Jfest car stickers 2016




The 4th annual Jondachi Fest will continue to celebrate, honor, and promote the Jondachi River as an invaluable resource for tourism and natural heritage, in Ecuador and the world. 

Each day of the festival between 8am and 10am, meet fellow paddlers and river lovers at the Tena waterfront near Hostal Brisas del Río and Café Tortuga. Taxi drivers well versed in local put-ins and get-outs will be there waiting to take kayakers to any number of local rivers. 

At this year’s Jondachi Fest, the plan is simple: get your crew together and VAMOS AL RÍO!

In 2018, we need your help:

We are asking you – international and local river lovers – to upload your best images and videos from your favorite moments on the river during the festival. Share your photos and videos to Jondachi Fest + Piatua Libre social media with the hashtag #RIOSTURISTICOS to help demonstrate the value of these world-class rivers as irreplaceable adventure tourism destinations. We are hopeful that this movement will help prove to local policy makers that YES these rivers are RESOURCES that deserve appropriate protection and management. 


Our rivers generate important benefits for the local economy. Unfortunately their values as strategic tourism resources are not considered in planning and development, and we are rapidly losing the quality and integrity of our Ecuadorian river systems.
We propose the designation of certain riparian corridors as PROTECTED AREAS that will form part of a national strategy for the preservation of biodiversity in freshwater aquatic ecosystems and ecological connectivity between the Andes and the Amazon. 
We propose application of the Programa Integral Amazónico to incentivize landowners toward conservation of riparian forests, and to champion development of production activities in appropriate locations, respecting the protected areas of strategic touristic rivers.


The Jondachi River was slated to be dammed in January 2015. Last year, the international paddling community rallied together with our Ecuadorian counterparts in an unprecedented expression of impassioned solidarity to create the first-ever Jondachi Fest. Jondachi Fest is a grass-roots, volunteer-driven, not-for-profit river festival and whitewater kayak competition that makes an urgent call to preserve the iconic Jondachi River as part of a FREE-FLOWING watershed corridor from the Andes to the Amazon.

The Ecuadorian Rivers Institute has actively opposed hydroelectric development on the Jondachi River for over a decade. In 2012, the ERI presented a legal defense of the Jondachi in a renewed effort to stop the La Merced de Jondachi hydro project and keep the Jondachi flowing freely. The ERI is actively pursuing the unprecedented designation of the Jondachi-Hollin-Misahualli-Napo Ecological Corridor (the Ecuadorian equivalent of “wild and scenic river” designation — the first-ever endeavor of its kind in the country).


The ERI is calling on the international community to support the three complementary initiatives of our defense of the Jondachi River:

1. LEGAL DEFENSE: Protecting the legal rights of the river 

The Ecuadorian Rivers Institute has opposed hydroelectric development on the Jondachi River for over a decade. In 2012, the ERI presented a legal defense of the Jondachi in a renewed effort to stop the La Merced de Jondachi hydro project and keep the Jondachi flowing freely. The ERI’s successful 2013 Indiegogo campaign brought in $5000 to fund the original Jondachi Legal Defense. (THANK YOU to everyone who supported us then!)

Now, after more than two years of deliberation, the Ecuadorian government water authority has REJECTED the ERI’s demand to cancel the water concession granted for the La Merced de Jondachi hydro project without taking into consideration tourism and recreational use of the Jondachi River, the errors, omissions, and irregularities in the water concession process, or the recommendations of their own government-appointed expert who advised that the project should be completely re-conceived.  The ERI is now APPEALING this ruling in Ecuadorian court. We are pursuing grant monies to cover the bulk of the legal fees but are calling on our international supporters to help us jumpstart the process.

(As a side note: In 2008, in an inspiring political statement, Ecuador built into its national constitution an acknowledgement of the rights of nature – personified as pachamama in the indigenous Kichwa. In theory, the new law granted legal standing to natural entities such as rivers. The ERI is acting on behalf of the Jondachi River to be sure those “rights” are not disregarded.)


2. EDUCATION & OUTREACH: Jondachi Fest, an innovative model for watershed conservation  

Last year, the international paddling community rallied together with our Ecuadorian counterparts in an unprecedented expression of impassioned solidarity to create the first-ever Jondachi Fest.

Jondachi Fest is a grass-roots, volunteer-driven community river festival and whitewater kayak competition that aims to promote the free-flowing Jondachi River as an economically viable alternative to hydro. The Jondachi Fest celebration integrates local facilitation and international participation with whitewater recreation and competition. With Jondachi Fest, the emphasis is on local involvement. 

In 2015, the first Jondachi Fest enjoyed an international media reach of over 100,000 people, while local Ecuadorian media coverage of the event and the issue focused the eyes of the country on this tremendous resource.

3. CONSERVATION: Groundbreaking pursuit of international wild and scenic river designation  

The ERI is actively pursuing the designation of the Jondachi-Hollin-Misahualli-Napo Ecological Corridor, the international equivalent of “wild and scenic river” protection — the first-ever endeavor of its kind in Ecuador.

The ERI intends for the proposed Ecological Corridor to be included in the Ecuadorian government’s new strategic plan to make the country a major low-impact adventure tourism destination. The Ecological Corridor initiative is championed by the country’s Ministerio del Deporte (Ministry of Sports) and the Ministerio del Turismo (Ministry of Tourism).

If the precedent can be set for protection of the Jondachi under a new wild and scenic statute, the door will be open for future protection of other imperiled rivers in the Amazon Basin.






201501_Ecuador-7433photo by AZ Andis

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