Each year Earth Day grows more pertinent and urgent. This year, having witnessed the pause and risin...
Created in the spirit of South America’s nomadic tribes, The Nomad Project is a new ecotourism project on a 237-acre private reserve in the heart of the Colombian Amazon. Close to the Amacayacu National Park, bordering Brazil and Peru, the area is rich in biodiversity — home to 150 species of mammals, 500 species of birds and over 1,000 species of plants. The 12 villas that will allow visitors to experience this special part of the world will be complete in late 2017, and have been designed in total harmony with the local environment.
Nomad Lodges Amazonas revolves around the guiding principle that the conservation of the Amazon Rainforest depends on buy-in from local populations. The Association of Ticunas, Cocamas and Yaguas (local indigenous communities) has had an active role in the project’s development. So far, The Nomad Project has helped local communities embrace sustainable fishing practices, species identification, and reforestation skills. Nomad Lodges also hopes to help this population through healthcare and economic campaigns, to ultimately improve their quality of life.
The guest experience begins on the Amazon River and drifts into the forest, via boats and floating platforms. The villas are traditionally designed and kitted out with native interiors. Built on stilts and connected by raised footpaths and bridges, views of the river and forest are far-reaching. Locally produced renewable energy, harvested rainwater and food and drink procured from the local region all help to minimise the impact of the lodge.
Nomad Lodges Amazonas joined The Long Run in 2016 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 lodge is housed within 1.2 million acres of rainforest. The forest is rich in biodiversity and is home to 500 bird species, 150 species of mammals and 1,000 species of plants among others. The Loretoyacu River and the Tarapoto lagoon system is to the south of the property. As the area is protected, there’s little to no deforestation.
The lodge is being built using certified wood from a WWF project that harvests wood according to sustainability standards. Local materials are being used for decor and construction. The design allows for rapid and easy dismantling of the entire infrastructure leaving the area exactly as it was found should the need ever arise. Transportation, power compensation and environmental awareness programmes have been developed in conjunction with the local authorities. The lodge will use sustainably harvested rain and river water, and international waste recycling standards. The lodge is powered using locally produced alternative sources of energy avoiding the need for externally produced fuel to be brought to the area. Most of the food and drinks consumed in the lodge will come directly from the area.
22 local communities — 5700 inhabitants in 800 families, 1700 of them children under 5 years of age, make up the ATICOYA – Association of Ticunas, Cocamas and Yaguas. The lodge is being built with the support of the ATICOYA, who are keen to have an ecotourism project to emulate and to aid in setting up of their own projects in their own lands.
The lodge is working with the National Park and nature conservation NGOs to develop community understanding of sustainability. Together they’ve expanded fishermen’s understanding of sustainable fishing. The lodge has also helped the community with species identification and provided information on native reforestation species for their lands.
The local economy is dependent on fishing and subsistence farming, logging and forest products. Villagers also engage in various tourism, construction, public and private entities related activities. However families do not have sufficient financial resources to meet all needs and have challenges with infrastructure, school supplies and transportation for the municipalities in finding new opportunities for study or sale of its products.
Projected Lodge activities for the ATICOYA include:
Environmental development: Improvement of sanitary infrastructure; Waste management; Water resource management; and Improved energy provision.
Socio-cultural development: Vaccination campaign; Installation and improvement of existing dispensaries; Improving the available elementary education; and purchasing boats to transport children to their school
Economic development: Food production autonomy through supporting the use of ancestral and local agricultural and fishing practices; Artistic and Cultural development through value addition local traditional knowledge and handicrafts; Using traditional knowledge and skills in ecotourism and Economic Autonomy through establishing ecotourism as the source of new local sustainable revenues.
The local culture of the ATICOYA has been integrated into the lodge through building design and artefacts. Many of the traditions are being lost and the project seeks to revive them through products such as handicraft, ethno-botany and reforestation on community land with native trees, fruits, and plants for handicraft.
As part of the project, the community will share cultural knowledge with guests, showcasing the traditional artwork, artisanal handicrafts and jewellery of a typical Ticuna abode. Guests can see and talk about how local products are made. They will be able to purchase products from the lodge’s boutique, directly benefitting the community.
Workshops where guests can work side-by-side with the Ticuna, cultivating genuine relationships and understanding will be offered. The Seiba night, a special event anchored around the divine Seiba tree, will be offered in the multifunctional space where hosts and guests can enjoy traditional Colombian and Ticuna dishes together.
The project will provide the community with additional revenues through employment and participation in ecotourism based activities, which will contribute to the preservation of the environment & culture.
60 local people will work directly at the lodge as guides, cooks, maids, waiters, and gardeners.
To support local enterprises and minimise the lodge’s carbon footprint, all the food (fruits, vegetables, fish, chickens) served at the hotel will be sourced locally, as will furniture and amenities.
The lodge will provide sustainable business training programs to local communities.
Lapa Rios and Pacuare owners and avid conservationists Luz Caceres and Roberto Fernandez recently p...