When Madidi National Park was formed 1995, many Tacana communities were outraged by the invasion of the Bolivian government onto their land. It seemed that the formation of the park was a step forward for conservation but a step backward for its inhabitants. San Miguel was one of the communities whose ancient hunting and agricultural traditions were put in jeopardy by the formation of Madidi. Many villages fought the idea of a protected area, and continued extractive activities like logging, hunting, and slash and burn agriculture.
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 occurred to create a lodge whose main product is the celebration of Tacana culture as well as the amazing biodiversity of the Bolivian Amazon.
The community sought out the help of funds from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and technical assistance from large NGOs to build the infrastructure and create the capacity among the community to run the lodge. The lodge was finished in 2005 with a huge effort from the community, who took a relatively small donation and turned it into high quality infrastructure and service.
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.