Supporting sustainable tourism in Bolivia

Caritas Australia works to enhance the living conditions of Indigenous communities in Bolivia by promoting sustainable tourism.

Eco tourism

About the program

The Ethno Ecotourism Project managed by the Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular aims to address the challenge of poverty in the most marginalised communities in Bolivia.

Nelson with a rescued turtle

The Yuqui-Yuracaré Indigenous Community Lands are spread over more than 115,000 hectares of land in the Puerta Villarroel and Chimoré municipalities in the Department of Cochabamba. The Indigenous lands can only be reached by boat.

The Indigenous communities spend much of their time practicing subsistence farming, as well as hunting, fishing and gathering wild fruit. They also make crafts, tools and household utensils.

The Ethno Ecotourism Project aims to enhance the living conditions of the Indigenous peoples by promoting sustainable tourism in the area. By tapping into the region’s tourism potential, the program promotes skills development in women and children, gender equality, environmental conservation, natural resource management, income generation and respect for traditional cultural practices.

The program develops the capacity of women and children by channelling their social, economic and cultural potential into integrated tourism. Children take part in agro-food projects and forest nursery management.

Developing sustainable tourism related infrastructure improves housing and basic services for the communities involved.

The project also consolidates the cultural practices of the Indigenous communities, encouraging music, dance, knowledge about medicinal plants, forest management, craft and oral traditions of storytelling, myths and legends.

Rosa's story

Bolivia's isolated Yuquí-Yuracaré Indigenous Community Lands can only be accessed by boat. Poverty and social inequality are a daily reality here, where Rosa lives with her husband and five children.


Caritas Australia and our local partner CINEP (Centre for Research and Popular Education) helps the river communities to access their rights. Together, Rosa explains, an innovative community tourism project was developed, "to respond to our cultural identity, preserve our 'big house' and improve our income."

The program helped the communities audit their plants and animals, establish nurseries to repopulate deforested areas and build a basic Tourist Information Centre. 

"Our dreams are shared with CINEP and Caritas Australia – that makes us feel it is possible to move forward," Rosa said when she featured in Project Compassion 2011. "Thanks to the efforts of each family we are achieving our empowerment as a people. Hopefully it expands to other communities."

Watch a short video on the Ethno Tourism Project which highlights some of the key activities used to build the capacity and children and women in their communities:


Program details


  • Issues: Women and development; Education; Climate justice; Indigenous rights
  • Partner Agency: Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular
  • Funding in 2014/15 financial year: US $80,000
  • Geographic location: Amazon sub-basin, Department of Cochabamba, Bolivia
  • When established: 2008
  • This program is supported by Australian Aid.