TourCert Journal

Women’s power in community-based tourism in Ecuador

Gebäude auf dem Gelände der Gemeinde Sinchi Warmi


Amupakin and Sinchi Warmi are committed to the preservation of local culture and traditional medicine

Community-based tourism is a form of tourism, in which travellers spend holidays in rural indigenous communities in order to get in touch with the local population and learn about their lives, culture and traditions in an authentic way. This creates new income opportunities locally, promotes sustainable development and contributes to nature conservation. The consulting and certification company TourCert is committed to sustainable tourism and has been participating in the project “Turismo Comunitario” in Ecuador since 2017. This project has now been completed with great success and has more than fulfilled its objectives:

The community of Yunguilla was able to establish itself as a strong project-carrier, bring other communities on board and get them enthusiastic about the development of the organisation and the establishment of a network, including marketing by domestic agencies. The closing event took place at the end of May together with eight communities, who joyfully presented their customs and traditions and proudly accepted their certificates. Four communities have achieved the TourCert Label, another four successfully completed the TourCert Check.

Gruppe der zertifizierten und ausgezeichneten Gemeinden in Ecuador © TourCert
The group of certified and awarded communities

The communities of Amupakin and Sinchi Warmi are particularly impressive. The two organisations are characterised by groups of self-organised, knowledgeable women, who are committed to the preservation of traditional customs, local culture and flora. They support the local people and offer visitors an intensive cultural experience in health and community tourism.

Sinchi Warmi started about eleven years ago as an organization of 15 women. The name means “strong woman” in their mother tongue. Also called “Daughters of the Forest”, they show strength and wisdom through their ancestral knowledge of the forest. The community is located in the province of Napo, 25 km east of the city of Tena. The ecotourism project offers guests various nature, adventure and cultural experiences and includes accommodation, a restaurant, hiking trails and activities such as forest walks, agricultural demonstrations and cultural events. Sinchi Warmi also offers packages for 2 days/3 nights as an excursion from Quito.

Kräuterzubereitung © Amupakin
Preparation of Andean medicinal plants

Amupakin is an association of Kichwa midwives in the upper Napo area that is particularly committed to strengthening traditional medicine and revitalizing the Kichwa culture in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest. María Antonia Shiguango Chimbo founded the association in 1996 with a group of 19 women. With the support of various organizations such as the Spanish Red Cross, they began to care for pregnant women in a health center. Today the midwives also cultivate medicinal plants and pass on their knowledge to residents and visitors.

“Here at Amupakin we offer care for women before, after and during pregnancy in the Napo region of Ecuador. We use traditional Amazonian practices that we learned as teenagers from our mothers and grandmothers as the medicine of plants. We want to ensure that the knowledge of patients, volunteers, apprentices and tourist groups lives on,” the women say about themselves.

Zwei Hebammen © Amupakin
Two Kichwa midwives of Amupakin in traditional garment

Guests can attend workshops and conferences on naturopathy and traditional culture, take walks in the community garden to learn about plants and herbs, learn the Kichwa language, or indulge in health treatments such as steam baths and massages. Amupakin also offers packages for 2 days/3 nights as an excursion from Quito.

Further information and contact details for these two communities can be found on the sites and More information on the project “Turismo Comunitario” is available here. Due to the successful course of the project, a follow-up project was initiated to transfer the concept to the neighbouring countries Peru and Colombia.

community-based tourism, Ecuador, nature conservation, tradition, women