Cofanes - FEEL THE AMAZON - Anakonda Amazon Cruises

This is an experience where we get to meet the doctors of the Amazon, known for their ancestral expertise in medicinal plants. The Cofans are one of the local communities and also the minority tribes in the Ecuadorian Amazon, numbering approximately 40 families and about 800 people. Our founder, Rául García, has known one of the elders of the Cofans, Carlos Mendúa, for over four decades. 

They travel through the Aguarico river from the Zábalo region to meet us. The area is known as the Cocaya region and it is the most remote area we reach into the Amazon rainforest. From there we embark into a deeper connection with the community, their origin, culture, and traditions. This unique journey is usually planned on a tailor-made 8 days/7nights charter basis.

When you meet members of the Cofan community you’ll notice their bright and colorful style of dress. The men wear distinct pants and black shirts. The women wear colorful skirts and flowing tops. They usually walk barefoot, wearing red handkerchiefs around their necks and gold-colored headbands. Elder Carlos wears a different clothing than the rest of men and long necklace made from the teeth of jaguars and wild boars. This is a representation of authority and wisdom, the more necklaces or items in them the higher the range of experience. 

The Cofans have their own language A’ingae, but many of them also speak Spanish and some of them speak English as well. While maintaining their traditions, they are open to learning as a way to invite visitors from outside their environment into their world. We also set apart some time for them to explain their way of life, how they hunt, fish, and use plant medicine in their daily lives. Sometimes, a few of the Cofans will accompany us on a nature hike. They will point out which plants they use as healing remedies. With little to no modern technology, the Cofan people live by the provision and vibrations of the natural rainforest.  

Meeting and interacting with them is a great reminder of what matters in life as well as an enriching experience. All our trips are designed to give you a chance to detox from the regular stresses of life. Meeting the Cofans is one of the most profound and memorable ways you’ll do this.

Something to highlight is that they are like the Amazonian doctors and have collected relevant and profound knowledge over the years of so many plants with healing properties. Even the medicinal world as we know it has had a huge influence on what they create and discover from some of our amazon region resources. They also have a distinctive characteristic, they have learned to create a greater balance with nature and not to only depend on hunting. You will have the opportunity to ask them some questions during our visit, so you can have ready anything you want to know beforehand. Our guides have good relationships with the Cofans and they can help you communicate with the community members. Asking what they eat, how they work and travel, where they go to school—all of these are good questions. The Cofans have traveled several hours specially to interact and share about their world, they would be honored and willing to answer!

Every time we meet up with the Cofans, the women bring the authentic jewelry that they craft and sell. To purchase a hand-made piece of jewelry is a great way to support the community and leave the Amazon with an authentic souvenir, as well as helping to preserve an artisanal heritage within the community. This beautiful exchange of stories, knowledge, and tradition is a definite must in your journey along the Amazon, it unveils more of the mysteries and beauty held in the lives of ancestral communities and it is a perfect way to keep creating a sustainable cycle of support and engagement with other cultures.