Casa del Suizo was founded by Arnold Ammeter, otherwise known by his friends as “Beni.” Hailing from Interlaken, Switzerland, Beni arrived at Ahuano (in the Napo province) in 1985 with his two daughters – ages 14 and 12 – with a high level of interest in finding new horizons and starting a new life. In time, Beni bought several pieces of land right on the Napo River in Punta Ahuano where he began a number of startups – a convenience store and the production of cacao, coffee and gold – while nurturing his dream of having a hotel one day.
It happens that just beyond that exact spot of the Napo River where Beni chose to settle there was dangerous whirlpool that the locals preferred to avoid, and thus Beni’s newly established convenience store was in a crucial location that was capable of providing goods to the locals while freeing them from having to cross the whirlpool. As the business grew, so did Beni’s clientele; eventually leading him to do business with nearby towns like Misahualli and Tena. As a result of this, and with his influx of income, Beni’s dream finally came to fruition – the creation of his first hotel on the shores of the Napo River began.
It started in 1986 with just three rooms located on the upper part of the convenience store itself, all of which shared a bathroom. During this time, transportation by land was quite limited and a lot of people traveled by boat along the area. Those headed for Misahualli to Francisco de Orellana (Coca), or vice-versa, often stopped by la “Casa de Beni” (or as it later came to be known: Casa del Suizo) to spend the night – a convenience that helped many of them avoid having to the deal with the dreaded whirlpool after sunset. Beni himself would cook for his guests while his daughters, who studied in Ahuano, helped him out after school.
In 1987, a powerful earthquake shook the region and a number of the roads were destroyed and closed. Beni took the initiative to buy a fleet of large canoes and began offering transport service for people in and around the affected areas. He also helped oil companies mobilize their employees and equipment to and from the jungle during this time. Thanks to Beni’s decision to do so, his hotel business continued to grow well into the 90’s, by which point he had 30 rooms. In 1994, he finished the construction of the hotel which by then included 75 rooms, 1 pool and a large restaurant.
La Casa del Suizo is proud to be one of the biggest employers in the entire province, generating over 80 on-site jobs and 40 off-site jobs.