From Jeff Corwin
I am a producer on the wildlife adventure program The Jeff Corwin Experience which airs on the Animal Planet and Discovery Networks worldwide. In December of 2001 I had the pleasure of coordinating our shoot in the Brazilian Amazon Basin with the local tour outfitting company Swallows and Amazons.
Mark Aitchison was extremely resourceful from the very start as we corresponded about shooting options in the Manaus region. He by far had the most helpful ideas and feedback concerning our plans, as compared to the other companies I contacted. He also submitted the lowest cost proposal. Mark has a wide network of local contacts in the Manaus region and he did not hesitate to call upon them to make sure our shoot was successful as possible. Not the least of these was our guide, Conrad, who traveled with our crew at all times and was extremely knowledgeable about the region and its wildlife.
I would highly recommend Swallows and Amazons as a Brazilian tour operator for recreational groups and film and television productions alike.
Holly WilliamsonEpisode ProducerThe Jeff Corwin Experience
Popular Arts Entertainment, 2006 W. Olive Avenue, Burbank, CA 91506Tel: 818-562-6366, Fax: 818-558-7047, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
From Australian & Amazon Adventures
We have been doing business with Mark Aitchison, dba Swallows and Amazons, for the past few years now. I know that they been doing business in the Manaus area since 1992 and have been working very hard to build a strong and profitable business by supplying a safe and reliable, yet exciting and educational product for their clients. I do know that in our relations with Swallows and Amazons they have always done a good job, and have acted professionally and responsibly.
We look forward to working with Mark and his company in the future and will be happy to be able to offer the new and exciting products that he is in the process of putting on the market. We believe that he is filling an important niche in the market and offering things that people are looking for, but that other operators have not offered in the past.
Jim McDaniel 2711 Market Garden 800-232-5658 or 512-443-5393Austin, TX 78745 Fax – 512-442-8515www.amazonadventures.com Email: email@example.com
This letter is written for the purpose of introducing Sr. Mark Aitchison, his fine company SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS, and describing our interest in the continued development and expansion of his services.
Sr. Aitchison has been in business since 1992, and over the years has had an excellent service reputation in the international travel community. He and his wife, Tania, are considered two of the best guides in the Amazon by operators worldwide.
Andetur Brazilian Travel Club is very proud to represent Swallows and Amazons tours, and feel that the addition of the boat he is working on will greatly enhance his operations.
In addition, we have appointed Sr. Mark Aitchison as our representative for Manaus … and his services, to date, have been outstanding and flawless.
We feel that the increased capabilities and income potential that this new vessel will offer his business operation to be a very viable improvement.
Capt. Donald R. ReidDirector InternationalAndetur Brazilian Travel Club International Sales OfficeP.O. Box 52, 105 Oak Street, USA 70377Phone: +1 504 594-0147 FAX: +1 603 250-5298Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
From INTI Travel & Tours
If you have any questions or require additional information please do not hesitate to contact me.
Jeff WaughCEO & Director of Operations Email: email@example.comWeb: www.discovergalapagos.com/intitravel/Phone: 1-403-760-3565 / Fax 1-403-760-3565Box 2284, Banff, Alberta, Canada, TOL OCO
From Frank Buono
I am not sure how I came across Swallows and Amazons. I was searching for a credible, natural-history oriented small boat trip on the Amazon River. I checked departures from Coca (Ecuador), Iquitos (Peru) and Manaus (Brazil). In one internet search I came across Swallows and Amazons. I booked it for the four of us on a ten day trip from Manaus up the Rio Negro to Jau National Park this past July. It was worth every penny and the price was very reasonable.
Our hosts Mark and Tania met us at the hotel (hotel included in the tour), delivered all that they had promised and put us aboard a small, two deck boat with two guest cabins, with air conditioning too boot. The boat crew was phenomenal from the excellent Brazilian home cooking by Francesca, the very professional captain (Valdhino), the deckhand (Preto) and our wonderful guide who knows the natural history of this region quite well. Our guide, Anand, went out of his way to schedule several off-boat activities every day, in search of birds. Can I complain that there was TOO MUCH food? We felt compelled to overeat.
The experience of slowly motoring up the vastness of the flooded forest of the Rio Negro (the largest northern tributary of the Amazon system) is unforgettable. Macaws and amazon parrots flew alongside or over us every day. We searched in a small boat within the flooded forest canopy for the smaller birds. Hard work? Yes. But we did manage to get some of the antbirds, antwrens, manakins and owls. River dolphins – pink and grey were - ubiquitous. Anyone interested in this kind of experience can do no better. Highly recommended.
Frank BuonoSierra Vista, AZNational Park Service (Retired) firstname.lastname@example.org
From Michael Beukema
My wife and I had already booked a Jungle Lodge on the Rio Negro near Novo Airao and wanted to deepen our Amazon adventure including the Rio Solimoes and Rio Negro with a 3D/2N houseboat cruise. Mark Aitchison, the owner of S&A Tours, is an experienced Amazon guide and longtime tour operator, has the best contacts, strong reputation and provided excellent support during the planning and booking process. His houseboat and crew in historic Manaus city were outstanding in terms of safety, comfort, cleanliness, kindness and the meals were delicious. Our highly knowledgeable local guide, Anand, spoke perfect English, worked with us to design daily excursions and was a real joy to be with - he spoke with authority on the area’s history, we saw the classic meeting of the waters, an amazing array of river wildlife, fished and ate piranhas and witnessed a unique indigenous village and cultural events that exceeded our expectations. We highly recommend Swallows and Amazons Tours for their Amazon river cruise and overall adventure tourism experience!
Michael BeukemaEden Prairie, MNbeukema.email@example.com
From Mark & Jess Simpson
Having wavered for months about the wisdom of going on a trip along the Amazon with our nearly 1-year old son, we struck gold with Swallows and Amazons. We had the adventure of a lifetime and although our son will not remember the holiday, the rest of us certainly will! The team we were placed with were all stellar - the family team of captain Santana, his wife Carmen the cook, and their delightful daughter Isis couldn’t have been a better fit for us and in their affection for our son!! All the meals were delicious, and we were treated to the various varieties of local fish. Anand the guide was top drawer: he took on board what we had particular interest in, and the pace at which we could go at (limited mobility from some of our party) and gave us great insight into the ecology and culture of the region. Problem is we now have an Anand-shaped hole in our lives as we hear bird sounds and want to know what bird it is…!
The boat was beautifully maintained and up to very high standards - we could see that Santana and his family do this not just because it pays but because they love it and they love the land and water they’ve been raised on. Not that I’m a connoisseur in Amazonian tourism, but I suspect it’s pretty rare to find this. Most set-ups have large groups, rushing through different locations without taking the time and care to stop and gaze in wonder. We certainly didn’t want to be on a conveyor belt on the Amazon river and we were delighted that our experience was far from that!
Mark Aitchison was super-efficient and accommodating and excellent at allaying our fears and doubts about the trip. He assured us - as we dithered over whether or not to stay in a lodge or go on a boat - that the best way of getting to know the Amazonian region was like the locals do, by water, and that by travelling along it the landscape is always changing so there is always something new to see. He was proved 100% right and we are already dreaming up our next boat trip! We would recommend Swallows and Amazons to anyone at any stage without hesitating.
Don’t get me wrong - the Amazon IS wild and malaria is certainly a risk (although there are barely any mosquitos when travelling on the Rio Negro) - but the local team know the terrain well, care is taken, and the sheer exhilaration of being on an amazing boat pooling along the Rio Negro, in fantastic company, seeing landscapes and animals we’ll never see again - more than compensated for the risks.
Mark and Jess Simpson (Brits living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)firstname.lastname@example.org
From Jim & Peggy Mount
Jim and Peggy Mount
Tony_from_Ohio wrote a review Dec 2014Hudson, Ohio Fantastic Amazon river excursion! "My group of five guys took a 4 day, 3 night riverboat excursion as part of our FIFA World Cup visit to Brazil in June 2014. What a fantastic addition to an already amazing trip! We had already been in Brazil for a week living the fast -paced soccer life when we boarded the riverboat. The boat trip gave us the opportunity to slow down and relax for a few days, and to enjoy the natural beauty of the Amazon river around Manaus, Brazil.Our guide, Anand, was great. Very knowledgeable, and very attentive to the 15 guests on the boat. All of the stops along the river were well planned, enjoyable and informative. The crew and food on the boat were excellent. Mark, the owner of the company was great to work with during the planning phase. We had a tight World Cup travel and game schedule that we needed to plan around, and Mark found a way to make it work for us."
ehra55 wrote a review Jul 2014Greenwich, Connecticut What a wonderful experience!!! "Our family of 5, daughters in their 20's, had the most wonderful experience on this riverboat tour. Tania, one of the owners, was there to greet us as we arrived. She introduced us to our crew, who as the 5 days evolved, couldn't have been any better. They were kind, respectful, helpful, clean and cautious about our safety. We saw the "meeting of the waters" and then traveled up the Rio Negro. We slept in hammocks, fished for piranhas, took a half day hike into the jungle, saw and fed monkeys, saw an iguana and a few sloths in trees, parrots, toucans, a caiman, and visited a few native areas. The tour guide and co-captain were so knowledgable about the country and that region answering all of our questions. The trip was created according to our interests and food restrictions (3 vegetarians), despite the difficulty of that in Brazil. Mark was wonderful to work with as we planned this trip."