Tayos Cave Expedition (3 days)

Cave Tour to the Rainforest in Ecuador tour a una cueva en la selva Höhlentour in den Regenwald

This is an exciting adventure expedition to the mythical Cueva de los Tayos (“Cave of the Oil Birds”). The cave was made famous through an expedition in 1976 which included astronaut Neil Armstrong. It is located in a Shuar community in Limón Indanza and the entrances are within the rainforest. The entrance we use is a 55 meter deep hole leading to 5 kilometers of passages and a spacious chamber.

This cave tour is physically very demanding and includes extreme sports, so it’s important to be healthy and in good shape for this expedition.

First day: The adventure starts early in the morning in Cuenca, from where we will travel to Limón, a small town in Morona Santiago. You will have breakfast in Limón and then you will take a van deeper into the Amazon region. Once we reach the River Port Yukiantza a canoe will take us downriver for about 15 minutes. Next is a hike of about 1 hour on a muddy path to the Shuar Community Kuankus. In the community we will be rewarded with a typical lunch. After signing the permits to enter the cave we will hike about 30 minutes to the Coangos River and cross the river on a raft. On the other side of the river we will hike through the jungle for 2 more hours until we get to the entrance of the cave. Here, we will stay in a cabin of the Shuars and this family will also prepare the dinner.

Second day: After breakfast from the Shuar family, the guides will prepare the descent into the cave via the ropes and get everyone equipped. Then the cave adventure begins and you will rappel about 55 meters downwards. When everyone gets down, the groups will walk roughly 30 minutes to “La Catedral”, where we will put up our camp for the night. Then we will have lunch prepared by the guides. In the afternoon the group will explore some of the most iconic places of the cave like the “Altar”, “Amphitheater” and “Hall of Stalagmites”. When you get back to the campsite the guides will prepare something to eat and can discuss your impressions with the other expedition members. This night will be spent in the cave.

Third and last day: Early in the morning after breakfast we will get ready for the way back out of the cave. At 7 am we will start exiting the cave and afterwards have lunch at the entrance of the cave. Then we will hike back to the Shuar community, take a ride in a canoe and finally arrive by bus in Limón, where we will have a good dinner and go on to our final destination, Cuenca.

Tour time: 5 am to around 10 pm the last day

The program includes:

  • 2 nights accommodation in a cabin and the cave

  • Transportation, activities and meals as listed above

  • Caving equipment, rubber boots, metal dish, spoon and cup

  • Spanish and English speaking guide, 2 Shuar guides, 3 caving guides

  • 2 horses for the equipment and food

The program does not include:

  • Travel insurance

  • Donkeys for personal luggage
  • Drinks

  • Tips

  • Single supplement

  • Personal expenses

Please note that due to weather some itineraries can be subject to change and availability without prior notice.

What to bring?

Limón is situated in the Amazon rainforest, so the weather is usually nice and warm, but you have to be prepared for light to heavy rains. Bring mainly light clothes and a few warmer ones for the evenings or when it starts raining. On this trip it we recommend using a small backpack and packing very light, because you will be carrying your luggage for the whole strenuous adventure. Here is what you should bring for the trip:

  • Rain poncho
  • 2 pair of light quick-drying pants and one pair of clean pants
  • 3 light quick-drying shirts and one clean shirt
  • Warm sweater
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun cream (high factor recommended)
  • Flashlight with sufficient batteries for the time in the cave (optional); 6 extra batteries AAA (non-disposable)
  • Camera with extra batteries
  • Bathing suit and towel
  • Hat or cap for sun protection
  • Copy of your passport
  • Wet wipe with alcohol
  • Energy food/energy bars
  • Rehydrating drinks with electrolytes (for fluid loss during the hikes)
  • Water container of more than 1 liter to stay hydrated during the hikes
  • Cash, if you want to buy something from the people living in and around the Shuar community