norms for visiting an indigenous community in ecuador

Study Spanish Ecuador

Norms of Conduct for Visiting an Indigenous Community



Ø       Prior to your visit, try to learn as much as you can about the customs and culture of the community.

Ø       Be understanding and respectful of the community’s concepts of time, space, and culture, which may differ greatly from your own.

Ø       Adapt to the conditions of daily life in the community, particularly in regards to food and accomodations.  Do not expect special arrangements unless absolutely imperative.

Ø       Always ask permission before taking photos.

Ø       Respect the community’s  historical and cultural sites-- Avoid carrying away “souvenirs.”

Ø       Obtain permission before entering natural areas or sacred sites.

Ø       Respect and obey local laws.

Ø       Respect the religious beliefs and system of your hosts snd refrain from prosletyzing or seeking to challenge their beliefs or promote your own.


Personal and Possessions

Ø       Try to avoid bringing/exhibiting jewelry, personal gadgets, or other items of value in the community.

Ø       Do not give away your possessions to individuals within the community as this can cause rivalries and jealousy in a small community.

Ø       Do not loan money to guides, members of the community, and/or directors/employees of the community’s central office.

Ø       If you enjoy your experience in the community and want to find a means of thanking them, consider making a small donation to the community organization. Try to avoid handing out money to individuals, as this may set up false expectations towards future guests and create rivalry within the community.  And make your donation reasonably public so that more than one person knows that you have donated.Yanapuma will be happy to receive your donation and administer it on your behalf.

Ø       Avoid intimate contact with guides or members of the community.  Such behavior can affect moral and/or cultural traditions in the community, can change locals expectations of their future guests and compromise future visitors enjoyment of the community.

Ø       Be aware of local customs and norms regarding nudity and always behave accordingly (in the heat, swimming, bathing, bed-time, etc.).



Ø       Do not leave plastics, glass, batteries, or other items that cannot be recycled easily.  Any waste brought into a remote community should be carried out upon leaving.

Ø       Consume as little energy (electricity, hot water, etc.) as possible. Remember that it probably represents a much greater cost to the community than in your own home situation.

Ø       Use natural, biodegradable bathing products (shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc.).

Ø       Avoid taking excessive quantities of personal care products.

Ø       Do not remove/damage local flora or fauna.

Ø       If participating in curative practices with medicinal plants or other forest resources, follow instructions carefully.

Ø       Appreciate/observe local fauna without disturbing/harming it.

Ø       Learn about local endangered species and do not contribute to their extinction--No hunting, collecting, exchanging, or consuming of local species.

Ø       Generally speaking, the community/visited areas should experience minimal physical and social impacts through your presence.


Ø       Do not hesitate to share constructive criticisms/opinions/suggestions with the local organization. Remember that you are there to help them to develop sustainably.

Ø       Learn about the problems facing the community so as to develop and disseminate informational materials upon returning to your home country.