The Tatuyo – Incredible life of a surviving Amazon Brazilian tribe

Amazon Brazilian tribe

The Tatuyo, Incredible life of a surviving Amazon Brazilian tribe
The Tatuyo – Incredible life of a surviving Amazon Brazilian tribe

The world is developing fast.

Indigenous way of life is fairly almost gone for most remote tribes around the globe.

Many people leave their ancestral way of living and migrate to urban centers in search of a better and more comfortable life.

In Brazil, the State protects a few numbers of indigenous communities and issues travel restrictions to the normal citizen. Basically, no one from the outside is allowed to visit them. They will remain fairly untouched and isolated forever.

Meanwhile, some other tribes in the Brazilian rain forest are trying to survive in a way that they need to find a relation between the past – their present – and the future.

Tatuyo dance ritual
Tatuyo dance ritual

During my visit to Manaus, I decided to go through the experience of living with a Tatuyo indigenous tribe – settled on the banks of Rio Negro.

On this page, I gather some incredible photos of an indigenous Brazilian jungle community.

Indigenous woman giving dog a bath in Rio Negro river
Indigenous woman giving dog a bath in Rio Negro river

Daily life in this part of the Amazon is almost totally dependent on the river.

Amazon indigenous man
Amazon indigenous man

During the ceremonies, traditional clothes and decoration are made using natural pigments and fabrics.

Girls from Brazilian tribe
Girls from Brazilian tribe

Many Tatuyos make their living by showing off to tourists who either want to watch their traditional dance rituals or to buy their crafts.

Tatuyo tribe in northwest Brazil
Tatuyo tribe in northwest Brazil

Tatuyo dance and singing highlight the history of the tribe creation. With a dance ritual, they praise the indigenous God and tell the story about their origins as well as about mysticism after death.

When I talked to Tatuyo Chief Pinó, he told me that he doesn’t want his family to move to the city, and wants to keep on passing his ancestors’ traditions to his siblings.

Surviving in the Amazon rain forest, Tatuyo Brazilian tribe
Surviving in the Amazon rain forest, Tatuyo Brazilian tribe

“The only way to survive in the jungle as a tribal community is to make a business out of fish and hunt, to manufacture handicraft and to make 20-minute performances to groups of tourists that visit us, especially during the weekend. Actually, the fact that people visit us to see our show, allows us to keep our traditions and pass them to future generations. It’s a win-win relationship.”

Preparing Açaí with natural ingredients
Preparing Açaí with natural ingredients

Açaí is a very important fruit for the inhabitants of the Amazon. For Amazonian indigenous people, açaí is their main source of daily vitamins and anti-oxidants.

Dangerous piranha fish
Dangerous piranha fish

Piranhas are one of the most dangerous animals in the jungle. Falling into the river in the wrong place will be fatal.

Fishing the redtail catfish
Fishing the redtail catfish

To get to this tribe, you have to go on a 2 hours fast boat ride from Manaus, the capital city of Amazonas State in Brazil.

Cleaning the Amazon rodent called agouti
Cleaning the Amazon rodent called agouti
Termites for food in the jungle
Termites for food in the jungle

Termites are a nutritious snack within Amazon indigenous communities.

Grilling fish
Grilling fish
Amazon indigenous boy
Amazon indigenous boy
Indigenous camp in Brazil
Indigenous camp in Brazil

The main structure is used as ceremony house, kitchen, accommodation and community gatherings. Some families do have private shacks outside.

Young Brazilian indigenous girl
Young Brazilian indigenous girl
Amazon Tatuyo people
Amazon Tatuyo people

How to avoid being a tourist while visiting an Indian tribe:


  • Don’t go just for the 20-minute show. Try to stay in the camp for a few days to indulge yourself deep in their community.
  • Avoid making fun of a different culture, lack of clothes and traditional dancing.
  • Try to contact the community chief directly, and visit them not through a travel agency (that will get more than 80% of the money you pay). When in Manaus phone to Chefe Pinó – (92) 94 89 86 98 or Wapi – (92) 94 91 76 36. They can arrange boat transportation to the village (they only speak Portuguese and Spanish).
  • Do buy some souvenirs as they are made locally, much better than getting them somewhere in the city.
Insect in the Amazon rainforest
Insect in the Amazon rainforest
Young indigenous boy
Young indigenous boy
Sunset over Rio Negro in the Amazon
Sunset over Rio Negro in the Amazon

The Rio Negro is a 2250 km / 1398 mi South American river, tributary of the Amazon River.