Alto Madidi Experiential Retreat

Type: Deep Nature Expedition • Shamanic Workshop • Healing 
Activities: Rainforest Life Experience • Andean & Amazonian Cosmology Workshop • Overcoming Fear Shamanic Workshop  • Shamanic Ceremonies • Physical Healing, Embellishment and Immune Improvement Therapies 
Ecosystem: Pre-Andean Lowland Rainforest
Culture: Tacana (Amazon-Pano)
Trek: 32km – 19 miles • Estimated weight to carry: 25kg – 55lb • Many other weightless day hikes
Duration: 10 days 
Weather:  Hot & Humid • Rain • Humid Cold
Season: June to October  
Guides: Julián Katari • Carlos Quete • Other Support Staff
Depart from: La Paz
Download: Journey Portfolio   



 To know the most bio-diverse hotspot in the Amazon combines with the experience of building a refuge, making crafts, harvesting wild fruits, fishing, deepening into the native magical-spiritual world, doing different physical improvement therapies and shamanic exercises for the expansion of the consciousness.

The Most Biodiverse Place on Earth

In 1994, a Conservation International expedition discovered that the Alto Madidi region was potentially the most bio-diverse hotspot in the world. Thanks to that expedition, a few years later, Madidi National Park was created. Nonetheless, the area where the study was done was left out of the park’s boundaries. Consequently, the Candelaria Madidi Ecológico buffer zone and community reserve was created to preserve this most important part of the Madidi area.

The diversity of vascular plants, vines and birds, in this specific place, is twice as much as the other more visited regions inside Madidi. In addition, this place is the last undisturbed biomass corridor between the flood plain savannahs to the north and the Andes Mountains to the south. For this reason, there is an above average transit of large mammals, especially tapirs and jaguars. This means that the Alto Madidi region is the best place to see animals. Also, it was here where the most recently discovered monkey was found, the “callicebus aureipalatii” and it is here, where Bolivia’s last isolated tribe remains, the Toromonas. The Alto Madidi is an invaluable treasure that remains hidden to most people. This journey is an opportunity to get to know it and help with its conservation.

Learn more about the Alto Madidi region and the Candelaria Madidi Ecológico Community Reserve by visiting their Web Page»

Rainforest Life Experience

There are no lodges or comfortable accommodations, which doesn’t mean we can be comfortable in this place. It means that we will experience the rainforest from the ground up. We will build a hut, gather palm leafs for the roof, learn to prepare fish meals that don’t require pots or pans, gather wild fruits, make tools and crafts from rainforest materials, gather medicinal plants, and in general learn not how to survive, but how to live well, how to make a life in the rainforest. This reserve (Candelaria Madidi Ecológico) allows us to do so. As we experience building a lifestyle, we are helping protect the reserve, by aiding in the conservation activities of the community that includes patrolling and settling camps.

Andean & Amazonian Cosmology Workshop

In a simple fashion, around the campfire and in meditations,  the cosmology, philosophy, science and spirituality of the native people of the Amazon and the Andes will be illustrated, with the help of a proper environment, far from the pollution, stress and other alienating factors you have in the cities.

Overcoming Fear Shamanic Workshop

Also with the help of nature, we will carry out this workshop, that consists of many different playful activities and group exercises, where we seek to generate self-trust and overcome fears.

Shamanic Ceremonies

The ceremonies compliment the workshop exercises and the healing. They allow the body and the mind to open up to new realms of consciousness that will help uproot negative energies from the past and permit new energies to settle in.

Physical Healing, Embellishment and Immune Improvement Therapies

The Amazon rainforest is the world’s pharmacy, half of all the components in today’s medicines are made from plants that come from this forest. We will benefit from being in this forest and from the native wisdom to treat any possible ailments, apply physical embellishment and immune improvement therapies.

Estimated Program

We are entering the forest to follow its own ways. We are also visiting a remote region far away from civilization. The car breaking up and the schedule changing is a common thing. The following is an estimated program of what we may do each day, but this probably will change and adapt to the peculiar situation of the moment.

  • Day 1
    • PM – Flight or arrival to the Town of Ixiamas. Gathering, dinner. Rest in hotel.
  • Day 2
    • AM – Departure in 4×4 vehicle to the Candelaria Reserve.
    • PM – Beginning of hike to Irimo stream. Camp. Ceremony.
  • Day 3
    • AM – Hike through the forest without trail in search of sacred place to set up main camp.
    • PM – Rest. Consciousness exercises at night.
  • Day 4
    • AM – Construction of a hut with forest materials. Construction of chairs, tables. Set up hammocks.
    • PM – Shamanic workshop exercises.
  • Day 5
    • AM – Shamanic workshop.
    • PM – Physical embellishment and immune strengthening therapies.
  • Day 6
    • AM – Hike through the forest to the Madidi River. Observation of animals.
    • PM – Fishing in the river. Fire ceremony on the river beach. Night time animal observation.
  • Day 7
    • AM – Rest and hike back to the main camp. Plant interaction and wild fruit harvest.
    • PM – Making crafts with forest materials (hats, jewellery, fans, etc.)
  • Day 8
    • AM – Goodbye ceremony. Hike back to road.
    • PM – Observation of animals during the hike. Jungle stories told by the guides.
  • Day 9
    • AM – Drive to Ixiamas.
    • PM – Rest at Ixiamas.
  • Day 10
    • AM – Return to La Paz.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Watch this slideshow with captions in full screen size in: Flickr • Picasa • Facebook


Some Details About Comfort and Security

  • The Amazon region we are visiting, in the Abel Iturralde Province, is considerably fresher than other very hot areas like Beni, Chapare, or Alto Beni.
  • The place where we will be spending most time, the Irimo stream, has very few annoying insects, in comparison to other areas.
  • In the Madidi River, where we will spend two days, there are small “mariguí” mosquitos, but they are quite less than other areas further north.
  • The guides are trained and equipped to assist any eventuality that may arise.
  • Statistically, the possibilities to suffer accidents are very small. Contrary to what people may think, the rainforest is a very safe place.

What to Bring

  • Large hiking backpack with enough extra space to carry a share of supplies.
  • Camping equipment according to package.
  • Comfortable hiking shoes.
  • Two thin cloth pants.
  • Two long sleeve shirts.
  • Hat or cap, sun block cream.
  • Personal hygiene supplies: toilet paper, bathing soap.
  • Personal first aid kit.
  • Small towel for bathing.
  • Sweater or light coat.
  • Rain jacket.
  • Personal Swiss army knife (if you take a flight make sure it’s not in your carry-on luggage).
  • Nothing that it’s not absolutely necessary.

Packages Available

Basic package without equipment
Cost: $467

  • Transportation in 4×4 vehicle from Ixiamas to Madidi and back.
  • 2 Hotel nights in Ixiamas
  • Tacana Native guide Carlos Quete
  • All meals during the trip, prepared by an expert native bush cook. The nourishment is very complete and balanced, designed to give us plenty of energy during the trip. It includes desserts, fruit salads, cakes, fruit juices, dry fruits, chocolates and more.
  • Native medicine wise man guide that will lead the ceremonies and workshops. Speaks English and French.
  • Supplies necessary for  the ceremonies, activities, offerings and therapies.
  • Entrance fee to the Candelaria Madidi Reserve.

Doesn’t Include:

  • Transportation to and from Ixiamas
  • Camping Equipment
  • Tips

Recommendations for this Package

  • Bring a personal camping tent, or one for two persons. In case you are alone and don’t have one, we can try to coordinate with another person in the trip so you can share one.
  • Bring a sleeping mat.
  • Bring a light sleeping bag or two blankets.
  • To travel to Ixiamas cheap from La Paz, you may take a bus that leaves from the “Villa Fátima” area of La Paz, it costs bs100 ($14) directly to Ixiamas. If you don’t catch the direct bus, you may take one to Rurrenabaque, which costs bs80 ($11), there you cross the river to San Buenaventura, where small cars leave each hour to Ixiamas and cost bs60 ($9).
  • In Ixiamas there are hostels that cost bs20 ($3) a night. You will need to stay the first and last night. Meals in Ixiamas cost around bs15-20 ($3).

Basic Package with Camping Gear
Cost: $480
Includes: Everything in the last package, plus camping tent and sleeping mat.

Complete Comfort Package
Cost: $716

  • Same things as other packages.
  • Two-way flight from La Paz to Ixiamas, or from La Paz to Rurrenabaque and shuttle car from Rurrenabaque to Ixiamas (depends on departure date).

For this Package:

You need to book with at least 2 weeks in advance


Booking Details

  • Check the calendar to see this year’s Alto Madidi Experiential Retreat departure date
  • To book, you must deposit 50% of the total amount of the package.
  • The total amount of the package must be paid two days before the departure date.
  • Discounts are made to groups

Download Journey Portfolio PDF»

Book or Ask

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s