Or how travel can help preserve the environment in which it takes place.
At Terra Ecuador, we were asked what our “dream land” would be, and without even thinking of the Galapagos, which is the spontaneous answer we give in these circumstances, I blurted out “The Amazon“.
Indeed, it was this region, which continues to fascinate adventurers the world over, that drew me to Ecuador. Ecuador’s biodiversity is one of the richest in the world, and at these latitudes, the Amazon rainforest is a condensation of endemic flora and fauna.
In Ecuador, the Yasuní Park is a national park of primary forest in the Amazon. Within this park, a community has decided to create a unique space to welcome tourists and generate income to combat the invasion of oil tankers.
This is the magnificent place I was lucky enough to discover.
To reach the Lodge, I sail for 2 hours on the Rio Napo, a tributary of the Amazon, a veritable river highway linking indigenous communities and the rest of the world.
The Amazon is a world unto itself, living outside the codes of modern society.
My arrival at the Lodge takes place at sunset, which I am lucky enough to admire from the top of an observation tower over 40m high. A 360-degree panorama takes me back to the explorer’s tales of this unique place.
I fall asleep to the sound of the animals and insects that inhabit this place, in perfect connection with nature. Here, no wifi, no connection with the outside world, just me and this powerful nature.
The Napo Wildlife Center is a true haven of peace, at the crossroads of modern comfort and indigenous traditions.
Most of the elements used to build the lodge come from the surrounding area, with wood used for the structure and palm leaves for the roofs.
The same goes for meals: the fish you eat comes directly from the surrounding streams.
In the days that follow, I discover the life of the Añangu community, their lifestyle, their knowledge of nature, animals and plants, their beliefs and their history.
Our guide takes us into the forest to meet the animals, day and night, on foot or by pirogue.
For the first time, I got to see monkeys, caimans, sloths, toucans, parrots, tarantulas and snakes of all kinds in their natural habitat…
Our guide tells us about the pumas and jaguars that sometimes appear on our walks. I’m not lucky enough to see any, but I could hear them at night.
I could have stayed for several more days, because despite the heat and humidity, nothing could tarnish all the beautiful images that made up this trip.
The fact that I was able to enjoy the experience, knowing that I was making a positive impact on this community, is a feeling that will stay with me forever.
The Amazon is without doubt one of mankind’s most precious assets.
We have much to learn from the men and women who live there, and who have an infinite knowledge of these places, which are threatened with extinction.