After more than 500 years of contact with European settlers, the Tsimane people have persisted with their indigenous heritage. They are still nomads, hunters and fisherman living near the banks of the Amazon River basin and its tributaries. To this day, their mythology surrounding the golden dorado remains.
The Tsimane consider freshwater dorado a powerful and sacred hunting partner. The dorado chase sabolo, a main dorado baitfish, into the shallow water near the banks of the rivers. There, Tsimane tribal hunters can easily spot and catch the sabolo, a longtime important food source, using bows and arrows. The Tsimane Lodge is an original joint venture between a private company and indigenous tribes in the world of sport fishing.
The Tsimane natives actively participate in the operation as fishing guides, sharing their history and ancestral knowledge of the region with anglers. For many, it’s the progressive tool for protecting and advocating for the survival of their culture in a time of social, political and geographic convergence.
The Tsimane lodges are located in a National Park and inside an Indigenous Territory named TIPNIS, within the regions of Beni and Cochabamba.
As part of theVilicabamba – Amboro Conservation Corridor, it sits in the Sub-Andean strip of the tropical Andes between Peru and Bolivia. Here the climate is humid, with a mountain range in the west giving way to large floodplains to the east. Of the vast drainage in this valley, the Pluma, upper Pluma, Itirizama and the Secure rivers are most accessible to anglers who visit Tsimane Lodge. A special place, it holds tradition and indigenous culture in the highest regard.
“One of the most important goals of Tsimane is the protection of the indigenous culture.”
Rafael Costa was born in Brazil and raised in the jungle. He moved to the jungle as an infant with his father, an agronomist engineer, who was chasing the dream of getting rich with rubber trees. He says while the rubber fortune never came to fruition, he did have the chance to grow up swimming in rivers full of fish and in an untouched natural world. Rafael is a jungle guide and photographer. With his photos he hopes to share some of his adventures.