Abstract

Ecuador has a wide range of ecotourism initiatives throughout the country. Since the 1990s, many Indigenous communities have started to organize themselves in order to run their own ecotourism programs. As a result, scholars have suggested that Indigenous ecotourism in Latin America started in Ecuador with the advent of community-owned projects, particularly in the Amazon. One of the first initiatives was Kapawi, located in the Achuar territory of Pastaza Province. The project was initiated by a private tour operator through a joint venture with the Achuar Indigenous organization. A transfer process started in 2008 and Kapawi is now managed by the Achuar communities, with a new set of opportunities and challenges. This article uses data collected from extensive fieldwork to examine the evolution, lessons learned, dynamics, and perspectives of the Kapawi enterprise.

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to the Achuar communities and Kapawi staff. Support from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University is gratefully acknowledged.

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The opinions and points of view in this paper remain the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the institutions involved in this research.