Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | March 17, 2011

Amazon’s Remaining Ticuna Indians Ban Tourists

The indigenous of the village of Nazareth, off Colombia’s Amazon River, have banned tourists. Under Colombian law, they are allowed to regulate access to their community.

Last year 35,000 tourists came to the Colombian Amazon, a peninsula sandwiched between Brazil and Peru, to admire the flora, the fauna and the monkeys, and to swim with rare pink dolphins. But the indigenous never saw much of the benefits, and they complain it was the travel agencies who made the big money. Instead, tourists contaminated their water and left behind rubbish. They also do not like the tourists’ intrusive questions about their culture, which seem like an attempt to gain sacred knowledge.

Eighty percent of the indigenous of the Amazon are Ticuna indians, and sadly, the United Nations estimates there are only around 30,000 remaining Ticuna people.


  1. Hi, Paula.

    My friends and I just spent a week living with a Ticuna family in San Martin, Colombia as part of our documentary shoot on communities in the Amazon. It was pretty amazing, but we’re still scratching our sancudo bites. I found your website while doing research for the film. Check out our website when you get a chance! When the film comes together, we’d love to hear what you think.

    Lewis Manalo

    • Lewis:
      I would love to see the documentary. How fascinating. You are welcome to be a guest blogger and tell us about it, if you’d like. My email is:, if you want to talk more about guest blogging.

  2. It seems to me the real concern here is not precise demographics but that a community that likes their way of life feels threatened and humiliated by slovenly, disrespectful tourists. Could it not be beneficial to the Ticuna to educate the public on the richness of their culture and their desire for privacy, or would that serve as a tourism campaign? It is sad that communities or individuals anywhere in the world have trouble fending off intrusion by governments or enterprises that finance political careers both local and central.

  3. I would love to know the source for this. Please. Janet

    • Hi Janet:
      It was United Nations, and local newspapers that have been covering this sporadically.

  4. I am skeptical of the allegation that 80% of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon are Ticuna indians. In Brazil alone there are between 300,000 (low estimate) and 700,000 (higher estimate) indigenous peoples. 30,000 is indeed large for a single group, but the Yanomai (with over 20,000) and the E. Tukano (with over 20,000) together number 50,000. The Ticuna are located both in Colombia and in Brazil. I suspect the 30,000 refers to a single nation.

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