Tuesday, 17 January 2017

New Review on TA

“Gil Serique Tapajos National Park Tour”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago
We arrived via cruise ship off the coast of Alter do Chao and after a longish tender boat ride, walked onto the beautiful white sandy beach and directly into Alex, clad in one of Gil Serique's t-shirts, and received a warm welcome and directions to continue up the beach. Gil was waiting anxiously for us as he is always bursting with energy and knowledge. We were joined by Gil, Alex and his girlfriend in 2 air conditioned vans parked nearby; Gil taking one van and Alex taking the other. We rode comfortably for about 90 minutes while Gil regaled us with is personal life story of growing up in the local area and before we knew it, we were at the entrance to the rain forest. From here it is a slow but short drive into the forest to Gil's childhood homesite. This man's personal knowledge of this area is unsurpassed! He not only can tell you about the trees in the area and which ones are used for making medicines that we use in our daily lives but can point out the very tree he and his family played "hide and seek" around when he was a child. There is nothing in the forest that Gil does not know about. He can point out the rubber trees that his family used to tap for latex, how long it takes to walk to the Tapajos River from this point in the rain forest, etc. His passion not only for the area that gave him life but for his desire to share it with everyone is incredible. With Gil, there is no such thing as a "dumb question"; he answers each and every question with sincerity and sometimes, brutal honesty. Alex is also an amazing person. He speaks 7 languages and is an entomologist by education. His knowledge of the area is eclipsed only by Gil's, which is amazing considering Alex is German and has spent much of is life traveling the world. We walked along a path blazed through the rain forest itself to view all the flora, found "bullet ants" busily traversing the ground cover, listened to birds calling alarms to each other that we were in the vicinity and generally marveled at all the variety of vines and trees that grew to incredible heights above us.

We then re-boarded the vans for our trip back to Alter do Chao. Along the way we visited the city created for the rubber workers that Henry Ford tried to establish in the 1920s and 1930s, sadly stared out at the vast areas of "slash and burn" farms and learned of the lone, and lonely looking, trees left standing in many of them. Once back at the beach, Gil welcomed us into his personal home with drinks and a chocolate cake (baked by Alex's girlfriend), a view of the beach and the Tapajos River beyond that was to die for and even internet access! It was if we were all long lost personal friends of a man who knows no limit to his generosity.

This remarkable man and the tours he provides are worth going to the Amazon just to experience. I can't say enough good about the whole experience. You will not be disappointed by Gil Serique!

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