Indigenous tourism and social and environmental entrepreneurship


Map of Bolivia

Fieldwork in Bolivia was undertaken at the Takana indigenous community of San Miguel, located in the buffer zone of the Madidi National Park in the department of La Paz, one hour by motor boat from the town of Rurrenabaque, in the Amazonian department of Beni. The Madidi National Park is one of the largest Protected Areas in Bolivia with a surface area of 1,880,996 hectares. It is composed of two areas: the National Park with an extension of 1,277,075 hectares and a Natural Area of Integrated Management (buffer zone) covering 603,921 hectares. Its western edge is the Peruvian border, and it extends eastwards along the Andes Cordillera branches, plunging deeply into the Amazon. Ranging from the glacier-covered peaks of the high Andes Mountains to the tropical rainforests of the Tuichi River, Madidi is recognized as one of the planet's most biologically diverse regions.

The indigenous community of San Miguel del Bala, comprised of almost 50 families, initiated an indigenous tourism venture owned by the whole community to provide an economic alternative to the families of San Miguel, after restrictions to use and access forest resources were established during the creation of Madidi National Park in the mid-1990s. Since then, a positive relationship between the indigenous community and the National Park was built, given the increasing number of tourists visiting Madidi. As a result, the National Service of Protected Areas declared the community of San Miguel as Honour Park Rangers of the Madidi National Park, based on the activities and actions promoted for the conservation of this protected area.

Project details