Huaorani Ecolodge is community based effort by a tribe of Huaorani people deep in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. Until recently, the Huaorani have lived closed off to outside influences and people groups, quietly continuing in their way of life as nomadic hunters without leaving much trace of their existence behind. Today however, oil companies have begun to force a confrontation with outside interests and commercialism. The Huaorani, desiring to preserve their land and way of life, have come together to use their 1.7 million acres of pristine rainforest for sustainable tourism instead. When visiting Huaorani Ecolodge, you are helping to conserve what little remains of old growth rainforest in the world.
Constructed near the shores of the Shiripuno river, the lodge is a great spot for viewing the diverse wildlife in the Amazon. More than 190 species of birds have been spotted from Huaorani Ecolodge, along with other mammals such as puma, jaguar, deer, marmot, and numerous others. The Huaorani warmly invite you to come and experience the mystery of the flora and fauna of the Amazon!
Getting there and back
Getting to Huaorani Ecolodge can be an adventure in itself! Drive from Quito to the town of Shell. Here board a small propeller plane for a 35 minute ride over the Amazon rainforest to Quhueri'ono. Upon arrival transfer to a dugout canoe which will take you the rest of the way by river to the lodge. On the way back, you will travel along to the Shiripuno river bridge. From here drive by bus to the town of Coca where you board a commerical flight back to Quito.
The Huaorani have build a small and intimate lodge in the midst of the rainforest to host its guests. Five palm thatched cabanas have been constructed to house up to 10 guests at a time in such a way as to minimize the impact on the surrounding land and rainforest. Fully meshed to keep insects out, the open air cabanas are spaced a comfortable distance apart from each other to ensure privacy as well.
Each cabana is furnished with two twin beds and offers a private bathroom with flush toilet and shower. Solar panels provide electricity, and drinking water and environmentally friendly soaps and shampoos are complementary.
The restaurant prepares your meals during your stay, as well as offers fruit, tea, and coffee and all times. Beer, wine and soft drinks may be purchased from the bar, and community handicrafts may be purchased in the community shop.
Your time here is flexible. Daily activities are designed to offer a chance to interact with the local people, see the wildlife, and learn more about the Huaorani way of life in the forest. Expert guides will show you the how the community uses various plants in the rainforest for different purposes. Travel by dugout canoe along the Shiripuno river during your excursions, as you learn the hunting techniques and various other practices the Huaorani have utilized to thrive in this environment. Should you desire to be on your own, you may explore the rainforest on self guided trail walks as well. Your time is flexible while you are here.
The Huaorani Ecolodge is a byproduct of one man's desire to see his land preserved in the face of an increased presence of oil drilling in the Amazon. Moi Enomenga of the Quehueri'ono community filmed a documentary with NBC television sharing about his desire to protect their land from the oil companies. He came to be convinced that ecotourism would be a way to preserve the integrity of their culture and conserve the rainforest territory while still providing an income for the community. The result was the formation of the Ecotourism Association of Quehueri'ono, representing the interests of five communities along the upper Shiripuno River.
In the lodge's construction, low impact on the land and community involvement were given high priority in seeing the project come to fruition. Huaorani community members helped construct the lodge as well as provide the base for the majority of the lodge's employees. Produce is purchased locally, buildings are energized by solar panels, and biodegradable products are used. A constant effort is made to increase efficiency while minimizing impact on the environment.