arrived in Santarem by ship and were met by Gil, and his very competent
crew for a Meeting of the Waters tour.. there were 18 of us which is a
very comfortable number for his river boat. when booking the tour Gil
had recommended that I read the book, "The Theif at the End of the
World"., by Joe Jackson, which was very good advice since is is all
about the rise and fall of rubber in the region. This amazing book has a
dedication and credits to Gil, granddad played a very important role in
rubbers rise and fall.. The tour took us on a walk through the
jungle with excellent descriptions of the animal life, complete with a
sloth to see and touch.. flora and fauna .. we took small boats down
small tributaries, we were treated to the most delicious local foods and
drink.. fried chunks of local fish, fresh fruit, nuts, local beer,
fried casaba root.. fruit juices..the local alcoholic drink called
Caparina (I don't know about the spelling) But the taste was yummy.. and
the affect was noted. Gil entertained us for 8 hours with the most
interesting stories of local and family color. He is not to be missed.
He does tours for hours or days.. I highly recommend this extraordinary
man and his great crew...
We spent the day on Gil's Meeting of the
Waters excursion when our ship was docked in Santarem and it was the
highlight of our three weeks in Brazil. The actual Meeting of the Waters
in Santarem was not as impressive as in Manaus due to the low water
level at the end of the dry season but it was the rest of the day that
was so interesting. Gil is an extremely knowledgeable lifelong resident
of the area and knows it inside and out. You were be taught, fed, and
entertained. Highly recommend.
on a cruise, we arranged a tour with Gil. It turned out that 15 other
passengers from the ship comprised the balance of the group. The boat
was comfortable with plenty of seats, on the jungle hike we saw sloths
and some birds, the time in the smaller canoes was enjoyable, the food
offered was good, the drinks excellent and the meeting of the waters, at
the end of the tour, was lovely, although I found the one in Manus more
spectacular. Gil returned us to the ship with plenty of time to spare.
by far the best entertainment was Gil himself. He is very
knowledgeable of the wildlife and local lore and very willing to share.
His family history could be made into a Hollywood movie but only sold
as fiction. He was extremely entertaining. As we were with the other
passengers for about 15 more days, Gil continued to be a major topic of
discussion for the remaining time. I can safely say that for the
majority of us on this tour, he was one of the highlights of the trip.
Our cruise ship stopped for the day at Santarem and luckily for
us when we tried to register for their river tour it was fully booked
and so using Trip Advisor we contacted Gil to see if he could help.
Result was a fantastic six hours exploring first the fish and vegetable
markets and then the river, it's pink Dolphins, bird life and wild life
on one of the many islands and rounded off with a viewing of the
"meeting of the waters"
Gil is the most enthusiastic,
knowledgeable, energetic and entertaining guide one can possibly
imagine! There were just the two us us and so it really was a very
personal guided tour. Gil met us off the ship and took us to our typical
Amazonian boat (certainly big enough got a dozen or more). First stop
was the market where he identified all the fish and different fruit and
vegetables and how they are used. Back on board he explained a lot about
the river, the history of the area and in particular of the rubber and
related businesses. He has a wealth of knowledge and stories about the
people and how they all developed. We stopped on one of the many islands
and were served snacks, freshly roasted cashew nuts, fried fish, etc
washed down with Caiparinhas! Back on board we continued on our way with
Gil identifying all the different birds and explaining the eco systems
of the Amazon as well as the threats from global warming (the river was
three plus metres lower than normal for that time of the year due to the
lack of rain) and deforestation all balanced with the local needs of
the people of the area. Gil also presented us with an advance copy of
his booklet on the local wildlife and asked us to visit him (which we
did) when we stopped at Alter do Chao on the way back down river having
visited Manaus. One of his helpers kept us supplied with his version of
lemonade made from fresh limes, sugar and ice - almost as good as the
Caiparinhas but rather healthier!
Our thanks to Gil and his crew and helpers for the most remarkable and memorable day.
All in all the most fantastic tour which we highly recommend to anyone visiting Santarem!