Location: La Paz, Bolivia
The Chalalán Ecolodge is located in the heart of Madidi National Park, deep in the Bolivian Amazon. The area is a pristine tropical rainforest filled with diverse ecosystems and rich biodiversity, including several endangered species.
In 1992, a visionary group of San José villagers realized that they needed an economic alternative to harvesting coffee, rice, and peanuts, because of youth migration and the difficulty of selling to distant, competitive markets. In addition, the community needed an economic alternative to the destructive uses of the forest, which included hunting and logging. Eager to improve their livelihood, they worked with Conservation International to build a profitable ecotourism lodge.
Since its opening in 1998, Chalalán has proven to be a viable economic alternative to hunting and logging. The additional employment opportunities have also had a multiplier effect on the community. Most provisions are sought locally, and several families from San José supply farm produce, native fruit, and drinks to the ecolodge. With a renewed enthusiasm for their forest home, Chalalán residents are eager to share their environment with tourists; “We believe that by taking care of the animals and forests to show tourists, we take care of our own home.” Currently, Chalalán receives approximately 1,000 tourists per year and is considered one of the most successful enterprise development projects in history.
Environmental Impact: Avoided deforestation and preserved biodiversity
Measurement: The Chalalán Ecolodge
Credits: Conservation International
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