Summary : Explore the most biologically-diverse ecosystem on Earth, the Amazon rainforest. This amazing network of forests, rivers and lakes contains an exceptional variety of animal life, including primates, birds, freshwater dolphins and invertebrates. Travel down rivers with exotic names—Amazon, Ucayali, Pacaya—and even more exotic surroundings. La Estrella Amazonica, your home for the voyage, is an authentically-designed riverboat ideally suited for the Amazon, and your guides, from the most skilled and knowledgeable of the region.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$4,948 to $5,348
Fly independently to Lima, Peru, the nation’s capital and largest city, and transfer to the Swissôtel for the night. (D Aloft)
Fly over the Andes to Iquitos. Visit the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have rescued. Learn about efforts to help these endearing mammals. See how the manatees are cared for and prepared for reintroduction into their natural habitat. Prior to boarding our riverboat, survey the history of local tribes at a small museum. Enjoy stargazing and storytelling with our local guides while cruising slowly on the Amazon River toward the confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali Rivers. (B,L,D)
Awake this morning on the Amazon River, seeing some of the ever-changing panorama of jungle life as your Amazon River cruise ship continues upriver. Small villages dot the shoreline, and channels weaving through island mazes provide close-up views of a variety of birds. The confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón Rivers is famous as the beginning of the Amazon River in Peru. Amazingly, you are about 2,400 miles from where the river flows into the Atlantic. The river drops only about 350 feet the entire way! On your Amazon Voyage adventure, travel waterways aboard sturdy excursion boats to areas where you may find marsh birds such as oriole blackbirds, green ibis, yellow-headed caracaras, black-capped donacobis and white-headed marsh-tyrant. Turn into the Río Ucayali, where you’re apt to find gray river dolphins and Amazon pink dolphins cavorting near the boat and along the shoreline. Later, take an excursion into the surrounding rainforest in search of giant water lilies and elusive wildlife such as monkeys and sloths. As dusk approaches, fishing bats begin their night’s foraging. (B,L,D)
After a peaceful breakfast along the black-water Sapote Creek, explore a small tributary of the Ucayali in search of primates, sloths and an enormous variety of birds. La Estrella Amazonica continues upriver to the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. Although scientific studies are far from exhausted, the Pacaya-Samiria is the known home to 450 bird species, 102 species of mammals, over 130 species of reptiles and amphibians, and countless plants.
This afternoon, an excursion into this largest wetland reserve in the world provides the opportunity to see primates, including monk sakis, red howler, saddle-backed tamarin and squirrel monkeys. Explore Caro Lake, connected to the river by way of a very small stream, where you may find flocks of greater ani, often seen following monkeys in search of insects disturbed by the monkeys’ foraging. Enjoy a nighttime boat excursion for a chance to find caimans, capybaras, common potoos, frogs and other nocturnal wildlife. (B,L,D)
Spend the day exploring this flooded realm, seeing wading birds such as herons, wattled jacanas and horned screamers. Venture deep into the rainforest, tour an igapo (seasonally flooded forest), where plant life is very different from what you will see along the main course of the Amazon cruise, and walk through the forest. Lucky guests may release turtle hatchlings. A delicious lunch energizes you for afternoon excursions with expert naturalists, where you may find scarlet macaws, hoatzins, black-collared hawks and red howler monkeys. (B,L,D)
After an early breakfast, board the excursion boats for access even further into the heart of these vast wetlands. As your Amazon Voyage adventure cruises the narrow waterways, find birds such as canary-winged parakeets and spectacular blue-and-gold and scarlet macaws. Primates also are fairly common, including noisy squirrel monkeys. Once you arrive at a remote ranger station, enjoy a refreshing swim. Gradually make your way back to the riverboat through the maze of waterways. Enjoy an al fresco lunch and time to relax before your afternoon excursion. (B,L,D)
This morning head back downriver, with a morning wildlife excursion or other activity. Visit a village along the river, with the chance to learn about the lives of the “Ribereño” people who live there. Accompanied by guides who grew up along the river, this is a fantastic opportunity to stroll through gardens learning about medicinal plants and folklore, visit a school, or join in a game of soccer. The children are especially excited to see their faces on digital cameras and to show off their school and sing Peruvian songs. Depending on the villages visited during your Amazon River tour, you may also have the opportunity to see a water treatment plant funded in part by your expedition. The clean drinking water provided by these plants is having an enormous positive health impact in remote river villages. Learn about medicinal plants and enjoy a blessing ceremony by a respected village shaman. Aboard the ship, take advantage of the open-air top deck, learning to make traditional Peruvian dishes or enjoying an enriching lecture. After dark go out in the excursion boats to listen to the sounds of the rainforest and look for nocturnal wildlife. (B,L,D)
Wake up early for a morning birdwatching excursion along the Yarapa River. After breakfast, try your hand at piranha fishing in Ubos Lake. Piranha are very common in the slower-moving water. With luck, you may catch red-breasted, white or black piranha, and feast on your catch this evening at dinner. Back aboard your Amazon River cruise ship, enjoy a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)
Arrive Sunday and connect with flights home. (Meals Aloft)
Itinerary is subject to change and may vary based on wildlife sightings, changes in the river, navigability and air schedules.
Barry Walker (4/21/2017 departure)
An England-native Barry started bird watching at the age of 13. After birding extensively in Europe and the Middle East, Barry switched his attention to the neotropics, and has lived in Peru for more than 35 years. Having seen more than 1,710 species in Peru alone, he is well known for his field experience when leading tours. Barry has also participated in many archaeological expeditions, discovered unknown Inca archaeological sites and has a keen interest in the Inca period and the Conquest of Peru.
Ian Thompson (5/21/2017 departure)
For more than a decade, Ian Thompson has served as director of The Nature Conservancy’s Amazon programs, working in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. Since 2014, he has led their conservation team in Brazil. Under Ian’s leadership, the Conservancy implements solutions to balance economic growth with the conservation of nature and respect for human rights. Key projects include focusing on freshwater conservation and forest restoration.
Luis Davalos (6/23/2017 departure)
Peru-native Luis Davalos works with The Nature Conservancy on a variety of projects designed to conserve the rich biodiversity found on indigenous lands. These areas are vital to ensure both a healthy, functioning ecosystem as well as the sustainability of indigenous livelihoods. Luis has a background in Social Responsibility, Development and Education in Diversity, which he taught at the university level.
Cabin accommodations on ship; meals onboard; the guide’s reception includes a local drink, wine, beer or a soda; the farewell dinner includes a wine, the sunset cruise includes a glass of champagne glass; tours of Lima and Iquitos; arrival and departure transfers; complimentary laundry aboard ship; excursions while on board led by highly-trained naturalist guides. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; travel insurance; passport and visa expenses; airport departure taxes as applicable; gratuities to ship crew and naturalists are left to the discretion of the passenger; items of a personal nature such as Internet and alcoholic beverages not mentioned as included; fuel surcharge may apply.