Guayusa Trail

Deep within the jungles of the Amazon lies a plant used in sacred ceremonies by the indigenous Kichwa. Known for its super-leaf powers, including a high dose of caffeine, plenty of antioxidants and a chemical compound that steadies the jitters, guayusa is a type of holly with a pleasantly sweet taste when brewed in boiling water.

The ancient Kichwa used guayusa in their daily ‘morning ceremony’, during which they would recount their dreams and plan the day with their families. And still to this day the local clans practise their pre-dawn ritual among their riverside settlements.

For the first time, the precious guayusa leaf is being exported beyond Ecuador, which has ignited interest in the powerful plant. Travellers interested in learning about this trending tea are invited to participate in the brand new Guayusa Trail, which takes you on a mix-and-match adventure to the guayusa growing farms called chakras, the local communities to participate in the morning ceremony, and finally the Runa Foundation, an advocate for fairtrade farming working in tandem with the Runa factory – the only place in the world that turns the raw guayusa into loose-leaf parcels ready for worldwide shipping.

Come adventure with Runa in the Ecuadorian Amazon! Visit us in Archidona, Napo, located about 3 hours from Quito.

  • 5 am – 8 am: Drink freshly brewed guayusa with Kichwa families and experience a guayusa ceremony, a tradition that has existed for thousands of years in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Listen to indigenous music, hear stories of the forests, and enjoy a traditional Kichwa breakfast made with all locally sourced crops.
  • 8 am – 10 am: Visit a local agroforestry plot, or chakra, and see the first stage in the guayusa supply chain. These small jungle farms provide food for whole families and communities.
  • 10 am – 12 pm: Learn more about Runa to understand what we do and why our mission is important to us. Take a tour of our processing plant, crop science laboratory, and guayusa research plots.

Price: $35 (does not include transportation or lunch). Minimum two people per tour. Please contact volunteer@runa.org to plan your visit.