The Coati Community thrives on Isla de la Luna, a magical 1.05 km² island on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca. The 27 Aymara families (around 70 inhabitants) living there engage in fishing, trout farming, subsistence agriculture, handicrafts, and tourism. Solar panels provide electricity, while the lake serves as their main water source.
Since 2014, the Coati community has collaborated with the Bolivian Amphibian Initiative (BAI) to generate scientific data and protect the endangered Titicaca water frog (Telmatobius culeus). Over time, this partnership led to the organic emergence of an idea within the local community: the creation of the "Sanctuary of the Titicaca Water Frog." This visionary sanctuary comprises various management regions, striking a balance between conserving biodiversity on the island and promoting sustainable development for the community.
Inspired by their collective experiences, the Coati community embraced the idea of ecotourism, specifically snorkeling, to explore the fascinating underwater world of the Titicaca water frog. This initiative offers visitors a rare chance to swim in the world's highest lake while witnessing the captivating habitat and its remarkable inhabitants.
In 2017, together with the Coati community, we developed a seven-month pilot project called Ecotourism for Titicaca's water frog conservation. During this period, visitors to the island were provided with the unique opportunity to observe and swim in Lake Titicaca while wearing neoprene suits and snorkeling equipment. Since then, with the exception of the COVID period, the project has continued, hosting between 4 and 6 groups each year.
At BAI, we believe in experiencing and appreciating nature as a prerequisite to raising and preserving awareness. Ecotourism is a suggested activity in the Titicaca Frog Sanctuary, serving as a means to conserve the Titicaca water frog and its habitat. It offers economic benefits to the community and contributes to species conservation. Ecotourism also educates both locals and visitors about the significance of preserving the frog and its ecosystem.
Snorkeling is a way to connect with nature, allowing tourists to enjoy and learn about T. culeus. It ensures minimal environmental impact, preserving the frog's habitat, and is a highly sought-after activity at 3810 meters above sea level, providing a magical experience. This activity benefits the frog, its habitat, and the local communities. If you are interested in supporting or you wish to swim alongside this unique frog, simply reach out to us.