* There are many pressures on the rainforest, from questionable logging, over-hunting of wild animal populations, clear cutting for crops, and pollution to land and water, ecotourism seeks an alternative approach to the utilization of the rainforest. To be successful, it must have a minimal impact on the environment while at the same time show visitors the rainforest's biodiversity and beauty. In order to be considered an ecotourism company, it is essential that tourist facilities minimally impact the surrounding forest, that alternative sources of income to local residents are provided, and that education about rainforest conservation is included for both local inhabitants and visitors. The protection of rainforest land through the establishment of reserves should also be a priority for companies working in these areas. Explorama Lodges has been involved in all of these practices, and more, long before the term "ecotourism" became popular.
* In partnership with Explorama Lodges, CONAPAC (Conservación de la Naturaleza Amazónica del Perú) was formed in 1990. CONAPAC is supported by Explorama and is funded by guests of Explorama Lodges. Each tourist who visits Explorama's privately owned and protected Primary Rainforest Reserves has a portion of their tour program cost donated by Explorama Lodges to CONAPAC. Overhead costs of CONAPAC, such as boats and drivers, guides, office space, support staff and office expenses are contributed by Explorama Lodges so that donations can be used exclusively for conservation purposes and projects.
* Currently, Explorama holds in private reserve a total of 5,090 acres of prime rainforest which surrounds its five lodges. Explorama provides for its protection from illegal logging and overuse of natural resources. The reserves also serve as an example of how natural resources can be used for profit without destroying them.
* Each year Explorama and Conapac facilitate the delivery of books and school supplies to over 4,500 students and teachers, at 120 schools in 75 villages along the Amazon and Napo Rivers through the Adopt-A-School program.
* Explorama provides boats for all personnel and workshop leaders to the workshops CONAPAC regularly offers to teachers and community leaders in the AAS program. These workshops provide valuable information about issues such as sustainable farming and livestock practices, environmental education and nutritional information for healthy families.
* Each year, volunteers from the USA come to help with the delivery of books and school supplies to all the schools that participate in the Adopt-A-School program. During this week-long effort, Explorama Lodges provides, at no cost to the volunteers, their boats, guides, food and lodging.
* Explorama, with the arrival of Dr. Linnea Smith in 1990, assisted in her effort to build and maintain a medical clinic on the Amazon River, near the Explorama Lodge. This clinic serves the surrounding native population which otherwise have no access to health care unless they undertake a 50 mile trip up river in dugout canoes. Due to extensive river erosion, it was necessary to build a new clinic in 2009, this time on the Yanamono River. The new clinic, right around the corner from the old one, was once again accomplished with the logistical support of Explorama's staff and transportation capabilities.
* Annually over 500 students and adult guests come to stay at the lodges of Explorama to perform "service projects" in surrounding villages. They pay to participate and their fee covers the cost of supplies such as wood, paint, nails, cement, shovels, etc. Projects include construction of community gazebos and playgrounds, painting of schools, construction of latrines, reforestation of fruit trees and other endangered species such as mahogany and rosewood, building and repairing fences. Click here for more details.
* Explorama employs over 180 full-time employees all of whom, except for three, are originally from Iquitos or the surrounding rainforest. This provides substantial employment in a region which is economically underdeveloped, with few opportunities for advancement.
* CONAPAC facilitates a variety of sustainable and productive projects in the communities it serves from small family fish farms to mini-water treatment plants. Each year, little by little, improvements in health and nutrition are being offered and provided to those who live in the rainforest communities through the efforts of Explorama Lodges & CONAPAC.
* Over the course of one year, Explorama welcomes approximately 9,000 tourist-guests to its five lodges. Thus each visitor has an opportunity to see the rainforest first-hand and learn more about its beauty and its challenges Explorama Lodges hope each guest takes home with them a better understanding of why the Amazon rainforest of Peru is so important to us all.
For more information about CONAPAC and its on-going efforts of environmental education and sustainable productive projects in the rainforest visit http://www.conapac.org