At Tambopata Ecolodge, our ecotourism model is based on the work we do to ensure the continued conservation of the area of Amazon forest for which we are the custodians. By encouraging travelers from all over the world to visit us in our Private Conservation Area, and to stay with us at our eco-lodge, we are ensuring that the rainforests we help to protect will continue to flourish. Our goal is to set an example by showing that a combination of conservation and sustainable ecotourism is the best way to safeguard South America’s Amazon basin. This means that those travelers who come from Peru and the rest of the world to spend time with us at our comfortable lodge and enjoy the many wonders of the Amazon are contributing to the conservation of nature, just by being in nature!
However, all too often across the world’s tropical regions, many conservationists have promoted as ecofriendly only those conservation models which entirely exclude people from the areas they rightly believe must be protected.
In fact, the Madre de Dios region in southeastern Peru, home to our Tambopata Ecolodge and the neighboring Tambopata National Reserve, where we operate many of itineraries, has been occupied by diverse ethnic and cultural groups for some three thousand years.
At Tambopata Ecolodge, we understand that while the forests of the Amazon must be protected at all costs, so must the rights of those communities whose ancestral knowledge of the forests means they are better equipped than any other human group to live in harmony with the natural world.
Because we want our guests to understand and learn more about how tropical forest ecosystems can be farmed sustainably, as part of our ecotourism programs we invite them to visit the local farm that we support.
In this rainforest farm, we produce a range of crops. These include a total of nine varieties of bananas and plantains, as well as papayas, mangoes, oranges, mandarins, limes and lemons. Other fruits grown sustainably in the heart of the forest include those with names less familiar to our visitors from overseas. They include carambola, better known in the English-speaking world as star fruit; copoasu, the white pulp of which has been described as having an aroma like a combination of chocolate and pineapple; the delicious guanabana, a custard apple also known as soursop; and the native fruit known as araza, which is popular locally and used in ice creams and jams.
Another crop grown on our farm is the root crop known as cassava or yuca, which is a major source of carbohydrate in the traditional local diet. We even grow coffee, and the herbs and spices we cultivate include cinnamon, lemon grass, basil, and the hot red chili pepper known in Spanish as “ojo de pescado” (“fish eye”), which as an export product is famed as one of the world’s best and most expensive chili peppers.
Peru is justly famous throughout the world for its fine cuisine, and at Tambopata Ecolodge we do everything possible to honor that tradition. In our dining room, as part of their full-board, all-inclusive ecotourism itineraries, we serve our guests a selection of great dishes. And, of course, our healthy and delicious meals are made using many of the exotic products that come from our sustainable rainforest farm!