Little did I know that the Amazon would become my home when I arrived there in 2003. But when I reached Santarém, a small town located at the confluence of two magnificent rivers, I couldn’t resist its charm: On one side the majestic Amazon, with its fauna-rich, muddy waters and on the other the beautiful Tapajós, with its endless, white sand beaches and transparent, blue waters. So, a few months later, in a nearby village called Alter do Chão (and nicknamed “the Caribbean of the Amazon”) I founded Amazon Planet, an ecotourism agency specialized in low impact, small scale tours.
During these tours I’d often hear from my American clients that the açai we offered on our tours was very different from the açai products they consumed back home. A couple of years later, on a visit to California, I understood exactly what they meant. Not only did all açai products contain preservatives, emulsifiers and other additives that distorted açai’s real flavor, but most of them contained very little açai to begin with. In fact, the difference between these products and the açai I had gotten to know and love in the Amazon was so big that I decided to add a new mission to Amazon Planet’s chart: To provide the purest, highest quality foods and herbals from the Amazon, and, in particular, açai.
Of course, just as in our ecotourism activities, the preservation of the ecosystem and the support of local communities continue to be a central aspect of our mission. In fact, all of our açai is wild-harvested and sourced directly from local farmers. This allows us to pay farmers fair prices for their açai and gives them an added incentive to preserve the beautiful açai groves, an important part of the fragile Amazon ecosystem. It’s our way to say “thank you” to this amazing region and wonderful people.
GM, Amazon Planet