Amazon Yarapa River Lodge in Peru employs an innovative business model to foster grassroots community development and conserve Peru's imperiled tropical forests. This is a full-fledged sustainable operation with local ownership, local management, and local employment. It is also one of the best examples of comunity-based tourism in Peru.
Yarapa River Lodge's focus on local cummunity has nurtured a very close relationship with nearby villages. They help them with medical and transport concerns and also employ local villagers throughout the lodge. In fact, working for the lodge is a source of pride among neighboring villages. Case in point, the chief of a nearby village is one of the lodge's best guides!
Yarapa River Lodge has also established the Yarapa River Rainforest Reserve, in cooperation with the neighboring village of Jaldar and Cornell University. This reserve encompasses 10 square miles of pure, undeveloped rainforest surrounding the lodge. The land is maintained as a place that prohibits commercial hunting and fishing, but permits local villagers to live their traditional way of life, utilizing traditional weapons, including bow and spear, to hunt and fish.
This, however, is just the beginning! Yarapa River Lodge is spearheading the creation of a much larger reserve with many of their neighboring villages, Peruvian government officials, and Cornell University. They seek to set aside a giant corridor of preserved rainforest on either side of the Yarapa River, from its source to its outlet into the Amazon River. The final goal is to achieve National Park status or better. Many meetings have taken place to ensure that local people benefit, and the wheels are in motion to make this dream a reality.
Consider supporting their efforts next time you travel to Peru by visiting the lodge. The low water period or dry season runs from June through November. For more information about the Yarapa River Lodge and other responsible travel providers, visit STI's Eco-Directory or the lodge's web site.