TO DO Award 2011 San Miguel Del Bala Eco Lodge, Bolivia
The traditional rights of the indigenous Tacana community in Bolivia were directly affected by the foundation of Madidi national park in their ancestral territory. While earlier the Tacana were allowed to hunt and use the land for agriculture, all that remained was the possibility to fish in the rivers for their own consumption. The protected area, which is said to be biologically extremely diverse, stretches from the tropical lowlands in the Amazon basin up to the Cordillera Real on the border to Peru. However, after their futile protest against the national park, the indigenous families on the Rio Beni did not admit defeat, but transformed the restrictions of their livelihood into the contrary. 35 families out of a total of 43 jointly formed a cooperative and with the help of various development organisations they opened SAN MIGUEL DEL BALA ECO-LODGE in 2006. In the meantime, they have their own long boats to go into the jungle and offer guided excursions with tour guides recruited from within their own community. In this way, the lucrative tourism business at the national park does not bypass them, but happens with their involvement, within a structure chosen and set up by the Tacana themselves. The income from tourism also helps to buy teaching materials for the school and to finance the computer. The cooperative also takes care of the transport and treatment of community members who fall ill. In this way, each member of the community benefits from tourism in this remote region where there are no other social security mechanisms.
San Miguel del Bala
Calle Comercio entre Vaca Diez y Santa Cruz
Phone: +591 3892 2394