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Ecuador – Amazon ‘Shuar’ Community / ISE

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Amazon ‘Shuar’ Community – Instituto Superior de Español

What a unique experience! It is time to forget about all the distractive luxuries of daily life and experience the essence of nature in the Amazon basin – the lungs of our planet. Not only will you study Spanish, you will also stay in one of 668 Shuar communities, sleep in a traditional wood house, eat with a local family, learn about shamanism & biodiversity and go on amazing wilderness excursions. Throughout you will be looked after by an experienced ISE teacher who knows the area like the back of their hand and will be traveling with you and your class mates.

Your Amazon Shuar program: what’s included?

Lessons: 4 Spanish group lessons per day (at 55min each) on weekdays

Group size: 2-4 students

Time table: 08:30 – 12:30 Monday – Friday

Duration: Min. 1 week/ 20 lessons

Start: Every 1st Saturday of the month

Transport: Airport transfer to your temporary accommodation in Quito and bus for your return trip to your Amazon destination in the province of Pastaza are included/ your teacher will be travelling with you by bus to the ‘Shuar’ community

Accommodation: Family stay – 7days/ 6 nights per week

Meals: Full board with your host family, basic traditional food, suitable for vegetarians

Activities: ‘Shuar’ guided afternoon trips every weekday and 1 night excursion.

Certificate: Diploma or Studies certificate


$599 per week



Wood house: Shared by 7 indigenous families – a fantastic opportunity to learn about the local way of life & gain knowledge about plants & wildlife
Bathroom: Shared
Electricity: Only limited hours each day.
Wifi & phone reception: No WIFI available, phone signal available
Insects: The rainforest is home to many insects which will find their way into the accommodation, so please keep this in mind, take preventative measures & bring a good insect repellent & necessary treatment with you.


  • ‘Jungle Journey’ – introduction to the ‘Shuar’ history & survival tactics
  • Waterfall tour – learn about special rituals 
  • Traditional party – bonfire, dancing & music
  • Volunteering (optional): teaching, gardening, social work
  • Night excursion 

Facts about the Amazon basin & the Shuar: 

El Oriente: This is what the Ecuadorians call the Amazon Jungle, because it is situated in the east of the country.

Amazon rainforest: Is housing 2.5 million diverse insect species and more than 40000 plants, forming 10% of the worlds known species.

Marañon river: This is one of the main tributaries of the Amazon river with its origin in the Peruvian Andes.

Shuar: … are an Amazonian tribe with settlements in the mountainous tropical rainforest of the eastern regions of Ecuador & extending into Peru, mostly living at the headwaters of the Marañon river. The Shuar have become world famous for the tradition of shrinking their enemies heads in former times & are known to be strong believers in shamanism. The Shuar tribes have managed to defend their independence though many centuries starting with the Incan Empire through to the Spanish colonisation.

What students said about this school: 

I enjoyed my stay in the Amazon so much! I didn’t expect to be able to travel and to see so many different places in such a short time. I’ve seen Coca, Tena and Misuhalli, stayed in this beautiful lodge close to the Naporiver, and visited the Shuar close to Puyo. I really enjoyed my stay! (Anna, Germany)

Being at ISE was incredible! I feel like I learned a lot and all of the teachers that I had were really wonderful. They all made for a wonderful experience, and made it easy to be excited about learning Spanish! (Natalia, USA)


ISE collaborates with several volunteer organisations and is happy to give advise and organise volunteer positions related to humanitarian, educational or environmental projects in Quito, Otavalo, the Amazon jungle and the Galapagos Islands. You have to be at least 18 years old, the min. duration is 1 week.

Volunteering organisation fee $100


One time registration fee is $40. 

To participate in any of the ISE programs or courses, the student is required to organise their medical and life travel insurance and provide the school the necessary information for any case of emergency.

Please note that the service of the indigenous people offered within this program as well as their food and facilities are basic and do not comply with Western Standards. 

Start dates & Holidays: 

Course beginn: Every first Saturday of the month

Public Holidays: The program is available all year round, except 25th December & 1st January

Getting here

Students joining Spanish courses in the Amazon Jungle will most likely fly to Quito [Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre].

The school offers free airport transfers to your temporary accommodation in Quito.

From Quito you will take the bus to the Arutam community. Duration: 6-7 h.

This bus transfer is also included in the course rates.

To book your Spanish course with this language school, please fill in the form below and press the submit button. ISE will be in touch shortly. 

Instituto Superior de Español- booking form
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