Ecotourism plans get green light in Colombia's Caribbean coast

Ecotourism plans get green light in Colombia's Caribbean coast

THURSDAY, 10 JANUARY 2013 10:17 ROB EDMOND   Tags:    

Tayrona National Park

A long-standing ecotourism project will reconvene after years of suspension due to concerns that the plans may be environmentally damaging, local media reported on Thursday.

According to local media, the project, known as "Reserva Los Ciruelos" or "the plums," was revived initially by Colombia’s National Environmental Licensing Authority (ANLA) on December 27 who, 13 months prior, suspended the 375-acre project.

Initially, the plans for 12 "ecocabins" to be built in Tayrona National Park in the northern Magdelena department by the development company, Reserva los Ciruelos S.A.S, "[used] criteria of ecological architecture, environmental principles and integration with the natural scenery in the area," but were halted due to what the ANLA noted were irregularities in two groundwater wells.

Now that the company has sealed the disputed wells and restored the affected areas, they have been given freedom to continue construction.

Of all the 375 acres Reserva los Ciruelos S.A.S owns, 108 will be used for building the resort.

"Around [267 acres] will be donated to the Tayrona National Park, in support of the Parks Unit's conservation plan," noted the company.

Tayrona national park has seen much publicity in recent times, primarily because ''the jewel of the Colombian Caribbean'' is the location of a proposed seven-star hotel which has been met with much criticism as it was planned on indigenous land.

In addition to the friction between indigenous leaders and the proposed seven-star hotel, Reserva Los Ciruelos S.A.S has also faced public scrutiny. A letter published in El Espectador on Wednesday from a local anthropogist, an environmental engineer and a sociologist, claim the construction of 12 huts would encroach on "sacred indigenous territory."

"We wanted to [put] our concerns in assert the rights of idigenous peoples, and at the same time find ways where we can all, older and together and design a future where nature and culture [celebrate] in its diversity," concluded the letter.


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