tropical plant

Amazon Interactive
The Ecotourism Game

Forest panorama

Build a new tourist lodge

New tourist cabinTourists praise the new lodge as clean and comfortable. A few complain about the generator noise at night, but most are willing to give up the sounds of the night forest for electric lights and ceiling fans. The cultural performances are given in a building specially designed for them, complete with a lighting and sound system.

Tourism has replaced agriculture as the main economic activity in the community. Most Quichua still work in their fields, but only to grow food for household consumption and a bit more to sell. Most of their time is spent cooking and cleaning for tourists. Most enjoy the camaraderie of this work, since they can spend more time together than they could when they worked in the fields.

The type of tourist who comes to the community has changed. No longer the young adventurer, tourists are older now and less interested in personal contact with the Quichua. Few speak Spanish anyway. Most simply want to photograph the older men in traditional grass skirts and feed the pet toucan in the garden. They applaud the cultural program but never ask whether these traditions are maintained outside of the tourism project

The Quichua have noticed the change in the tourists, and they no longer look forward to tourist visits as they once did. Tourism is their job now. They try to do it well, but they give it no more thought once the day is over. They are making more money than ever. Several people have purchased televisions and VCRs, renting videos every week when they take the canoe into the nearest town. Almost everyone has at least a radio now, if not a stereo. Every house has music playing.

Fortunately, few tourists notice. Most rarely leave the tourist compound to walk in the rainforest, preferring instead to stay by the new pool at the lodge.

Though tourism is profitable, most Quichua continue to tend to their crops. The need for rich soil leads many of your neighbors to clear half a hectare for new crops. However, deforestation is held at a minimum due to the ecotourism project.
75% pile of plants
100% pile of coins
Tourism has become a strong and reliable source of income, doubling the annual income for most Quichua. Most people can even afford to send their children to school in the provincial capital.


The ecotourism project is widely considered a success. Some Quichua regret the way that the community now is focused on tourist services rather than traditional Quichua activities, or at least demonstrating traditional Quichua activities to tourists. Other regrets are those that come with progress in any form: the children speak Spanish more than Quichua, the old knowledge of the rainforest is not being passed down to new generations.

But you have avoided the mistakes made by other Quichua communities with their ecotourism projects. You have helped preserve Pangayacu's remaining rainforest and ensured the survival of the community.

This game is based on research into a Quichua ecotourism project in Río Blanco, Ecuador. Learn more about it in at Ecotourism Research and Other Adventures

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