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Andrew Balckwell

I can't recommend Gil highly enough!

I went to Santarem to report about deforestation in the Amazon (for my book Visit Sunny Chernobyl) and hired Gil as a translator and guide.
Even though my requests (which had to do with deforestation, environmental damage, soy farming, and industrial infrastructure in the area) were rather unusual, Gil was relentlessly energetic in his pursuit of contacts and access on my behalf, and also proved to be
genuinely interested in my area of research and eager to collaborate.

Let me list some more positives:

He's irrepressibly enthusiastic
He has unique and non-judgmental insight into a lot of different aspects of the region (as well as the people who visit it).
His English is excellent.
He knows everybody. I mean EVERYbody. He is without question one of the unofficial mayors of Santarem and environs.
He loves hosting people, and truly loves both the Amazon and sharing it with people.
He has a great sense of humor.

If it seems like I'm going a little overboard, it's just because the guy is one in a million. I felt very lucky to stumble onto him, and I'm not sure what I would have done without him.

Lesley Friedsam Damisch

I am delighted to offer a rave review for Gil Serique and commend him to you to join your fine group of outstanding guides.

A little background first:  My husband and I have used Tours by Locals all over the world: Japan,China, Columbia and Grenada and have come back after each encounter remarking about superior quality of the guides we met.

My husband is a professional guide, lecturing on history for Silversea Expeditions, as well as driving zodiacs, leading hikes and even working as a polar bear guard in the Arctic.  Between us, we have traveled, lived or worked in over 100 countries and all seven continents.

I first encountered Gil while searching for guides in Santarem, Brazil. My husband was lecturing on history on the Silver Whisper cruise ship on a trip from Barbados into the Amazon.  I noted many
references to Gil on  Trip Advisor and contacted him through his web page.   We had many pleasant emails where he sent us a link for a video to watch before departure and also recommended a book to read.
We booked Gil for two excursions, one in Santarem and one in Alter Do Chao where Gil resides.  Right before my husband and I were to depart to Barbados,  I developed a medical problem and was grounded by my doctor. Then, a week later, my doctor allowed me to join the ship in Santarem,  I had been in contact with Gil as this problem developed and asked for help finding a hotel and a transfer from the airport to
the hotel as my plane arrived at 5:15 am.

Unable to find any hotels with vacancies, Gil suggested I spend night at his house and I accepted his invitation.He picked me up at the airport on time,  and I went to sleep in his house while he was at
work leading a small tour group from another cruise ship.  Needless to say, after communicating with Gil via email for about a week I felt safe   enough to accept his offer.  The next day he took me to the
ship where  I met my husband and accompanied by another couple, we embarked on a full days  wildlife and sight seeing excursion.

Gil grew up near Santarem and is intimately familiar with the history of the Amazon and its creatures and flora and fauna.  He is passionate about his country and he tells richly woven stories about this region in excellent, fluent English.  He has great eyes, spotting
wildlife: as we were driving over a rough clay road, he spotted or heard monkeys in nearby trees, back up the vehicle and we enjoyed watching the endemic to the local area monkeys swing from trees to trees.  He spotted numerous birds for us as well as the easier to see sloths.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch of fresh fish cooked over an open fire with Brazils national alcoholic drink.   Gil arranged a river boat trip on an immaculate vessel; there were several other of his team onboard so that Gil could concentrate on telling his guests about the rich history of this region.

I highly recommend Gil for inclusion in your company. If you need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Redmond O hanlon

Author of: Joseph Conrad and Charles Darwin, Into the Heart of Borneo, In Trouble Again.
Presenter of: O Hanlons Helden at VPRO (Holland)

If only youd been my guide on this one, I would never have been In Trouble Again.  But nobody would believe that a man could say, when asked to find a three-toed sloth, Give me five minutes - and show us a half-hidden mother and baby way up a tree in two-and-a-half.  Youre the best guide I ever had (and give me a copy of your human natural history film) 

With a big thank you from Redmond.  The Tapajos River, January 28th, 2013 

Ruth Shurman, BBC

Travelling for 11 days on the Rio Negro was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The landscape was beautiful and varied, the animal and birdlife was stunning, and the riverside communities were fascinating, but above all it was our fantastic guide, Gil Serique, who made the trip so special. Gils knowledge of every aspect of Amazonia is encyclopaedic, his enthusiasm is infectious, and his good humour and energy made every day a new adventure. He is a brilliant and inspiring teacher, and his concern and respect for the Amazon environment is reflected in the way he encourages others to value their surroundings too by using locals to guide us round their patch. Hours of hiking, piranha-fishing, frisbee-throwing, and caiprinha-mixing cannot tire him, and Im confident he would be happy to tailor an expedition to suit any group of travellers as perfectly as ours suited us.

Dr Charles Munn III

Founder of Tropical Nature

The most entertaining, knowledgeable, and charming person in the entire Amazon. It is a pleasure traveling with you.

Alan Dean Foster

Author of Star Trek, Star Wars, Alien....

"As a world traveler who has visited nearly 60 countries, I can unequivocally say that I never had a better or more relaxed time traveling anywhere than I did seeing Brazil with Gil Serique. Mr. Serique brings with him a unique combination of knowledge of flora and fauna and the local cultures together with the ability to handle travel arrangements from big city to back country that would stump the average travel guide. For example, not only does he know where to find the most beautiful birds and animals in Brazil, but also the best ice cream. I cannot recommend him too highly."

Mike, Kim, Sara, Matt, Jason & Maria

Ohio, USA

Our family was fortunate to be able to spend a day with Gil Serique while we were on a very long cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to the Caribbean, Amazon, Africa, and Mediterranean. We organized a day excursion with Gil during our ships call in Santarem. What a wonderful experience this was! Gil took fantastic care of our entire family (he even had to rearrange our outings at the last minute due to our ship changing it is time in port - but this was no problem for Gil). We were able to see so many things in the beautiful area surrounding Santarem - sloths, monkeys, iguanas, countless birds and beautiful plant life. Gil attended to every detail such as a wonderful riverboat; a friendly skipper of the boat; a fantastic cook; canoes to do our side trips through flooded jungle in; even a local boy who delighted in showing us his "backyard," which was truly the most beautiful place we have ever seen - a lagoon-type area surrounded by beautiful flowers and filled with giant waterlilies and majestic birds. We have travelled all over the world, to every continent with our three teenagers and grade-schooler and our entire family agrees that we have never had a better experience than we had with Gil in Santarem. It was truly magical, and Gil is now a dear friend who has taught us all a very valuable lesson in the thrill of loving the life we have been given.

Gil, if you ever need a reference please feel free to give our email address to anyone! We sincerely feel very fortunate to know you and hope that other people will get to have the same wonderful experience we had with you. You are a very special person! Your "family" in Ohio, Mike, Kim, Sara, Matt, Jason, and Maria

Susan Bedell

Florida, USA

I am back here in Florida and have been checking out your website, which is terrific. I have sent the link on to my adult children in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. We may just get back to see you one day!

I want to tell you that you personally affected my life during that short experience and you are now referred to as "the gold standard for tour guides". Your enthusiasm, energy, and thoughtfulness comes back to you tenfold, I hope.

We started early on Saturday for our marathon trip down the Rio Negro, then to the native Amazon village, rubber tree education, floating restaurant lunch, nature walk to the giant water lilies, small boat ride through the floating forest to a small native home (with a boa constrictor for a pet), then piranha fishing and bird watching. Next there was dusk and a fun Cayman hunt and back to the Ecolodge for a great meal and fantastic entertainment with "native" dancers. Pretty unbelievable how much we did in just one day (and I am certain I have skipped something!) but we all survived it and learned an immense amount about the Amazon region! What an experience!

Because of you ... I decided to live life a little fuller, and on our last day in Rio I took a hang-gliding adventure with Dehilton. It was fabulous. I dont know if it was Brazil, meeting people like you, or if there truly is a special metaphysical happening at "the converging of the waters on the Amazon where you windsur,f" but I feel more alive that I have in years. Life is GOOD! I am healthy, happy, and infused with energy. Thank you, Gil. You may be a "prima donna" as you put it, but it works for you, and for anyone who meets you, too. It was my pleasure and gift to have met you!

Jobst Christoff Eggert


"Mehr oder weniger zufaellig bin ich an Gil geraten und habe mit ihm einen wundervollen, aufregenden und lustigen Tag im Regenwald erlebt. Gil kennt jeden Winkel um seinen alten Heimatort Santarem und alles ber die lokalen Tiere und Frchte. Aber nicht nur als Guide war Gil unschlagbar. In den folgenden Tagen haben wir nette Abende in der alternativen Szene Santarems verbracht. Zudem hat er ein Radiointerview meiner Band in der Rock-Radio-Show eines Freundes organisiert! Gil ist nicht nur ein einzigartiger Guide, sondern auch ein intelligenter, mondaener Mensch mit dem man ueber vieles reden kann. Danke, Gil!"


Getting in contact with Gil was more or less coincidental, but I experienced a wonderful, exciting and funny day with him in the Amazonian rainforest. Gil knows every corner around his old hometown Santarem and also everything about local animals and fruits. Apart from that we spent amazing evenings in Santarems Alternative Scene. He even organized an radio interview for my band on his friends local rock radio show! Gil is not only an excellent guide, but also an intelligent, sophisticated human and you can talk about so many things with him. Thank you, Gil.

Alex Bellos

Author of Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life

"In January 2003 I rented a boat with five friends to travel from Manaus up the Rio Negro to Barcelos. Gil Serique was our guide -- but really he was much more than that. From day 1 he was one of the gang. He was our friend and confidante. Funny, clever, engaging, eternally fascinated by the forest, imaginative, sensitive and tireless -- Gil made sure we had one of the best holidays we have ever had. If I go to the Amazon again, he is the first person I would call. "

Pete Mayer

Chicago, Illinois


Dave McNeely

Biology professor

London, England

"Travelling for 11 days on the Rio Negro was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The landscape was beautiful and varied, the animal and birdlife was stunning, and the riverside communities were fascinating, but above all it was our fantastic guide, Gil Serique, who made the trip so special. Gils knowledge of every aspect of Amazonia is encyclopaedic, his enthusiasm is infectious, and his good humour and energy made every day a new adventure. He is a brilliant and inspiring teacher, and his concern and respect for the Amazon environment is reflected in the way he encourages others to value their surroundings too by using locals to guide us round their patch. Hours of hiking, piranha-fishing, frisbee-throwing, and caiprinha-mixing cannot tire him, and I am confident he would be happy to tailor an expedition to suit any group of travellers as perfectly as ours suited us."

Mark L. Stafford

Los Angeles, California

"I have had the opportunity to travel with Gil to several Brazilian sites. Each time I was impressed with Gils abilities as an eco-guide. Gil has the desire and abilities to put together a great custom itinerary. Gil has an immense knowledge of Brazilian wildlife. His grasp of photography, camera angles and lighting helped me take home many trophy still shots and video. Thanks Gil, it was a pleasure. Hope to take another trip with you soon. I really want to see the Golden Conures in a future trip."

Donald and Priscilla Old

Michigan, USA

"Wir durften mit Gil drei unvergessliche Tage auf dem Tapajos River verbringen. Besonders beeindruckt hat uns dabei die Faehigkeit von Gil, Tiere zu sehen die uns immer verborgen geblieben waeren. Sein aufgeschlossenes Wesen und seine grosse Kenntnis von Land und Leuten machten das Reisen mit ihm zum Vergnuegen. Dies um so mehr, als es keine Sprachbarrieren gab. Die Verstaendigung auf Englisch war perfekt. Als Guide kann ich Gil nur empfehlen, man kann nicht enttaeuscht werden." ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

We spent three unforgettable days with Gil on the Tapajos River . What especially impressed us was Gils ability to show us animals that would have remained concealed if he had not pointed them out to us. His open personality and great knowledge of the land and people made traveling with him a pleasure. There were no language barriers; Gils knowledge of English was perfect. I highly recommend Gil as a guide; one wont be disappointed.

Beth Foster

Denver, Colorado

"The week my son and I spent with Gil Serique and his crew was a wonderful, unforgettable experience. Every day was filled with adventure, discovery and fun; every detail of the trip seemed planned with our delight in mind. (Iti s not always easy to delight a teenager, but mine came home with a whole new outlook on life!) The boat was clean, roomy and comfortable; the food was plentiful and excellent; Gil himself was incredibly knowledgeable about the scientific and cultural facets of the Amazonian world. I particularly enjoyed meeting residents of the areas we visited; Gil seemed to have friends everywhere who found it as exciting to meet us as we did to meet them. Every aspect of our trip far surpassed my expectations. I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants a genuine (as opposed to "touristy") Amazon experience, and I would be glad to talk to anyone who is

David Richardson

Director, Center for the Preservation of
Indigenous Art, Culture and Sciences

Gil Serique has been an extremely active volunteer here at the Center for the Preservation of Indigenous Art, Culture and Sciences -1492- 1992, almost from the commencement of the project . We have also followed his career as a professional guide and ecological activist here in the Amazon for approximately the last ten years. We here at the Center consider him a close friend and will forever be indebted to him for his selflessness in sharing his extensive knowledge of our environment and assisting us in unifying and clarifying the indigenous influences on the forest for the better understanding of our regional and overall Brazilian society.

Various projects ideas that are now being carried on here at the Center our due to his personal efforts and creativity. His honesty and sincerity in his work as an ecologist and as indigenista are exemplatory.

His reputation as a naturalist/lecturer speaks for itself. He is always in great demand due to his expansive knowledge on so many different subjects that pertain to our environment and his ability and ease to transfer that information to a common level. To attain that level of understanding that he has obtained, demonstrates his passion for the forest and the Amazon. It has taken Mr. Serique years and years of self study (without the benefit of a structured educational system) to acquire the understanding of the rainforest that he has. It has all been through personal determination , discipline, and dedication that Mr. Serique has involved himself so deeply to gain the field knowledge he has of this region.

Barbara en Bas


Op zoek naar een fantastische gids in het Amazonegebied?!!
Dan moet je zeker even verder lezen (andere lokaties in Zuid-Amerika zijn ook mogelijk). Wij hebben een SUPER weekend gehad toen we met Gil de jungle ingingen. Gil is een hyperactieve local met passie voor natuur en medemens. Zijn bijzonder goede kennis van flora en fauna (heel veel vogels) gecombineerd met zijn onuitputtelijke energie en goed engels maakte onze trip tot een fascinerende en zeer enerverende gebeurtenis. Hij weet je echt bij de junletour te betrekken mede door het inschakelen van nog lokalere gidsen per lokatie (pikken deze toch ook een graantje mee!). Hierdoor zijn wij op plaatsen gekomen waar nog weinig toeristen zijn geweest.

Kortom de combinatie van een supermooire flora en fauna en dito uitleg in erg enthousiast engels met natuurlijk de nodige cerveja en caipirinha en een tikje altruisme is onweerstaanbaar en mag je dan ook niet missen.

Met Gil weet je zeker dat je een onvergetelijke trip zal maken!!


In search of a fantastic guide in the Amazon area?!!

Then you certainly must read on (other locations in South America are also possible).

We had a SUPER weekend when Gil took us into the jungle. Gil is an enthusiastic local with a passion for nature and people. His extraordinary knowledge of flora and fauna (lots of birds), combined with his amazing energy and knowledge of the English language, made our trip into a fascinating and very exciting event. He really knows how to get you involved in the jungle tour by using local guides for each location (so they can benefit from this as well!). Because of this we were able to see places where not many tourists have been before.

In short, the combination of the most beautiful flora and fauna and the explanation in very enthusiastic English with, of course, the necessary cerveja and caipirinha and a just a bit of altruism, is something you should not miss out on.

With Gil you know you will make an unforgettable trip!!

Joe Jackson


Dead Run
Leavenworth Train
A Furnace Afloat
A World on Fire: A Heretic, an Aristocrat, and the Race to Discover Oxygen

How I Left the Great State of Tennessee and Went on to Better Things

In October 2005, I came to the Amazon to do research on a book for Viking Press on Henry Wickham, the Victorian wanderer who stole 70,000 rubber seeds from the Amazon in 1876 to give the British Empire the world monopoly in natural rubber. This was a highly specialized trip, calling not only for a wide knowledge of history, botany, and zoology, but also requiring the services of a Portuguese-to-English interpreter and local guide.
This is a tall order for any guide, but Gil Serique was up to the challenge and, it proved, perfect for the job. Starting in Santarem, we hit Henry Ford's failed rubber plantations in Fordlandia and Belterra, the site of Wickham's first failed plantation at Piquiatuba, several villages along the Tapajos River that figured into the story, and visited examples of primary forest that would have approximated the conditions in Victorian times. We unearthed tales of riots in Fordlandia that had never been documented and solved a historical mystery concerning the origin of the seeds that created the British Empire's lucrative rubber trade. We stopped at Taperhina, one of the most famous sites of Victorian-era biological exploration, as well as at obscure villages along the river in which I stumbled upon ideas for subsequent books. The gathering of information in a quick and efficient manner is extremely important for any writer or journalist working on a deadline: Gil understood this, did his research ahead of time, and was able to squeeze what turned into an incredibly rich research journey into a mere six days.

The greatest stumbling block that I anticipated was the language barrier, but Gil was a natural interpreter, able to anticipate my questions as or before I asked them. It was as if there was no language barrier at all. Not only does Gil have wide experience in the logistics and pitfalls of guided tours, but he is intellectually engaged in solving the kinds of problems and challenges that writers, researchers, filmmakers and scientists normally encounter when traveling to a different country for creative work. Gil is both fun to be with and extremely smart, and within a day or two of my arrival I knew that I could depend upon him totally, more as if he were a collaborator in the work than a paid guide. That seems to be his ethic: he becomes a collaborator, and wants the project to succeed as much as anyone. I cannot recommend Gil highly enough for work like this, and I anticipate collaborating with him again in the future for research on a novel once this nonfiction manuscript is submitted. I would be happy to recommend his expertise to anyone.