Dos Margaritas on a Mission

Ancestral Tribes all over the planet are struggling to survive and they are being squeezed out of their home land by our cultural penetration in many ways, but mainly from our greed.
Land conservation is key to the survival of Sapara Nation, as it is for all the Nations that live, and have lived for thousands of years, in the Amazon Rainforest.

In October, 2012, Gloria Ushigua came to Berkeley to speak in the No-Reed Conference, sponsored by Dos Margaritas. I attended the Conferences and met  with Gloria.  She invited me to visit  the Sapara, and experience their way of living as well traveling in the Ecuadorian Amazonian Jungle. She mentioned, the Sapara wanted to develop a sustainable business through Ecotourism and they wanted my opinion and assistance; I flew to Ecuador in November. The whole experience was amazing!

After a 45 min flight in 5 passenger plane into the Amazon basin, I felt like I had traveled to an uncharted reality.

DM-Airplane-Ride My first impression was shock!… my westernized eyes saw poverty and dirt. In my mind, all the possible jungle contagious  illness were ‘lurking’ all over. My viewpoint was very tied up so mucha that I surprised myself and later I was ashamed of myself.
But the moment I sat foot in , a long and narrow hollowed trunk our canoe, the vision changed from fear  to awe of being in the Amazon. The intoxicating beauty of the lush scenery nourished me and every sunset I was immersed in a myriad of beings singing a symphony of angelical songs.

Living ‘Jungle Style’ means being fed by the Sapara hunting and gathering of food, is being committed  to eat anything that is on the daily menu, except ‘alive worms’, harvested from fish to a wide variety of bird, steamed worms, a rodent and even sometimes  the luxury of deer meat…

It is tasting the most delicious unique sweet fruits that the rainforest can offer along with  the most succulent hearts of palms.Living ‘Jungle Style’ means being fed by the Sapara hunting and gathering of food The other aspect of ‘Jungle Style’ is learning survival skills, such as recognition of tree moss to stop bleeding, or harvesting specific mushrooms that are edible and knowing and what herbs will spice a dish… I was always dirty despite how many times I tried to bath in the Cunambu river while keeping my eyes scanning for anacondas, sacredly following Sapara’s advice: ‘Be alert of anything that looks like a thick brunch on the water’.

The hard part was to learn how to live with the hundreds of different blood sucking insects but this was always balanced by the beauty of all sizes of Butterfly. The other challenge: wet clay soil, I had to focus all my will power to be able to walk for five hour in high humidity level with  little water, through a ‘trail’ in the forest that I could hardly see, climbing one step forward and three backward, on the slippery challenging clay soil. So challenging…

After this powerful five days  expedition, my vision had shifted once more. By the time we were back to Llanchama, the village where I had arrived few days before, what I saw was no longer poverty or dirt… Instead I saw a different way of living and dealing with the wild and the wild, powerful and enchanting rainforest. Actually, for me, it is indeed a mysterious and wonderful ‘parallel universe’.

The Project

Back in California I developed a draft for the proposed project entitled: ‘Eco-expedition to the Cunambu river into the Amazon with the Sapara people’, I crafted a tourist-friendly version of my own exploratory experience, with emphasis on enhancing their culture, talents, resources and ways of living.

For the Sapara, this could be an important source of revenue source and a way to protect their homeland. In their words: ‘Saparas want access to money, in order to satisfy their new needs born out of the contact with Western society’. These needs are foremost education for their youth, legal services for land titles, transportation and health services.  They also are very aware of the importance of keeping alive their culture alive, recognized in 2001 as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, by the United Nations.

The next stages are to stablish a communication systems between Sapara and Dos Margaritas and to train 4 young Sapara as river guides, so they can have knowledge of the ‘western style’ to balance it with their own skills.

This is a certification internationally recognized and it is given by Julian Tisato, alumni of Dos Margaritas Outdoor School in Patagonia.In Julian, the seeds planted years ago that have grown to success, to reseed and reproduce in the forest jungle of Ecuador. Personally, this is very exciting for me and I’m sure for all Dos Margaritas supporters and donors. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

Want to help contribute to Dos Margaritas?

Araucaria Forest, ancestral land of the Mapuche in Chile. ( photo Augusto Dominguez

If you think like us, then we probably agree that the time has come, we need to show our support and respect to the Tribal people of our planet. They have a right to live in their lands. Please support our work, and we will transform it into tangible actions. Thank You.


YOU can contribute to help create a sustainable future for our planet and a world to share! Please make a tax deductible contribution Dos Margaritas helping us to develop these eco-tourism trips with the Sapara of Ecuador and to preserve 750 protected acres of Temperate rain forest in Chile.

Or if  you rather make a specific donation, either small or big contribution towards achieving the goal, you can ‘name’ it, here are the running programs:

Healing Power Project: Ecotourism with the Sapara

Communications- Radio Repair $ 350

Communication is a very important issue that needs to be addressed in Llanchama, especially for health emergencies. And for us, means the starting point to develop an essential communication system.

River guide certification- Travel $6920


River guide certification- Course $ 3200

The International river guide certification course for 4, to Sapara will be given next year 2014, by Paddle Patagonia, based in Bolson, Argentina.

This amount includes:

  • Passports,
  • 2 days lodging in Quito,
  • Plane tickets Quito-Bariloche-Quito, and
  • 4 Hiking Backpacks.
  • River Guide course ($ 800/ person)

Amazonian Naturalist- Basic equipment $ 2500

The Sapara have title to xxxthousands hectares but they claim ownership to xxxx thousands hectares with high Biodiversity. As part of the training for the Guides we want to start the cataloging of the species for this area of the Amazon rainforest

This amount will pay for the following basic equipment:

  • 4 binoculars,
  • 2 wildlife camera trap,
  • 2 gps,
  • 1 laptop computer.

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Do what you can, everything will be  helpful and we are grateful of your support. We can make a difference!!!  helping them to continue living a beautiful life in deep connection with nature.

Thank you very much for your support and generosity!