Built along Lake Titicaca on Bolivia’s mystical Island of the Sun, Ecolodge La Estancia is an ecotourism project that represents and preserves the traditions of the local Aymara culture.
Building a lodge at 4,010 meters above sea level
Over two decades ago, we began the construction of Ecolodge La Estancia with the help of local men and women from the community. They brought in their knowledge of working with local materials such as stones and adobe (mudbricks), which perfectly combined with the eco-design that is the foundation of our lodge.
Our goal was to build a one-of-a-kind lodge that would harmoniously co-exist with its surroundings. After over 20 years, we are proud to say that we have achieved our goal of generating opportunities for the indigenous community while caring for the environment.
Eco-design merged with local architecture
The lodge has been built over restored agricultural terraces which date back to the pre-Columbian era. This gives our guests the opportunity to walk through our gardens and experience the ancestralism of the Island of the Sun. The use of local materials such as mud bricks (adobe), straw and stone ensure a low environmental impact while maintaining Andean architectural traditions. Water on the Island of the Sun is a critical resource, which is why we encourage both staff and guests to make smart use of it.
To aid us further, we also have a rainwater recycling filter system and a re-use system for sewage. A solid waste management also forms part of our program as we have a comprehensive solid waste management system that classifies and applies suitable treatments for each kind of waste. We generate organic fertilizer, which is later used in our gardens and greenhouse to develop the growth of our organic production.
Our Gardens and Ecological Greenhouse
To preserve and protect the environment on the Island of the Sun, we have a garden filled with native plants and trees such as Kantuta, Quiswara and Queñua. We have discovered that as we take care of our flora, we are also ensuring the existence and the wellbeing of our fauna: every day you can enjoy the singing and flying by of different kinds of native birds. We also have an ecological greenhouse, where we produce organic food and herbs, which are then used for our restaurant and bar menus; rich flavors, textures and colors in aim of exposing the culinary richness of the Andes.
Employment and Our Role in the community
Ecolodge La Estancia provides both permanent and subcontracted employment opportunities for people of the island’s different communities. This way we successfully manage to integrate the lodge into The communities and promote economic and social growth. Our staff is constantly receiving training therefore improving the quality of our service whilst allowing them to acquire skills for their future. In addition, we also contribute with monthly fees to support various community projects.
Donkeys and Llamas, Our Beloved Pack Animals
Operating a lodge on an island that has no cars has its challenges. We would not be able to do everything we do if it were not for the animals that help us every day. At La Estancia, we are committed to the fair and respectful treatment of all pack animals (llamas and donkeys), which transport groceries, materials and luggage to and from our lodge. We strongly believe it is vital they receive adequate care, which is why we contribute additional funds for their well-being.
The Neighbors of La Estancia
In choosing to visit our neighbors you can learn more about the Aymara culture. They live in small traditional houses with small patios, and will receive you to tell you about their life on the Island of the Sun. They will share with you stories about the legacy of their ancestors, artifacts and utensils found in their home. This visit does have an additional cost, which goes directly to the family. If you are interested in visiting our neighbors, please contact our manager.