The Manteño Expeditions are a completely authentic look at the ancient balsa raft. It's a research adventure based on hard science. It's a search for the true history of the mariners of ancient Ecuador.
Our objective is to build an accurate replica of an ancient sailing raft, and then sail that vessel on a simulated trading voyage to West Mexico.
Here in the 21st Century, we find ourselves involved in one of the great archeological mysteries of all time. Though many voyages by raft have been made in the modern era, none have shed light on the day-to-day workings of a lost empire - the Manteño of ancient Ecuador. Previous expeditions, like Thor Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki, have captured our imagination, but these exploits have centered around unusual theories or legends.
The Manteño weren't a legend. They were a great seafaring people, one that thrived long before the arrival of the Europeans. Unfortunately, they did not posses a written language, and very little is known about them.
To date, the Manteño Expeditions have built four balsa rafts. Even taking these voyages into consideration, as well as the voyages before us, we feel that the conclusions made by many about the ancient Manteño mariners, and their great sailing rafts, are most likely flawed.
Founded in 1993, the Manteño Expeditions have survived storms, sharks, shipwrecks, madness, and ultimately, discovery. Once described as "a series of primitive little wars, fought against the omnipotent forces of the Earth," the expedition continues today, with the next voyage in full preparation.