* International kayak event
* Samana Watershed
* Calderace + Samana whitewater marathon
* Week-end celebration
* Puente Samana
* Samana bridge festivities + Adventure
Over a decade ago, locals and international kayakers began trying to introduce an alternative economic approach for these river systems via ecotourism. Despite their best efforts, local and international support are needed to save this region’s natural bounty. Born of those efforts were the CalderRace, designed to bring international attention via world-class kayaking competition, and the SamanaFest, a locally-focused event with an emphasis on reconnecting locals displaced by violence with the ongoing river conservation movement. Now, as the culmination of over 10 years of advocacy, these two marquee whitewater events have merged!
a week-long river festival, conservation colloquium, and multi-stage whitewater competition on the magical Samana and Calderas rivers. For years these two events have worked to bring international travelers, elite kayakers, conservationists and local residents together to appreciate and protect the Samana River watershed, and now they combine to make Colombia’s newest and largest whitewater festival during the week, and a one of a kind public celebration of the river over the week-end.
The kayak races will be held on the Calderas river and on the grand gorge of the Samana River, starting at the highway bridge and finishing at Narices.
The Samana Watershed is located 2 hours east of Medellin, on the Medellin-Bogota highway. It drains the eastern side of the northern tip of the central range of the Andes, and flows into the Magdalena river, Colombia’s main artery. This river is the last remaining corridor between 5 of Colombia’s most relevant ecosystems. Its water flows from the Paramo de Sonson and crosses an incredibly pristine area of rainforest, before pouring its water into the floodplains and the Magdalena.
All the rivers of the area have been dammed and devastated by deforestation and mining activity. Yet the Samana persists, and it is our last opportunity to preserve the world’s most astonishing
From its beginnings 8 years ago as a grassroots conservation festival, to last year’s event, which featured over 2500 attendees, international music stars Puerto Candelaria and Simon Mejia, and partnerships with the Municipality of San Luis and the Colombian international tourism board, SamanaFest has always kept its focus on two simple goals: protecting the Samana River watershed from direct threats and connecting to formerly displaced locals as they return to the valley after decades of violence.
no whitewater community existed in this region, now all local companies are united in their responsibility for conservation. Last year, these companies, as well as the local kayak club, came together to take over 200 local residents on the river for their first trip during the festival weekend. In addition, the fight against damming, although ongoing, has seen tangible victories for the river system and its returning people as a direct result of Samana Fest’s efforts.