Rosiney Lima Maia, Ney for short, was raised inside the jungle in a small village in the Amazon near Manaus. There he learned how to hike, fish, hunt, camp and survive in the tropical rainforest of Brasil.
Ney started to work as a freelance jungle guide in 2000 and uses his vast experience to show tourists the richness of the jungle and tell them everything about the wonderful nature of the Amazon. He has founded NEY Eco Adventures in 2014 and has built a jungle lodge to accommodate guests in the remote jungle area where he was raised. The company has steadily grown over the years and offers a wide range of trips, including jungle tours, kayak tours, river cruises and survival tours.
How do the experiences you offer at Ney Eco Adventures give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of your region?
Guests always go into the jungle in small groups with a jungle guide who knows the area well. This way you experience the rainforest more intense and it naturally leads to the exchange of personal stories that give insight in the history and culture of the people of the Amazon.
How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?
The tours we offer have become more refined over time. Also we encourage guests to combine tours, because this will give them a richer and more complete picture of the tropical rainforest of the Amazon.
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
Logistics is usually something you only notice when it goes wrong. However supplying a lodge in the middle of the jungle, bringing a motorboat upstream in 2 days for a kayak tour or picking up all guests at the right time from the airport or their hotel, are not the easiest tasks to organize consistently.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider participating in the experiences you offer?
Animals in the wild don’t show up on command and because of the dense forest, you can not easily spot them, unlike in a zoo. You need a bit of luck and be attentive not to overlook even large animals, such as a pink river dolphin that surfaces or a group of monkeys in the trees above you.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
Two trends are really interesting: the fact that it becomes easier all the time to organize a trip yourself with all information and reviews available on the web. Besides that, the trend to create sustainable eco-tourism, not disturbing the natural balance of a region and diminishing the impact on the environment is an exciting one. Realizing this is a challenge that we face daily as we operate in the beautiful, but vulnerable tropical rainforest.
What sets Ney Eco Adventures apart from other, similar, tour companies?
Our main guides grew up in the jungle themselves, so they are very knowledgeable about the plants and animals in the area. Also the Rio Urubu jungle lodge is run by the family of the founder in harmony with nature, which creates a pleasant, friendly atmosphere that our guests appreciate.
Besides that, we offer a unique kayak tour down the Urubu river which is one of the best ways to experience the Amazon rainforest, spot animals and be sportive at the same time.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
Bring real good binoculars to your trip and a camera with a big lens. The Amazon has a lot of birds that look even more amazing when you zoom in on them. Quite often you can’t get close to animals without chasing them away, your binoculars and camera will help you out in such situations.
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
Targeted online advertising has certainly helped to grow our business. Besides that our sales staff speaks a number of different languages, which enables us to answer guests in their own language.
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
Flexibility and personal attention. Each guest is different and has his or her own needs and wishes. Being able to adopt our programme and behavior to their interests, is the key to satisfied customers.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
Often the little surprises that occur during a tour bring joy to the guests: catching a piranha, discovering a waterfall in the middle of the jungle, holding a sloth.
I also remember a group of tourists who booked a day tour completely last minute. We quickly arranged them to join a river cruise for a day and the leader of the group was so excited after the trip that he gave me an amazing big hug.