – RETURN FLIGHT

After breakfast we can take a walk and see another center of Bogota, as our hotel is located in different part of the city. In the afternoon transfer to the airport to take evening flight back home.

* Recommended flight:
- flight TK-801 to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines, departure at 17:05, arrival in Istanbul at 16:40 on March 1, or
- flight AF-423 to Paris with Air France, departure from Bogota at 23:55 pm, arrival in Paris at 16:15 on March 1, or
- flight LH-543 to Frankfurt with Lufthansa, departure from Bogota at 21:20 pm, arrival in Frankfurt at 14:35 on March 1, or
- any other flight from Bogota (BOG) to any city departing at any time on February 28.

Meals included: breakfast
Accommodation included:
no


* The itinerary can be changed in the course of expedition by the decision of the team leader for the sake of the interests of the participants, due to weather conditions, flight conditions, flight schedules or due to safety reasons.
Activities schedule for days 6 – 10 may be changed or performed in completely different order depending on the activities of Yanomami community and their will.

** The participant of expedition to Yanomami must be motivated to be respectful to Yanomami culture, be aware of the objectives of the trip and possible program changes depending on weather conditions and any other reasons, be in a good shape and able to adapt to the new environment and culture.

Cost includes:

• domestic flight Bogota – Puerto Inirida – Bogota
• flight Puerto Inirida – San Felipe – Puerto Inirida
• all motor boats, motor drivers,
• all overland transport to support the program in all cities and towns,
• double/twin accommodation in hotels of Bogota, Puerto Inirida,
• accommodation in local house in San Felipe,
• double/twin camping accommodation in tents while staying in Yamomani shabono, local communities and on the river banks along the whole route,
• camping equipment: hammock (or sleeping mattress and tent. Each person decides), equipment, cutlery,
• 3 times a day meals along the whole route except Bogota, Puerto Inirida,
• breakfasts in Bogota, Puerto Inirida,
• drinking water along the whole route except Bogota and Puerto Inirida
• cook, local guides and helpers along the whole expedition route (except Bogota, Puerto Inirida)
• all permits needed as per the program
• all activities and excursions as per the program
• entrance tickets in Bogota according to the program
• financial support of Yanomami communities
• professional specialized local English and Spanish speaking guide
• expert German ethnographer Jurgen Kuller and team leader professional ethnologist throughout the whole trip



Cost excludes (to be additionally paid) :

• international flight from your city to Bogota roundtrip
• international medical insurance
• visa of Colombia and Venezuela (not required for Russian citizens)
• lunches and dinners in Bogota and Puerto Inirida
• single supplement
• beverages, alcoholic drinks and personal expenses
• tips/gifts for the locals/porters




To take with:

· 3 sets of clothes: trousers, long sleeve shirt, T-shirt, underwear, socks, sun hat;
· comfortable and hard wearing shoes: 1) light ones for the city; 2) rubber boots (waterproof) for jungles; 3) CLOSED trekking snickers or shoes for staying in the tribe;
· light trekking jacket;
· raincoat;
· swimsuits;
· sun glasses and sun protection cream;
· personal medical kit (analgesic, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydration, court plaster, your personal medicine);
· personal hygiene means: towel, soap, wet tissues;
· forehead torch;
· travel backpack (better waterproof), some 70-80 liters capacity;
· small backpack for personal stuff and cameras;
· sleeping bag for warm weather,
· anti mosquito net (is a must!);
· various anti mosquito repellents;
· anti malaria prevention medication (up to you to decide but recommended against Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax);
· yellow fever certificate;
· waterproof case for the documents;
· photo-, video cameras,
· additional batteries for cameras and power bank,
· waterproof case for camera would be appropriate.

KEY FEATURES:
TOUR TO AMAZONIA, VENEZUELA
Amazonia, Venezuela

Best season: September – March




The pristine Amazon Rainforest. We will see plants and animals that others have only read about or seen on TV.

The unique nature of the South American Llanos zone is "the lost world" of the Tepui table mountains, Cerro huge rocks and thousands of rivers and creeks of the great Amazon basin.

An exciting boat trip to the fast rivers with rapids, along the Casiquiare River – the world's most famous bifurcation connecting the two great rivers – Orinoco and Amazon (through the tributary of Rio Negro), river dolphins and other wildlife along the route.

Deep dive into the everyday life and culture of Yanomami – the indigenous inhabitants of the Venezuelan selva. We will see firsthand the culture of living in Shabono (the large communal house) that is disappearing now.

We learn more about the spiritual culture of Yanomami: the practices of warfare, endocannibalism, shamanism, as well as body art and folklore.

Together with the Yanomami hunters with bows and arrows, we will go hunting in the jungle for peccary or monkeys and observe the hunt for caymans.

Traditional Yanomami fishing with a basket in shallow water or by means of "poisonous" Barbasco root, we catch a toothy piranha or Peacock Bass.

We will see Yanomami healing ceremonies: Yanomami men use the hallucinogenic Yopo powder extracted from the seeds of the Anadenanthera peregrina plant which is blown into through the nose or put tobacco in their lower lip, which they gradually dissolve.

The historic center of Bogota and other historical and archaeological sites in eastern Colombia, we see beautiful Cerro Mavicure.

When it becomes dark and myriads of stars appear in the sky, we will listen by the fire to the Yanomami legends and hunting stories, as well as the stories of Jurgen Kuller about his expeditions to the Indians of Amazonia, Orinocia and beyond. This expedition is accompanied by our expert – the German passionate ethnographer Jurgen Kuller – a unique traveler who has been to Amazonia and Orinocia for ethnographic research far more than 10 times, of which 4 times in the Yanomami tribe. Jurgen's first meeting with the Yanomami happened 25 years ago, in 1995!

We will make the best photos and video footage.
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