A maloca is a large house of the Amazon region. Common in certain areas of Brazil and Colombia, malocas often house several related families at once. Malocas house several generations and extended family members. Traditionally, residents were laid to rest under the maloca where they once slept.

A maloca may also be referred to as a longhouse. Malocas are divided into apartment-like areas for each family. These areas are where each family unit eats and sleeps.

The maloca also contains a common area for spiritual rituals and dancing. Within this space, residents of the maloca often imbibe the psychoactive brew known as ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is an important part of spiritual and healing rituals for many indigenous peoples of the Amazon.

Outside of the maloca, there is designated space for crops, known as the chagra. Heirloom seeds are an incredibly important part of the farming process — seeds are passed down through the generations with the utmost care.

What is Maloca Made of?

Maloca are typically made of strong support beams and large thatched straw roofs. The roof of the maloca could be made of woven palm leaves, grass, or banana leaves. This is typical of many houses found in rainforest regions.

For the builders of the maloca and its residents, it is more than just a few walls and a roof. The maloca is a spiritual, divinely inspired dwelling. Maloca are often crafted under the direction of a shaman.

While some may consider the construction method of the maloca “primitive,” malocas are strong, sturdy, and built to last for many generations.