Have you never stopped asking “how” and “why”? What factors determine the biodiversity of the Amazon, my hometown, and the planet? How will climate change affect the many dimensions of the Amazon ecosystem? Take advantage of Earth’s greatest classroom to enjoy hands-on investigations, citizen science research projects, and in-depth explorations with expert faculty in the depths of the rainforest! With this workshop, you'll develop a global perspective of the interconnectedness of societies, cultures and environments.
Hands On in the Amazon
International Expeditions’ Amazon Workshop takes advantage of the learning resources only the Amazon can offer — amazing biodiversity, complex ecosystem structure and rich indigenous cultures — to offer you immersive field sessions every day. Your engaging field sessions include service projects, collection of scientific data, village visits and more! Drawing upon real-life examples in the Amazon, you explore the sustainable practices of those who live life deep in this lush rainforest. Through both cultural immersion and community-based conservation projects, gain respect and appreciation for the complexities of rainforest conservation and the tools necessary for to create a sustainable future for those who call it home.
Amazon Workshop Itinerary
Fly independently to Lima, Peru and overnight at the Costa del Sol.
Lima / Iquitos / Amazon River
Fly over the Andes to the inland port city of Iquitos. Follow the meandering path of the river to the Explorama Lodge, our home for two nights. Explore the surrounding jungle trails with our guides before an orientation discussion on the Peruvian Amazon and current conservation issues. After dinner, set off on a nighttime boat ride searching for nocturnal wildlife. (B,L,D)
Sessions: Life in the Amazon; Tropical Medicine in a Rainforest Environment; Conservation Through Education
Awake to the exotic sounds of a wildlife chorus and join our guides on a bird walk. Spend our morning in a Yagua village, learning about their traditional handicraft techniques and culture. Yagua people live scattered throughout the Amazon Basin, supporting their communities with small-scale agriculture, fishing, and light hunting. Additionally, the Yagua are known for their craft-making skills, and you have ample opportunity to purchase wooden animal carvings, decorative blowguns, and a variety of necklaces, bracelets, and jewelry fashioned from natural materials such as seeds and fibers.
Chat about tropical medicine over lunch with Dr. Linnea Smith, a former IE guest who gave up her medical practice in Wisconsin to start a clinic in the heart of the rainforest. Linnea leads our afternoon visit to her Yanamono Medical Clinic.
From the clinic, call on the nearby library, operated by our friends at the non-profit CONAPAC. Free lending libraries are a rare presence in the Peru — let alone the heart of the Amazon rainforest! CONAPAC’s two jungle libraries are stocked with thousands of titles along with a computer lab and classes, music and videos. Plus, the libraries host special events like spelling bees, field trips, and training workshops. CONAPAC’s Director Brian Landever caps off our day with a discussion of the group’s mission, which promotes conservation of the rainforest through education of its stewards — the people living life in the endless ebb and flow of the Amazon. (B,L,D)
Amazon River / Napo River / Sucasai River
Sessions: Anthropods Rule the Rainforest; Introduction to Maijuna-Kichwa Conservation Area
Work our way into the Sucusari River to the rustic ExplorNapo Lodge, our home for three nights. Our afternoon is spent delving into the creepy crawlies of the Amazon: Anthropods. Our faculty leads a hands-on session on the rainforest’s centipedes, millipedes, insects, crustaceans and spiders. One acre of Amazon rainforest is estimated to contain as many as 70,000 species of insects (scientists once found 700 different species of beetle on just one tree).
Members of the group One Planet join us at the lodge tonight for an introduction to the Maijuna-Kichwa Regional Conservation Area. There are fewer than 500 Maijuna left living in four villages between the Napo and Putumayo Rivers. Tonight, drift silently back downriver with the current while our guides search the jungle-lined banks for the red eyes of caiman and other nocturnal animals. (B,L,D)
ACTS Research Facility / Canopy Walkway
Sessions: Tropical Ecology 101; Pharmacy From the Rainforest
Join the pre-breakfast bird walk before a morning hike to the ACTS Research Facility. Visit the Canopy Walkway — one of the high points of our journey. Ascend the walkway to a height of over ten stories, emerging above the seemingly endless canopy. Here is an unexplored world where over 2,000 epiphytic plants may cling to the branches of a single tree. In the forest canopy it is estimated that 20 million insect species may exist, 80 percent as yet unknown to science! Visit a local shaman at the ReNuPeRu Ethnobotanical Garden, learning about plants and their uses in the Indians’ pharmacopoeia. (B,L,D)
Sessions: Maijuna Community Visit; Creating a Sustainable Future for the Maijuna; Protecting Diversity
Spend a morning with the Maijuna community, soaking up knowledge from these guardians of the rainforest. The Maijuna’s ancestral territory is an area of extremely high carbon stocks, making the area a critically important carbon sink in a world increasingly concerned with and impacted by climate change. Unfortunately, there are currently a wide variety of threats and challenges to Maijuna lands including logging, hunting, fishing and illegal resource extraction. Additionally, the Maijuna traditional knowledge, ceremonies, songs and stories are rapidly disappearing. Our afternoon is spent side-by-side with the Maijuna as they share more about their sustainable development projects, such as honey production from a strain of stingless bees! Also get insight into how the community is using GPS and camera traps to track hunters and mammals. (B,L,D)
Sucasari River / Amazon River
Session: Sustainable Agriculture in the Rainforest
Before leaving the area, learn about how the Maijunaare blending traditional techniques and new innovations to sustainably cultivate cacao. Travel to Ceiba Tops Lodge, perched in a spectacular rainforest garden setting overlooking the Amazon. The cottages are air-conditioned and very tastefully decorated. Before dinner, you have time to enjoy the pool, explore the gardens or walk a short distance on a trail to see the largest Ceiba tree in this part of the rainforest. (B,L,D)
Early this morning, join our guides at a local market in the river city of Indiana, where we see the interesting rainforest fruits, vegetables, live animals and household products that are traded among people from different villages. Your afternoon is at leisure to join a naturalist-guided hike or simply enjoy the grounds and pool. Our time in the Amazon wraps up with a festive farewell celebration, including dancing from the locals at the nearby village of Indiana Mia. (B,L,D)
Iquitos / Lima / Depart
On an early morning excursion to Pilpintuwasi Rescue Center, see two- and three-toed sloth, red uakari and even a jaguar which have been rescued from the surrounding area. Return to Lima, where dayrooms are provided until your independent flights home. (B,L)
Arrive in your home country.
Costa Del Sol Wyndham
Located within Jorge Chavez International Airport, the Costa del Sol Wyndham offers you a chance to save time during your stay and optimize your rest. The hotel offers the Spa Express, a complete spa facility ideal after a long journey or before catching your next flight.
Originally built in 1964, Explorama Lodge’s newly renovated palm-thatched rooms exude a rustic romance. The 40 typical palm-thatched jungle lodge rooms are screened and have private bathroom facilities, while covered walkways lead to the Tahuampa Bar and dining room. Plus, the Hammock House is ideal for relaxing while surrounded by myriad rainforest sounds.
ExplorNapo Lodge offers the opportunity to live in an authentic Amazon River style with palm-thatched houses nestled in the rainforest. Shower and toilet facilities adjoin each house. While here, enjoy rainforest treks and excursions into the surrounding primeval forest in an area named by scientists as the "Biodiversity Capital of the World". You can even stay in touch with home via free WiFi.
Ceiba Tops Lodge
Ceiba Tops is the only air-conditioned luxury lodge on the Amazon River, and features cottage-like rooms surrounded by beautiful gardens and pathways. All rooms have air-conditioning, private bath with a hot-water shower, and views of the river, gardens or rainforest. Pathways through flower and plants lead to the swimming pool and hydro spa.
Professor of Biology and Animal Behavior and Bioacoustics Researcher
Marie Trone has a diverse background blending experiences from industry, higher education, and research. Marie has spent 15 years caring for and training dolphins, sea lions, seals, sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, marine fishes and invertebrates, freshwater fishes, elephants, and birds.
She has been working for Valencia College since 2011 teaching marine biology, general biology, environmental science, and human anatomy and physiology. To enhance coursework she leads field trips throughout Florida, providing students with personal experiences with manatees, snorkel trails, sea caves, and audio recording dolphins. Furthermore, she introduces students to the Peruvian Amazon and Andes Mountains through study abroad experiences.
Marie is also active in dolphin research. She is currently investigating the bioacoustics of both species of dolphins that inhabit the Amazon watershed, the pink dolphin (Inia geoffrensis) and the gray dolphin (Sotalia fluviatillis). Marie and her colleagues from the University of Toulon are striving to devise a way to individually identify pink dolphins acoustically. With the support of Explorama Lodges and CONAPAC, she has established the Amazon Dolphin Acoustics Lab (ADAL). Marie is also exploring the bioacoustics of bottlenose dolphins that frequent Florida coastal waters. She is assessing fish biodiversity in the Peruvian Amazon watershed in collaboration with the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP), the Peruvian research institution in Iquitos and is planning to map some of the river beds in the Peruvian Amazon using side scan sonar technology.
Lecturer and Research Fellow
Mark Bowler is a Resident Lecturer in Conservation Science for the School for Field Studies, in the Centre for Amazon Studies, Peru, and a Research Fellow at San Diego Zoo Global's Institute for Conservation Research. Mark’s research has a broad base in conservation biology, focusing on human impacts on mammal populations and distributions in the Amazon region, and on primate ecology and behavior. Recent projects include camera trapping in rainforest canopies to monitor arboreal wildlife populations, remote audio monitoring, and monitoring the effects of logging and hunting on wildlife populations. Mark also works on community conservation projects on the Yavari and Napo Rivers, finding alternative incomes to logging and reducing hunting of vulnerable species.
Originally from the UK, Mark earned his doctorate through the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology in England, with a focus on the behavioral ecology of the red uakari monkey. Subsequently, he conducted a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, researching self-medication in capuchin monkeys, social learning in humans, and public engagement with science.
Mike has worked with the Maijuna and other indigenous groups of the Peruvian Amazon on a wide variety of community-based biological and cultural conservation projects since 1999. In 2004, he helped the Maijuna establish FECONAMAI, a Maijuna indigenous federation, ultimately helping to empower and give voice to communities that had been marginalized for generations. Amongst other initiatives, Mike spearheaded a multi-year project with the Maijuna to map their remote ancestral territory and worked closely with them to successfully push the Peruvian Government to establish a 391,000-hectare Maijuna protected area. This is almost 1,000,000 acres of Maijuna primary rainforest and is 22% larger than Yosemite National Park. Mike co-founded OnePlanet to continue to follow his passion of partnering with indigenous and traditional communities to build a more sustainable, empowered, and just future. In addition to his work with OnePlanet, Mike is also a tenured professor (link sends e-mail) in the School of Integrative Studies (an innovative, integrative, interdisciplinary program) at George Mason University (GMU), where he has worked since 2008.
Randy holds an M.S. in Entomology from the University of Wisconsin. He worked at the Cincinnati Zoo Insectarium for 32 years and is now retired from his position as Curator of Invertebrates, Reptiles & Amphibians. His special interest areas are social insects, arthropod captive husbandry and using arthropods as interpretive educational media. Based on Randy’s husbandry efforts, the Cincinnati Zoo received awards from the American Zoo & Aquarium Association for the long-term propagation and captive management of Sunburst diving beetles, Bullet ants, Peruvian fire sticks, Giant water bugs, Leaf-cutting ants, Spiny lobster katydids, Honey ants and Peruvian jumping sticks.
While regularly serving as faculty during Amazon Rainforest Workshops since 1991, Randy also led the JASON XV team of scientists in February, 2003 during their Rainforests at the Crossroads expedition to Panama and served as a JASON X researcher in the Amazon in March, 1999. He has been a honey beekeeper for 40 years and is active in the South Western Ohio Beekeepers Association. Randy has recently joined a collaborative effort with One Planet NGO to promote native stingless beekeeping and sustainable agricultural development by the Maijuna, an indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon.
The Nature Conservancy, Peru Indigenous Projects Specialist
Peru-native Luis Davalos works with The Nature Conservancy on a variety of projects designed to conserve the rich biodiversity found on indigenous lands. These areas are vital to ensure both a healthy, functioning ecosystem as well as the sustainability of indigenous livelihoods. He also serves as deputy manager of the Indigenous Landscape Consortium, of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), which main objective is to conserve critical biodiversity found on indigenous lands and in surrounding areas that are also vital to ensure ecosystem functioning and continuity, as well as the sustainability of indigenous livelihoods. Before he started working at The Nature Conservancy, Luis worked on sustainable management of natural resources at Conservation International, and management of socio-environmental impacts in infrastructure programs at the Ministry of Transportation.
Luis has a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, and it’s studying to become a psychoanalyst at the Instituto de la Sociedad Peruana de Psicoanálisi; with postgraduate studies at the Latin American Social Sciences Institute and the National University of San Marcos. Luis has a background in Social Responsibility, Development and Education in Diversity, which he taught at the university level.
From: $3,299 per person
Duration: 10 Days, 9 Nights
Trip Type: Land
- Join renowned scientists & biologists from around the globe in Earth’s classroom — no desks required!
- Develop a global perspective on the connections between societies, cultures & environments as well as an awareness of personal commitments needed to sustain them.
- Enjoy field activities coordinated & led by indigenous Maijuna & Yagua community members.
- Learn through citizen science projects & hands-on field studies.