Before anything else please allow me to compliment you for planning such an excellent trip, an itinerary full of diversity of landscapes, sites and activities. We had a wonderful time in Brazil. We found all five states we visited very nice and totally different between them. We liked the people, the food and the music. We adored their art, the culture and traditions. The trip was extremely well planned and organized. We really appreciated your concern and the way you kept following up the execution of your excellent itinerary. All of our guides were very good, they all spoke English well and they were very knowledgeable. So were our drivers in Salvador and Minas Gerais. The hotels were excellent, and in most cases blended perfectly with the character of the city they were located. We are so happy from this wonderful journey you prepared for us that I cannot stop thinking about it!
I’ll begin by unhesitatingly recommending Jill and her services. Over the past 18 years, my family and I have traveled the world, every continent bar Antarctica. We have used a travel specialist only twice. In 2010 for a 3 week trip to Africa and Jill for a 3 week trip to Brazil earlier this year. We typically like planning and doing things on our own but Brazil, like Africa felt sufficiently different, overwhelmingly large and distant. We also don’t typically visit just the major tourist spots, so felt we needed an inside connection, this despite a daughter who had been living in Brazil for 5 months on scholarship. At the end of our trip, which we consider one of our best ever, the entire family was convinced that Jill had done a remarkable job. Here’s why:
- She helped curate a set of experiences tailored to our specific desires. My wife and I spoke with her regarding what we liked and wanted to experience and we collectively designed a program that was perfect for us. We felt like we seamlessly went from one customized highlight to another, with no experience being remotely like the previous one.
- Jill was eminently professional throughout the process, with excellent communication, ongoing updates and a very easy and straightforward means of working. She gave us and discussed options, pushed back when she felt she knew more, and explained the pros and cons of various choices. We ultimately agreed to something we were eagerly anticipating even before we left New Jersey.
- Jill’s connections in Brazil were superb. The guide we had in Rio was one of our best guides ever and became a part of our family during our time there. The accommodations were excellent and everything ran like clockwork. Not necessarily an easy task in a South American country.
- Jill stayed on top of our logistics even when we were mid-trip. For example, we had a delayed flight and she knew about it, connected with our transfer guide at our next destination in order to make sure we were met at the airport as planned. (Outstanding service!)
- Her local consolidator for intra-Brazil flights was top notch and we got a detailed itinerary which we never needed to question.
- Jill stayed exactly within the (admittedly ample) budget we had discussed with no attempts at up selling anything.
- Jill’s professionalism was evident in pretty much everything she did, from the package we received prior to departure, to the communications, to the billing process. BTW, we found her through Conde Nast Traveler Magazine.
When I was assigned to shoot a photo story on Amazon River Dolphins for National Geographic Magazine, I needed expert help with making connections and travel arrangements in Brazil. Fortunately I found Jill, who helped make my entire project possible through her long experience in the region, her many personal contacts, and her enthusiasm for the Amazon. In short, I couldn’t have done it without her.
Jill did a wonderful job organizing our trip to Brazil for us. We gave her a general idea of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do and she made it all work for us. The local guides used in each of our three destinations were excellent as they were extremely knowledgeable on the areas we visited. They were more than happy not only to answer all of our travel related questions but also to share their general knowledge about Brazil and the local customs. Their English was outstanding and there were no communication issues. All of the guides and drivers were where they were supposed to be at the time arranged. Our only hiccup was weather related and we were able to get in contact with Jill to sort out the delayed flight logistics. She answered all of our pre-trip questions promptly and was in touch with us along the way in Brazil. We would highly recommend using Jill to plan your next adventure.
My husband and I were looking for a unique trip to share with our 13 year old granddaughter. Thank heavens we found Jill. She was the answer to a prayer. We only knew where we wanted to go but not how to pull it all together. Jill offered suggestions and followed through with a wonderful itinerary. Every guide was outstanding, friendly and engaging, drawing out our shy granddaughter, finding out what she liked and put her at ease. The two week trip flew by! We will turn to Jill again when we travel to other parts of South America. To sum it up, Jill is attentive to any problems that arise, has wonderful connections in Brazil with guides and hotels, is knowledgeable about where to go and what to see. I smile thinking of what a pleasure it was to work with her.
Our Honeymoon was incredible! We had such a wonderful time exploring Rio and Sao Paulo with the help of your guides. Thank you for all of the suggestions and setting us up with such knowledgeable and experienced people. We felt that we were truly able to get a good understanding of the culture and pace of each very different but exciting city. Our stay at the Villa in Trancoso was absolutely breath taking. The hotel and staff were top notch. Avery and I felt like we were staying at our own private beach! Thank you again Jill, for helping us create such an incredible honeymoon! Avery & Phenix Zuck
I researched out and found Jill to fulfill a formidable travel plan, in a short time (3 weeks) just before the Christmas holiday season. I wanted to be introduced to Brazil on a trip with my 25 year old daughter. Without any fuss, listening carefully to our goals, and instilling full confidence, Jill came up with and implemented an itinerary that was just everything we hoped for. We had art and history in Salvador, coastal retreat and paradise-like relaxation in Paraty, art and awe in Rio and wonder in Iguacu Falls. In every place, we had the best accommodations (despite the late planning), great food, and the smartest, nicest and best-informed drivers and guides. The trip went seamlessly and despite packing in something really interesting every day, we arrived home in New York, totally relaxed and rested. I’m ready to do it again….only with Jill!
“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.”
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 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.
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)
“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.”
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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)
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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| [email protected] | [email protected]
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
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.
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
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
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
My wife and I just completed a trip to Brazil. We traveled in June, 2010. Jill was great in arranging an amazing trip to this country. She secured a wonderful guide in Rio, and insured that we stayed in an excellent hotel. When we missed a day in the city because our flight could not leave on time, Jill was diligent in following up to secure a refund for us. In Iguazu Falls, we stayed at the Hotel das Cataratas. I wondered how nice it would be considering, but it was a magical place. Very elegant and the food was excellent. Our guide there was extremely knowledgeable about the local bird life and was very gracious. Our last leg of the journey was at the Ariau Jungle Lodge in the Amazon. That too, was a fantastic way to see the local wildlife. Jill knew the exact amount of time that it would be worthwhile to stay there. In sum, Jill arranged a great and varied trip. We look forward to using her again when we explore the Pantanal.
“We returned from our trip safe and sound. What a remarkable experience! You may recall that I had never really heard of Iguaçu Falls and it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. Weather was perfect the whole time, Ecuador & Brazil, and the places were indescribable. One thing in particular I need to follow up on. On July 4, our guide Michelle, took several of us to visit an Indian Village. She said that it was fortunate that they were there since the next closest village was about 300km away. Both Katherine and I were very moved by the experience and I would like to find out the name of the Indians. Hope all is well with you and thank you for such a great series of experiences” . — B. Williams
“I know of no one who has been involved longer or more successfully with ecotourism in the Amazon than Jill Siegel. I recommend her enthusiastically!”
Mark Plotkin, Ph.D.
Ethnobotanist and President,
Amazon Conservation Team
“First, I want to thank you for the book of Amazon photographs. It serves as one more
reminder of the most magnificent vacations we have ever taken! Brazil is
such a diverse country filled with natural beauty and warm, friendly people.
We don’t need to tell you that, however. Thanks to you we discovered a
country that we definitely want to return to. Our absolute favorite
destinations were the Amazon Towers and Praia do Forte Eco Resort
Your guidance during the planning stage of our vacation was invaluable.
You promptly sent us an itinerary to start with and patiently revised it
upon our request. In every instance you responded on the same day we spoke.
Your professionalism gave us confidence in our travel arrangements. We were
impressed by the organization of the many travel documents we received from
you. We appreciated your suggestions as to the best restaurants, shows and
attractions to visit. Arranging for Flavio to be our guide in Rio greatly
enhanced our experience in that city.
We highly recommend your services to anybody wanting to travel in
Brazil. We personally plan to call upon you again as well. You are truly a
Brazil Travel Specialist….Now, what other destinations/countries do you
have in mind for us?
Again, we can’t thank you enough for helping us plan the vacation of a
lifetime! Sincerely, Lisa Watson
“Happy, healthy New Year! Just wanted to let you know that we had an absolutely fabulous trip! Chikera the spider monkey was the best good-will ambassador you could possibly meet and want to take home. Thank you for all your help and excellent reservations and a magnificent vacation. My nephew Michael was afraid of insects until he met a one-legged green katydid and carried it around all day as a good friend until he put him to bed in a beautiful flowered tree. Thanks again!” Joanne & David
P.S. David and I are avid birders and we feasted our eyes on the beautiful Hoatzin birds!”
“We are having a fantastic vacation! Thank you so much for all of the arrangements you made for us. Everything has been the best!”
Fondly, Bill, Patty, Kari and Ryan Kelly
“We wanted to say thank you for all the arrangements you helped us with. Our trip to Brazil was everything and much more than we had hoped for. The people were absolutely wonderful and all the accommodations and sights and music and carnaval….what can we say…fabulous! We, too, can’t wait to go back again!”
Nancy & David Stoler
“Just a quick note of thanks. As I expressed to you on the phone, I have planned a lot of trips over the internet. From start to finish you have been the most thorough, prompt and pleasurable to work with. We appreciate your great service in a world of increasingly poor service. You certainly stand out! My husband and son had a wonderful and memorable time on their Brazilian excursion. The hotels you recommended worked out just great as well as the restaurants.” Jean Paul
“We arrived home yesterday and we were so sad to leave Brazil. We had a wonderful time there and could not have been more pleased with the trip and your travel arrangements for us. Loved the Visconti in Rio. It was perfect with the baby, and a good location that allowed us to walk around Ipanema. Very clean and accommodating and an excellent in-room meal service of top quality. Flavio, our private guide was just excellent. His car is new and clean and air conditioned. His English is very fluent and he is a wealth of knowledge. He was flexible and worked with our needs as well as making recommendations for other things to do. Iguaçu Falls was just spectacular. The hotel is by far the best location we have stayed. Meals and staff were accommodating. We went repelling there and walked for miles. Very impressed with the environmentally friendly attitudes there – they are ahead of us here in the USA. So it was just lovely and we thank you for your efforts. I will be sure to recommend you to our friends”. With thanks, Megan, Adam and William Duckett
“From all of the “Tallahassee contingency”, THANK YOU for the trip of a lifetime…we all had SUCH an amazing time…it’s really hard to decide what part we liked better, everything was special in its own way. We’ll send you pictures…I’m ready to go back!” Randy Mims
“Hey, Jill…Just wanted to say thanks for all of your help with our recent trip to Brazil. We had a great time…the selection of hotels was perfect! Thanks again for all of your assistance.” David Campbell – March of Dimes
“We returned to Las Vegas from Brazil yesterday, and want to thank you for a most enjoyable trip! We encountered no problems with any of the arrangements you made for us. Thank you for arranging our guide, Flavio – he made our stay in Rio fantastic! Thanks for your thoughtful and professional attention to our needs.”
Sincerely, Akiko and Jim Hamelmann
“Wow! My trip to Rio and the Amazon was the best trip I have ever experienced! Words cannot do justice and/or express how I feel. Thank you, Jill, for coordinating the details of my trip, which was perfect! Rio was beautiful and Angela (my tour guide) was wonderful. The Amazon was indescribable and I loved every moment of it. My guide, Allan, and his assistants were truly great! Varig Airlines was excellent! I can’t say enough. I look forward to more trips to Brazil, and I would also like to go to Machu Picchu in Peru next! Thanks again. I look forward to working with you again.”
Jane E. McCarty, Harrison, New York
“I want to thank you very much for organizing such a wonderful trip for us! You are the best! Sandra and I were taken care of with such loving attention by your guide Ines, while in Rio. We loved her. We will email her today and keep in touch! In Manaus, the boat trip was awesome! We had a lot of little side trips and picnic lunches on the beach that made the trip more interesting for us. I’m already thinking of going back next year! Thanks again!” Carlota & Sandra – San Francisco
“Jill, I just wanted to thank you for planning a great trip for us. Ines was great! She and Andrea took us hang gliding and drove us through a favela. The next day she very patiently took us to a private marina because the boys insisted they wanted to go fishing. So the 4 of us went out on a 70 capacity schooner. The hotel was perfect, as were all of the accommodations. Thanks again!” Gail
“We loved working with Jill Siegel. This was the second time she has helped our family plan vacations in Brazil. My daughter and her husband went to Brazil a year ago. Jill helped them plan the trip, and they came home most pleased with all that she had arranged for them. They had such a delightful trip that our whole family (five of us) returned this past August. Jill was much more involved in planning all of the details as we traveled a lot more. I can’t recommend her highly enough. We were pleased with all that she arranged for us, and found that everything she had told us was exactly as she had promised. We’d all go back to Brazil in a minute. It simply was an unforgettable two weeks!” Patty Bomash
“Everything ok with the Watson group. They are loving the whole trip. I´ve heard the best possible compliments to your work. They strongly recommend the resort in Bahia. They said it is probably the best services they ever had on hotels, for a reasonable price.” Flavio – Guide (Rio de Janeiro)
“I hope you don’t mind, but I posted a reply on Fodors for someone who was looking for a travel agent for their trip to Brazil. I suggested they contact you.
I will soon send some pictures and highlights of what was a fabulous trip.” Terri
It’s been a real pleasure dealing with your agency. I’ve traveled quite a
bit and have never received such prompt responses and helpful suggestions.
M. Temkin – Philadelphia, PA
Bom dia, Jill,
Thank you so much for all the help you provided in putting together our wonderful Brasilian adventure. We had a fabulous time, and the mix of the Amazon, Pantanal (your idea!) and Rio gave us a fascinating glimpse of different regions and people. I know this wasn’t an easy trip for you to put together, since our personal situation forced us to reschedule it for a year later. We’re enormously grateful for your expertise and for the time you spent making sure everything from hotels to airpasses to tour guides was just right for us.
We enjoyed Manaus (the port area was fascinating—we could hardly tear ourselves away) and thought the Hotel Tropical was very nice. A good way to unwind after our long journey down (frequent flyer miles will do that to you since they route you to kingdom come and back).
Ariau was a hoot: a cross-collection of travel-loving people from around the world in a unique hotel in a stunning setting we’ve always dreamed of seeing. Our guide and canoeist, Joao and Edy, were superb, and the activities were great fun. I won’t ever forget the morning we sat in a canoe in the middle of the Rio Negro as the sun rose, watching for dolphins and listening to the howler monkeys waking up in the jungle. Caiman spotting and piranha fishing were a scream. And a jungle walk in a warm rain after a canoe ride through the flooded forest made us feel a real part of the rainforest. We walked every inch of the miles of walkways several times (both day and night), and saw a number of birds, monkeys and even sloths.
I know the dry season is more popular, but we loved being in Amazonia during the rainy season. Our Ariau group, which included people from the U.S., South Africa, Canada and the Philippines, really bonded…some of us even got together in Rio a week later!
Araras Eco-Lodge was an extraordinary find. We liked the contrast of the more energetic Ariau with the peace of the Pantanal lodge. The entire staff was terrific, the rooms were lovely and the food delicious. We loved having the mix of activities, from horseback riding to biking to hiking to boating. Where else could I get up at 5:00 (first checking for caimans sleeping outside the door) to milk a cow, go biking at 7:00, pet one of the vaqueiros’ pet anacondas at 11:00, nap in a hammock at 2:00, climb a tower to feed monkeys at 4:00 and go for a walk to admire the Southern Cross at 8:30? We saw loads of animals and birds; I became quite fond of the capybaras, coatis and jabirus especially.
Rio, ah, Rio! Every bit as beautiful and exciting as we’d always thought. Flavio is a true jewel; you must never let him get away! Besides being unbelievably friendly and kind, he’s a great student of history, sociology, literature and art. His comments and stories enriched our day immeasurably, and we got to see parts of the city and the surrounding area we’d have missed had we been on our own. With his tour under our belts to orient us, we thoroughly enjoyed the next day on our own, too. Wish we could have stayed longer in that happenin’ city.
Thanks again for the absolutely fantastic job you did planning our trip, Jill. We will be back to Brasil and to more of South America (we feel it calling!), so there is no doubt we’ll be calling on you again for your expert assistance.
Very best regards,
I just wanted to drop a quick note about our recent trip. We returned
Sunday from our 10 day trip to Manaus. Yes the weather was either hot or
very wet but not to a point of being distracting. The trip was terrific.
The Tropical Manaus Hotel was great. The Ariau Towers was a great adventure. We loved the food, the service, the outings and the whole atmosphere. Thank you so much for helping to arrange such a wonderful trip. I appreciated the effort that our
guide John (I don’t remember the Brazilian spelling) took at every
opportunity to assure our involvement in all adventures. Again, what a
great trip. On another matter, JoLene and I would like to travel to Panama, visit the
locks and maybe tour any ruins that may be convenient to that City. Do you
arrange for any trips in that area? If we go, our trip would be about this
same time next year. Drop me a note if you have a chance and are able to help or if you can refer me to someone that can help arrange a trip. Again, thanks so much for your help on our recent travel. Bill Flanders
Thanks again for the beautiful job you did planning our trip to
Brazil this spring. It remains our favorite adventure ever. I think
often of the rainforest and the Pantanal, and hope very much we’ll
get back to both someday. But if we don’t, it was a once-in-a-
lifetime experience we’ll treasure. G. Mansfield
Contacting you was on my list of things to do today. We LOVED the trip!!! 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 you arranged such diverse and varied experiences, making it seem as if we traveled to more places that we actually had. I love South America and its people and want to return as soon as possible. Valeria (one of the guides in Rio) suggested Chili and Patagonia. When would be the best time to go?
You really belong on the Conde Nast list of the best!!! Thank you so much for everything that you arranged for us.