Santarem, Meeting of the Waters
After reading numerous reviews of famous Amazon guide Gil Serique on Trip Advisor, we booked a meeting of the waters (Santarem) and Tapajos National Forest (Alter do Chao) excursions with him in March 2014. Our Amazon guide, Gil Serique, is one of those people that truly live up to their reputation and actually deliver more than what they promise. He is the real deal, and a trip with him is a destination in itself. A trip with Gil should be a "must do" when visiting Santarem or Alter do Chao. At Santarem, Gil met us at the dock with his chartered boat, and was ready to lead us on our expedition as soon as we got off the cruise ship. From the first introduction you know that you are in for a real treat. He has an immensely charming, open, enthusiastic and friendly personality that is captivating from the first handshake. He has a very good command of English, is easy to understand, and very approachable for questions. Gil also has a never ending supply of interesting and humorous stories about the Amazon, his family's exploits in the region, and everything you want to know about the history, culture, and nature in the Amazon. The boat he chartered for us far exceeded our expectations, being about the same size as the one used by the ship's excursion, but we only had 14 people plus a very friendly crew on board. After a stop to see the pink dolphins, we headed into the Amazon flood plain for a full day of seeing the magnificence of this small part of the Amazon basin, meeting to the waters, and a 45 minute canoe trip into the flooded rainforest. Gil told us by email that because of the short time available to us and the many things he wanted to show us, we would not have time to stop for lunch, but instead he would provide some nuts, fruit, fish bits, and beverages. What an understatement! Picture a large platters of cashews and Brazil nuts, pineapple, olives, and perfectly fried fresh fish nuggets with limes and hot sauce all prepared by his mother-in-law-to-be on the boat. Beverages were soda, water, beer, and the best Caipirinhas we had in Brazil. We certainly did not go away hungry. If you have the opportunity to do this excursion with Gil Serique, do whatever it takes to make it happen. I will post a review on our excursion with him to the Tapajos National Forest in the Alter do Chao destination.
|a three-toed sloth|
|leaving to the flooded forest|
|Guy and a Sapucaya shell|
|A kapok tree i used toplay hide and seek|