Sustainable Palo Santo Factory Tour: Ecuador’s Sacred Wood

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Smells like a great tour!
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  • 9AM TourStart Time: 09:00Available: 10 seats
  • 2PM TourStart Time: 14:00Available: 10 seats

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Looking for something a little different? At Impactful Travel, we specialize in crafting custom itineraries tailored to your unique travel desires and ethical values.

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  • Duration3-4 Hours
  • All year roundTour can start at 9am or 2pm
  • Bookings At least three days in advance
  • Starting point Your hotel in downtown Puerto López
  • Group size1 -10 pax (absolute maximum: 16)

This Palo Santo Factory Tour is a unique and transformative experience that goes beyond a typical factory tour.

You’ll be greeted by the owner, Dante Bolcato, a man whose commitment transcends his business. His dedication towards his employees, the natural environment from where the Palo Santo is sourced, and sustainable practices is palpable and inspiring. Palo Santo, or ‘sacred wood,’ is renowned for its therapeutic properties. Furthermore, Bolcato aids local communities in Ecuador’s coastal region by creating perfumes, essences, and burnable sticks from Palo Santo, which are not only useful for repelling mosquitoes but also provide a source of livelihood.

As you set foot in this enchanting place, you’ll realize that the Palo Santo products made here have a superior quality (that much that they have global reach, extending all the way to Rome!)

With over 20 years of relentless effort, Bolcato has shaped the factory into a nurturing workplace. It supports three generations of local families, empowering them economically. The factory’s unique stakeholding structure ensures that all employees have a share in the business, fostering a deep sense of ownership and camaraderie. With a particular emphasis on supporting women, the factory is not just a place of work but a thriving community.

Artisanal methods and forest conservation

The factory prides itself on its artisanal methods. There is minimal use of machinery, with most processes being carried out by hand. Some techniques are shrouded in a captivating mystique, adding an element of surprise to the factory’s ambiance.

The factory’s commitment to environmental sustainability is unwavering. The wood used for their Palo Santo products is never sourced from living, standing trees. Instead, it is carefully collected by hand from the ground, ensuring no harm comes to the thriving forests. Not to say that a 50 hectare conservation area has been declared in the region impulsed by the enterprise.

The factory and its owner welcome visitors with open arms. As you explore, you’ll likely meet other curious guests, creating a lively and engaging atmosphere. Be sure to visit the quaint shop on the premises where you can purchase an array of Palo Santo products, including essential oil, incense, and wood sticks.


Discover more Puerto López Tours & Activities

Puerto Lopez is an enchanting destination that provides a range of tours and activities to explore. Want to actively participate in conservation efforts? Why not try our unique experience: “Las Tunas Sea Turtle Beach Center: A Day Like a Volunteer.” Or another but also very unique wildlife experience: “Whale Watching in Puerto Lopez: Isla de la Plata Tour“.


Puerto López Travel Guide

Looking for more ways to explore the vibrant city of Puerto López? Dive into our comprehensive Travel Guide to Puerto López! Packed with local insights and sustainable travel tips, this guide is your passport to an authentic and impactful journey. Discover hidden gems, get a taste of local flavors, and connect with the heart and soul of Puerto López in a way that respects the environment and supports local communities. Let’s make your trip to Puerto López not just a vacation, but a transformative experience.


Travel beyond Puerto López

From (or to) Puerto López, there are other Ecuador destinations that might spark your interest. Guayaquil is close, and holds some surprises in its region. Of course, Puerto López is also well connected to Quito, from where you can continue exploring Otavalo & Ibarra or the Amazon, around Tena.

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What makes this experience Impactful?

Environmental preservation: as the wood is only collected from the ground, new saplings are continuously planted, and a novel conservation area has been established to preserve the forest.

Community Empowerment and Local Economy Benefits: when preserving the traditional, artisanal methods of crafting Palo Santo products and by being a place that supports various generations of numerous local families.


Price Includes

  • Visit to a Palo Santo Factory
  • English-speaking guideHe/she will accompany you from your hotel and throughout the visit as a translator
  • A Palo Santo souvenir

Price Excludes

What to Bring

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Sustainable Palo Santo Factory Tour: Ecuador's Sacred Wood

What is Palo Santo?

Palo Santo is an aromatic wood that comes from dry coastal forests of South America. The name originates from Spanish, and translates to “holy wood” or “sacred tree”. It is often used as incense and is widely spread in many cultures and spiritual practices.

What are Palo Santo uses and benefits?

From mosquito repellent to medical treatments, the “Holy Wood”, has a great variety of properties. It is commonly used by burning it in the form of incense or small tablets, the oil is used in massages and mixed with other essences to obtain exquisite perfumes highly recommended for aromatherapy.

More about the uses and benefits of Palo Santo on Dante’s own website.

Can anyone visit this place considering that it involves strong fragrances?

Indeed, the fragrance of Palo Santo can sometimes be too intense for some individuals. According to forums, some people find the aroma quite sharp and liken it to the smell of burning rubber.

Also a blog post mentions that although some find the scent reminiscent of licorice and nostalgic, this implies that the scent might not appeal to everyone.

An article on Palo Santo also acknowledges that the aroma released by burning the real sticks can be quite strong, and some indicate that the scent is very penetrative and intense, which may contribute to its reputation for clearing energy but might also be overwhelming for some.

Is this a private excursion or will I share the experience with other travelers?

Your guide is private, but there might be other people visiting the factory simultaneously as you. In this case, you will take part in the Spanish-spoken tour with Dante himself (if he is available) and your guide will be translating to ensure you undertstand everything!

Do I have to pay any entrance fees?

The entrance fee to the factory is, of course, already included in the tour price. 

How can I see the prices for this tour for my amount of travellers?

If you want to see the price for your situation, please select an amount of travelers on the right side of the website (or the top, on mobile). You will then see that total price for your party right above it. For some tours, the price will change according to the amount of people. 

General questions

For questions about booking a tour, prices, preparation for your trip, health and safety or other themes, please check our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you can’t find your question & answer, email us and we’ll add it!

Your Host
Dante Bolcato, owner of the Palo Santo Factory in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador | Impactful Travel

Dante Bolcato

Dante Bolcato is a dedicated entrepreneur and the owner of El Artesan, the Palo Santo factory promoted on this tour. Originally from Italy, Bolcato fell in love with Puerto Lopez and decided to spend the rest of his life there, apparently, after just three days of visiting the place.

He is well-known for his commitment to social and environmental sustainability. His business practices reflect a deep respect for the environment and the local community.

In terms of environmental responsibility, Bolcato has been actively involved in reforestation efforts. Understanding the importance of the Palo Santo tree to the local ecosystem and its cultural significance.

As for social responsibility, the factory provides employment opportunities for locals, contributing to the economy of Puerto Lopez. He also ensures that his employees work in safe conditions and are treated fairly.

His commitment to his work has spanned over 21 years, during which he has not only built a successful business but also made a positive impact on the environment and the local community.