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Top 10 Amazon River Cruise Excursions and Activities

  |   Cruise Tips

An Amazon River cruise is truly like no other cruise on Earth. It’s the best way to experience the fascinating habitat of the Amazon Jungle. Travel deep into some of the Amazon's largest protected reserves, experience different ecosystems and wildlife, drift on tranquil tributaries and sleep in different locations each night, all while being in the comfort of home. We’ve gathered a list together of some of the most exciting and adventurous activities you can experience on an Amazon River cruise. Each activity and excursion is accompanied by a bilingual naturalist guide, who will ensure your trip to the Amazon rainforest is the best one yet! 


jungle walk

1. Jungle Walk

A jungle walk through the Amazon rainforest is wonderful experience where you'll not only see the Amazon's unique wildlife, but also learn about the various medicinal plants that have been used for decades. On the ground look out for anaconda snakes, tarantulas, poison dart frogs, rubber trees and pineapple flowers. If you look up, you might be lucky enough to see a three-toed sloth hanging from a tree, or a group of squirrel monkeys jumping through the rainforest canopy.  Even though the Amazon jungle has more than 1/3 of all animal species recorded in the world, including 1/5 of all birds on earth, it's still difficult to predict exactly what animals you'll see. Be sure to stay alert with your binoculars close-by! 

piranha fishing

2. Piranha Fishing

Piranha fishing is a favorite activity among travelers to the Amazon River. These red-bellied fish are often portrayed as dangerous creatures, that can strip their prey down to the bones in seconds. Fortunately, for Amazon riverboat travellers, that is just a pop culture myth, and we can assure guests that they face no significant threat from these tiny fish. This excursion typically occurs in the afternoon, from a skiff. You’ll use a traditional wooden rode and your Amazon cruise guide will provide you with bait. Most guests return the piranhas back into the river.


Amazon community

3. Local Community Visit

Getting the opportunity to visit a local Amazonian community is a very rewarding and eye-opening experience. During this activity, you will interact with locals and get to know how they live their life in the Amazon Jungle. The Delfin Amazon cruise stops in San Francisco, a Peruvian village that is home to a local school. Here you will be welcomed by school children and their teachers, and you’ll see first hand how their classroom works on a daily basis. The Amazon Discovery visits the Bora Community, an Amazonian tribe that maintains most of their original beliefs and customs. Visit their ceremonial lodge, called the Maloca, and witness an exhilarating, stick-thumping, traditional dance performance. If you wish to purchase souvenirs, don’t forget to bring some spending money with you, artisans often display their beautiful and unique handicrafts during community visits. 

Pink River Dolphins

4. Swimming With Pink River Dolphins

You will most likely see Pink River Dolphins during your time in the Amazon. While on board the Desafio Amazon Cruise in Brazil, guests will visit a floating pier, where they can wade in the water while Pink River Dolphins are offered fish. It's very exciting to be up-close to these prehistoric looking creatures!

Stand Up Paddle boarding in the Amazon

5. Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Guests on the Delfin I Amazon riverboat can now enjoy the very popular SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) activity on the Amazon river in Peru. This water sport originated in Hawaii, but has now become a trending topic among water sport enthusiasts across North America. Stand up paddle boarding can be enjoyed by folks of all ages. It’s a cross between surfing and canoeing, on a large and stable surf board that can be paddled.  The Amazon river is perfect for SUP since the water is calm, making it easy to balance and paddle. Plus, you’ll be able to explore areas of the Amazon that are not navigable by boat! 


Kayaking on the Amazon

6. Kayaking

Many Amazon River cruises, like the Tucano in Brazil, offer kayaking, allowing guests to quietly paddle in the most remote areas of the rainforest. Paddle with a skilled guide to observe the magnificent flora and fauna of the Amazon. Kayak excursions often take place first thing in the morning, a prime bird watching hour. Guides will help paddlers, both novice and experienced, to safely enjoy this extraordinary rainforest experience. Please note that the guides are local, with expert knowledge of the river and its currents. This excursions usually lasts 2-hours and are followed by a skiff, in case anyone needs a rest before the excursion is over. 

canopy bridge in the amazon

7. Canopy Bridge Walk

Immerse yourself up high in the jungle canopy. Most of the Amazon's wildlife lives in the treetops of the forest. Some lucky guests will take the 500m walk across the La Posada canopy bridge in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Guests will get a unique view of the ecosystem at a height of over 25m / 85ft.  The walkway is hung between 14 large trees, and is one of the longest in the world; and yet no special skills or equipment are needed to enjoy it.


swimming in the amazon river

8. Swimming in the Amazon

If you are brave enough, jump into the Amazon river and go for a swim! Most Amazon cruises make time for a swimming excursion for those adventurous travellers wanting to cool off from the Amazonian heat!


manatee rescue centre

9. Manatee Rescue Centre

Most Peruvian Amazon River cruises make a stop at the Manatee Rescue Centre just outside of Iquitos. Here, young manatees are rescued from the pet trade and are raised by staff. Orphaned and injured animals are cared for and rehabilitated, in order to be released back into the rainforest. At the Manatee Rescue Centre, guests will be able to feed baby manatees, and spend time with sloths, anteaters, and monkeys. 

The Anavilhanas Archipelago

10. National Parks

The Amazon rainforest is home to many UNESCO world heritage sites and National Parks. The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve is the most pristine and bio-diverse area of the Peruvian rainforest. Whereas in Brazil, the Anavilhanas Archipelago is a complex of over 400 unique islands in the middle of the Amazon. In Ecuador, the Yasuni National Park is extremely remote and is almost 2.5 million acres of untouched wilderness from rainforest to marsh lands. It's also home to a number of Amazonian tribes, including the Hauronai and the Taegari tribes. For more information about parks, read our National Parks of the Amazon Rainforest guide

For more information about Amazon river cruise excursions, contact us and we'll be happy to provide any additional information. 

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About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises and tours, providing you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Panama. As South American travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime.


Geri Daniel loved her vacation with Rainforest Cruises.
We had an absolutely fabulous time on the cruise. Thank you again for the trip of a lifetime.
— Geri Daniel, Austin, TX
The Johannson family encounter a sloth on their rainforest cruise.
We had a wonderful time. We were all impressed with the efficiency and organization of the trip from start to finish.
— Jeanette Johannson & Family, USA