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SELVA :: PROJECTS :: Amazon Exchange Program :: Itinerary

Amazon Exchange Program (AEP)

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Santa Cruz de la Sierra (3 days) - the fastest growing city in the Amazon basin, which has retained its frontier town feel while becoming a major hub of modern Amazonian life

  • Full day orientations
  • Tour of city center
  • Trip to phone/internet cafe to contact families
  • Visits to bank, exchange center, and local stores (last minute purchases)
  • Dinner at traditional cruceña restaurant

San Ignacio de Velasco (1 day) - quaint, sleepy Jesuit town with early colonial architecture and an old-town feel

  • Free day, enroute to communities, to rest, visit Jesuit church, purchase last minute items, visit the lake and artisan stores.

Community of Porvenir (About 35 days)

  • Welcome meeting with communities and park guards
  • Meet and greet and transfer to host family homes
  • Daily Activities - All students will participate in daily village activities (learn to prepare and enjoy local cuisines, fish for piranha and other river fish, visit and work in agricultural fields, learn about local customs, etc.).
  • Student Projects - Throughout the entire community stay, students will work in teams on one community project of choice (acai, eco-tourism, health, or education).
  • Seminars (see Syllabus) - All students will attend seminars twice a week (discussions, local guest speakers, field trips, etc.)
  • Student led education program- All students will teach and lead activities in local schools.
  • Spanish Tutoring - Tutoring will be available in the communities, according to individual need.
  • Tour of the acai community factory, travel by jeep to harvest acai, and refreshment of acai juice at local house
  • Outdoor Activities - These activities will be organized according to student interest (visit beaches, forest walks, wildlife viewing, etc.)
  • Horseback ride through the pampas (extra cost)
  • Community Tour- learn to make sugar cane juice and empanizado
  • Visits to local agricultural areas and the forest
  • Farewell presentation, wrap-up discussions, and present certificates

Community of Piso Firme (About 7 days)

  • Welcome meeting with communities and park guards
  • Work on group research or community project (eco-tourism, health, or education)
  • Student led classroom sessions in local schools
  • Visit petroglyphs and school garden
  • Visit local agricultural fields
  • Boat rides on the Paraguá river to birdwatch, see pink river dolphins, caimans, and other wildlife
  • Farewell presentation, wrap-up discussions, and present certificates

Free Days or Optional Side Trip (About 6 days)

Visit the community of Bella Vista - a Guarasu’we community inside the park

  • Welcome meeting with communities and park guards
  • Community tour to visit local houses
  • Eco-tourism work with community members
  • Activities with local school children
  • Forest walk to see local flora and fauna
  • River trip to see caymans, dolphins, and learn about patrols
  • Traditional fish barbecue
  • Hike to Bella Vista lake (optional)


Hike the world famous Meseta Caparú, the plateau that inspired The Lost World (extra cost)

  • Visit the community of Florida
  • Stay at Los Fierros tourist camp
  • Climb the meseta
  • Camp on top of the meseta (optional)
  • Visit waterfall El Encanto (dependent on trail maintenance)

1 day in San Ignacio de Velasco

  • Visit the community of Florida

3 days in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

  • Wrap-up sessions and evaluation
  • Visit local stores to buy artesanía
  • Local tourism
  • Meal at traditional cruceña restaurant

Trip Extension

There is the option to extend your trip by adding additional days before or after the AEP itinerary. Extra days are not part of the AEP program, so they will not be organized or led by SELVA staff, nor will they be included in program cost.  However, SELVA would be happy to provide information regarding these options.  Optional trips/activities local to Santa Cruz could include:

Transportation in Country

Participants will ride an overnight bus (as a group) from Santa Cruz to San Ignacio de Velasco (and back).

Four wheel drive vehicles will be hired to transport participants from San Ignacio to PNNKM (and back) and between communities.  San Ignacio to Porvenir is a one day trip.  Trips between communities are 3-4 hours.

Outboard motor boats are available to rent (additional cost) to transport participants to the community of Bella Vista or to go on river excursions.  Participants will be provided with life jackets for all river travel.

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