[Peru] After the publication of an article on Hotel Perú News blog presenting my HopTour of Peru, the team of Tuki Llajta Lodge invited me to visit them. The lodge is located “right next” to Lima… which means at one night of bus (a trip of 7h). I escaped then Lima for a two-days-stay at Huancayo in order to give an express marketing course to José, the son of the family who just joined his parents to help with the management of the lodge.
[Peru] I started my Tour of Perou with what we could call the “waterfalls route”. Located in the surroundings of Chachapoyas, two sites claim to be the highest waterfall of the country (and 3rd worldwide?). I spent a week in-between these two villages. I stayed first at Cocachimba : the two falls of Gocta (771m); then, at Cuipes : the four falls of Yumbilla (895m). I was hosted at the “posadas” (bed and breakfasts) of the Tourism Association Presidents of both villages: with the family of Eusebio (Posada El Gallo de la Roca) and the one of Jarvik (Posada de Cuispes).
[Ecuador] After the capital, the Amazon rainforest and the Andes mountains, I changed completely of scenery to spend 10 days on the pacific coast of the country, or more exactly, in the central part of it, in the Manabí region. I visited three hotels/lodges: Pacoche – natural reserve & lodge, RioMuchacho – organic farm & lodge, and Shanti Hostal. But it’s above all Elsa, the French Founder of the ecotourism Narwell Ecotours agency, who welcomed me by her sides in Manta. And I left then to meet with jumping humpback whales, rare birds and Teo on “Plata” island, and dived into a few mojitos, piña coladas and daiquiris on the Montanita beach.
[Ecuador] On my way from Amazon to the Pacific coast, I spent a week at 3200m of altitude in the Ecuadorian Andes mountain range. Hiking, cheese tasting and an ecolodge with exemplary ecoliving practices (for more than 20 years), I’m like a fish in water. It’s nice to be back to a cooler and drier climate. Six months ago, Andres, Black Sheep Inn Founder, discovered my blog on LinkedIn, and invited me to remain in touch in order to visit him when I’ll arrived in Ecuador. An invitation can not be refused, and this is the perfect opportunity to discover a great new responsible tourism project (which is now managed 100% by people of the village). I now invite you to meet Black Sheep Inn through a few videos!
[Ecuador] I met Bastienne during the eco-tourism conference ESTC15 in Quito. With her husband, Pablo, they developped a great responsible tourism project near Tena at the entrance of the Amazon. Huasquila Lodge was the first hotel to open in Cotundo village and take up a sweet challenge, which was to develop the destination tourism attraction and offer together with the community: exploration of caves, waterfalls, kichwa culture, rafting, chocolate… And also, Huasquila succesfully led a reforestation project of about 50 hectares of pature lands and built a lodge which counts 7 cabans accessible to disable guests (which is quite a rare feature in the Amazon).
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[Ecuador] Before to become a lodge, Yachana (which means in kichwa language « a place where to learn ») was above all a solid educational project (high school) developed for the youth of this isolated community in the Ecuadorian amazon. In 1995, Douglas was looking for a more sustainable model, and started the tourism project with the goal to help supporting the foundation. For a year and a half now, Yachana initiated a new project. They left the previous structure on the river bank, to build a new (and even more confortable) lodge and training center (for the most motivated students of all the region with a special “distance studying” program) at the top of a neighbor hill (with an incredible view over the Napo river!). Discover, in the videos below, the exceptional work and commitment of Yachana for a better world through education and responsible tourism (called “geotourism” by Douglas).
[Ecuador] After Shayari and Limoncocha, I’m welcomed in a 3rd kichwa community of the ecuadorian amazon, this time on the Napo river and at the nord-west entrance of the famous and vast Yasuni National Park. It’s a very improvised last-minute visit. I met, during a Rainforest Alliance meeting and training at Limoncocha, Otorino who offered me to come and stay at his house in order to get to know its village tourism-based project. I should have visited the Sani Lodge and Napo Wildlife Center, but these two visits were finally canceled. I accepted then with great pleasure the invitation!
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[Ecuador] After my visit at the Shayari community, I continued with a second community-based tourism center, the one of Limoncocha. This small village is located within an amazonian bioreserve and right next to the famous Napo River. Its lagoon is the ideal spot to observe caimans, frogs, birds… and some people say that there would be some anacondas living nearby. But, don’t worry, they are very shy and would be hidden very deep in the wildest area of the rainforest!
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[Ecuador] I started my tour of ecuadorian Amazonia with a beautiful experience within the kichwa community of Shayari (14 families, 97 people). I was welcomed during 3 days in the family of Fauster and Guillermo. They prepared me such a program of activities, very complete, delicious mix of tropical nature, kichwa culture and local gastronomy. I was re-baptised “Sissa” (flower in kichwa) and swapped my usual “buenos dias” for “Allypuncha”!
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[Ecuador] I ended my long stay in the capital with a short excursion of two days in the cloudforest of Mindo, the famous birdwatching spot of Ecuador. I made there a few videos, of which one to explain how to make your own mosquitoes repellent! Molly is from the USA, and Efrain, native of the region, all together they build a very pretty small lodge, at the same time very chic and natural. Welcome to Casa Divina Lodge!
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The keyword to qualify my arrival in Quito is “synchronization”! The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) takes place each year in a different country, and this was by chance this year in Ecuador, and exactly at the dates to which I was entering the country. It’s, then, the opportunity to come together again with my canadian ex-professor from La Rochelle Business School of Tourism D’Arcy Dornan who is part of the organization and thanks to whom I join the team for a few days as a volunteer. I came together as well with my ecuadorian friend Sabina who used to be my colleague at Sofitel Hotel in Lyon, France, a few years ago. I’m warmly welcomed at her dad house in Quito during three studious weeks!
Hacienda Venecia… haaaa… Hacienda Venecia… The coffee plantation where time stopped: For travelers passing through but also for me, literally. I have been there three times in one month, and eventually left with a twinge of regret: Such a lovely staff, a magical place, I was almost feeling at home…
After Utria, last stop of these past ten days on the Choco Pacific Coast: at the Playa de Oro Lodge, on the “Huina” Beach, 20 minutes by boat from Bahia Solano. The beach is wonderful and there is also a small village, a nice compromise so between beach, rainforest and meetings with Afro-Colombian culture.
After Nuqui, Guachalito and Jurubida, I finally come to Utria to know “Mano Cambiada”, Josefina’s sustainable tourism project who I quickly met in Bogota during the ANATA tourism show. I reach ma new destination once again aboard a small craft thirty-minute from Jurubida where I say goodbye to Carmen and Nohelia.