Kichwa Anangu: an ecotourism-based sustained community

Kichwa culture

Napo Cultural Center offers a unique view to the interior of the Kichwa Anangu community, an indigenous people originally from the area and in charge of the conservation of 21,465.38 hectares within the tropical forest of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

The territory currently occupied by the Kichwa Anangu is located within the Yasuni National Park, declared a “biosphere reserve” by UNESCO and one of the 200 prioritary sites to conserve on a global level. This characteristic has determined the behavior of the community and its link with the environment, being one of the places with the most biodiversity on the planet. It is for this reason that the Kichwa Anangu decided to renounce their legitimate hunting and fishing rights, getting nature to thrive, in contrast to its exhaustion in other parts of the Amazon.

The local community understood the enormous value of ecotourism as an excellent alternative for local development: to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants and, most importantly, to conserve nature and contribute to the care of the environment and the use of resources natural ecotourism also serves to preserve intact their aboriginal culture, such as their native language, traditional clothing, music, handicrafts, instruments and other artistic artifacts, through which they express their culture.

At present, the Kichwa Anangu continue to communicate through the “kichwa” or “shimi rune”, the lingua franca of the Inca Empire, which towns like this one made their own, learning it through frequent interaction with other cultures and the imposition of the missionaries. as an evangelizing method.

Philosophy of their ancestral medicine

Although they have been strongly influenced by religious beliefs – Catholic or Christian – they still keep alive their oral traditions, in which the “yachak runa” – wise or healer – emerges as the physical connection between man and spirits: it is who brings what bad and provides good energies. Another activity linked to the spirituality of the community is related to the consumption of the “guayusa”. This energizing drink starts the workday, with parents delegating the tasks of the day to their children and mothers to their girls. In addition, she talks about dreams and tries to review them and “relive” them, in order to interpret them. The celebration of the “guayusa” and other ancestral rituals are a fundamental part of the cultural axis that Napo Cultural Center carries out with its different itineraries, in order to link travelers with the different customs and teachings of the Kichwa Anangu.

The “Kuri Muyu” or Interpretation Center, run by the women of the community, is also part of the tourist itinerary, where it is possible to learn a little more about the habits and traditions that still persevere in the Kichwa Anangu tradition.

Another link with tourism is the sale of handcrafts – whether instruments, clothing or vessels – made by women from the indigenous community to tourists at the Interpretation Center. Its products, manufactured with local seeds and fibers collected in the jungle, become the best way to preserve traditions and earn a living, so that it is completely respectful with the environment and its peers. It is important to remember that this is the pillar around which the philosophy of the community revolves: the constructive activities with the environment and its ancestral culture.


The community, besides working, also lives inside the Yasuní National Park and the surroundings of the Napo Cultural Center, being part of the same project: the “Millennium Community”. This project seeks to generate more ecological buildings than those currently owned by the community and that maintain their more traditional aspects. In this way, the palm leaf and straw shawl would be used to make the roofs, moored with veraquilla, which is a tree bark. For the structure would be used other noble materials such as chontapambil, capirona, bamboo cane, etc.

The homes of the Kichwa Anangu community today are built a few meters from the ground to protect themselves from the snakes and next to them, it is usually possible to find a nearby farm where they grow the fruits and vegetables of the family. Their houses, with time, have been varying in the materiality, arriving at a resistant mix of natural fibers combined with other industrialized materials.

The community, together with Napo Cultural Center, have been planning for years a center that has western and ancestral medicine, alternative energy, quality education and work for all the inhabitants of the community, as well as more homes built on natural materials and materials and other renewable energies. These constructions live in a perfect balance between traditional wisdom and modern knowledge, since, although according to tradition, it is tried not to cut any of the materials in the tender moon – since, they say, the moths would end everything. This vision is integrated with a modern notion that allows the use of technology for the efficient operation of resources, using different sources of energy such as biogas and solar panels.

¡Be part of a unique experience in the company of the ancestral traditions of the Kichwa Anangu! Book now at Napo Cultural Center here.

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