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Ecotourism plays an increasingly important role in the economy of the Tambopata basin in southeastern Peru. As tourism has grown in Peru, a variety of eco-lodges have become established in and around protected areas such as the Tambopata Reserve and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. Ecotourism is a contrast to the other principal economic activities in the area - gold mining and agriculture - but doesn’t come without its own set of challenges. Posada Amazonas, one of the top lodges in Tambopata, is a case study of a place that has found solutions to a variety of challenges by basing much of its activities around the concept of the Long Run's 4Cs (Conservation, Culture, Community, and Commerce).
The lodge was built in 1998 and is owned by the indigenous Ese-Eja community of Infierno in partnership with Rainforest Expeditions. The land that the lodge occupies used to act as a hunting reserve for the Ese-Eja community but was converted into a nature preserve when the lodge was built and various populations of animals have increased since then.
The conversion of hunting grounds to a preserve that protects wildlife was one of the green initiatives that happened at Posada Amazonas even before the lodge was built. One of the other main initiatives that happened at this time was banning the felling of large trees in the forests around the lodge to preserve the old growth rainforests.
The success of the lodge always depended on an intact, healthy lowland rainforest ecosystem replete with macaws, monkeys, and other charismatic animals. This has fostered a conservation mindset in the local community since the beginning and strengthens the concept that protection of the forest and its biodiversity is more important than anything else. In other words, both the community and Rainforest Expeditions realized straight away that the hotel had to be as sustainable as possible and in synch with its natural surroundings for any amount of success.
Consequently the hotel has implemented many sustainable initiatives, leading to:
The winning combination of working with a local Amazonian community has not gone unnoticed. The efforts made by Posada Amazonas to work in a more sustainable manner have helped it be a finalist for or win such awards as:
Sustainable initiatives at Posada Amazonas
Posada Amazonas has worked at being a sustainable hotel since day one. In a sense, this was an easy concept to apply to the construction of the hotel and its management because in order to survive, the Ese-Eja people have always had to live in a sustainable manner with their Amazon rainforest home. Sustainable, local materials are used for traditional Ese-Eja structures and this concept was also applied to the hotel. All wood used in making the hotel came from trees that had naturally fallen down in the forest and from Gymnerium cane, an abundant, large fast growing species of grass that occurs along the edges of rivers and clearings. As is the case of the local homes in the Ese-Eja community, the roof of the hotel is made of woven palm fronds.
Other sustainable initiatives undertaken by Posada Amazonas include:
The implementation of these green initiatives has resulted in the creation of a successful Amazonian eco-lodge that helps to protect and educate both visitors and locals about the rich biodiversity at and near the lodge. This includes an oxbow lake frequented by endangered Giant River Otters, old growth rainforests, and clay licks used by Red and green Macaws and other species of parrots. The lodge has also demonstrated that partnering with a local community can result in an award winning lodge and top Amazonian destination in addition to providing direct benefits to that local community.
Initiatives for the future at Posada Amazonas
Green initiatives for the future include such possibilities as upgrading waste water treatment at the lodge (septic tanks are currently used but the lodge hopes to make improvements), and expanding activities that promote Ese-Eja culture.
Top three bits of advice from Posada Amazonas for hotels looking to do the same
For more information go to Peru Nature. Posada Amazonas is part of the sustainable organisation, Long Run Initiative. Thanks to Jeff Cremer, Marketing Officer for Rainforest Expeditions that supplied us with this information