peru amazon exploring rainforest by boat

Peru’s Exotic Amazon Waterways

Overview

The mighty Amazon River is home to 2.5 million square miles of rainforest—the earth’s largest tropical rainforest and one of the world’s most impressive wildernesses. Aboard a luxurious river cruise designed to have minimal impact on the delicate Amazon enviornment, you'll explore its many wonders as you journey in style along some of the most biodiverse tributaries in the world. With experienced naturalist guides on board and daily small group excursions, you’ll experience this vast ecological haven—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, 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.

Itinerary

High Water Itinerary
(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 / Nauta / Embark

Arrive in Iquitos, Peru, then journey by air-conditioned vehicle through the Peruvian countryside to Nauta for lunch (or a box lunch en route, depending on the flight arrival time). The afternoon continues with your first skiff excursion in the Amazon. At 6:00 pm, board your ship and settle into your generously proportioned suite as you begin your adventure. 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
Yanallpa River / Dorado River

Aboard comfortable skiffs, explore the fascinating black waters of the Yanallpa River, disembarking to walk deep into the Amazonian rain forest. Keep your binoculars ready to spot tropical songbirds, black collared hawks, and mackaws. Later, cruise along the El Dorado River for a dusk excursion in search of exotic nocturnal wildlife and extraordinary stargazing.

Day 3
Pacaya River / Ucalyali River / Tapiche River

The rewards of an early start today are plentiful, including a full day excursion by skiff along the Pacaya River, going deeper into pristine landscape shared with great egret, capuchin monkeys and taricaya turtles. After lunch, enjoy a paiche fishing demonstration, the second largest river fish in the world. Later, venture out by skiff 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 4
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 your ship.

Day 5
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 ship 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 the San Juan craft market en route to the airport.

Low Water Itinerary
(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: Iquitos / Transfer to Nauta / Embarkation / Maranon River
Day 2: Ucayali River / Pacaya River
Day 3: Pacaya River/ Ucayali River / Tapiche River
Day 4: Clavero Lake / Jungle walk in the San Jose De Sarapanga Forest
Day 5: Arrival in Nauta / Manatee Rescue Center/ Transfer to the Airport

Highlights

Highlights

Witness outstanding wildlife including monkeys, freshwater dolphins, sloths, iguanas, and tropical birds
Enjoy village visits, learn about conservation projects, and search for medicinal plants with expert naturalists
Take night excursions by skiff to look for nocturnal species and enjoy life under a canopy of stars

Details

Length: 5 days
Cost From: $5400  
Arrive: Iquitos, Peru
Depart: Iquitos, Peru
Lodging: 4 nights aboard a small luxury vessel
Meals: All meals aboard ship included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Walking, Wildlife & Natural History, Special Interest, Photography, River Cruising, Birding
Trip Level:

Nature walks, cultural exploration, excursions by skiff