Santa Lucía is a community that consists of 12 families who own 680 hectares neighboring the northwest part of the Maquipucuna Reserve. With the help of the Fundación Maquipucuna, Santa Lucia members turned their unsustainable timber exploitation into one the most beautiful community run ecotourism operations.
They acquired their land through the Agricultural Reform Law, which said that to secure property of land, “colonos” or colonizers had to provide proof of possession by clearing at least half of the area. Before Maquipucuna's work with Santa Lucía, their only income came from selling timber cleared from the forest. Their mules loaded with planks of timber rustically sawed was a sad, yet common, view from the Maquipucuna lodge.
Maquipucuna was determined to help Santa Lucia curb deforestation, so it started a reforestation and social forestry program. Those were useful activities that brought together Santa Lucia and Maquipucuna, but they were not sufficient to curb deforestation. Things started turning for the better when Maquipucuna facilitated the preparation of a feasibility study of ecotourism and then raised funds to buy a piece of land for the community ecotourism project, for training and to initiate construction of the lodge. Good leadership and a group of farmers that knew how to take advantage of opportunities have lead Santa Lucia to operate one of the most beautiful community run ecotourism lodges.