GASTRONOMY TOURS

Amazon Culinary & Gastronomy Tour

Yachana is unique because of its emphasis and infrastructure related to culinary arts.

In part this is because our awareness was raised as the recipients of a major grant from the National Geographic Conservation Trust for a project on the “Lost Foods of the Amazon”.

The Amazon has one of the richest varieties of foods available due to its tropical climate.

We have taken the traditional indigenous knowledge of preparation of many different kinds of foods and combined them with world class culinary techniques to produce a medley of foods and flavors not found outside the area.

Each day of your stay at Yachana will have different meals or preparations between meals of local foods where all of the participants can be directly involved, not just a bystander. Variations will occur depending on the time of year and what products are in season.

THE LOST FOOD OF THE AMAZON
YACHANA CULINARY TOUR

Yachana is unique because of its emphasis and infrastructure related to culinary arts. In part this is because our awareness was raised as the recipients of a major grant from the National Geographic Conservation Trust for a project on the “Lost Foods of the Amazon”. The Amazon has one of the richest varieties of foods available due to its tropical climate. We have taken the traditional indigenous knowledge of preparation of many different kinds of foods and combined them with world class culinary techniques to produce a medley of foods and flavors not found outside the area.

Each day of your stay at Yachana Lodge will have different meals or preparations between meals of local foods where all of the participants can be directly involved, not just a bystander. Variations will occur depending on the time of year and what products are in season.

Cacao is what chocolate is made from. If it is harvest time for cacao, you will visit a cacao collection center and learn all of the aspects of the harvesting, fermenting of the beans, drying and classifying of the beans. We will then take some of the well fermented beans back to Yachana to prepare chocolate one day.

If corn is in the right phase, you can harvest the tender ears and take them back to the kitchen in the training center to husk, grind and prepare humitas.

For coffee to really be first quality, only the red beans can be harvested. You will participate in the entire process from the dehusking of the beans, having other beans that are already dried and then roast them in a traditional manner. We use a clay “skillet type” pan over a wood fire and constantly move the roasting beans with a wooden spoon. Roasting in clay is very different than in a metal, traditional roaster. Clay “breathes” when roasting which gives the coffee a mellower flavor; and when cooked over a wood fire, a very slight hint of a smoked taste.

You will visit a traditional Kichwa family. The staple diet for millennia of all of the Amazon indigenous tribes has been chicha. Chicha is made from yuca, a tuber that grows the year around. It is a starch but in the fermentation process converts to a sugar. In this form it is both a food and an “energy drink”. This is then cooked and mashed in a wooden bowl. During the mashing process women take handfuls of the mashed yuca and put it in their mouths to chew up. They then spit the yuca back into the bowl. The bacteria in the mouth helps to start the fermentation process of the chicha. You will be able to see the process and try some chichi, if you like (it really is quite good, sort of a cross between beer and yogurt).

You will spend one entire morning on a local farm harvesting heart of palm, yuca, a fruit called borojo, stinging nettles and many other fruits and vegetables. These will then be taken back to the Lodge kitchen for you to participate in their preparation.

In addition, you will be involved in a traditional method of cooking called maito. It involves wrapping a meat in a special leaf and cooking it in the coals of a wood fire. The only thing that is added is salt. The flavor is incredible. You will participate in the entire process of cooking with maito, the other fruits and vegetables and then relish a traditional meal with a local Amazonian tea called guayusa.

Depending on what is available, you will harvest and savor many different ways to cook plantains (cooking bananas), “little gold” regular eating bananas, and much more. You will also see how we are incorporating techniques of Permaculture into our farming program. The bananas and plantains will be harvested from our “banana circles”.

One of the specialties of the Amazon is called Chontacura. This is a grub that grows in chonta palm trunks that have fallen on the ground. It takes them a couple of months to get to the adult size, about two inches long. They are not very attractive alive, undulating along semi-transparent. But cooked, they taste like bacon and are highly prized among the locals. One can also eat them live and raw, but that is a more acquired taste! If we can find a trunk that has them in it, then we can cut it open and harvest a number to take back and cook.

These are just a few of the options available in the Yachana Culinary program. Our program is participatory; you will be involved in all aspects of the harvest to the preparation of different foods. This is a program that no other lodge in the Amazon of Ecuador is offering and we hope you will be involved!

ITINERARY

START  END DAY 1
07h00  Quito departure
09h30 10h00  Baeza bathrooms
12h00 12h30 Hollin Cascade
12h30  13h30 Pacto Sumaco
13h30  15hoo Lunch local style
15h00  16h30 Mushrooms inspection
16h30 18h00 Yachana
18h30 19h00 Welcome typical drink
19h00 21h00  (Briefing) Served diner: viche & llapingacho

 

START  END DAY 2
 07h00 07h30  Fast breakfast
07h30 09h00  Cooking class: tacacho, mani sauce, fried eggs
09h00 10h00 Degustation
10h00  12h00 Harvest: Organic Farm
12h30 14h00 Cooking Class: maito, side dished
14h00  15h00 Degustation
15h00 17h00 Forest hikking: Yachana Reserve
17h00 18h30 Cooking Class: plantains (guayusa), yuca
18h30 20h30  Degustation
20h30 22h00  Night Walking

 

START  END DAY 3
 07h00 07h30  Fast breakfast
07h30 09h00  Cooking Class: muchines, oat, banana
09h00 10h00 Degustation
10h00  12h00 Curandero visit: Kichwa culture, chicha
12h30 14h00 Cooking Class: roasting, tiesto
14h00  15h00 Degustation
15h00 17h00 Yachana Training Center
17h00 18h30 Cooking Class: savage garlic, plamito
18h30 20h30 Degustation

 

START  END DAY 4
 06h00 08h00  Early birdwatching
07h30 09h00  Cooking Class: fruits (borojó), vegetables
09h00 10h00 Degustation
10h00  12h00 Farm planation: visit & harvest
12h30  14h00 Cooking Class: Corn
14h00  15h00 Degustation
15h00 17h00 Gold paning: Napo River
17h00 18h30 Cooking Class: cacao, chontacura
18h30 21h00 Degustation

 

START  END DAY 5
 06h30 07h45  (Briefing) Served breakfast: coffee
08h00  Departure
08h30 10h30 Cacao plantation: visit
10h30  12h30 Coca Airport
12h30  13h30 Served lunch local style
13h50  14h50 Airport: Checking flight
14h50 15h30 Quito arrival

2018, PRICE PER PERSON

ADULTS PAYING 1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6+ pax
Daily operation 1080 671 595 572 547 528

 

OPTIONALS / SPECIALS (Min. 2 pax)
O.W. motor canoe transfer out Yachana / Coca (2) 95
Kichwa Immersion package 2 days / 1 night (English) 235
Amazonia & Galapagos (All Inclusive): First Class Yachts / Superior Tourist Class Yacht (Click)
Quito Pre-Post Stay 3 days – 2 nights (Click)
O.W. = One way / (1) Apply Airline conditions / (2) Subject to availability at time of booking

Our packages include:

  • Ground transfer Quito / Yachana with private English speaking Guide
  • Accommodation in bungalows with 8 dorms. Each dorm with bunk beds and private bath
  • On-route foods as per itinerary
  • 3 daily meals; served beverages with breakfast, lunch and diner (Prohibited alcohol)
  • Road and river transport for visits and activities, by motor canoe, canoe and car
  • Guided excursions with bilingual guides
  • Rubber boots, rain ponchos and lifejackets
  • 10% donation to the Yachana Foundation to support its education and conservation programs in the Amazon
  • Complimentary 24 hours Wi-Fi at dinning hall and reception
  • Unlimited ozonized water
  • Admissions and Entrance Fees
  • Airport Transfer to Coca, by private car
  • Air ticket Coca – Quito (1)

Childs policy

  • BABIES: From 1 month to 1 year 11 months: FREE
  • BETWEEN 2 TO 6: Up to 5 years 11 months: 75% DISCOUNT
  • BETWEEN 7 TO 12: Up to 11 years 11 months: 50% DISCOUNT
  • NOTE: Sharing room with parents. Age at time of arrival. Not applicable to Special Packages.

Reservation policy

  • 50% deposit to be received within 7 days of our confirmation.
  • Balance must be paid 15 days prior to beginning of services.

Cancellation policy

  • Notifications received 121 days in advance, no charges.
  • Notifications received from 120 to 31 days in advance, will be charged 25%.
  • Notifications received from 30 to 15 days in advance, will be charged 50%.
  • Notifications received from 14 to 0 days, 100% penalty.

Not Included

  • Bottled beverages
  • Tips
  • Laundry
  • Travel Insurance

GENERAL NOTES

1.- Itinerary is subject to change due climate conditions, harvesting season, etc., including to reverse the transportation from/to Quito

2.- Please be aware that Yachana cannot guarantee that you will see wildlife because of the unpredictable nature of animals and due to the fact that the area around the area has been impacted by human presence. Lodge activities may vary in order due to weather conditions but rest assured your guide will do everything possible to maintain the established itinerary whenever possible.