Tom Larson has twenty-five years of experience in sustainable conservation and development work in Ecuador. He holds Masters in Science and is the former Chief of Environmental Education for the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands. Tom is an ex-Peace Corps Volunteer as well as an ex-Peace Corps Training Director. To top things off Larson also has fifteen years of experience with the US Forest Service in Oregon, USA. Now, as the owner of Arajuno Jungle Lodge, Tom seeks to create the best settings for guests to have profound and unique experiences learning, laughing, and healing in the pristine environment of the Amazon jungle.
How do the experiences you offer at Arajuno Jungle Lodge give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of your region?
We are a married couple living a sustainable lifestyle by example. My wife is a native kichwa of the Amazon and I am an ex Peace Corps Volunteer with 25 years experience in sustainable development in Ecuador.
How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?
We now have a lot more time and experience with sustainable development and conservation work with many live examples at the lodge and in the local area.
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
We are one of the very few lodges that is actually owned and operated by the owners living on site and providing personal contact with each and every guest.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider participating in the experiences you offer?
That we are unique in offering highly personalized experience and first hand experience as to what it means to be doing real Ecotourism work and living what we teach.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
Volunteerism. Many more people are looking for more than just an entertaining experience. They want to participate and help.
What sets Arajuno apart from other, similar, jungle lodges?
We walk the walk and talk the talk. When you visit us you are guests in our home and lifestyle.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
Be active and ask lots of questions as well as fully participate if you want to learn and help.
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
Word of mouth promotion and working with Trip Advisor. A lot of people rely on comments and reviews offered at Trip Advisor.
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
Living the life of simplicity and teaching it to others.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
Participating in the capture and inventory of Yellow Spotted turtles then later releasing them as part of our on going turtle rescue project.