Añangu Kichwa Community
It is located on the right bank of the Napo River toward east; it takes approximately two travel hours by motorized canoe from EL Coca (capital city of Orellana Province), it is about 80km by river.
Añangu Community is situated inside of Yasuní National Park a “Biosphere Reserve” by UNESCO, considered one of the most biodiverse protected areas in the world. Therefore, the community is responsible for the conservation of 21,465.38 hectares within the tropical rainforest of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
The Amazonian indigenous peoples have generated systems appropriately adapted to the special conditions of the tropical rainforest´s ecosystems and for thousands of years, natural resources and biodiversity have been used sustainably, without depleting them.
The Ecuador Amazon lands were populated by several human groups with different languages and cultural traditions, among them: Quijos, Sumacos, Sabelas, Yumbos, Napo Indians, Canelos, Lamas, Tabacosa, Suchinchi, Pandule and Panyaso. The domination processes that took place throughout the Americas led to the disappearance of many of them, while others underwent significant cultural transformations, like the introduction of Kechwa (the official Inca´s lenguage) what today make identified our people like amazon kichwas. Their presence has been recorded since the second half of 19th century, linked to the rubber plantations and opening of roads, built for oil exploitation.
The Kichwa are grouped in communal lands, an organization adopted in the 1970s as a mechanism for defending their territories and culture. This group has been heavily influenced by Christian religious beliefs, but still maintain oral traditions, in which the yachak runa (wise man or healer) is the axis of life in relation to spirits.
The Kichwa Añangu community dates back to 1980 when 60 people from Tena city formed a pre-association called Sacha Pacha, which means “Pure jungle” because it was a virgin territory or uninhabited lands by humans. In 1988 the community changed its name for Añangu, in honor to the lagoon and some kinds of ants called ” legionaries”.
In 2000 a sustainable tourism project was achieved called NWC lodge, sponsored by Peter English. In 2001 an agreement was signed with the Foundation Eco Ecuador, which gave its administration for a period of 20 years and then it would pass to the community.
From 2003, the Foundation managed NWC lodge, but this administration was questioned for its mismanagement of funds, so in 2006 the community resolved to finished the agreement unilaterally. During 2006 and 2007, the Community was into legal conflicts to regain management and finally in June 2007, the community got 100% of administration.
After this long process and constant struggle, the NWC is already a consolidated lodge recognized national and internationally for its quality and beauty, where mostly men have worked in this space, but over time, women decided to generate a new proposal where they can also work in community tourism, so at the end of 2013 the idea was born called Napo Cultural Center.
The Napo Cultural Center offers high comfort accommodation and quality services, distinctive and personalized, with an integrated complex prepared to fully respond to the guests’ needs; this is the main touristic offer in the Ecuadorian Amazon Region, allowing its clients a rare and complete experience, full of privacy and exclusivity.
The project consists in 16 independent cabins, in the form of small eco friendly houses with very nice areas (allows up to 3 guests) with location scattered around the Anangu Kichwa village, with a privileged view over the forest; all the building materials invoke nature – wood and vertical gardens.
Perfect for couples, families and groups of friends, for a holiday or short break, Napo Cultural Center offers the single opportunity to enjoy a contact with nature, but near the main cultural attractions of Anangu Kichwa Community.
Environmentally friendly, promotes physical and spiritual experiences, moments of leisure, individually and within groups, both inside and outside the village; a concept that emphasizes the qualities of life and nature, ecology, water, land, leisure, health and well-being.
The tourist proposal arises in response to the heavy oil exploitation considered a disease that plagued the region and left no contribution to the communities. Today all the community is made up of 62 partners, all part of this project, have generated a regulation in which the community decides not to hunt animals to achieve better conservation and boost tourism, as well no fishing, no cutting down trees, and no liquor in the community. Don SIlverio Jumbo, one of the first inhabitants of this community, says: “Previously, hunting was used for consumption, out of necessity, some species were even trafficked, but we wanted to work in tourism, so we stopped hunting and now we have more animals closer.” Currently, for achieve conservation goals, the community territory has been divided into four areas:
- 25% place just for tourism operation.
- 15% intensive use, where gathering and hunting is allowed, but the community has decided not to hunt.
- 50% maximum protection, no alteration is allowed.
- 10% scientific station for research.