Our story behind visits to Amazonian Tribes
Ecuador is a country with ethics on its mind. It is the only country in the world with the ‘Rights of Nature’ written into its constitution.
Given all the recent press, understandably wary about the potentially negative impacts of oil exploration and tourism exploitation, we felt the need to share an insight into, firstly, how we, at JLA conduct our local community visits and secondly, how it benefits these precious communities.
The Huaorani are hunters and gatherers who have lived in the Amazonian rainforest in Ecuador since before written history. They live in the world-renowned Yasuni National Park – known for its carbon rich forests, extraordinary biological diversity and one of the few places to catch sight of fresh water dolphins, jaguars, harpy eagles, tapirs, scarlet macaws, blue macaws, black caiman, howler monkeys and other threatened even endangered rainforest species. The Huaorani are fascinating, unique and warm people - it is a privilege to have the chance to experience their vision of the world.
HOW JLA CONDUCT A COMMUNITY VISIT:
A stay at Huaorani Ecolodge offers a unique rainforest experience, coupled with an intimate insight into the lives and culture of the Huaorani people. Although the wildlife experience is secondary, the non hunting zone commitment has had a very positive on the wildlife in the area. You go there to meet the people, experience their environment and learn about the threats against it.
Visitors learn about the plants of the forest, how people live in remote jungle communities and the effect of oil exploration on them and their lands.
Huaorani Ecolodge is operated by a local company which works closely with the indigenous people. You will have the opportunity to understand the Huaorani way of life, guided by naturalists and looked after by the people themselves.
You stay in a simple lodge situated in 'terra firma' rainforest (forest that is never flooded) an hour walk from the community of Quehueri'ono. There are five Huaorani-style, palm-thatched cabanas, constructed of local wood and meshed walls.
HOW HUAORANI BENEFITS:
The Huaorani are now establishing a dialogue with tourism to benefit the community – until recently they had no contact with the outside world – but then the oil industry and tourism started to impinge upon their territory. The example of the Huaorani Ecolodge working with the surrounding tribes increases awareness, offers them protection and safer alternative.
The Lodge is the Huaorani’s, it was built to give them an alternative source of income to having to cooperate with loggers or to working with the oil companies – both destroying their natural environments. The income they get from tourism gives them a chance to maintain their lifestyle and traditions - which they proudly do.
The lodge promotes sustainable tourism – it is comprehensively involved in the local community, uses biodegradable products, is powered by solar panels, and uses a bio-filter for all waste.
Huaorani Lodge is involved in the 'Pack for a Purpose' project which helps travellers donate items to children in schools and communities around the world. If you would like to donate any equipment, from pencils to laptops, to the Huaorani community, please visit www.packforapurpose.org for further information.
“I went in 2007 and, although it is cliché I can’t help but say that it was an absolute trip of a lifetime; truly memorable and a unique experience!”
Isabelle Mazille, Product Manager.
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Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert
After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!
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Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
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Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
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A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.