Huaorani ecolodge in Ecuador
Description from the accommodation owner
Huaorani ecolodge in Ecuador: the story of this holiday company
Numbering approximately 2,400 individuals, many Huaorani maintain a largely traditional lifestyle living directly in and from the rainforest.
The aim of Huaorani Ecolodge is to share Huaorani culture. Guided tours at the lodge are given by members of the community who impart traditional knowledge to guests and all the transportation within the area is done Huao style through dugout canoes. In addition to this, the Lodge actively participates in community assemblies where proposals with regards to its operations, conservation and ecducation iniatives are discussed with the community.
Responsible tourism: Huaorani ecolodge in Ecuador
Each aspect of Huaorani Ecolodge bears testament to its commitment to environmental sustainability. The lodge was designed to ensure minimum impact of its surroundings. Its beautiful cabins were built with locally available materials and cleverly weaved into their Amazonian surroundings with the least amount of space possible used. It operates entirely on solar energy and has pioneered the use of solar fridges in Ecuador securing its status as a one-of-a kind sustainable tourism business in the area. It recycles most of its waste on-site and avoids, wherever possible, the use of fuel for areas such as transportation. Whatever cannot be recycled on site is transports to the nearest town – Coca.
The Yame Reserve is not just any old forest. Its closeness to Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park means that it will in many ways extend the Park’s boundaries. The Reserve (incidentally named after the father of Moi Enomenga, the project’s pioneer) is patrolled and protected by the communities themselves, thus ensuring that the area will not suffer from illegal logging or invasion by colonos. The link between the Reserve and the Lodge is fundamental as the tourism project provides community members with a solid reason to preserving the forest, as well as a way to improve their standard of living.
Huaorani Ecolodge is a community-run enterprise owned by five Huaorani tribes: Nenkepare, Quehueri’ono, Apaika, Wendaro and Kakataro. All workers at the Lodge, with the exception of the Resident Manager, are from these communities. These communities, and the Province of Orellana in which they are located, are among the most economically disadvantaged areas in the country. The establishment of this Lodge has therefore gone a long way in ensuring sustainable and improved livelihoods for these communities.
The recognition and promotion of women’s roles is also a fundamental component of the Huaorani Ecolodge. As a result of concerted efforts by the Lodge, certain cultural norms that have defined women’s positions in traditional societies have been addressed through a consultative process with community elders. Today, women have began to play an increasing role in decision making in various aspects of the lodges operations such as the allocation of funds to social and educational projects within the communities. Women are also responsible for the sales of crafts and laundry directly to visitors and plans are underway to provide training to strengthen their administrative abilities.