Sunday, August 19, 2012
Geo Turismo Amazonico
We took a step out on the wild side and started something recently. It's called Geo-Turismo Amazonico, a non-profit organization designed to promote tourism in the Amazon Basin of South America. After some years of geocaching networking in Ecuador we decided to move into the Amazon region in order to promote the sport/game and at the same time provide periodic small business opportunities for some of the tribal people in areas of touristic interest. We are at work trying to extend the game through several countries. Our experience in the mountains of Ecuador with geocaching started out slowly. When we started caching back in 2007 you could count the number of geocaches within several hundred miles of where we lived on one hand. Things have changed now. We started by placing caches in key places of touristic interest as well as in the Metropolitan Park overlooking the Quito. Most of the time we placed caches with the average tourist in mind. Travel bug hotels needed to be highly accessible to a tourist who only has a short while to grab a taxi and get to the park before having to return to his hotel or to the airport. "If you building it they will come" was the famous line from the movie Field of Dreams. I can't say that by placing caches we necessarily increased the number of tourist coming into the country but we definitely attracted some of those coming to the country to the caches. After a short time I started getting contacts from Europe and the US wanting to meet up with me and go geocaching. To me this was one of the highlights of my geocaching experience while there. Then the field broadened to include several more Ecuadorians. This happened a computer programmer and an Ecuadorian Army officer became interested in GPS technology and found geocaching. When they began finding and hiding caches we began to see an expansion of the sport into some great locations of interest to tourist. I say all this because I dream of seeing something similar happen in the Amazon Basin. It may take a while but this is our hope! Stay tuned to Andean Trekker (yeah, I am keeping the name because we are going to try to keep both the high and low country in our sights). I would welcome any ideas you might have to how to promote geocaching and tourism in the Amazon region of Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. We have some ideas and will soon be meeting with the municipal leaders in one of the larger Amazonian towns to discuss our ideas.