Reinventing a Life in the Amazon – Yachana School & Lodge

Who starts a school in the middle of the Ecuadorean Amazon? Proving that life can always provide serendipity, Douglas McMeekin found himself bankrupt in his forties but with an opportunity to move to Ecuador. Originally from the US, Douglas worked for six years in the Amazon as an environmental and cultural consultant for eight different oil companies.  This experience provided the catalyst he needed to begin Yachana Foundation and a way to give sustainable help to the Amazonian people.Yachana Lodge Ecuador

In 1992 he began by building six schools and training teachers in 27 communities. Within a couple years he started buying rainforest to preserve. Then, he started Yachana Lodge, a world-class eco-tourism lodge on the banks of the Napo River, in order to generate funds to support the foundation.  Since then, in true entrepreneur spirit, he has built upon the foundation, starting a fair trade organization, medical clinics, more schools, community pharmacies, and a first of its kind Amazonian boarding school – and he’s not finished yet. The impact of one man’s vision has reverberated throughout the Ecuadorian Amazon, providing opportunities and education for those at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

YACHANA is a Kichwa indigenous word that means “a place for learning.” Its mission is to provide community-based solutions to poverty and environmental conservation in the rainforest. Training programs create opportunities of employment, health and entrepreneurism with a focus on social, economic and environmental sustainability. Yachana has been internationally recognized for sustainable ecotourism by National Geographic – Ashoka Changemakers, Conde Nást Traveller, Skål International, Rainforest Concern, Smart Voyager and Rainforest Alliance.Yachana classroom Ecuador

I visited Yachana lodge and foundation and left with the inspiration to share his story. Douglas and I talk about the how and why of his foundation.


Click here for the transcript of the podcast – Starting a Foundation in the Amazon – Yachana

Yachana Lodge Information


Yachana Lodge Room Ecuador AmazonYachana Lodge Room Amazon Ecuador ext


Some Amazon sounds – the first is night / then dawn – the wildlife and sounds are amazing!

Comments, questions? – now it’s your turn

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact Us

We'd love to hear from you so send us an email.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt
Berlin Brandenburg GateMachu Picchu Salkantay Trail, Peru