Anyone know of any local tribes I could live with for a week or so in any of these countries?
Ive got the bug-ever since I bought my tickets I have not been able to stop thinking about/planning for my upcoming trip. I fly into Quito the 5th of July and out of Buenos Aires the 29th of August. I know that this is not much time, especially with all of the awesome things to do and see in these countries, but its what Ive got! Ill be spending around ten days each in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, then a month in Argentina. I have traveled to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Kenya, and China when I was in my teens, each time learning and trying to immerse myself in the culture. A big part of these trips that I went on was the chance to stay with the locals, usually in a remote village in the middle of nowhere. I want to do this again in one of these countries that I am visiting, Im thinking of spending at least 5 days somewhere remote like that. My problem is that I don\'t know where to go to find info about this. Does anyone know of any tribes (preferably in the remote Amazon) that do/would do this? Im a student, so my budget is pretty low, Im thinking $1000-1500 for the whole trip (will be staying/eating with friends for about 3 weeks in Argentina). Ive lived in Argentina for two years, so I know that culture and speak fluent castellano. I know that most tribes speak Quichua or K\'che, should I be studying up on those languages, or just jump in? Im really interested in getting off the beaten path and doing everything in the most non-gringo way possible, any suggestions on how to do this are very welcome. I want to make the most of the time Ive got in these countries, and if I find something that really interests me I will probably stay for longer than planned-Im flexible.
Also does anyone have a reccomendation for a good surfing spot? Ive heard that southern Peru is good that time of year.
How about trekking/summiting some good mountains? Anyone know of any good climbs that arent too expensive?
Anyone done any white water rafting of note? Where is best/most economical?
Anyone done the Machu Picchu rail trail, like it reccomends in the wiki/travelindependent? I really want to do this but dont know what the area will be like in mid July.
Im sitting here with a stack of guidebooks and doing a lot of research, anyone have any general reccomendations/must see/must do/awesome suggestions?
Really remote tribes in the Amazon can be pretty expensive to reach. Obviously you can't just walk into their villages unannounced! less remote ones are much easier but probably less what you're looking for. A good guy to talk to in Iquitos (Peru) is Carlos Grandez. He has an office on Calle Pevas. He's known some tribal communities such as the Matis and Matses almost since they were first contacted by outsiders and he's pretty much the only guy they trust to bring anyone to see them. However, to get to the Matses you're either looking at hiring a float plane then 2 days by motorised canoe, costing $1000 total including guiding fees etc, or going by boat all the way which would be 9 days one way! If you have loads of time you could try taking local boats down remote tributaries in the Javari Basin and trying to find locals willing to take you to a tribe but I wouldn't like to comment on your chances of success. If you got to the town of Colonia Angamos on the Peru - Brazil border you could ask for Antonio, he can take you to a Matses community, but Colonia Angamos is 9 days by boat from Iquitos like I said.
I lived in Ecuador for a year on the slopes of Cotopaxi Volcano and there are some great hiking places in this part of the country. You can hike around Cotopaxi for less than $50 going up to 5500m asl (it's more expensive, time consumin and difficult without adjusting to the atitude to climb to the summit).
You can also go way into the remote communities in the Andes from the town of Latacunga. Buses to Zambuhua (sorry if this is spelt wrong!) and Chugchillan leave daily and i believe there are possibilities around both these villages of homestays. Plus hiking this area (and horse riding) are amazing, and you have Laguna Quilatoa, which is breathtaking. I don't speak Quichua and it wasn't a problem.
I also went to Machu Picchu via rail from Cusco. As i was limited for time this was my only way of seeing the place and it was well worth it. I'd recommend getting a train ticket coming back the following day so you have one full day at the ruins as this woud be better than the 4 hours i had. As there were mudslides and some of the track was damaged recently i'm not entirely sure though when the train srvice will get back to normal.
I'm really interested in your motivations for wanting to stay with indigenous people 'in a remote village in the middle of nowhere'
It's Quechua... Lol! Not being mean, just letting you guys know... & I believe it would be somewhat difficult to learn Quechua since there are different dialects of it in each country... & because there isn't many books teaching it as there is for French, Italian, etc...... Anyways, even though I haven't done the Machu Picchu trail YET, lol..... My sister has.... & she went during mid July also...... This ofcourse is winter time down there & even though it wasn't raining THAT day it was cold..... But she says she would do it all over again, Mind you she was pregnant during this time.... So yeah DON'T miss out on the opportunity is all I can say.....
Good luck with your 2months of travel, have a blast!
Why? Because I want to! Because I have lived in another culture and become part of that culture and know that really understanding another people is not about going on cool white water rafting trips or buying overpriced touristy goods. It is about living with that people, understanding them. I dont want to be just another tourist, I want to understand others culture and understand who they are so I can better understand myself and the world around me. And ya, I think itd be cool to go live in the jungle for a while.
Understood, but wherein lies the appeal of the other people (specifically indigenous) and how do you think it may help you understand yourself and the world around you?
Hmmm, good question. I guess I want to see how all of our ancestors lived-nothing but the earth and themselves. I have seen it in Guatemala, China, and Kenya, but I want to go to the Amazon and see it. How would it help me? By giving me another experience to draw from. I honestly dont know, I am curious. Why do you think I would want to and how do you think it would help me?
BTW, looked at some of your blogs, your life looks awesome, I want to do that! Travelling is definitely in my blood.
I'll throw a few ideas out there and you tell me which strikes a cord:
The appeal of the ‘indigenous’ as a desire to use other societies as an alibi for redressing what has been troubling us lately. To seek out the authenticities of pre-industrial societies that are perceived to be lacking in your own and to rediscover the sense of wholeness and structure absent from modern western urban life.
Maybe a rite of passage: a desire for reflection, personal transition and recreation?
Or perhaps the remains of imperialism still linger in Western imaginations through the contemporary travel discourse in tourist brochures and travel magazines, with representations of otherness inextricably linked to popularized accounts of travels and explorations to foreign and imperial lands.
Reflection, transition, and recreation hit a chord. Im no tourist and I have no desire to be one. I want to go and experience these countries from the people that live there, live among them and understand them. Mabe by understanding others better I can understand myself better. Maybe by finding what it is that makes others who they are I can find out who and what I want to be. Dont get me wrong, I am pretty much at peace with myself and who I am, but there is always more to discover and more to be.
Why do you travel? Seems like you do quite a bit of it.
As regards tribes, I tend to have a more observational attitude towards them, when I travel. There are some things about living with them, that I dont think I could or would even want to handle. But, it is not just with indigenous tribes, there are situations and people in Europe where I live too that I would prefer to have a loose connection with, rather than take part in everything they do and live closely with them.
I stayed in a village of indigenous Indians in the mountains when I was in Guatamala. They had hotels for guests, but you could also chose a homestay. I choose a hotel, because I need my space, and as well as that drunkeness, violence, cruelty to animals, hygience being less than I would feel comfortable with... would be too close and less escapable if I was to choose a homestay instead of a hotel.
What did I get out of the experience of being in an Indian village? : As well as having a language of their own, many spoke Spanish so I was able to listen to and understand a lot of what they said about how the government of Guatamala treats and treated them and also a lot about what life is like for the women of that village. Also, the local Shaman was a fascinating person. He didnt speak Spanish or English, but I could ask somebody to translate into at least Spanish, and some foreigners could translate Spanish into English. What fascinated me about him, is that he could pick up such accurate information about me, just by being in my presence. Some would call things like palm reading guesswork, but I think he was just a bit too accurate about it for it to be just guesswork. It made me think some more about the unspoken communication that passes between people. And, I also took Spanish lessons, in a school that the Indians had set up, to teach it. I think the money we pay for things like that goes quite a way to providing for the village and its inhabitants.
How many indigenous people do you think long to visit an industrialized culture, spending a few weeks living in Tokyo, London or New York City living the lifestyle of the locals?
Good Q Stephen! ...I wasn´t even able to ask that to myself!
Alex, I´ve been in San Francisco (a native community near to Pucallpa city) a couple of times (ya, I´m still lazy to write about and upload the pics!), ok it´s not a non-contacted tribe and it´s not far away from the city (about 2 hours by boat) but it´s ok and not expensive, there you can be in a shaman session (it could cost about 10 dollars)and live with them, I was there in December and I found it changed (the last time before that was about 3 years ago) I found even internet... but there are some near areas where there is nothing and it´s very quietly. I have some friends there so if you´re interested just ask me.
I´ve been in Piura too (north of Peru), about 8 hours by bus you can reach Mancora, where there are great waves to surf (that´s what surfer people say anyway I was drunk so I can´t remember! LoL) but there are more great beachs in that area (Punta Sal, Organos, etc). Piura it´s not too expensive and food it´s really amazing (if you go over there try Catacaos, you´ll thank me forever!)... and if someone suggests you go to Sullana or Paita (where you can see an amazing sunset) be careful cuz it´s quite dangerous due to robberies. In Mancora you can try Hotel Palmeras (about 10 dollars per person).
Well, more Qs just ask me.
Good luck and safe trip!