VIDEO: A Heartbreaking “Toxic Tour” in the Amazon Rainforest

[Click on the image above to watch the video]

Though our time spent in the Amazon rain forest of eastern Ecuador was simply incredible – one of the most amazing, most fulfilling experiences of our lives – suffice it to say, it did not end on a happy note. Good thing is though, we knew going in that it would probably end that way.

As excited as we were to be making our first visit to the region – to live among the famed Huaorani people and explore the vast and beautiful and untamed rainforest – as much as anything, we were looking forward to experiencing what the locals call the “Toxic Tour.” Not looking forward to it in an excited, wide-eyed, child-like sense mind you, but more so because we wanted to see for ourselves – with our very own eyes – this “dark side” of life in the Ecuadorian Amazon that we’d heard and read so much about in our preparations leading up to this amazing Adventure Life adventure.

The "Toxic Tour" in eastern Ecuador
The “Toxic Tour” in eastern Ecuador

The “Toxic Tour” is included at the end of most every visit to the Huaorani Ecolodge, and it pretty much ensures that your final experience in the Amazon won’t be a joyous one. And strange as it may sound, that’s very much by design. The Huaorani – who own and operate the Huaorani Ecolodge – want you to spend several days with them experiencing the purity of the rain forest and the uniqueness of their culture, before revealing to you the stark and ominous reality that lurks just beyond the boundaries of Huaorani territory. It looms there, like a thick black cloud on the horizon. And as it grows nearer it threatens to not only destroy the traditional Huaorani way of life, but also the very health and future of this wild and beautiful and delicate environment as well.

We’ll explore this more in the coming days. But we’ll start the discussion in this week’s episode. So we hope you’ll watch! Take the “Toxic Tour” alongside us. And let us know what you think.

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  1. I absolutely LOVE your new series and look forward to each and every episode!!!

    • Thanks Sandi!! We so appreciate it! Hope you and yours are well. And hope to meet up with you crazy kids again sometime! 🙂

  2. I absolutely love every series that you both SHARE with us and this one was absolutely heart wrenching to me….the people, the conditions that the oil has done to their land…I think you and Nikki are an amazing couple….thank you for sharing your adventures

    • Thanks so much Lorna. We really appreciate you following along. This one was tough. Especially after spending the week with them, getting to know them, and seeing what the land really means to them. It was pretty heart wrenching indeed. We hope these videos give folks a glimpse of their lives and how their way of life is being threatened. Thanks again 🙂

  3. Nik & Dusty–you guys are my new “couple crush”! We are fellow Texans who share your love of travel, although we are much older than you. I absolutely love you all and your weekly video blog. I first started following you on your Antarctica adventure. It brought back so many memories of our very favorite adventure. Your Hourani posts are wonderful–we’ve been to the Tambopata area in Peru and the Brazilian Amazon, so can relate to the very difficult plight of these fascinating people. I spend a lot of time worrying about wildlife and indigenous peoples. Keep up the good work and great blogging!

    • Thank you so much Betty! Your kind words mean the word to us and we’re so happy you guys are coming along for the ride! Especially being fellow Texans y’all! 🙂 The travel bug is something isn’t it? So you guys went to Antarctica? It gets in your blood doesn’t it? That’s the best way we can describe Antarctica. It’s not just a place, it’s a FEELING. Although I must say, living with the Huaorani people and learning about their way of life was a FEELING as well. Thanks so much again for your sweet comment. Maybe being like-minded wanderlusters, we’ll meet somewhere out there on the road! Cheers!

  4. Great series!! This last episode gave me chills. The Toxic Tour is a great idea but one can only wonder how much more it will take to put a stop to the destruction. So sad but so great that you have showcased this atrocity and spread some awareness! Looking forward to your next adventure!

    • Thank you Carolann! The good news is that much is being done to turn the tide against the many years of pollution and destruction, but it’s a difficult battle obviously. It will take a long time, but hopefully the Huaorani will persevere. Such a unique and beautiful place and culture!

  5. Elisabeth Halbach


  6. Great post! Waoranis are wonderful people. Ecuador is full of wonders. I live with Kichwas myself in Napo. I hope you get the opportunity to visit them also.

    • Likewise! We so hope to return someday. What an amazing place and such great people. Thanks very much!

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