♦ Please include a brief introduction about yourself; your position and Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge.
My name is Augusto Costa Filho and I’m the partner and founder of the Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge located in the Brazilian Amazon. I moved from São Paulo to the Amazon to start the jungle lodge business back in 2006, and since then I have dedicated my time to making the Amazon Experience even better.
Anavilhanas Lodge is a small and exclusive hotel, situated in the heart of the Amazon rain forest, 111 miles from Manaus.
The Lodge offers a very comfortable structure to explore such a remote area complemented by our delicious international and local dishes, fantastic experiences into the wild and our lovely bedroom and hotel facilities.
♦ What makes Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge different from others in the Amazon and Brazil?
Anavilhanas is the only lodge in the Brazilian Amazon that focuses on the excellence of services in the 4 areas that we operate. Good food, unforgettable jungle experiences, safe and reliable transfers and clean, comfortable and relaxing rooms and facilities. Our focus at Anavilhanas is attention to the smaller details while not forgetting the bigger issues that make someone’s experience unforgettable and involves all players in our social and environmental responsible business.
♦ Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. How do you make your lodge sustainable?
We strictly preserve the PPA (Permanent Preservation Area) and that is why our chalets and bungalows are relatively far from the riverbanks. At Anavilhanas we use our own sewage treatment system and ensure that nothing is discarded in any watercourse. This system has been designed to serve the infrastructure of the chalets and living areas, kitchen and laundry room at the Lodge. Most of our buildings have straw roofs and follows the indigenous model of construction, which produces thermal insulation, reducing the need for air conditioning and electricity consumption. In addition, the Anavilhanas Lodge was built using a stilt structure allowing for greater ventilation under the floor, so that there wasn’t a need to interfere with the ground and which also provides a drier internal environment.
We have a large number of windows and glass walls to increase natural lighting and reduce the need for electric light during the day and currently our water heating system is being replaced by solar collectors, which will greatly reduce the power consumption of the hotel. The garbage produced by the hotel and its guests is all sorted out according to the type of waste and we deliver the recyclable materials to specific organizations. Paper is donated to NGOs for the production of recycled paper and glasses, plastic bottles and cans are distributed to the community for selling and producing handmade crafts. The used cooking oil is collected and taken to a specialized recycling company.
Our staff is primarily composed of locals; 95% of our employees come from the nearby city of Novo Airão and other neighboring coastal communities. Anavilhanas Lodge has a strong partnership with the local community by supporting social projects, such as educational programs and income generation in conjunction with the NGO Foundation Almerinda Malachi. Part of the soap used at the hotel is produced by the local community using raw materials found in the Amazon. All of the activities run by the Lodge are organized so as to minimize the number of people visiting the same place simultaneously and we try not to interfere with the surrounding animal life. In the kitchen, we prefer to buy local products and use Amazon products in most of our recipes.
The Amazon is a large area and is threatened by the advance of the agricultural and urban border in what were previously isolated areas.
Balancing economic and social development while helping to sustain the forest is a new and challenging proposal which we are enjoying taking on. At Anavilhanas we believe that the responsible conduct of tourism in the region is one of the ways we can achieve economic growth while helping to conserve the surrounding natural resources.
♦ How do you feel luxury accommodation compliments the Amazon experience?
We believe that an Amazon experience is something you will remember for the rest of your life. The images, smells, tastes and knowledge a guest takes with them are very strong and touching. However, having such an experience should not mean that there is a loss in comfort or relaxing moments. Having the best of both worlds at Anavilhanas Lodge, the guest can enjoy the beauty of the forest and the peace and serenity of a remote area.
♦ What is your stand-out Amazon memory?
My stand-out Amazon memory has to be a boat tour of the Negro River and the flooded forests of the Anavilhanas archipelago which are breathtaking and always spectacular!
♦ What is the one activity or site you would recommend to people staying at your lodge?
The night tour of the Anavilhanas archipelago is a moment no one visiting the Amazon should miss as you experience the forest coming to life in the dark of night.
♦ What advice would you give to travelers coming to the Amazon?
Come with an open mind to be able to get the most out of a very unique and new reality. The Amazon is not simple or an easy place to visit meaning its ecosystem can be very different from what someone traveling to the Amazon previously expected.
♦ What do you see for the future of Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge and for tourism in the Amazon and Brazil in general?
We expect to keep seeing a strong growth in the demand for a travel experience in the Amazon from both Brazilians and travelers to Brazil. Today the number of people visiting the Brazilian Amazon is still very small but the attention this region receives is getting bigger year on year.
♦ What is your most important task as the owner or representative of Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge?
My biggest task is to keep everything running well throughout the year, focusing on the guest’s satisfaction and the employee’s commitment. As a service company, we need to have happy staff in order to ensure that our main goal of guest happiness is achieved.
♦ Please can you share with us a special story about the Amazon or Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge?
Over the years while operating the Anavilhanas Lodge, I always stop to chat with the guests and visitors. It is common to hear some wrong concepts or inaccurate information but twice I have heard a question that I would never expect:
“Hey Augusto, when are we going to see Hippopotamus?”
It was somewhat sad on my part to tell them that they would never see one in the region…although recently, I heard that some hippos ran away from a zoo in the country of Colombia and into the Amazon forest. So you never know, they may even be procreating and will be on their way to our lodge some day!