Duration: 4 Days
Type: Iquitos Luxury Cruise
Destinations: Iquitos – Amazon river, Tahuayo River, Yacapana Islands Exploration, Manatee Rescue Center.
Description: Cruise the Amazon River and its tributaries aboard one of Amazon’s luxury cruise ships. Smaller, intimate and not lacking in any comforts an Amazon River Cruise will give you a new appreciation for one of this most special of all places in the world.
Flight from Lima
In just an hour and 45 minutes you will be deep in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon region.
Your guides await you, as your flight from Lima glides in for landing at Iquitos International Airport.
After you’ve claimed your luggage, you will board an air-conditioned bus for your journey to the Amazon river.
Transfer to Iquitos’ main wharf
There the luxurious M/V Aqua, your home for the next three nights, awaits you.
Embarkation and check-in
From the moment you step on board, you will enjoy the M/V Aqua’s atmosphere of low-key luxury. As you settle into your handsomely appointed over-sized suite, you will feel the vessel begin to move; the beginning of one of the great adventures of your life. Stand on the Upper Deck to take in the view, as the M/V Aqua leaves Iquitos behind.
Over the next three days, you will also sail along the largest tributaries of the Amazon river, as well as on the mighty Amazon itself. You are embarking on a spectacular adventure, to a place visited by only a few of even the most experienced world travelers.
Safety Drill and Briefing on the Top Deck
Before dinner we will perform a routine safety drill. Then it’s into the air-conditioned lounge, where you will learn about life onboard, and will have the first of the nightly briefings about your adventure to follow. You will meet the naturalist guides and the cruise director, who will use video, photos, and maps to explain the details of your adventure to follow.
Sit down, relax, sample some South fine American wine, and enjoy the truly world-class cuisine, created by Executive Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, whose restaurant, Malabar, is one of the best in all of Lima. Schiaffino’s recipes, with their imaginative use of local products – fruit, fish, spices – make every meal a delightful adventure. (The menu always offers choices, including a vegetarian option.) Toast the beginning of a beautiful journey.
Perhaps enjoy a nightcap on the Upper Deck, under the stars, before retiring.
Early Morning Skiff Expedition on the Amazon River
Be up early to catch your first glimpse of the majestic Amazon River as you watch the sunrise over this green world filled with wonderful wildlife. This initial contact with Amazonia is only a brief sampling of what the rest of your journey will hold.
Our sumptuous daily breakfast buffet features a wide choice of traditional breakfast egg dishes, plus Peruvian specialties, and fresh-squeezed fruit juices.
Tahuayo River Exploration and Fishing Trip at Charo Lake
This morning you will board our comfortable excursion skiffs for your first adventure, traveling from the Amazon through the Huaysi short-cut canal to explore the Tahuayo blackwater river. Life jackets, ponchos, rubber boots, and plenty of cold potable water will always be available for you onboard the skiffs. As we float down the Tahuayo, occasional fishermen paddling in their dug-out canoes will give us a cheerful greeting. Keep your binoculars ready to spot a vast variety of wildlife: terns, orioles, blackbirds, black collared hawks, monkeys, and sloth share this wonderful environment with us. Upon arrival at Charo Lake, you can bait your hooks to try to catch one of Amazonia’s fearsome piranhas (and other fish as well). As you fish, trained guides will also tell you the story of the lake and its inhabitants.
Return to the M/V Aqua
Icy cold towels await you, as you transfer from your skiffs into the M/V Aqua. As the vessel continues up the Amazon River, you have some time to relax, or perhaps even take a nap, before lunch.
12:30 p.m. Lunch
Enjoy lighter mid-day fare in our air-conditioned dining room.
Yacapana Islands Exploration and Dolphin Sighting
Locals call the Yacapana Islands the “Iguana Islands” because of the huge population of these reptiles—like tiny dinosaurs—crawling over the ground and resting in the treetops. We will pass by in the skiff, giving you a chance to snap good photos. As the sun sets, you will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and photograph both gray and pink freshwater dolphins. The people of the Amazon believe that these dolphins turn into humans to steal handsome men or pretty women from their villages during celebrations.
6:30 p.m. To the Headwaters
We will return to the M/V Aqua vessel and continue our journey upstream, toward the headwaters of the Amazon River, where the Ucayali, Marañon, and the Amazon Rivers merge.
Perhaps sip a pre-dinner pisco sour on the Upper Deck, while you watch the sun set.
6:30 a.m. Breakfast
Guided Jungle Walk in the Primary Forest
This morning your Naturalist Guide will tell you all about sustainable resource management projects in Amazonia. You will visit one of these projects, where villagers are planting palms to obtain oil. Your Guide may also show you the artificial nests created on the sand to protect turtle eggs. Then we will take you deep into the jungle, where you will encounter wildlife and learn first-hand about the important medical value of jungle plants. And we will show you famous Kapok Trees (ceiba pentandra), the tallest trees in the Amazon Basin.
12:00 p.m. Return to the M/V Aqua
12:30 p.m. Lunch, followed by a Siesta
3:30 a.m. Monkey / Dolphin and Caiman Expedition
In this late afternoon skiff excursion, you are likely to see howler and capuchin monkeys, the squirrel-sized monkeys called tamarins, and a vast variety of birds. You are also apt to see the two different kinds of freshwater dolphins—including the unusual pink ones—found in the Amazon. Later, keep your eyes directed toward the jungle canopy, where you can spot at least several kinds of primates—among the 13 species of monkeys resident in the National Rainforest Park. Perhaps you will catch a glimpse of tamarins and dusky titi monkeys and pigmy marmoset monkeys. Watch for alligators, and keep your binoculars at the ready, as you are likely to see more than 200 species of birds. As the sun sets and our searchlight comes on, keep your eyes out for caimans, tree boas, tarantulas, and frogs. After this night adventure, the M/V Aqua will start sailing downstream on the Marañon River, back toward the headwaters of the Amazon.
7:30 p.m. Arrive at the M/V Aqua.
8:30 p.m. Dinner
6:30 a.m. Ucayali River and Yucuruche Lake
Rise early and be on your skiff at 6:30 AM. This morning we will travel by skiff along the Ucayali River to Yucuruche Lake, where we will walk a little way into the jungle to see the world’s largest aquatic plant, the giant water lilies or “Victoria Regias”. You will be one of a very small number of people who have ever seen these plants bloom.
8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:15 a.m. Birthplace of the Amazon/Puerto Prado Village
This morning, the M/V Aqua skirts the edges of the vast Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, a flooded forest covering five million acres at the headwaters of the Amazon basin. We board the skiffs to view one of the great spectacles of the Southern Hemisphere: the birthplace of the Amazon River. Here—where the union of two major tributaries, the Ucayali and the Marañon, form the world’s greatest waterway—nature is at its most dramatic. Your morning excursion will be accompanied by abundant bird song, as you glide in small boats past river banks populated by large-billed terns, laughing falcons, gray tanagers, sandpipers, five kinds of parakeets, the exotic short-tailed parrot, and dozens of other birds.
We will then travel by skiff to Puerto Prado native village, where you will meet and interact with the hospitable native Cocama Indians. They will share their culture, traditions, and folklore with you, and you will have the opportunity to purchase some of their handicrafts and delightful folk art.
11:00 a.m. Return to the M/V Aqua
11:40 a.m. Lunch
Share a final onboard lunch with the friends you have made on your Amazon journey.
1:15 p.m. Disembarkation/Manatee Rescue Center/Transfer to the Airport
We will visit the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have seized from local people and fishermen. Biologists will give a presentation about the project and its efforts to help these helpless mammals. You will also see how the manatees are cared for and are prepared for re-introduction into their natural habitat.
4:30 p.m. Check-in at Iquitos International Airport
Your guides will help you with check-in, and will stay with you until you have boarded your flight back to Lima.
5:50 p.m. Your Flight Departs for Lima LA 2383
Note: All itineraries are subject to change, due to weather and other conditions. All times indicated are approximate, and are also subject to change.
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