Did you know that Posada Amazonas lodge is owned by the Native Community of Infierno?
Since 1996, Rainforest Expeditions and the Native Community of Infierno have had a successful strategic alliance where Rainforest Expeditions supports in the marketing and management of the lodge. The results of the partnership have been among the most successful of any joint ventures between communities and tourism companies anywhere in the world – creating meaningful profits and full-time employment. In fact, each year, profits are shared among the households of the community, providing 25% increase to annual incomes, and around 20 full time jobs are created in the community at the lodge.
When our guests visit Posada Amazonas, they receive a unique opportunity to experience community life as well as support the conservation of indigenous lands.
A few ways you’ll know you’re staying at a community owned lodge:
1. ART & ARCHITECTURE
When you visit Posada Amazonas you’ll notice that the lodge is constructed entirely in traditional materials, including palms and local woods, and modelled on traditional Amazon style. You will also notice unique wooden carvings located around the lodge – those are hand crafted by community members and each one has a special story.
Community based activities are available at Posada Amazonas. In 2017, the community has begun offering Ese Eja Days, which allow tourists to spend an entire day with community members experiencing their day to day life with activities such as fishing, boating, and farming.
3. OUR GUIDES
All of our guides at Posada Amazonas are members of the Native Community of Infierno. They grew up in Tambopata – they know the land intimately, and have incredible knowledge of local fauna and flora.
About the Strategic Alliance between Rainforest Expeditions and the Native Community of Infierno
Our strategic alliance began in 1996, when the two parties signed a twenty year agreement. At that time, most of the community was involved in subsistence activities: fishing or farming. They saw increased numbers of tourists traveling up the river and understood the opportunity. As a company, Rainforest Expeditions was already managing two lodges, Refugio Amazonas and Tambopata Research Center, and we had more requests than we could accommodate. Therefore, we approached the community with the offer of a partnership. The community provided the land, on a pristine forest and knowledge about the local ecosystems and traditions. We brought the tourism management experience, financial capital and access to tourists through their marketing. The partnership has been called ‘innovative’ by academics (Stronza 2010).
The original contract was legally binding. We called the venture the ‘Ke’eway Association in Participation.’ It was mutually agreed to split the profits (60 percent to the community, and 40 percent to the company) and to divide the management 50:50. It was also agreed that community members should be actively involved in the building of the business, and be trained to fill in positions at the lodge.
The lodge itself sits on a 3000-hectare communal reserve, owned by the community. This communal reserve was created before the community considered getting involved in tourism, as they wanted a way to protect a forest garden of medicinal plants and other culturally and spiritually significant tree species. All hunting, logging and farming is prohibited within the reserve, creating protections for the fauna and flora, which make tourism here such an incredible experience.
The community set up a ‘Control Committee’ at the outset of the project. It still exists today – although today the group is called the ‘Management Commitee’. There are ten members of the committee (elected by a vote from all community members). The Committee meets monthly with Rainforest Expeditions to manage all operations related to Posada Amazonas lodge.
As the years have gone by, the community has increased their knowledge of lodge management and marketing, and taken on more responsibility and an increased share of the profits – increasingly moving towards the mutual long term goal of 100% community management.
Here are Rainforest Expeditions, we firmly believe in the positive power of tourism to bring about sustainable development and to conserve the environment and local traditions – because we’ve been witness to it. We have seen first hand, the considerable benefits that tourism has brought to the conservation efforts in the Tambopata area. We have seen how meaningful employment means community members can stay in their community and share their knowledge not only with tourists, but with the next generation.