Summary : Experience the diverse environments of the Amazon aboard a luxurious riverboat during the high water season. View one of the great spectacles of the Southern Hemisphere: the sun rising over the birthplace of the Amazon River. Fish for piranhas in hidden black water lakes. Explore the jungle and venture into the Amazon wilderness to see the famous Kapok Trees and meet indigenous people. Observe monkeys, toucans, caimans, iguanas, sloths and possibly pink dolphins during expeditions with highly knowledgeable naturalist guides. Enjoy incredible scenery on one of the most luxurious and exciting journeys to the Amazon.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking
$8,505 to $9,275
Arrive in Iquitos, the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. Settle into your suite and enjoy the views as you embark on your Amazon adventure. Enjoy fine South American wine and world-class cuisine on your first evening surrounded by the sounds of the Amazon.
Wake up early and head to Yacapana Island – known as the "Isle of the Iguana.” Cruise aboard launches for photo opportunities of unique flora and fauna. Bait your hooks and try to catch one of Amazonia’s infamous piranhas!
As the sun sets, enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and photograph both gray and pink freshwater dolphins. Amazonian people believe that these dolphins turn into humans to steal handsome men and pretty women from their villages during celebrations. After dark, search the jungle discovering exotic wildlife such as caimans and frogs.
In the morning, board the skiffs to explore this amazing black water stream, part of the vast Amazon flooded forest. Discover what scientists call a “gallery forest,” creating a tunnel of leaves due to its narrow vegetation. Navigate the tunnel observing parrots, macaws, and fluffy monk saki monkeys.
In the afternoon, take a magical journey and experience towering trees reflecting in the black water river while spotting dozens of enchanting parrots, blue-yellow macaws, and monkeys. En route to the vessel observe caimans, frogs and bats.
In the morning, sail along the vast Pacaya Samiria Reserve, a flooded forest covering five million acres at the headwaters of the Amazon Basin. View a great spectacle of the Southern Hemisphere: the sun rising over the birthplace of the Amazon River. Here the union of two major tributaries, the Ucayali and the Marañon, form the world’s greatest waterway. Watch for large-billed terns, laughing falcons, gray tanagers, sandpipers, five kinds of parakeets, exotic short-tailed parrots, and dozens of other birds.
Visit a village where you'll be warmly welcomed, and, with guides as interpreters, meet the local people and learn their way of life along the river. Navigate through a small connector canal between the Ucayali and Marañon Rivers to discover the world’s largest aquatic plant, the Victoria Regias giant water lily.
Venture to Nauta Caño within Pacaya-Samiria Reserve which is known as the mirrored forest, which makes perfect sense as you gaze upon its glistening black water lagoons. Your naturalist guides use their eagle eyes to help you spot toucans, parrots and macaws overhead and iguanas. sloths and monkeys among the soaring trees. On the way back to your vessel, the glorious sunset is reflected in these glistening waters.
Board the skiffs to explore part of the vast Amazon flooded forest. Knowledgeable guides explain about the rainforest and its dynamic life. Float through the forest spotting parrots, macaws, and fluffy monk saki monkeys. Walk through the jungle and meet natives practicing subsistence farming. Hear how they learned to cultivate wild plants and trees. Deep in the primary forest, observe the wealth of fruit trees and medicinal plants hidden in the jungle.
Your naturalist guide leads your jungle walk while introducing you to some of the sustainable resource management projects in Amazonia. Visit one, where villagers plant palms to obtain oil. Go deeper still into the jungle, where you encounter more wildlife and learn about the Amazon’s natural pharmacy of medical plants. Wander under a canopy of kapok trees (ceiba pentandra), the tallest trees in the Amazon Basin.
On your late afternoon expedition, you are very likely to see the Amazon’s two different kinds of freshwater dolphins—gray and pink. Keep your eyes on the jungle canopy too, where your naturalist guides help you to spot some of Pacaya-Samiria’s 13 species of monkeys including tamarins, howlers, dusky titi and pigmy marmoset monkeys. Watch for crocodiles, and keep your binoculars at the ready, as you are likely to see more than 200 species of birds. As the sun sets and your searchlight comes on, keep your eyes out for caimans, tree boas, tarantulas, and frogs.
Take to the river as the sun rises to see and hear a treasure trove of wildlife, including parrots, macaws, toucans, and many kinds of monkeys—as well as some “surprise” species that you may never have seen before. A luxurious “bag breakfast” will be packed for you, including homemade baked goods, light sandwiches, freshly squeezed juices and hot Peruvian coffee. This is also a popular dolphin feeding spot, so you won’t be the only ones enjoying your meal here.
Begin sailing downriver towards Iquitos. Travel by skiff to this splendid “hot spot” lake, where catching some of the more than 3,000 species of tropical fish that live in the Amazon Basin is assured. Guides know all the best tricks to lure piranhas, those small, mostly carnivorous fish with a big reputation for their vicious bite.
As the ship continues downstream, enjoy a briefing with a recap of your itinerary and wildlife sightings. After dinner, your naturalist guides introduce the very important crew members whom you may not have met, as they have been busy “behind the scenes” to create your seamless experience.
Weather and time permitting, enjoy a morning excursion to an Amazon community where the houses and shops actually float on the river during some months. Observe the bustling food market that supports the entire Peruvian Amazon. All local people throughout the region sell and purchase goods here.
Following an early lunch and disembarkation, visit Iquitos' Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees. Learn how the manatees are rehabilitated before re-introduction back into their natural habitat. Guided transfer to airport for flight to Lima.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to weather conditions – and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
What to Expect in High Water Season:
The Amazon River in Peru has essentially two seasons; a high water season (Dec through May) and a low water season (Jun through Nov). Whichever season you choose, you will see spectacular wildlife and plant life. During the high water season, when the Amazon Basin’s rivers and streams are approximately 23 feet higher than lower water season, more rivers, creeks and lakes are navigable. Flooded waterways put travelers much closer to the Amazon jungle canopy making it very likely to see many more mammals, including monkeys, and birds. The average temperature is slightly cooler (about 86 degrees Fahrenheit). During high season, areas to walk and hike are sometimes limited, you may encounter more mosquitoes, and fishing in the Amazon River can be more limited—though you still have close to a 50:50 chance of making a catch.
Special Guest Jean-Michel Cousteau: 2/9/2018
Ocean conservationist and filmmaker Jean-Michel Cousteau will be joining the 2/9/2018 departure. The son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel founded the Ocean Futures Society in 1999 to carry on this pioneering work and to honor his father's heritage. An award-winning producer of more than 80 films, Jean-Michel has been recognized internationally with numerous awards for his work in ocean. During this departure, travelers will experience the Amazon from the perspective of a conservationist and will get to know Cousteau along with a small group of fellow travelers. Guests will learn first-hand about Cousteau's deep experience exploring the Amazon and other remote areas around the world as he champions the cause of environmental conservation and protection. Each voyage will include evening talks with Cousteau, and screenings of several of his films.
Cabin accommodations and meals onboard the ship; excursions; non-alcoholic beverages plus select wine and beer only; group transfers to/from vessel when arriving and departing on recommended flights; Pacaya Samiria entrance fee. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare to and from Iquitos; private transfers; travel insurance; departure taxes; visa fees if applicable; items of a personal nature such as boutique purchases; guide and crew gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.