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Condé Nast Traveller recommends our new Ecuador itinerary as a way of retracing the steps of Stanley Stewart.
Stanley Stewart ventured to the centre of Ecuador's rainforest, as a guest of the Huaorani people, who are striving to find new ways to protect their unique and ancient way of life.
Quote: "I was heading for the eastern province of Oriente to visit the Huaorani, who have only been in touch with the outside world since the 1950s. The past 40 years have confirmed the fears of the old Huaorani, who doubtless warned that no good would come of contact. The deforestation of the Amazon, through logging and cultivation, is a familiar issue"
Quote: "Until the 1960s the Huaorani were living a Stone Age existence. An indication of the tribe's isolation is that the Huaorani language bears no relation to any other language on earth, not even those of their aboriginal neighbours."
Quote: "Amazonian forest is different to any forest I have ever seen. Not only is the scale breathtaking, but when you look down from the window of the plane, you can see that the forest is a dense patchwork, each tree is individual."
Quote: "Oriente is reputed to have the greatest genetic diversity of plants and animals on earth."
Quote: "In search of political influence within the tribes, the oil companies have sponsored various Huaorani 'associations' setting up self-proclaimed leaders in offices in the towns with computers, pick-up trucks and salaries. Many young Huaorani never returned to the forest."
Quote: "..the Huaorani Ecolodge, to which I was heading. We drew into a wooden landing stage and followed a path to five, thatched, wooden cabins set back from the high riverbank against the press of trees. Each had a porch and large, screened windows. Inside they were functional and comfortable. Summer-camp simplicity. The lodge is a joint venture between the Huaoraniand Tropic, a Quito-based travel company. Fifty members of the tribe share the work at the lodge, and part of the income goes towards community projects."
Quote: "Night fell swiftly. Fireflies floated along the dark paths. Pygmy owls were calling back and forth. Starts thickened between the trees. Bei pointed out a satellite. He called it a 'walking star'."
Quote: "The following day we set off downriver in kayaks. the morning was bright and warm, the forests rand with birdsong, and the current carried us with little effort on our part."
Quote: "When we had drink enough to feel mildly tipsy, we set off for a spot of hunting. Bei lead the way, his blowpipe and spear over his shoulder. Until now, Bei had been a shy, diffident figure. But here in the depths of the forest, showing me the traditions and techniques of the Huaorani hunt, he grew animated and excited."