Impact of Tourism on Small Communties
The different indigenous communities that can be found in Ecuador, each with its own rituals and habits, play a big part in the colourful culture of the country. Many communities have opened up their doors and are now inviting tourists to stay and learn about their way of living through traditional activities such as embroidery, music, the making of handicrafts and cooking lessons. This is not only a fun and unique way to get to know Ecuador for travellers, but it also preserves the culture of those indigenous communities.
Many of the customs have been passed down from generation to generation. If you travel to the Amazon, you may meet people from the Huaorani community who still largely live as they did centuries ago, catching food using blowpipes and spears, and building their houses from palm leaves. Unfortunately, the authentic culture of these communities faces threats because of global modernization, technology and also loss of land for the families to live on due to the existence of oil in their territory. Moreover, due to the global pandemic, not only the Huaorani people but all of the local communities in Ecuador have seen a great decline in touristic visits, resulting in a cut in their income with which they support their families and pay for things such as education and healthcare.
Luckily, travellers are slowly but surely starting to return to our beautiful country. We highly recommend visiting a local community while you are in Ecuador! Not only will you become part of the preservation of their traditions and way of life, but you will also be contributing to their income while at the same time having a unique experience staying with the host family and participating in fun activities, such as a chocolate-making course at the coast, preparing fresh yuca bread in the jungle and learning how to play a traditional Andean instrument in the beautiful rural city of Otavalo.