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YARAPA RIVER, PERU
The Amazon Yarapa River Lodge is an award-winning resort overlooking a pristine Peruvian tributary of the Amazon River. Recognising the fragile and complex nature of the ecosystem that surrounds the lodge, Yarapa has worked closely with neighbouring tribes to develop the Yarapa River Rainforest Reserve, protecting 120,000 acres of undeveloped rainforest.
Since the success of this cooperative approach to conservation, the Peruvian government has handed over a portion of the Pacaya-Samiria National Park for Yarapa to co-manage. The reserve has also partnered with ACOBIA, a grassroots organisation that rescues and rehabilitates aquatic mammals — and has been selected as a manatee release site. Thanks to conservation efforts, this slice of rainforest is filled with wildlife — dolphins forage for Amazonian catfish and piranha, parrots fly overhead and coral snakes slither across trails. Besides from preserving nature, the lodge has provided the local villages with legal and medical support. By helping tribe elders to establish formal land titles, Yarapa has protected their own rights and their attitude towards the land.
The Amazon Yarapa River Lodge has been built to local spec with naturally available materials; visitors stay in Peruvian-styled village houses along the riverbank. Earth-friendly products are used throughout the lodge, energy is solar powered and waste is responsibly managed. Paddling along the river in canoes, stargazing and visiting local tribal villages offer guests a Peruvian experience with nature and community at its core.
Amazon Yarapa River Lodge joined The Long Run in 2012 and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region.
The Amazon Yarapa River Lodge has been dedicated from the start to protecting the rainforest environment. Spearheading the effort, the lodge has assisted in the creation of a 200,000 acre reserve, the Yarapa River Rainforest Reserve. Villages within the reserve have become the rightful landowners of their property by receiving official government recognised “land title”, which will significantly contribute to long-term conservation goals. Alliances with local grassroots organisations have enabled the lodge to support the rescue and rehabilitation of endangered aquatic and terrestrial mammals.
The Amazon Yarapa River Lodge is an integral part of the Yarapa River community that consists of the villages of Jaldar, Nuevo Loreto, and Puerto Miguel. The Lodge assists each of the villages with their medical needs as well as providing them with food in times of shortage. For village projects, they have provided funds and equipment – for example to build fish farms, to expand their school and local crop gardens. They have also provided the villages with legal representation in order to establish formal land title that is recognised by the Peruvian government. In return, they expect the villages to protect their land and dissuade poachers and illegal fisherman and to exercise sustainable living practices which, in turn, positively impact their surroundings.
The villages around and along the Amazon Yarapa River Lodge are considered an agrarian society, where hunting and fishing using traditional methods are still practiced. The Lodge does not try to influence the villagers way of life and culture and only support projects that they propose and that support their livelihood and culture. Most villages today contain a mix of traditional and modern elements – for instance, some villagers may remain in traditional thatch huts, whereas others choose more modern tin-roofed huts. Guests to the lodge can visit the villages and talk to the people to learn from them and experience their culture and traditions first hand.
The Amazon Yarapa River Lodge pays strong attention to preserving the ecology of the Amazon. Therefore, the money derived from the guests helps further development of community ties, maintenance of the Yarapa River Rainforest Reserve, as well as the educational projects for the children of the area.