Being Tambopata practically an extension of virgin jungle, one cannot overlook the existence of indigenous tribes that inhabited the area long before modern civilizations, a clear example of this is the Native Community Ese Eja de Infierno, which is an indigenous group whose ancestral land is located around the Tambopata River, in the Madre de Dios region, one of the most biodiverse places in the world. The region is characterized by being part of the lower Amazon and is inhabited by several endangered species, such as the Amazonian turtle, the caiman, the macaw or the giant river otter. As in many regions of the Amazon, the search for new land for agriculture, illegal logging, deforestation and habitat loss are clear threats to this ecosystem and, of course, to the indigenous communities that made their home here.
The Ese Eja Native Community of Infierno
This community became official in 1974, when the Peruvian government enacted the Native Communities Law, which stipulated that all indigenous peoples of the Amazon had the right to form communities, to demarcate their lands and, in turn, to obtain formal and legal recognition of their territorial and inalienable rights. To this end, Ese Eja joined with other Andean inhabitants and riparians of the Infierno region to form the Native Community of Infierno. Although this process of mobilization and constitution took two full years, the group emerged as the first officially recognized Native community in the state of Madre de Dios.
Legal title to 9,558 hectares of land was granted to the community, which extends along both banks of the Tambopata River.
Did you know that the lodge Posada Amazonas is owned by the Ese Eja of the Infierno Native Community?
Since 1996, the ecotourism company Rainforest Expeditions and the Native Community of Infierno have had a successful strategic alliance. The Ese Eja Native Community of Infierno, Peru, owns the lodge, while Rainforest Expeditions supports its marketing and management as well as the active participation of community members in ecotourism activities in the Tambopata region. This alliance has been recognized as one of the most successful between a local community and a tourism company in the world, which is truly remarkable. It is important to know that as a result of this alliance, significant benefits and full-time employment have been generated for the Ese Eja people. Each year, the profits are distributed to households in the community, increasing annual income by 25%. The lodge also provides about 20 full-time jobs for the Infierno Native Community giving them the opportunity to take advantage of the economic income from tourism in the area, improving their overall quality of life and well-being.
This can be a great benefit for tourists who are interested in visiting the Posada Amazonas, you will have a great opportunity to experience the day to day life of the Ese Eja tribe from the everyday life of the community. Plus, you are supporting the conservation of indigenous lands and culture!
Characteristics of Ese Eja at the Posada
- Art and Architecture
On your visit to the Posada Amazonas lodge, you will notice that the materials that make up the lodge are entirely made of traditional materials collected locally, such as palm trees and fallen wood from trees, and following the traditional Amazonian style, even going unnoticed among the thick jungle that surrounds it. You will also notice the unique wood carvings located around the lodge, these are handmade by members of the community, and each one has a special story that you will surely learn about during your visit.
Activities that the community performs on a daily basis are available at Posada Amazonas, and may make up part of your experience at the lodge. In 2017, the community has started offering “Ese Eja Days”, which allow tourists to spend a whole day sharing with the community members experiencing their daily life in activities such as fishing, sailing and farming, definitely something different to do in Tambopata that is not to be missed.
The Ese Eja de Infierno Native Community is deeply involved in the practice of Ecotourism. This community is co-owner and receives 75% of the benefits of Posada Amazonas Lodge.
- Our Guides
All of our guides who will accompany you on your Tambopata journey are members of the Infierno Native Community. They grew up in Tambopata – they know the land intimately, and have a very complete cultural background about the local fauna and flora.
How the partnership works with Rainforest Expeditions
- Since 1996, the strategic alliance began with the signing of a 20-year agreement with the Ese Eja de Infierno community. Prior to this agreement, the only activities that maintained the subsistence of the community were fishing and agriculture in the jungle, basic activities for the survival of their people. They saw that more tourists were beginning to arrive along the river and wanted to volunteer to participate in these practices.
- At the time, the Tambopata Research Center lodge already existed. And plans were being consolidated to expand a second lodge for the high demand of visitors, so together with the collaboration of the nearby Ese Eja community, the plan was set in motion.
- The community contributed land they owned that was part of virgin forest (located in their highly protected communal reserve), along with their knowledge of the local ecology and culture. Rainforest Expeditions contributed tourism management expertise, financial capital and marketing know-how. This is how Posada Amazonas was created, in partnership with the Ese Eja Community.
El creciente papel de Ese Eja
- During the first years of collaboration, the lodge’s profits were distributed as follows: 60% to the native community and 40% to the tourism company. Management of the lodge was shared equally between the company and the community, and community members were actively involved in all phases of the lodge’s operation.
- The Ese Eja created a Management Committee – 10 representatives elected by all community members – to work with us. The committee continues to exist and meets monthly with Rainforest Expeditions to manage the strategic partnership agreements.
- Today, the Ese Eja de Infierno Community has greatly increased their tourism experience. They now benefit from 75% of the lodge’s income and manage it almost entirely with all the experience they have gained.
- The objective for the following years is that the management becomes 100% communitarian, they have all the capacity and the service they offer is of first quality.
So if you decide to visit Tambopata, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Posada Amazonas and live with the fantastic community of Ese Eja de Infierno, definitely a unique experience in the Amazon jungle.