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Sustainable tourism helps preserve nature and indigenous culture

Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve is an alliance between the Achuar and a Ecuadorian entrepreneur

sustainabletrip.org

 

Yasuni National Park in the Amazon basin in Ecuador is a pristine site, rich in biodiversity and full of enormous beauty. Its forests are home to at least 19 species of mammals, and 37 species of amphibians as well as 11 reptile and 250 bird species. Also in this region is an indigenous community called the Achuar or “the people of the achu palm” — a plant that is abundant in the swamps of the area.

The Achuar still maintain their rich ancestral traditions, and for years they have made a living from subsistence agriculture, hunting, fishing, and gathering in the tropical moist forest. In 1993, these communities decided to venture into tourism as a new opportunity for economic development.

In 1996, the Achuar allied with an Ecuadorian entrepreneur to found Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve. The hotel was built by local craftsmen using materials from the area and in a native style. About 90 percent of Kapawi’s staff is Achuar, and they ensure that the hotel’s operations are “ecologically responsible and culturally sensitive” according to the dictates of their own lifestyle.

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