Surrounded by a lush tropical rainforest full of trilling birds and friendly monkeys, Ecuador’s Sinchi Warmi is not your average jungle lodge.
It’s not just the series of freshwater ponds on the grounds (one of which holds a 6-foot-long endangered Amazon fish that comes to the surface when you clap) that makes it unique. Or the soaring bamboo lookout that gazes over the humid forests. It’s the story behind Sinchi Warmi, which is run entirely by indigenous Kichwa women.
The Amazon lodge was the brainchild of a group of women artisans who dreamed of running their own business to provide employment for their children and marginalized community. It was not an easy task. They fought hard against their macho peers who said the project would never amount to anything. It took 10 years to get the lodge off the ground, during which six of the women were abandoned by their husbands who were not pleased by their wives’ newfound independence.
But they pushed on, learning how to create Facebook profiles and manage booking websites. And now, after a decade, the women have achieved their dream: a picture-perfect lodge that supports the community of San Pedro.
Guest or passing visitors can enjoy a traditional guayusa tea ceremony, meet Saru the local monkey or one of her friends, or take a break in a breezy hammock overlooking the forest. It’s a place to try traditional maita de tilapia, a fish native to the Amazon, learn Kichwa dream-sharing traditions and support a project that has survived against all odds.