Shuar Expedition

Discover Tribes Lost In Time

Shuar Expedition

20 Days
18+ Age

Level of Difficulty:

Embark on an expedition to discover one of the most formidable and historically renowned tribes of the Amazon—the Shuar, famously known as the “Headhunters.” The Shuar warriors, recognized for their fierce and warlike nature, preserved a unique tradition of keeping shrunken heads as testaments of their victories. This distinctive practice, beyond serving as a war trophy showcased in traditional festivals, held a profound purpose: to prevent the spirit of the deceased from seeking revenge on the victorious warrior.

Each warrior undertaking this perilous feat was obligated to perform a meticulous and intricate ritual. This ritual was specifically designed to encapsulate the soul of the deceased within the warrior’s own head. The carefully shrunken head resulting from this complex process is known as a “tsantsa.”

The expedition offers a rare opportunity to delve into the rich cultural tapestry of the Shuar, exploring their history, customs, and the significance of the tsantsa in their traditional practices. It provides a unique window into a bygone era, where the spiritual beliefs of the Shuar were intricately entwined with their warrior traditions.


  • Transfer from Iquitos Airport.
  • Land and river transportations included in the itinerary.
  • Private slow boat type peke-peke.
  • All meals provided for duration of trip.
  • Purified water.
  • Shuar native guide and Amazon Explorer’s tour leader.
  • Permission to the Candoshis, Kichwas and Shuars Communities.
  • Materials: Mosquito nets, bed sheets and light camping mat.


  • You must arrive in Iquitos a day before the starting date.
  • This expedition is open to highly motivated participants with a strong capacity for adaptation.
  • You must reserve a minimum of 30 days in advance.



Day 1 - 8
  • Travel from Iquitos 7:30 am to the river town of Nauta 9:30 am.
  • Motorboat up the Marañón River.
  • Look for pink dolphins (Inia geoffresis).
  • Visit the Candoshis and Quechuas indigenous Communities.
  • Motorboat up the Pastaza River to enter the mysterious Shuar territory (800 km or 497 mi).
  • Along this river, nights will be spent in villages, in the jungle and tribal communities.
Day 9 - 15
  • Arrive to a Shuar Community.
  • Learn about their customs and way of life.
  • Collect food from their “Chacras” plantations.
  • Listen to stories told by the Shuar about their past custom of shrinking human heads or “Tsansa”.
  • Learn about their weapons for hunting, blowguns and the preparing of the deadly "Curare".
  • Excursions by canoe.
  • Fishing for piranha (Serrasalmus nattereri) and other species.
  • Hike in primary rainforest with an indigenous Shuar.
  • Identify their medicinal plants.
  • Drink water from forest vines “Soga de agua”.
  • Observe the wildlife.
  • Explore remote lakes.
  • Bird watching.
  • Nocturnal exploration.
  • Buying or bartering of handicrafts and authentic weapons of this indigenous tribe (optional).
  • Overnight in a native community or in the jungle.
Day 16 - 20
  • Return by motorboat to Iquitos.
  • At this time, nights will be spent along the river in local villages.
  • Return from the Nauta to Iquitos (2 hr).
Departure/Return Location: Iquitos River Port
Departure Time: 6:00 AM
Return Time: To be confirmed
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