Doing something sustainable for the development of the indigenous people of the Achuar Nation, protecting the rainforest, and personally getting a lot out of it – isn’t that a bit too much to ask? No. It is super easy – because in Ecuador, in Tumbaco near Cumbayá, you can book your socialbnb – with exactly this impact. Sustainable and authentic. To be more precise, this is about Kapawi Ecolodge. This is an ecotourism organization in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. As a conscious traveler, you can have authentic cultural experiences with the locals in a breathtaking, untouched environment.
What is Kapawi?
The whole project began in 1993 with the goal of creating a new trend in ecotourism in partnership with the Achuar indigenous nation by building a business that would provide economic support and employment to the Achuar people of Kapawi as well as other communities. On January 1, 2008, Kapawi Eco-lodge became 100% owned by the Achuar. Since its inception, the vision of the project has continued to evolve in collaboration with the Achuar and the travelers – beginning with the very first group of travelers in 1995.
With the opening of the Eco-Lodges, standards were set for community ecotourism in Ecuador. The team developed measures to protect wildlife, respect the Achuar culture, created local jobs and thus strengthened the local population. The ecolodges are built with local materials and electricity is generated 100% from photovoltaic solar panels. These standards still apply today. The Kapawi team is committed to working with the Achuar to continue to set high standards of sustainability and protect the land and culture.
What’s Kapawis purpose?
The vision of Kapawi Eco-Lodge is the fulfillment of an ancient Achuar prophecy of global unity and cooperation for the survival of all people.
The Ecolodge is one of the most unique places for profound connections between two worlds, indigenous and modern. The exchange of knowledge, wisdom and shared leadership in addressing ecological challenges is made possible here. Kapawi’s mission is to help the indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest preserve their land and culture. The whole has two main objectives. The first is to maintain high standards of sustainability and conservation for the Amazon rainforest, and the second is to promote the economic development of the Achuar indigenous nation.
What can you expect at Kapawi?
You will be accommodated in handmade bungalows. They are designed in traditional Achuar architecture and built by the locals. You can choose whether you prefer to book a double or a triple hut. Then there is the communal lodge. From family dinners, happy hour, breakfast, lounging after an adventurous day, reading, as a meeting place before a trip, for planning group activities and so on, you can do everything that is nice in community here. A perfect place to get to know other travelers or the locals better!
The Hearth Hut is also still there – a super exciting spot. Because before sunrise an Achuar-Wayusa tea ceremony takes place at the fire. Dreams of the previous night are recounted and new energy is recharged for the coming day. Here you can also plan your next adventure and chat with other people. The hammocks invite you to relax. In the evening, when everyone gathers around the fire there and tells stories, you can make yourself perfectly comfortable there and listen…. Isn’t that a dream?
But of course you also need to have silence around you, and that is no problem at all at Kapawi Ecolodge. There are many areas where you can do yoga, meditate, read or write. You can also take advantage of wellness offers. In the wetlands right in front of the community lodge you can listen to and maybe see an endless variety of animals in the morning – from birds, toads, horned screamers and camels. If you want to learn about the local flora and fauna, this is definitely the place to do it.
What can do do on site?
Kapawi offers you super many different options that you can book. Hikes in the forest, boat trips on their own and surrounding rivers, paddling in the Capahuari River and bird watching in the morning and night hikes are just examples. Days usually start early in the morning at 6am with daily excursions. The excursions always focus on the nature experience in combination with the cultural activities. You hardly ever have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and experience it first hand.
Depending on the time of the year and the time of the day, the offers can vary, of course. If you don’t want to spend your day in the rainforest, you can also let the Achuar teach you how to weave or make ceramics, or learn something about medicinal plants from them.
If you’re traveling in Ecuador and looking for more places to stay there, check out this blog post. There you will find more exciting socialbnb’s all over Ecuador!