More than just a tour company, it’s memories of a lifetime that can’t be experienced anyway other than in person. Gil Serique and his team went above and beyond anything I could have imagined in my life.
The back story:
I found Gil quite by accident, and I’m lucky that I did. I’d been riding my motorcycle around the world and it was suggested to me that if I make it to the Amazon in Brazil I try to spend a night camping at Gils place. I arrived after a three day boat trip with my motorbike from Manaus to Santarem, and then road into Alter Do Chao where Gil is located. I don’t think I’d slept for the three days on the boat and Gil had messaged to say he wouldn’t be home, but to make myself at home at his place. I awoke later in a hammock on his patio to a fan blowing across me that someone had put to cool me down. Awaking to a welcome fan would set the tone for an entire month of ongoing hospitality.
While riding my motorbike on the crazy amazon roads near Gils I had broke my rear shock. Gil and his team jumped in to help me with the Portuguese language, organizing parts and getting them shipped to his house. During my month waiting for parts I was part of three of Gil Seriques Amazon tours. Wow, I could not have been more blessed. I got to be part of two historical tours into the Tapajos rainforest forest where Gil’s family once lived. The tour is about 5-hours long and focuses heavily on the history of the area and Brazil’s significance during the rubber boom, and where it is headed now with the Soya bean boom.
The Tapajos rainforest tour included:
• King Vulture sightings
• Roasting nuts in the rainforest & season local fruit sampling
• Visual demonstration of how a swarm of ants are used as mosquito repellant
• A tour to a GIANT Kapok tree
• A brisk rainforest hike
• Rubber tree extraction demonstration
• View of the barren remains of where Gils family used to live in the rainforest
• Snacks and drinks at Gils property in Alter DO Chao afterwards
• 45-minute bus ride each to the rainforest and back on “Amazon Roads”
• A full English explanation of the history of the area
• A drive through Bellatara for a brief explanation of its history along with Henry Ford and the rubber boom
The Tapajos rainforest tour is excellent for anyone with a keen interest in the history of the Amazon rainforest, the rubber boom and knowing the relationship the Gils family had with rubber boom.
The Floodplains river explorer tour
• Picked up at the docks in Santarem
• 5-hour boat tour on a two-story boat that could hold 5-50ppl
• Pink and grey dolphin watching
• Hoatzin spotting
• Three-toed sloth spotting
• An amazing ride down the river on fun and spacious boats
• An interactive explanation of the area and it’s history, flora, and fauna
• Snacks and drinks on the boat. Including sample some of the local fish
For me this tour focused heavily on wildlife spotting, which Gil and his team have an amazing eye for. I personally enjoy wildlife more than history, but here you get a bit of both. The animals are wild but on this day we were blessed with pink & grey dolphins, parrots, turtles, hoatzins, sloths and more. To see pink dolphins in the wild is an experience I will never forget.
Gil Serique, his partner Loic, cousin Celso, friend Pierre, and everyone else who looked after me for my month in Alter Do Chao and during the tours went unimaginably out of their way to make me feel like family and right at home. The hospitality was 5-stars just like the tours, and with glowing reviews from people like Alan Dean Foster, the author of Star Wars, Star Trek and Alien. You are sure to be in professional hands.
The day I left I cried as I drove away, and for a grown man who stumbled upon Gil completely by mistake, you could only be so lucky to spend the day on one of his tours…
The amazon rainforest is like nowhere else on earth, and Gil Serique is like no other character on earth either.