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A Remarkable Stay at Huaorani Eco Lodge

The Huaorani have long been inhabitants of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Living as gatherers and hunters, they had no contact with the outside world until the end of the 1950s when they were contacted by missionaries, who were later followed by oil companies seeking to exploit the wealth of oil present in the Huaorani territory. Although some territory was lost, the Huaoranis’ way of life remains much the same as it has for many centuries. Tourists looking for an experience that is truly out of the ordinary can gain insight into the lives of these extraordinary people by visiting the Huaorani Eco Lodge.

In the early 1990s, Moi Enomenga, a Huaorani leader made famous as the principle character in author Joe Kane’s book “Savages” (1995) and by articles in the New Yorker magazine, realizing that it was impossible to remain isolated from the outside world, embraced the concept of eco-tourism. He saw this as a means by which his community could retain their culture and conserve their rainforest territory, while at the same time receiving an income to benefit the community. As a result, visitors can now enter the private world of the Huaorani.The Huaorani Eco Lodge is situated about an hour’s walk from the community of Quehueri’ono in terra firma rainforest. The location was chosen far enough away from the Quehueri’ono community so as to avoid disturbing everyday Huaorani life, but close enough to allow tourists to visit and interact with the community. The comfortable and secure lodge consists of five Huaorani-style palm-thatched cabins (which were principally constructed by Huaorani builders and craftsmen) fully fitted with all the necessary amenities. Each cabin is named after one of the Huaorani communities that live along the Shiripuno River. In keeping with the Huaorani Eco Lodge policy of minimizing negative impact on the area, guests are provided with environmentally-friendly soaps and shampoos, and all waste-disposal is carried out in accordance with sound ecological practices. The lodge makes use of solar energy for power needs.

The many activities that visitors to the Huaorani Eco Lodge can enjoy include tours through the Amazon Rainforest with informative local guides, cultural tours, bird-watching, educational programs, hiking, nocturnal tours, visits to local communities and wildlife observation.

Due to the fact that the Huaorani live on top of one of Ecuador’s richest oil deposits, they are continually forced to deal with oil companies and other outsiders in order to protect this beautiful part of Ecuador, which has been their home for probably more than a thousand years. Visitors to the Huaorani Eco Lodge agree that it would be a great shame if the would-be exploiters of this area were to get their way.

 



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