Kapawi Ecolodge is located in southeastern Ecuador, in a region of lowland Amazon Rainforest characterized by meandering rivers like the Pastaza, Capahuari, and Kusutkau rivers, and primary rainforest, including seasonal flooded forest and dry ground (known as terra firma).
Kapawi Ecolodge was built following ecotourism principles, inspired by the “natural history of the area, including its indigenous cultures, whose areas have been adapted for this activity in a spirit of appreciation, participation, and responsibility”. When it opened in 1996, Kapawi Ecolodge set the standards for community ecotourism in Ecuador, promoting practices that protected wildlife, generated local employment and empowered local communities. Kapawi Ecolodge was built respecting Achuar construction styles and using building materials from the forest.
These standards apply today. Energy is generated 100% from solar photovoltaic panels, while local building materials are still used to preserve the Achuar style. There have been many lessons learned since 1996, including the development of community enterprises to ensure that local materials, like leaves for the roofs, are farmed in the local communities to reduce the pressure on natural resources from the forest.
Over its history, Kapawi Ecolodge has won several awards including:
- Ecotourism Excellence 2000 by Conservation International
- Skal International´s Ecotourism Award 2002
- National Geographic´s Top 50 Ecolodges (2009)
- UNDP´s Ecuador Award (2010)
- Rainforest Alliance´s Award for Ecotourism Standards in 2013.