Ingrid Graham – Honeymoon

“Jill is an incredible person to work with. She planned my three month excursion to Brazil and Chile. All of her suggestions were thoughtful, practical and very creative. She helped me plan my wedding, found an excellent photographer and resort to host the ceremony. I have traveled all over the world and have never met someone with Jill’s strong work ethic. She truly cares about her clients and you end up bonding with her. Her trip planning is unique because she is constantly checking in to see how you are and if there is anything else she can do. The work day never ends for her. You feel like she genuinely cares about you and the experience you are having. Throughout the course of this adventure, she has introduced me to several contacts in Brazil. It becomes so much more than a vacation when you are making friends and work contacts in a new country. Jill is the one that has facilitated all of it. For anyone considering a visit to Brazil, Jill is a must. She understands the culture and her level of sophistication and creativity are unsurpassed. I highly recommend her services and I am so glad that I met her. She is very special and this experience would not be the same without her.”

INGRID Graham

I. Strauss

Without Jill Siegel, our trip to Brazil would not have been the all-encompassing experience it was. It would be so simple to say that Jill worked her “magic”, because she made it seem so effortless. However, her clear understanding of her clients’ (at this point, I’d say friends) wishes, combined with an amazing attention to detail — always completed in a prompt and gracious manner — would be far more accurate.

Our trip presented a real challenge. Three generations (69, 43, 11) all of whom had different visions. Being a history teacher, I wanted to discover Brazil’s past and culture. My son, a physician and student of poetry, hoped to visit all the places where Elizabeth Bishop, the Pulitzer prize winning poet, had lived during her sixteen years in Brazil. My granddaughter, a typical eleven year old, wished for it all — places to see, people to talk to and some shopping thrown in along the way.

Jill fulfilled every request — and more. Our stops in Rio de Janeiro, Ouro Preto and the Amazon region were perfect. Every day we experienced the diversity of Brazil’s history, culture, people, and food, as each of our wonderful tour guides (thank you Valeria, Celia and Anavilhanas staff) shared her/his knowledgeable, yet personal, perspective of the country. Aside from the landmark visits, we discovered the cashew fruit, which gave Bishop an asthma attack and caused her unplanned stop in Rio, several games of foot volley at Ipanema, feijoada (yummy!) at a local lunch stop, baroque churches and oratorios in beautiful Ouro Preto, and a two room school in a small village on the Rio Negro, where we learned of the problems and hopes of Brazil’s future. And these are only a few of our unique memories.

But the most amazing feat Jill achieved were the connections to Elizabeth Bishop. Before contacting Jill, the best we hoped for was to discover the locations of Bishop’s houses and take photos. However, we not only toured the homes where she lived (which are privately owned and not open to the public,) but we also were invited to lunch and spent the day with a recognized Brazilian mogul, who shared her perspective on Bishop. Jill also arranged a luncheon with Bruno Barreto, the director of the 2013 film about Bishop, Reaching for the Moon, and this incredibly kind and unassuming man discussed his research for and message of the film.

None of this, and so much more of our trip, would have been possible without Jill. I guess she really is a magician.

I. Strauss

 

Ron

Hi Jill,

 I think you’ve heard from my mom that we had an absolutely fantastic time in Brazil. I wanted to thank you for all of your effort — we had a lot of Elizabeth Bishop home runs because of all you did. Even Bruno Barreto told us that he’d never been able to get onto the Samambaia property.
Thanks again for making this such an incredible trip. It was truly once-in-a-lifetime.
Ron

Ksilvera

I wanted to take my four children (21,19, 17, 13) to Brazil because I had lived there as a teenager and loved the experience. I was looking to visit Rio, Buzios, and Salavador during the Christmas/New Year’s season. It was no small feat making these plans during the busiest time of the year, but Jill arranged wonderful boutique hotels in great neighborhoods, gave us a list of excellent restaurant recommendations and arranged wonderful guides along the way. Valeria and Leticia in Rio were truly outstanding accommodating different needs and interests throughout the day and adjusting plans accordingly. Jill stayed in touch throughout the trip to make sure everything went smoothly. I could not have asked for better service and a a more thoughtful and professionally planned experience. Working with Jill truly made this an exceptional and unforgettable vacation.

KSILVERA

Olof Jonsdottir

As a busy family of four, parents and two adult kids, we finally found the time to go on an overdue vacation together, and mostly because of musical and cultural interests decided to go to Brazil. I had high expectations when I contacted Jill about organizing the trip, after all she was recommended by Conde Nast. I’m happy to say she not only met those high expectations but went way beyond. What impressed me above all was the way she listened and how well she got to know us and our interests and make plans accordingly. Not only went all the rather complicated traveling seamlessly with great places to stay, we got everything we asked for and so much more we didn’t even know to ask for or to be possible at all! All the sight seeing, musical concerts, cultural experiences, visits and encounters we could never have done on our own, not to mention with our limited time. All went smoothly, without being hurried. We went to Rio, Salvador and the Pantanal. She got us private guides in Rio (Leticia) and Salvador (Paula) that I can highly recommend. Just as Jill’s, their wealth of knowledge and connections, along with the ability to adjust plans as they got to know us better, gave us priceless insight in Brazilian life and culture, gave us a new view of the world and made this trip unforgettable.

Olof Jonsdottir (Iceland)

Tom Fetter

“Jill Siegel arranged an excellent visit in both Rio and Buenos Aires last December for our family. We were on our way to take a cruise to the Antarctic and wanted to spend a week beforehand in Brazil and Argentina. Our experience started at the Brazilian embassy in Los Angeles. Somehow we had failed to make timely application for our visas. Everything had been paid for and it appeared that we could not make the trip! Jill managed to find a very high level “friend of a friend” who interceded on our behalf and we ended up with visas in hand in the nick of time! When we arrived in both cities the hotels she recommended were outstanding as were the guides that she had secured. The hotel in Buenos Aires, in particular, was very small, very personable and very well located. We would never have discovered it otherwise. As advertised, Jill is an expert in South American travel.”

Tom Fetter

David Johnson

Jill organized a wonderful trip to Brazil, Argentina and Peru for my wife and I and our 12 year-old nephew. It was very personalized with terrific guides who focused on interests that Jill knows that each of us had. More importantly, Jill is delightful to work with. She was recommended by a good friend and it’s a recommendation that I value and one that I would give to others.

David Johnson

Leslie H.

We LOVED our trip arranged by Jill! The excursions and guides were wonderful as were the accommodations (especially the Alvear Palace). Our room in Iguacu actually had a view of the falls! The breakfast at each hotel was awesome. What was most special was that Jill arranged such diverse and varied experiences, making it seem as if we traveled to more places than we actually had. I love South America and its people and want to return as soon as possible.

LESLIE H.

Erin Enright

My family has traveled extensively, and I have used many travel agents to help us with complicated trips over the years. I can honestly say that Jill was one of the finest we’ve had the good luck to encounter. For our first trip to Brazil, in the spring of 2013, she helped us book a vacation on Fernando de Noronha, which isn’t often visited by Americans, but which was truly a unique experience for us. She also advised us on the beaches on the mainland and provided us with a great guide in Rio to make our stay there both interesting and memorable. We had such a good time that we went to Brazil again in the spring of 2014 with a larger family group. Again, Jill’s recommendations were spot-on, with suggestions for beaches near Rio and then a week’s excursion to the Amazon. In addition to her broad knowledge of Brazil, Jill is extremely diligent in following up on any itinerary changes necessitated by flight time changes, etc., so kept us moving smoothly and comfortably through the country. I can’t recommend her highly enough.
Erin Enright

Jamiese

Jill helped us plan a one-week trip to São Paulo in August, and put us in touch with a local guide, Flavia, who was incredible! I had never used a guide before (having grown up in Brazil), but it made all of the difference to get the most out of the time we had. Obridaga, Jill!

JAMIESE

M Jerome

Our family of five recently returned from an incredible trip to Brazil that was planned perfectly by Jill and her team. Our family of five, which includes three daughters (17, 15 and 9) were looking for a mix of cosmopolitan Rio, natural beauty and some relaxing sun and sand. Jill planned a magnificent trip that began and ended in Rio, detoured to Iguazu Falls and then took us to beautiful Trancoso. Every accommodation, transfer, and detail was handled seamlessly and professionally. I was able to totally relax knowing that Jill had our family in excellent hands. Our guide in Rio, Valeria, was just perfect, as was the driver. Anyone traveling to Brazil would be well served using Jill Siegel. We really had a trip of a lifetime!

MJEROME

BP Meier

A friend and I decided to attend Carnival this February (2013) and opted to expand the trip to see some of the other highlights of Brazil. I’ve been underwhelmed using “off-the-web” travel services in the past when traveling to South America so decided to check Conde Nast Traveler. The recommendation to utilize Jill Siegel paid off. We had a great trip, enjoying a great Carnival experience, a visit to the Southern Pantanal, a stay in Amazonia and a return to Rio to experience the highlights of that great city when not dominated by Carnival. We were very satisfied with all aspects of the trip planning and attention to detail and would definitely recommend her to others planning to travel to Brazil!

BP MEIER

Ken Snider

I called Jill to arrange a two week trip for my wife and myself and two friends. My initial impression was fantastic. Her in depth knowledge of Brazil inspired confidence, and the manner in which she responded to inquiries was very refreshing. She was very responsive to our interests, especially Brazilian music, and together we planned a detailed itinerary consisting of Rio, Buzios , Salvador and Trancoso. The service was very personalized and friendly and involved her making personal introductions to musicians in Rio. Our guides in Rio and Salvador were excellent. In particular our guide in Rio , Leticia was simply the best guide we have had in all out travels. All the travelling arrangements were seamless. The hotel and restaurant suggestions were all excellent. Her superlative level of service continued throughout our trip as she responded to almost daily inquiries. We cannot recommend Jill highly enough!

KEN SNIDER

Whitney Hopper

My boyfriend and I have recently returned from a wonderful 2 week South American trip arranged by Jill Siegel. Despite a relatively complex itinerary involving the Amazon jungle, beaches of Rio and the wilderness of the Pantanal, she was able to give us a seamless itinerary. We always had English speaking guides, even in places where this appeared pretty rare. Special mention should be made of Leticia, the private guide that Jill arranged for our 3 days in Rio–it was more like travelling with a friend of the family than having a hired guide. Although Conde Nast lists Jill as a Brazil expert, she didn’t miss a beat when we wanted to tack on several days in Peru. Different ground operator, same first class service. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Jill to anyone thinking of traveling to Brazil.

WHITNEY HOPPER

Craig Owens

We contacted Jill with a request for a vacation that would be very focused on the nature of the Amazon forest. She came back with a recommendation for a river cruise up the Rio Negro, which was a great match to our request. We had a terrific trip; all arrangements were well handled, and when bad weather threatened our departure, Jill was working with us on a back-up plan (fortunately unneeded, but reassuring to know there was one). We would love to work with Jill again for a trip to Brazil. We had a very special experience there.

CRAIG OWENS (CFO Campbell’s Soup Company)

Cheryl Ellis

We just returned from the trip of a lifetime, arranged by Jill for my husband and me, along with my best childhood friend and her husband. We spent two fabulous weeks, visiting Rio, Iguazu Falls, Salvador da Bahia and Trancoso (a piece of heave on earth). Jill worked closely with us to determine what our priorities were and what we wanted to see and do. Once we arrived, everything was so seamless. We were met by fabulous guides each step of the way, who were both charming and knowledgeable. Our accommodations were top notch and we truly enjoyed every minute. Every segment of our trip was special, thanks to Jill’s expertise. I am so grateful that I was able to find Jill via Wendy’s list. Though I have used Wendy’s recommendations before for renting villas many places, this is the first time I have contacted a specialist. If Jill is representative of the quality of Wendy’s contacts, I would not hesitate again. And, I highly recommend Jill without reservation for anyone planning to visit Brazil.

CHERYL ELLIS

Eric Boden

My wife and I recently returned from a wonderful South America cruise on Regent Seven Seas Mariner that dropped us off in Rio just after Carnival. We were traveling with another couple and Jill worked closely with us to plan our hotel in Leblon (with an incredible ocean view on Ipanema) and reserved a private guide for four memorable days of touring Rio de Janeiro! Our guide was simply amazing and provided us with a complete overview of life in Rio (as well as Brazil in general) and was very knowledgeable and experienced. She was also a great human being and fun traveling companion. Our driver was exceptionally skilled, a requirement to handle the challenges on navigating through snarled traffic to get us to our destinations on time. We highly recommend Jill and when we decide to plan our next trip to Brazil (the Amazon?), we will call her first.

ERIC BODEN

Maxine Snyder

OMG! Jill “Just Ask Me” Siegel is the best! We just returned from a fabulous 2 weeks in Brazil and because of Jill “I’ll take care of it” Siegel the trip was perfect. Despite their best efforts, our group of six prima donnas had no complaints! Managing expired visas, late arrivals and last minute extra guests, Jill handled it all. She knows her territory and navigates the eccentricities of her clients with charm and good humor. From the charming beach town of Trancoso, through Salvador, mighty Iguacu Falls and the craziness of Rio, Jill’s choices were perfect and advice spot-on. Her guides were warm, knowledgeable and accommodating, the hotels were lovely and relaxing, and transportation was always clean and on time. Even Rio on New Year’s Eve was a piece of cake! We can’t wait for her to plan our next trip to the Amazon and the Pantanal! Thanks Jill!

MAXINE SNYDER

Lisa

My husband and I just came back from our Brazil (much delayed) honeymoon trip and we both had a great time!! Both guides Jill arranged for us were knowledgeable and wonderful to spend the day with. We learned so much about Brazilian history and the culture from them. We went to Rio, Buzios, Salvador and Trancoso. While we enjoyed each destination, our favorites were probably Salvador (thanks Paula’s in-depth knowledge on the history of the city) and Trancoso (which was pure paradise). Jill’s choices for boutique style hotels were exactly what we needed, centrally located but tucked away. Her restaurant recommendations were current and offered us a wide range of food choices both in terms of cuisine and price points. The trip was smooth at each and every transition point and we were able to just relax and enjoy our time there. All in all, a truly wonderful experience and I will definitely be recommending Jill to my friends who are interested in going to Brazil!

LISA

Brian and Christy Biliack

We just returned from our Brazilian honeymoon, and thanks to Jill, it was the trip of a lifetime. Between the rainforest of Ariau, the history and culture of Salvador, and the beaches of Trancoso, she made our trip perfect. She also did a great job making sure that our transportation arrangements and connecting flights went smoothly. This being our first time in Brazil, Jill ensured that our experiences were unique and diverse – the hotels and excursions really gave us a wonderful sampling of the country. Thanks again, Jill, for making our honeymoon fantastic!

BRIAN AND CHRISTY BILIACK

Jon Messner

Wanted to comment about Jill Siegel who is a Brazil Travel Specialist w/ her company called South American Escapes. my wife and I went to Brazil w/ my 2 small children (then 3 and 5) and Jill was a complete rockstar!! We went in December – January of 2009, and gave Jill less than 3 weeks to plan our entire trip, complete w/ multiple internal flights. Not only were we very happy about EVERYTHING that Jill did, we not only had a great trip, but we now have experiences that words cannot describe. Both of our children constantly ask us,”When are we going back to Brazil??” We spent a week in the Amazon, and also traveled all over the country. Jill had a colleague of hers pick us up and give us a tour of Rio at the conclusion of out trip. Jill made the whole trip not only seamless, but also simple. She helped us w/ feeling safe, finding kid friendly places to stay as well as safe and efficient ways of traveling around the country. I can not say enough good things about her professionalism, and highly rec. Jill for anyone wanted guidance.- Jon & Phyllis Messner Jon Messner | Messner Productions | President / Producer| 502 Hudson Street #4 Hoboken, NJ 07030 (NJ Office) Office: 917.301.1202 | Fax: 917.677.8393| jon@messnerproductions.com | jjmess@mac.com

JON MESSNER

Mike and Nancy Phillips

Talk about an amazing agent to work with! Jill Siegel is world class. To start with Jill is easy to communicate with. Seemingly any time or day she is available answering email and offering suggestions. We began planning a two week trip to Brazil (Feb 2011) several months ago, and when I tossed out an introductory email on a weekend night, I quickly got a reply much to my surprise! This was later topped, when we were caught in a snow storm on our way to Brazil and she came to the rescue with suggestions of help then later a follow up email at the end of our trip inquiring to how things went, again on a weekend. Does she ever rest? Her knowledge of the country, customs, people and culture were invaluable to planning and completing out memorable vacation. She listened to our specific interests and desires then tailored the trip to our specifications. What transpired was one of the most relaxing, well planned and seamless vacations we’ve experienced. We were interested in gardens, food, cooking lessons, adventure, photography, nature/birding and culture. Jill through her handpicked network of amazing friends and guides from Rio, Manaus, and Bahia, crafted days of enjoyment touring world class gardens, relaxing with a local Brazilian family in their home while learning to cook moqueca, hang gliding over Rio, dancing the Samba through the night with a crowd of Cariocas, getting to know the Amazon rainforest first hand with natives, and being befriended by many warm and gracious Brazilians. Her recommendations led to us to wonderful places we would not have considered going on our own. Jill’s affable and knowledgeable approach to trip planning is world class. Her communication is unparalleled. We look forward to working with her again!

MIKE AND NANCY PHILLIPS

Hugh F. Oates, Jr. ESQ.

DO NOT! I repeat, DO NOT consider booking a trip to Brasil without the help of Jill Siegel! I wanted to take my wife, two kids/their spouces and our 10-year old grandson to Brasil to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversery. Someone recommended using a Brazilian/American agency in NYC to book things. I called the agency four different times and they said an agent would call me back to book things–no one ever did even after I told them we were a party of 7. Then, looking at the web cite for Ariau Towers in the Amazon, I stumbled upon Jill’s name and number. I placed the call with no great expectations of a quick response. After two rings,I was stunned when someone answered and said, “Hello, this is Jill, how may I help you”. How did she not help us!!?? For the next month and a half she helped me plan and schedule one of the greatest trips of our lives: Sal Paulo to Manaus, Ariau Amazon Towers, Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio, a fabulous day trip to the exotic sea-side village of Buzios (South America’s Saint Tropez). Jill was meticulous in her attention to every detail and she helped me navigate pleasing 7 different people,interests and expectations–not an easy task for any family. Most importantly, every plan/conversation/email I had with Jill was done with great humor and savoire faire! My wife and I have visited most of the greatest hotels in Europe and love travel immensely, but the advance preparation Jill did for us was extraordinary and placed bumped this trip above the rest–surpassing even our beloved Hotel Il San Pietro in Possitano. From December 29th, 2010–January 10, 2011 Jill Siegel made us smile everyday! Jill is not a travel agent. She is indeed a “travel specialist” in every sense of the word! Thank you, Ms. Siegel!

HUGH F. OATES, JR., ESQ.

Fran and David Meckler

My husband and I found Jill on the internet through Conde Nast Traveler, (not the way we normally find a travel agent!) and we couldn’t have been more pleased. Jill put together a 2 week holiday for our family of 4 in Brazil this past December. Everything: the hotels, the guides, the flights, the excursions and the restaurant recommendations were terrific! Jill is organized, thorough and meticulous with her planning. If we ever had a question or problem, Jill emailed us back with an answer or solution within the hour. We visited Bahia and Rio,from cities with rich culture and vibrant nightlife to small enchanting towns, magnificent beaches, and tropical rainforests- we took bike rides on the beach, met with Pataxo Indians on their reserve, and learned to dance the samba! We highly recommend Jill for anyone considering a holiday in South America!

FRAN AND DAVID MECKLER

Joyce and Ted Eisenberg

I contacted Jill to arrange a 16-day South America trip for our group of 8 friends. We traveled in late Oct./early Nov. 2010. Planning for our group was challenging. The couples had different budgets, different wish-lists, and various questions and concerns. Jill was incredibly patient and thorough and after close to a year of planning — and dozens and dozens of e-mails — we had a trip that satisfied everyone. We spent a few days in Rio, then traveled to the Pantanal (Brazil’s wetlands) for a ranch-type stay. Then on to Iguacu Falls, Buenos Aires and finally a few-day stay at Cavas Wine Lodge in Mendoza (Argentina’s wine country). The guides were superb, the transfers seamless, the city hotels were intimate and in the best neighborhoods for exploring, and the accommodations in the other places were top-notch. The trip was spectacular and we got to see a big chunk of South America. We all highly recommend Jill. She was thorough, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and made the trip smooth so we could just enjoy ourselves.

JOYCE AND TED EISENBERG

Francesca and David Gardner

David and I chose Jill to formulate a unique Brazilian adventure, and we were not disappointed. This was a very comprehensive and challenging itinerary to plan. The result was a seamless journey to some of the most colorful, charming cities and Unesco World Heritage sites in the country (such as Rio, Manuas, Brasilia, Ouro Preto, Olinda, Salvador, Sao Luis, Belo Horizonte). We ended the trip viewing wildlife in Canastra, Das Emas, and the Pantanal followed by viewing the energy and beauty of Iguazu Falls. Our vacation offered us a well-rounded view of Brazil’s landscape, culture, history, and nature. Jill provided us with informative and personable guides, booking us in unique inns and hotels with prime locations for exploration. Having a passion for photography, Jill’s choice of locales provided us with a wealth of beauty to capture with our digital cameras. (We took over 4,000 pictures.) The trip left us exhilirated and filled with a love for the country that Jill so clearly exhibited in all our talks with her. We highly recommend her expertise!

FRANCESCA AND DAVID GARDNER