Tourism Helping Local Communities at the Madidi National Park: San Miguel
When Madidi was designated as a National Park in 1995, many Tacana communities were outraged by the invasion of their land, it seemed that the formation of the park was a step forward for conservation but a step backward for its inhabitants whose ancient hunting and agricultural traditions and extractive activities were put in jeopardy. San Miguel decided to approach the problem from a different angle, instead of fighting against the inevitable new laws of the protected area, they decided to find alternative economic means, that is when the idea to create a lodge whose main product is the celebration of Tacana culture as well as the amazing biodiversity of the Bolivian Amazon was developed.
Now San Miguel del Bala and the 35 families that own the lodge are benefiting from steady employment and increased health and education. The community of San Miguel welcomes you to come visit our beautiful dream come true, and share in the wonders that sustainable tourism can bring to precious destinations like Madidi National Park.
At San Miguel del Bala we want to make your stay as comfortable as possible, while enjoying all the wonders of the Bolivian Amazon. It is for that reason that we have built two lodges: San Miguel del Bala Lodge and Caquiahuara Lodge. These two ecolodges give our guests the opportunity to stay alongside the Tacana community for a cultural experience as well as offering an amazing adventure inside Madidi National Park (Caquiahuara is only offered on itineraries that stay for 3 days or more). Regardless of the tour you decide to take, San Miguel del Bala is proud to offer our clients the following services.
Our first lodge, San Miguel del Bala, offers 7 Private cabins (one with a double bed, 6 with two twins), private bathrooms, a hammock hut and cultural center, a dormitory cabin for larger groups, and a wonderful restaurant where you eat all your meals by the river.
In our second lodge, Caquihuara (only available on 3 to 5 day itineraries), there are three private rooms, a shared bathroom, and a nice kitchen and dining area for your meals.
SAN MIGUEL DEL BALA ECOLODGE, MADIDI PARK (RURRENABAQUE)
The first lodge is 45 minutes by motor boat from Rurrenabaque, in the buffer zone of the Madidi Park, and the second is situated in the heart of Madidi, in Caquiahuara.
Programs 1-6 days include transportation by motor boat from Rurrenabaque through Beni River, hiking in separate circuits for observing wildlife and bird species endemic to the Madidi, excursions enter Madidi National Park, fishing, learning about medicinal plants, ancient hunting techniques and visit the community of San Miguel.
Location: La Paz, Abel Iturralde Province, Community of San Miguel.
Community: San Miguel is a community of origin Tacana, has 24 families, their main source of income is from agriculture and tourism.
San Miguel Lodge Capacity: 30 people.
Caquiahuara Lodge Capacity: 20 people.
Services: Local guides (English and Spanish), restaurant with local and international food, lodging in cabins typical design, circuit ecotourism, transportation by motor boat.