|View of tourist campsite "El Playón." |
Photo by: Jensen Montambault
|View of small rapids at the base of the Salto Pará falls.|
|The Salto Pará is the primary tourist destination in the |
Río Caura (View from above)
How would you like a group of Japanese tourists snapping pictures of you as you step out of the shower or as you pick your nose while watching TV?
Probably not that much!
This is how the Ye'kwana people view tourists who used to go to the most distant part of the river basin.
Most Ye'kwana have converted to western clothing, but still we passed many curiaras where most people are naked or wearing very little clothes. It's beautiful (and comfortable – especially because there were very few mosquitoes in the upper-Caura).
When I worked with the Ye'kwana in March, they told me that they feel exploited when people take these pictures. "They make postcards and sell them and they are taking a piece of our souls out of the Caura."
"Tourists may now only go up to the Salto Pará. Day trips are supervised by the Ye'kwana to hike up to this view and return to El Playón at the foot of the falls to sleep. That way the sanctity of the Caura is preserved.
LEARN MORE: Ecotourism
'"We come in peace," one of them shouts at us.'
On out last day in camp, we got a taste of our own medicine. As the AquaRAP team bathed in the river, soapy and up to our necks in water, a tourist boat pulled up laden with young college kids. "We come in peace," one of them shouts at us. I like to think they realized that we were visitors too, but there were a few awkward moments as we tried to keep bathing, they kept watching, and finally went away!
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