Yacuma Blog

Ecotourism and Volunteering for Local Amazonian Communities

The Amazon Rainforest is a unique and fragile ecosystem. Industrial activity and climate change are having their effect on the state of the jungle. The Amazon’s role in stabilizing Earth’s climate, the fact that it’s responsible for 20% of the earth’s oxygen, and its biodiversity make it a critical region for sustainability efforts. Keep reading to learn Ways to Preserve the Amazon Rainforest.

Ecotourism – Preserving Ancient Culture

Ecotourism is vital for protecting the rainforest’s integrity and generating revenue towards conservation efforts and local communities. The entire amazon basin is full of tourism destinations, volunteer programs, and nature reserves that offer exciting adventures for visitors. Visitors get to learn about the jungle and the needs of local communities.

One of these nature reserves is the Yacuma For­est Reserve which accounts for 275 hectares of pri­mary rain­for­est. Inside, near the banks of the Napo river, there are com­fort­able tra­di­tional-style bun­ga­lows known as Yacuma Ecolodge. The EcoLodge is an initiative put forth to improve the economy of the local Kichwa indige­nous com­mu­nity and help pre­serve their natural envi­ron­ment, cul­ture and her­itage. The expansion of the petroleum industry along with globalization has caused a gradual erosion of their culture. Contrary to popular belief, tourism in the area actually helps preserve their traditions. Demonstrating the ways of their ancestors to tourists instills a sense of pride, especially on the younger members of the community who are then motivated to keep their traditions alive. To learn more about how you can help, check out Yacuma’s programs and itineraries.

Support Local Economy

Aside from protecting local culture, tourists can put money into the pockets of these communities. One way is to buy the handcrafts created by women and elders. You can also participate in tours where a percentage of the proceeds go to members of the tribe. Tours are usually led by tribesmen that can provide first hand knowledge and experience of the jungle. Finish by indulging in some traditional food and beverages that will not only complete your Amazonian experience, but also help the tribesmen feed their families.

Take Action

Proper conservation efforts require commitment from governments, travelers and local consumers. As a traveler, you can aid rainforest preservation by purchasing products from non-destructive rainforest sources, such as a local tribe rather than commercial producers. Click here for tips on what souvenirs to buy in the Amazon Rainforest.

Volunteering is also an excellent way to contribute. Volunteer programs in the Amazon such as the ones offered by Yacuma Ecolodge, give you the opportunity to live among the tribe and help with daily activities or projects. There is always room for extra manpower. Besides, volunteering is a reciprocal activity in which both parties benefit. You’ll leave feeling great about yourself and you will have made a tremendous positive impact on the Kichwa people. Learn about our volunteers program here. Whether you want to explore the amazon, help out local communities, or both, start planning your trip. All it takes is a small leap and it will truly impact your life.

**Picture courtesy of © Alex Buri