SATIPO, Peru, January 28, 2023 – Amazon Canoe Challenge, a unique event that combines the thrill of adventure with a meaningful impact, announced the debut of its first edition, a canoe race through the Amazon that prioritizes community impact and sustainable tourism. The challenge, set to take place on June 11-19, 2023, will see participants racing along the Ene and Tambo rivers of the Amazon in traditional canoes, while also raising funds and awareness for the Ashaninka indigenous communities who call the region home.
The race is the first event of its kind in the region. Participants will not only be able to experience the thrill of navigating the Amazon but also have the opportunity to learn about and support the Ashaninka communities that host teams along the river course. Each event supports the communities of the Ene and Tambo rivers through donations (financial and equipment), workshops and training, and the provision of local goods and services from the Ashaninka.
“The Amazon Canoe Challenge is a unique opportunity for adventure-seekers to experience the beauty of the Amazon while also giving back to the communities who call it home,” said Carlos Heine, race director of the Amazon Canoe Challenge. “We are thrilled to launch this event and extremely proud of the partnership we have developed with the communities to make it a reality. We hope to continue to be able to do our small part in protecting this incredible part of the Amazon.”
“The Amazon Canoe Challenge is a unique opportunity for adventure-seekers to experience the beauty of the Amazon while also giving back to the communities who call it home.”
The Ashaninka communities are excited to be a part of this event.
“This sounds like a great pioneering enterprise and we feel honored to host it on our land. We would have never thought that the gringos would like our traditional Pitotsi canoes,” laughs Ashaninka C.A.R.T community leader, Fabian. “We can’t wait to show our territories and customs to the visitors.
“Having people from so far away come to visit our land, share our customs and traditions is an honor and it makes us proud. We are referred to as the guardians of the forest many times but what we also want is educational and economic development for our brothers and sisters. Sustainable tourism is a great way for us to help achieve our goals, which helps us better protect our land/”
The community is deeply involved in the challenge, with an Ashaninka team set to race against the international participants along the route, as well as making up over half of the event crew.
In addition to promoting sustainable tourism, the Amazon Canoe Challenge also aims to break the myths surrounding the Ashaninka indigenous communities and bring international visibility to the issues of illegal deforestation, land grabbing and invasions for coca cultivation, and abuse of communities.
“The Amazon Canoe Challenge is a fantastic alternative for the Ashaninka people, who are well-versed in this traditional method of river transportation. It not only preserves their customs, but also promotes ecological sustainability,” said local guide, Shirley Izurieta. “Once you go from being unknown to known, they will give you everything. In fact, Ashaninka culture is a communal culture where everything is shared and selfishness is considered a crime.”
The Amazon Canoe Challenge is not only an adventure but also an opportunity to make a positive impact on the communities who call the Amazon rain forest home. For more information on the challenge and how to participate, visit amazoncanoechallenge.com or contact [email protected].