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!
Again our thanks for all your hospitality.