amazon river woodcreeper bird in jungle

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Amazon River Expedition

Exploring the Waterways of Peru’s Amazon aboard the Aria


The mighty Amazon River is home to 2.5 million square miles of rainforest—one of the earth’s largest and most intact wildernesses. Aboard the luxury yacht Aria, you'll explore its many wonders as you journey in style along the Ucayali and Marañon rivers, the two largest tributaries of the Amazon, and through the remote Pacaya Samiria National Park and Reserve, set deep within the rainforest at the headwaters of the Amazon. This vast wetland reserve is a haven for Amazonian flora and fauna, a world filled with birds in neon-bright colors, playful monkeys, graceful hawks and herons, and millions of butterflies. As you cruise along, you’ll try your hand at fishing for piranha, visit riverside communities to witness their culture and traditions, learn about the area’s conservation and sustainability projects, and enjoy night excursions by skiff under a canopy of sparkling stars. There are two seasons in the Amazon: low water (June to November) and high water (December to May). Each season offers extraordinary experiences of the Amazon.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.


(December to May)

Peru’s rainy season runs from December through May. This is a relatively cooler and wetter season when the Amazon region receives a little more than half (60%) of its total rainfall. During the high water season the average temperature is 86°F, only 12 degrees cooler than in the low water season. There are great benefits to traveling to Peru’s Amazon at this time of year. The Amazon Basin’s rivers and streams are about 23 feet higher than they are during the low water season, so that every river, creek and lake is navigable. You are able to explore more of the Amazon’s waterways by skiff, and will have access to areas with more plant life and wildlife than during the low water season. The flooded waterways put travelers much closer to the Amazon jungle canopy, where monkeys play and beautiful Amazon birds like to roost. In fact, you are very likely to see many more mammals, both monkeys and others, during the high water season. Enhanced navigation by water has a flip side—areas to walk and hike are sometimes limited at this time, and there will be more mosquitoes than in the low water season. Fishing in the Amazon River is more limited during these months too, but you still have close to a 50:50 chance to get out your rod and reel and make a catch.

Day 1
Iquitos / Embark

Arrive in Iquitos, Peru, then enjoy lunch together at a local restaurant (or a box lunch en route, depending on the flight arrival time). The afternoon continues with an introduction to this historic city and the opportunity to meet an indigenous Amazon community. At 6:00 pm, board the Aria and settle into your generously proportioned suite as you begin one of life’s greatest adventures. Following a routine safety drill and introduction to the naturalist guides, gather for innovative Amazonian cuisine created by  Executive Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, whose restaurant, Malabar, is the one of Lima’s top ranked dining experiences.

Day 2
Amazon River / Yarapa River / Nauta CaƱo

Aboard comfortable skiffs, set sail from the Amazon River to the Yarapa River. Keep your binoculars ready to spot tropical songbirds, black collared hawks, and sloths. You’ll go fishing for Amazonia’s notoriously ferocious piranhas while the naturalist guides share stories of Lake Moringo. As the sun sets, head off on an evening’s wildlife excursion with extraordinary stargazing on the black waters of Nauta Caño.

Day 3
Marañon Creek/ Casual Jungle Walk / Yanayacu-Pucate River

Rise with the sun for an early morning birdwatching along the Marañon River. After breakfast, take a jungle walk while looking for flora and fauna that include medicinal trees, insects, and poison dart frogs, and learning more about the different rainforest stratas. Later, swim, canoe, or kayak in Yanayacu-Pucate River as you look for legendary pink river dolphins. Focus the hi-tech telescope on the night sky to identify the planets and constellations.

Day 4
Nauta Town / Birthplace of the Amazon

This morning, visit the local fresh market with your guides who can identify the day’s catch by the fishermen of Amazonia and the region’s exotic fruits. In the afternoon, witness one of the great spectacles of the Southern Hemisphere, the birthplace of the Amazon River. Tonight you will meet the new passengers who have signed on for the four-night trip, as you start your journey together along the Marañon River.

Day 5
Yanallpa River / Dorado River

By skiff, explore the black waters of the Yanallpa River, disembarking to walk deep into the Amazonian rain forest. Later, board the skiffs again to cruise along the El Dorado River for a dusk excursion in search of exotic nocturnal wildlife.

Day 6
Pacaya River / Ucayali River / Tapiche River

The rewards of an early start today are plentiful, including a breakfast picnic accompanied by jungle symphony and fishing along the black waters of the Pacaya River. After lunch, venture out by skiffs on the Ucayali River alongside the banana boats transporting their jungle products to the port of Requena, keeping an eye out for pink river dolphins.

Day 7
Clavero or Yarapa River / Amazon River

Choose to go jungle walking, canoeing, kayaking, or swimming on the black water Yarapa or Clavero River in the morning. Visit a remote Amazonia village in the afternoon. This evening before dinner, you'll gather to meet some of the crewmembers whom you may not have met, working "behind the scenes" to ensure your countless exceptional experiences aboard the Aria.

Day 8
Iquitos / Manatee Rescue Center / Depart

At the Bellavista Nanay morning market along the Nanay River, sample exotic snacks from the Peruvian Amazon like “Suri,” Amazon caterpillars that are considered especially appetizing. Return to the Aria for breakfast and to pack up. Before saying goodbye, you will make one last truly memorable stop at the Manatee Rescue Center, a very special kind of animal orphanage for Amazonian manatees. You will also visit San Juan craft market on route to the airport. Lunch or box lunch will be provided, depending on the exact departure flight time, which may vary. Other local activities may be included as well, according to the recommended flight schedule.

(June to November)

Despite its name, the low water season still exhibits some heavy rains. This is the warmer season on the Amazon River, with temperatures averaging about 98°F. A key difference between visiting Peru in this season versus the high water season is that trails and jungle paths flooded from December to May are now easily accessible, allowing you to explore deep in the jungle by foot (and accompanied by fewer mosquitoes than during the flooded season). The flip side of this is that water levels on the Amazon River and its tributaries are much lower from June to November, which means that many of the creeks and lakes visited during the rainy season are inaccessible. Lower water levels, however, can be a bonus in another way: during these months fishing is 100 percent guaranteed and you stand a fair chance to catch a piranha. And while you are farther below the birds that roost in the Amazon jungle canopy, you will have the chance to see dozens of species of migratory birds in flight, something you would completely miss during the high water season.

Day 1: Arrive in Iquitos, travel to Nauta, and embark the Aria
Day 2: Yanayacu-Pucate River / Marañon River
Day 3: Samiria River / Nauta Caño or PNA (Amazonian Natural Park)
Day 4: Nauta Town / Village Visit / Birthplace of the Amazon
Day 5: Ucayali River / Pacaya River
Day 6: Pacaya River / Ucayali River / Requena
Day 7: Yarapa or Clavero River / Jungle walk in the San Jose de Sarapanga forest
Day 8: Nauta / Manatee Rescue Center / Depart



Nature walks, cultural exploration, excursions by skiff
Outstanding wildlife includes a variety of monkeys, freshwater dolphins, sloths, iguanas
Enjoy village visits, learn about conservation projects, search for birds and medicinal plants, fish for piranha!


Length: 8 days
Cost From: $8645  
Arrive: Iquitos, Peru
Depart: Iquitos, Peru
Lodging: 7 nights aboard 24-guest luxury vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship
Activity: Wildlife and Natural History, Walking, River Cruising, Special Interest, Photography, Birding
Trip Level:

Nature walks, cultural exploration, excursions by skiff