The story of Amazon Deep Jungle Tours

Eduardo Tenhave cruising down the Amazon river

My name is Eduardo Tenhave. I am the owner of Amazon Deep Jungle Tours. This is the story of me and how I created the idea of Amazon Deep Jungle Tours. I was born in a native Indian Brazilian village called Maraã, 920 kilometres from Manaus. My father died when I was only 1 year old, and my mother solely raised me in Maraã. At the time there was no school or education, only 6 small houses. My grandmother lived close by a lake called Paracuba which was a 2 day peddle trip up the river.

One day, a missionary came to work in Maraã to work for the Catholic Church. The nephew of the missionary also came to Maraã to experience and learn about the culture of Maraã. One thing led to another and he fell in love with my mother. He accepted me and my little brother, and saw us as if we were children of his own. After 2 years he asked her to move to the Netherlands, a country in Europe, exactly 8896 kilometres from Maraã. Together with my mother and my little brother, we moved to the Netherlands when I was 3 years old. We inherited his last name; Tenhave.

I remember wanting to go outside to bathe in the rain, and my mother said to me: “We don’t do that here in the Netherlands.” I didn’t realize we were not in the Amazon anymore.

My grandmother
My family in Maraã

As time went by I grew up in the Netherlands. But I never stopped thinking about the Amazon. As a child I played with a bow and arrows, skateboarded, made Hip Hop music and studied in high school. I always felt that a part of me was missing. But I couldn’t figure out what was missing. I never got used to the environment. Up until I was 9 years old I always believed my true and only family was in the Netherlands. But then my life was turned upside down. I was told by my mother that I had family in Brazil and that I had never met them. That I was born in a village called Maraã, in the Amazon jungle. That the father I knew was not my real father, and my real father died when I was 1 year old.

Suddenly, everything started to make sense. The feeling I always had that something was missing in my life. This made my think and I became extremely curious. I wanted to know everything about my family in Brazil. My father in the Netherlands was a very loving and caring man. My father had a good job at the University of Maastricht, and we had a carefree and comfortable life. But he understood that I wanted to return to my roots.

When I was 18 years old I decided to leave for Maraã and left all luxury and technology behind. When I first arrived in Manaus I had to adjust to the completely different environment which I was used to. I took the boat from Manaus to Maraã. I was amazed by the Solimões and Japúra River. I had never seen anything like it. The nature, the birds, the dolphins. I fell in love. I felt at home.

Town of Maraã
Sunset in Amazonas
View of Japurá river from Maraã
"Pato-mergulhão" birds in Amazonas

I saw my real family for the first time, after 18 years and after a 4 day boat trip. It was a wonderful experience to meet all these people and how they lived. They fished for food, they made flour out of maniok (a sort of carrot) and how they hunted in the forest. I was the opposite of everything I knew back in the Netherlands. After 2 months I had to return to the Netherlands for longer period. It was a very difficult goodbye, but I knew I would return.

2 days before I had my flight back to the Netherlands I was called. I was told my mother died in a car accident. I did not felt at home anymore in the Netherlands. I wanted to leave everything behind and I decided to return to Maraã. After only 4 months of being back in the Netherlands, I left the luxury life for good. The only thing that mattered to me was the beautiful nature of the Amazon jungle.

I lived for 5 years as a native at a lake which was 5 hours away from Maraã. There was no electricity. There were no boats or cars. There was only the sounds of animals at night, the light of the moon and the sun burning on my skin. I learned how to live in the wild nature. I hunted and fished for food. I learned the power of medicinal healing power of plants and trees. After 5 years I returned to Manaus and started working in tourism because I wanted to teach and show people what life is like in the Amazon.

I want to show YOU what my culture is like and share with you all my adventures!

Welcome to Amazon Deep Jungle Tours.

Amazon Deep Jungle Tours lodge
River houses in Maraã
Boat from Manaus to Maraã