Globcal International Ekōbius Co-op Project
Ekōbius International (Ecology By Us)
We began the ideal in 2011 as a result of Globcal International and Ecology Crossroads founder Col. David Wright insisting on establishing a site to have access to the wild Amazon. He started his ideal as a nomadic ideal living in the Venezuelan and Guiana (Guiana Shield Region) to imitate the customs and traditions of the indigenous people that have lived there for 6000 years. When he discovered that the states (Venezuela, Guyana, Brazil) would not permit nomadic non-residents or even visitors; so he developed the Ekōbius International Cooperative as a foundation for the projects he wished to pursue in the Northern Amazon.
In 2013 with the help of Globcal International, Col. Wright, his son Nicholas Wright, and his current wife Ambassador Sonia Ceballos were able to begin the development of a cooperative and purchase 108 acres on the border of the protected lands in the midway of the Catañiapo River Watershed, the property is bordered to its North, East and South by protected indigenous and biodiversity reservations. Later in October 2013 Ambassador Wright, through Ambassador Julio Gonzales established a treaty with several of the sovereign indigenous nations in the region, most notably the Piaroa, who are also known as one of twenty-five of the world's natural peaceful cultures of people. The Treaty was enacted informally on October 12, 2013 (Day of Indigenous Resistance or Anti-Columbus Day) with the Ekōbius International Cooperative through Globcal International.
In March of 2014, Col. Wright began an Earth Day project there with a group of new residents from around the world, at which time the jurisdiction of the property and activities being conducted at the ecovillage we called into question by the Venezuelan military resulting in the deportation of David Wright from Venezuela and the later abandonment of the project by all those who were present with him.
News Update: Now as of July 03, 2015 Ambassador Sonia Ceballos acquired permanent occupancy status and ownership documentation with an act of the Amazonas District Court over the all the previous installations, edifications, and improvements on the behalf of the organizations and private individuals that have investments involved there, including the deforested area (40 acres) which is being recovered. With the new legal status the Ambassador implemented new project installations and initiatives which had been on hold since March of 2014. Also as of August 01, the founder will be allowed to return as a part-time seasonal resident and help oversee activities once again. Fortunately also, now there is a clear understanding between the government, the military, the indigenous people, and our organization thanks to our Ambassador Sonia Ceballos and Ambassador Julio Gonzalez, MD.
An Eco-Village, Landmark and Tourist Destination
The ultimate destination before entering another world where the only law is that of mother nature. Ekōbius is based on the fringe limit of the Amazon and Western Guiana Highlands where modern highways and power grids essentially stop. When we began we called our project the End of the Road Camp because it was the last place before a backpacker or explorer could visit before entering a 50,000+ square kilometer wilderness area.
Our property is designated to become an ecologically sustainable intentional community of permanent and seasonal international visitors; as well as a center for those exploring especially international visitors which need tribal permission to go beyond our property and into the great wilderness. Those interested in coming must be eco-conscious individuals that share strong interests in nature, outdoor life, gardening, farming, simple ways, hiking, community, and great respect for the simple culture of the indigenous people. Visitors and residents of our village must be open-minded and neutral relative to religion and politics.
Ekōbius was established for the purpose of demonstrating ecological sustainability to indigenous people and others living on the other side of a sustainable lifestyle to become more sustainable (ecologically integral). The founder, David Wright created the project based on observations of the local people abusing the natural resource base and the wanton destruction of heavily forested areas, however soon after moving in and assuring the indigenous people that their own ways and lifestyles were greatly honored and respected by the outside world most of the indigenous people living in the transition areas became more settled in their ways and began to resist change and preserve their lands. Many of their cultural traditions are becoming stronger once again.
We accept visitors and member guests all year around effective July 03, 2015. International visitors arriving for the first-time will be afforded a guide that will meet them at the airport and travel with them to the destination for a collaboration of 250 Euros including inland travel, accommodations, and food. There is also airport to airport service available directly to Puerto Ayacucho just 30 minutes by taxicab directly to Ekōbius based on availability and scheduling with a guide for just 50 Euros more.
Our Fees and Membership
Over the past few years there has been a radical change in Venezuela where people needed to learn to do their absolute best, operate with cash on hand and endure prolonged shortages as a result of political and economic crises. Everything connected to what is done in Venezuela works on a simple system of a modest amount of funding at the time services are rendered, often with tips. To off-set and better operate within this system where dollars cannot be exchanged we need to cover fees and commissions in advance. All our fees are very modest and necessary and only cover our expenses.
For your protection as a visitor each person should be a member of the project or register through Globcal International as a global citizen including HelpX and WWOOF visitors, the fees will provide a membership card and a greater degree of political security (Volunteers can join for as little as $60 USD). If you can get there on your own though here is what you can expect.
We offer different accommodations depending on your budget or investment in the project. Traditional indigenous breakfast is included with daily fees including casabe bread and a main course with juice, all organic prepared from and at the property.
- Backpackers (tent or hammock) 10 Euro per night, per person.
- Hostel Guest (bunk bed, hammock or cot) 12 Euro per night
- Private Room (1 bed or 2 bunk beds) 20 Euro, 10 Euro per extra person
All bathrooms and shower facilities are common facilities detached from the lodge, there is a large common kitchen building that is also detached.
Activities and Recreation
There are a great number of local activities that can be planned prior to your arrival, because of the area we only offer activities off-site with a guide, either in a group or for an individual. If you are staying for more than a week we will introduce you to the people in the village as an extended guest and soon thereafter you will be welcome to transverse our entire region and travel freely. All guides are compensated by the cooperative directly at a cost of just 20 Euros daily (the funds go to both the individual guide and a portion to his community), guides always welcome tips and gifts.
- Canoeing - Our property borders the Catañiapo River on its south side, it serves as a launch site for a 35 kilometer canoe journey that can take one or two days.
- Hiking - From Ekōbius there are 9 unmarked indigenous trails to natural sites, waterfalls, caves, petroglyphs, lakes and more, both day hikes and overnight hikes.
- Tubing - We have a 4-8 hour tubing route that runs from the neighboring village back to Ekōbius again from the Gavilán River watershed.
- Biodiversity - Short hiking trips to some bird watcher's hot spots and trips to discover some of the herpeta-fauna common to the area.
- Medicine Trail - Special scheduled hike with the shaman describing the medicinal plants common to the area.
- Village Guest - Live, eat, sleep and participate in the daily routine as a gust in an indigenous community. (4 days)
Alternative Tourism (Entheogen Journeys)
Unlike other facilities that offer alternative healing and spiritual experiences involving shamans our project also involves highly specialized and qualified medical and psychological staff who were involved in the development. Normally they are also available for consultation if not at Ekōbius just 30 minutes away in the town. Engaging this tourism is an arranged matter that is conducted in conjunction with local indigenous shamans. There is even a manhood rite ceremony with bullet ants if you may be so bold.
Those who participate in these programs does so voluntarily after consultation with an alternative medicine physician, a modern physician and a psychologist. Depending on your state of character, health, and general well-being you can also sign off from the suggested consultations. The cost of these provisions varies from 100-500 Euro complete over a 4-21 day period depending on your developed itinerary while visiting or if offered in conjunction with another event. Generally ceremonies are held based on moon cycles, season, and climate.
- Temazcal - Traditional indigenous style sweat-lodge prepared in the Aztec (Mesoamerican) style (on-site).
- Detoxification - Our detox program involves a combination of activities, exercise, supplements and particular foods to cleanse the body.
- Dieta - The dieta is a preparatory fast that involves a strict diet of a single food or plant in preparation for an ayahuasca or yopo ceremony.
- Yopo - Yopo is a hallucinogenic snuff made from bark resins and or seeds of one of several plants prepared in such a way to make it active on conntact.
- Ayahuasca - A mixture of several plants prepared in a brew that is cooked by the shaman over 8-12 hours.
Ayahuasca and yopo are used by indigenous cultures to clean and purify the human spirit, cure ailments, and take away serious addictions to drugs like alcohol. The preparation for both ritual ceremonies is as important as the ceremony itself to be effective. Those taking ayahuasca may not have consumed alcohol or specific foods for as many as 3-7 days prior to the ceremony.
There are a number of tourist activities nearby that are operated by private providers and state run parks. There are a number of fluvial (river) adventures on the Orinoco and of course there is fishing depending on the time of year.
The capital city of Amazonas is Puerto Ayacucho, it is approximately 33 kilometers from Ekōbius and easily accessible by automobile, motorcycle, taxi and there is a bus route as well on weekdays. The town has a modern hospital, police, hotels, hardware stores, courts, an airport, 2 bus terminals, and it is the hub city for the entire state of Amazonas.
Becoming a Resident
Anyone who invests in the Ekōbius International Cooperative is welcome to take up residence as a permanent member of the ecovillage we have begun to form, unless we decide sooner to limit new residents in the future. There are a maximum of 100 full-time cooperative members (part or full-time residents) in this eco-venture.
So far we have not been very successful in getting anyone to stay there for more than a few weeks to several months, however there are still members that have invested; but have yet to arrive that are welcome to come and follow through their plans at anytime. Since we began with 12 members ready to pioneer the project it all became a bit hard when the Venezuelan National Guard called into question our intentions and authority; now fortunately after 16 months we have settled matters and have the government's blessing and full approval to continue on the terms we have outlined here.
You can find additional information and the membership fee structure on the Ekōbius website, to be updated in September 2015. There are additional links available based on the website and on Facebook as well in other social media.