April 28, 2020
With the world seemingly shrinking on a continual basis, the ability to see native or indigenous people is becoming more and more rare. Obviously, visiting a village that caters to tourists visiting them to learn about their culture and see the way that they have lived for centuries isn’t truly the same as seeing a culture that has been untouched be external forces. In this day and age, it is probably the closest that most people will ever get to having that experience. Visiting one of these villages is still better than going to a place that attempts to reenact what life would have been like during the time of their origins, but both serve their own purpose.
We have had a variety of different opportunities to see people living much as they always have as well as places that depict the life of their ancestors. There is much to learn about a culture either way, but certainly interacting with actual indigenous people is a fascinating experience. Here a few of our favorite experiences, but we look forward to having new opportunities in the future.
- An Emberá Village in Panama – During our trip to Panama City, we had the opportunity to take a canoe trip into the jungle to visit one of the many different Emberá villages. Our guide took us to one of the villages that didn’t receive many visitors and we were the only ones there during our time there, making the interaction more unique.
- DakshinaChitra Cultural Living Museum in India – Meant to be a representation of all of the cultures of Southern India. It features 18 authentic historical houses that were deconstructed from their original region and then reconstructed by artisans from the region on the grounds of the museum.
- Amazonian Village in Napo, Ecuador – Located in the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador is the Napo Wildlife Center, which is run by a local Amazonian tribe. As part of staying at the ecolodge you get the opportunity to visit their village and see how they live. They strive to keep their lives as close to their ancestors as possible.
- Settlement Centre in Borgarnes, Iceland – Learning about the Vikings that settled Iceland was certainly a fascinating experience. We took a tour through the museum, which consisted of two thirty-minute audio tours that covered the history of how the Vikings first came to populate Iceland as well as their turbulent history once they arrived.
- Chimboata, Bolivia – We had the opportunity to see several small villages in the Bolivian countryside, but seeing the “ghost town” of Chimboata was very enlightening. It gave us an opportunity to see how people were moving on from their rural lives to try and better themselves and the impact it had on this historic town.
- Warwick Castle in England – With wax statues throughout the mansion depicting daily life at the turn of the 19th century, this is a very typical display meant to provide historical and cultural context. We have seen many such places in various countries, some of them using live actors like in Jamestown, Virginia, but Warwick Castle was certainly interesting in its own way.
Regardless of where we travel, we are always interested in learning as much about the culture and history of the people that live in that country or region. It is a balancing act for countries to grow and become more and more modern while at the same time keeping their history alive and accessible to those who visit them.