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June 13th 2008
Published: June 22nd 2008
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Misahualli is pleasantly located at the congruence of the rivers Misahualli and Napo and is a gateway to Amazonia. From this sleepy, 700-soul village one can go on hikes into the jungle, on boat trips on the Napo river, visit jungle lodges or even take a 12-day boat trip down to Iquitos in Peru. If I had endless time I would be very much tempted to do it...But alas, it is not so...

I stayed in the pleasant hostal France Amazonia, with flowers everywhere, a swimming pool, my cabaña facing the river and a resting area with hammocks and sand.

The first morning I went down to the central place in the village. Capuccino monkeys were jumping all around it. A local guy quickly warned me of the monkeys who try to steal anything from people passing by (and indeed later two of them attached me, one first went for the apple in my hand to distract me, while the oterh one from behin stole my hat and went up to the second floor of a house; after a long chase of the monkey, the owner, an old lady, finally got the hat back for me). The guy also introduced me to another German, Michael who was with him. Michael was just about to go on a boat trip with a local Shaman, and they invited me to join them. It was a pleasant boat ride and we went to an animal rescue center, saw how the locals wash gold in the river, visited a local communidad and went for a short hike in the jungle. The shaman showed us lots of plants, including Ayahuasca, the hallucinogenic drug which the shamans consume before and during their healing sessions. He also told us that when he is on Ayahuasca he talks to the plants and they tell him which healing properties they possess. Haha, that seems to be an easier way of identifying new cures than conducting multi-year global clinical trials worth millions of dollars (the business I have been in for many years...).

The next day Michael and I went on a hike with Edwin, a local guide, which we had identified through Marco, a friend of Chasqui´s who I know from Quito. Chasqui is working on documentation about hiking / trekking in Ecuador and identifying new hikes / re-opening old ones, so we have some common interest. Marco previously was a guide, but is now the proud owner of a camionetta, so prefers to drive locals around rather than hike with tourists. He took us to the communidad Centro Pusuno by the Río Pusuno. We were met by Edwin, our young guide of the day, who took us across the river and invited us to his house where he lives with his father, his brother and sister and their spouses and children. Edwin is 22 years old, but as is usual in Ecuador at his age, is already married and has a 9-month old daughter.

The hike largely followed the Pusuno river, and Edwin gave us a lot of interesting information about the plants we saw. After a few hours we reached the Cascada, and went for a refreshing swim a little above it. We then crossed the river on an interesting hanging bridge and went to the next village, Alto Pusuno. and from there via another hanging bridge back to Pusuno centro. A beautiful hike.

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