During your trip to the Cuyabeno jungle you have the opportunity to meet the Kichwa community. One of the Jungle communities in the Cuyabeno reserve.

The Kichwa indigenous community is the most populous ethnic group in the Ecuadorian Amazon region and the primary ethnicity of the locals in the area around La Selva. The Kichwa people in the Amazon tend to be farmers and complement their daily food with traditional hunting practices and food purchased from outside markets. They are experts in the use of medicinal plants and fruit trees along with the planting and harvesting of yucca, bananas, coffee and cacao.

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I had the opportunity to meet 2 families during my jungle trip, one of them built a bird watching tower in the middle of the jungle to have the opportunity to observe beautiful species of birds, like the Harpy Eagle.

The other family owns a small farm where they harvest fruits, cacao, yucca and coffee. We tasted many different fruits and they showed us how to make the traditional yucca bread. To make this bread you only need yuccas, no flour, salt or anything else. After a few processes, you obtain a kind of white powder, which is basically your flour. Put it on a hot stove and your yucca bread is ready!

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Due to increased exposure to the urban Ecuadorian culture over the last several decades, diminishing numbers of Kichwa use traditional dress in favour of western-style clothes. Nowadays their traditions and way of life is threatened by the modern society. Also, they have petroleum on their lands and they authorized the Ecuadorian government to use it in exchange for serious improvements of their life. This is how they can build modern houses.

So while you still can, get fascinated by the real jungle, discover the Kichwa community and have an experience of a lifetime!

Written by: Manon Renaux