Visit the Amazon and promote local development!
The Amazon is huge. It covers parts of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana – and also the imagination of every human being on Earth who dreams of visiting this rich, remote and preserved biome. For being so immense, the Amazon is also very diverse in terms of landscapes, culture, weather, fauna and flora, which of course affects how you travel along it.
One important component for the travellers experience is the relation with the original Amazon people and their descendants: those who most love and care about its fauna and flora, who better know the waters and trails of the jungle. That is why the Amazon is a region full of community-based ecotourism lodges that clearly enhances the travellers’ experiences. Plus: when staying in one of those lodges you fund local community projects and help keeping these important guardians where they belong and feel home: the forest.
We list here 4 community-based ecotourism lodges in South America, all based in the Amazon – but each in a different country:
Uakari Floating Lodge (Brazil)
Sorry but we start this list talking about our own work 🙂
Uakari Lodge just reached its 20th anniversary in 2018 ready for new challenges: The local communities are being qualified and organised to take the full ownership and management of the lodge – that currently still is co-shared with its founder, the Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development. In the past 20 years, Uakari Lodge was responsible for nearly R$3 million in direct economic benefits to about 12 communities and 80 families at Mamirauá Reserve.
The experience here is absolutely unique for the environment: Mamirauá Reserve is the longest floodplain forest on Earth and is part of the biggest natural protected area on this planet – an UNESCO World Natural Heritage.
Chalalán Ecolodge (Bolivia)
Chalalán is the result of a dream come true. A dream born in the Bolivian Amazon, in the community of San José de Uchupiamonas. It is a place different from the others, which is in the heart of the most biodiverse protected area of the planet. Chalalán is rich in extraordinary wildlife and a gem of the Amazon rainforest that should be appreciated. Built on a small hill, surrounded by a lush tropical forest, in the heart of Madidi National Park, Chalalán is one of the best in South America.
The Madidi National Park houses about 6000 species of vascular plants, 1000 species of birds (out of a total of 9000 species in the world), and 1300 species of vertebrates. The endemism is high, there are 31 exclusive species in the Madidi National Park and 92 only exist in Bolivia.
Kapawi Ecolodge (Ecuador)
Kapawi Ecolodge is an award-winning community ecotourism enterprise in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador that offers conscious and responsible travelers the opportunity to engage in unique and authentic cultural experiences in an unspoiled natural setting, while directly supporting the sustainable development of the Achuar indigenous nation.
The Achuar recognized the challenges of integration to western society and of external encroachment in the early 1990s. Committed to protecting their territory and culture, they reacted and created their own political entity, the Ecuadorian Achuar Nationality (NAE in Spanish) in 1993. Part of this self-organizing process also included the identification of ecotourism as a sustainable economic alternative. As a result, a private-indigenous partnership was created to develop their flagship ecotourism project, Kapawi Ecolodge and Reserve, which was built over 2 years and started operations in 1996.
Community ecotourism in the Achuar territory started more than 20 years ago as an alternative sustainable community enterprise that protects the biodiversity and the Achuar cultural richness. The Achuar were one of the first indigenous groups that acknowledged the potential of ecotourism as a tool for conservation, and the Achuar’s emblematic ecotourism project set the basis for community tourism in Ecuador.
Posada Amazonas (Peru)
Posada Amazonas is a 30 bedroom lodge owned by the Community of Infierno. Thanks to its accessibility, excellent wildlife observation opportunities, cultural context and comfortable accommodations, Posada Amazonas is ideal for an introduction to Amazonia´s richest rain forests.
Posada Amazonas is located within the territory of the Infierno Community. It is built within the 2,000 hectare, private, communal reserve, which in turn is directly adjacent to the Tambopata National Reserve.
To get there you must fly to Puerto Maldonado from Lima or Cusco on daily commercial flights lasting 90 or 30 minutes respectively. From the airport you are transported by bus to the Infierno River Port where you board our boats for a forty minute trip to Posada Amazonas.
And you? Do you know other community-based ecotourism projects in the Amazon? Why don’t you share with aos and the world? Add a comment below 🙂