Our Tapajós River Communities and Forest Discovery Tour, led by CEN Founder, Bob Bortner is much more than just an opportunity to get to know the unique and vibrant Caboclo river community culture, which contains deep roots of indigenous African and Brazilian traditions that have been shaped by over one hundred years of relative isolation. It’s also more than just being able to see beautiful landscapes up close, hiking in forests, or swimming in beaches befitting of the Caribbean.
Our tours benefit the communities of the Eixo Forte region by supporting their efforts to harness Community-based Tourism as the economic engine for the holistic development of their communities. The tours benefit the communiities in several ways:
- develop the experience and professionalism they need to expand tourism in the area
- promote a sustainable expansion and improve the quality of tourism-related businesses and activities
- provide the communities with essential market feedback, which is important to the long term success of their plans for creating sustainable and comprehensive regional economic development based on Community-Based Tourism.
Since 2012, CEN and its partners have been able to achieve mobilization with the communities. We have been able to mentor them in order to produce a comprehensive regional master plan; create a regional Federation; and create 12 working groups that will coordinate the execution of the plan. Our tours to the region are an important part of our efforts to build the Federation’s capacity to manage and coordinate the plan for themselves. Not only will this ensure development efforts in the region more closely match communities' own interests than if it were overseen by individuals or an entity from outside the region. It will be more sustainable because the local leadership will be better equipped to respond to future challenges they are likely to face.
The action plan is very comprehensive and will take many years to fully implement. First of all, community leaders of the area need to understand where to prioritize their efforts. Secondly, few local residents have personal experience with meeting tourists so they are not very familiar with the needs and interests of visitors from outside their communities. Furthermore, the local residents currently have little opportunity to directly speak with tourists due to the lack of regular interaction.
During the trip, an intimate group of 6-10 guests will first visit the communities of Jamaraquá and Maguary, which have been welcoming a limited number of Brazilian and International tourists for the past several years. Here they will get to know the sites, activities, and services offered by these communities, which will provide them with a broader perspective that will be useful when they visit the communities of the Eixo Forte during the second half of the trip.
Once in Eixo Forte, guests will have an opportunity to get to know the people, culture, and environment by staying in family homes and enjoying a wide range of cultural and leisure activities. This includes visiting hiking trails, horseback riding, evening cultural events and an attending an authentic piracaia beach party. Throughout their stay in the Eixo Forte, guests will have many opportunities to share their feedback and impressions with community members and program staff both informally and formally through a structured workshop, in which many members of the regional Federation and associated working groups will participate.
Guests will also have the opportunity to help community efforts to attract future visitors by appearing in video footage and photos that will be shot during the trip, and commenting on tourism websites after returning.
In addition to providing important feedback the community needs to learn in order to manage the program, the trip will also be a source of income for the community, and serve to help residents see concrete and tangible impact/progress from their hard work.
Eixo Forte (Juá) Communities Regional Action Plan
Accomplishments for Eixo Forte/Juá Community-based Tourism Project
What is community-based eco-tourism?
Tapajós River Communities and Forest Discovery: CEN Founder-led Tour