The Kapawi Ecolodge Project began in 1993. The goal of this tourism enterprise was to create a new trend in community eco-tourism, in partnership with the Achuar Indigenous Nation, by building an enterprise that would provide economic support and jobs to the Achuar located in Kapawi as well as in other communities. Since January 1st 2008, 100% of the ownership of Kapawi Eco-lodge has been transferred to the Achuar. Read more about the importance of this community enterprise from the Achuar’s perspective. Told by Celestino Antix, Achuar Guide, and Milton Callera, Former President of the (NAE) Achuar Nationality of Ecuador.
"Tourism changed my life"
- Celestino Antix, Achuar Guide
Celestino was one of Kapawi’s most experienced guides, working at the lodge for 3 years. When recounting the great impact his work at Kapawi has had on his life and his families life, he mentioned that work at Kapawi hotel allowed him to send two of his three children to school. He said that he would like them to be educated in “tourism or biology”. He has faith that they will continue their studies and be able to go to college in his lifetime. He himself would also love the opportunity to study biology because he loves nature.
Celestino says that tourism helps his people. “Now we can hunt less and buy notebooks and clothes for our children, and hardly even use bartering. This is good because we are helping nature. Kapawi is different because it has been protected from oil companies.”
"Kapawi has made history"
- Milton Callera, Former President of the NAE
Milton was a former president of the NAE from 2003 to 2006. He played a critical role in transferring ownership of Kapawi over to the Achuar people. When recounting the history of Kapawi Eco-lodge he spoke about the importance of his people gaining full ownership.
“The NAE has received a very profitable business that has strong social benefits. This is a unique story that we have in the Amazon.” The biggest challenge for securing the future of Kapawi of eco-lodge as full owners is developing new skills in business and tourism. Developing an enterprise is a very different life and responsibility for The Achuar. Their previous life used to be owners of their families, now they are learning to become masters of wealth and enterprise for generations to come. “We have to come together around the vision that we have a company that will provide income to Achuar families. Those who work for Kapawi have to work for the interest of the Achuar people”.
Kapawi Eco-lodge benefits other communities outside of Kapawi. To involve more communities, “The NAE has raised several programs. First, to produce organic food products in neighboring communities to sell to Kapwi Eco-lodge and avoid the expensive cost of shipping food in from the outside. The NAE has established several programs to create local organic foods like fish farms, poultry and agriculture development”.