This five-night riverboat cruise gives us a chance to get a real feeling for life in Amazonia, which is in fascinating contrast to our daily lives.
Even those with a fear of heights will not want to miss out on the canopy walkways of the Yarapa River's Tree House Project, which gives a new perspective on the jungle canopy, where so much of the flora and fauna is to be found!
This itinerary may vary depending on the weather and seasons that control the water level in the rivers and the wild life cycle to protect its natural habitat. All times are approximate and subject to change.
Visits to local villages are carefully planned to avoid a negative impact on their cultural identity.
Amazon river cruises are soft adventure-based. Shore activities require the ability to board and disembark from smaller vessels and the ability to hike through uneven jungle terrain for extended periods of time. Although, you are under no obligation to leave the cruise ship, if you choose not to!
We recommend booking an early morning flight from Lima to Iquitos to begin this tour. Otherwise, you may choose to have a night's stay (or more) in the energetic and interesting city of Iquitos
Day 1: SUNDAY
Iquitos - Nauta - Amatista
12.00 pm. If you are already in Iquitos, please make your way to the reception of the luxurious Dorado Plaza Hotel where you will be greeted by your guides and begin your Amazon adventure.
12.30 pm. En route to the boat we will pick up and warmly welcome those passengers arriving on the late morning flight from Lima, after which we continue our 90-minute drive to the Amazon port town of Nauta, where the Amatista is moored.
2.00 pm. Our river journey starts, before a late lunch - a perfect way to begin, enjoying a delicious meal with a panoramic view of the jungle surrounding us.
5.00 pm. After navigation to the Amazon River at the confluence of the Marañon and Ucayali Rivers, we take our first close look at the wildlife of the region, heading out in the expedition skiffs to explore the neighboring channels and islands . There will be many chances to appreciate the rich flora and fauna, such as iguanas, sloths and pink river dolphins. In the low water season (June through November) we can whet our whistles with an additional visit to an Amazonian distillery.
6.00 pm. Once back on board, it is time for dinner, after which the talented crew may treat you to some live music.
Day 2: MONDAY
Amazon River - Yarapa River - Ucayali River
6.00 am. After an early wake up call we embark upon a birdwatching excursion along the Amazon River. Have your binoculars at the ready as we seek all manner of species, including parrots, sloth, monkeys, toucans, fly catchers, trogons, parakeets and more.
8.00 am. We return to the boat for breakfast as we sail up the Amazon River towards the Ucayali River.
9.30 am. A morning boat excursion follows, exploring tributaries of the Yarapa River, home to a plethora of birdlife, mammals and fish ... including the notorious piranha!
12.30 pm. Returning to the boat for lunch, it is then time for some you-time. Relax on board La Amatista's spacious and comfortable social areas, read a book, sip a cocktail, or just drink in the spectacular scenery all around you.
3.00 pm. This afternoon the expert naturalist guide on board will give you a geographical orientation and short talk about the Amazon.
4.30 pm. Later we visit the butterfly farm project of the Vista Alegre Communal Reserve, where we will learn about the butterflies of Amazonia and their ecological importance to the rainforest (inaccessible March-May due to flooding).
6.00 pm. We have dinner back on board the Amatista, and if you wish, take a night excursion into one of the tributaries of the Marañon to see the incredible nightlife that awakens when the sun goes down: nocturnal bats, birds, insects and monkeys. With the help of the crew we will try to spot white or black caiman.
Day 3: TUESDAY
Ucayali & Marañon Rivers - Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve
6.00 am. After an early wake up call, this morning we witness the waking of the jungle from a bird's eye (if not monkey's eye) view, as we head to the Yarapa River's Tree House Project. Here, we enjoy a spectacular perspective of the rainforest from a series of suspension bridges and viewing platforms that form our canopy walkway.
8:00 am. Breakfast is served on board as we continue sailing down the Ucayali to the confluence with the Marañon, where we then head upstream.
9.30 am. Afer breakfast we get our first glimpse of the remarkable Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, as we head along the aptly named Piranha Creek, one of its first tributaries. The reserve is famed for its incredible biodiversity and is commonly referred to as the 'Jungle of Mirrors' owing to the impressive reflections one can observe during the high-water period (December through May).
12:30 am. We return to the boat for lunch and some down time before the afternoon activities begin.
3.30 pm. In the mid-afternoon, we take a jungle walk to learn about medicinal plants, search for insects, tarantulas, frogs and learn some basic survival skills in the forest with our expert naturalists.
5.30 pm. We return to the Amatista for more knowledgeable insight with a lecture from our naturalist guides. A reception with live music follows, culminating in a delicious dinner as you enjoy the sights and sounds of the Amazon rainforest at night.
Day 4: WEDNESDAY
Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve
6.00 am. Today we will rise early to explore the Pacaya Samiria Reserve and one of its black water tributaries, the Yanayacu of Pucate. Our guides will give us a quick briefing about the area, before we head off into the largest flooded forest in the country.
6.30 am. Breakfast this morning is in the middle of this enchanted forest: we stop in a quiet spot to eat aboard our open skiffs, while pink and gray dolphins may swim curiously around; and there may also be time for a little fishing: piranhas and catfish are usually the catch of the day.
The Yanayacu of Pucate, a hidden jewel of the Amazon, is a perfect hideaway for numerous species, including macaws, toucans, hawks, monkeys, sloths, iguanas and dolphins, all of which merge with the vegetation. The black water of this tributary can give the illusion of navigating over mirrors that reflect, not only the sky above but also the scenery with great detail.
11.30 am. We return to the Amatista in the late morning for the opportunity to swim with the pink dolphins!
12.30 pm. After lunch on board there is plenty of time to make the most of La Amatista's comfortable social areas to unwind and chat to your fellow passengers.
4.00 pm. With any visit to the Amazon and the overwhelming proximity of nature, it is easy to see why some locals believe the trees and animals have souls, as well as humans. This afternoon we get a chance to learn of some of the ancient secrets of the rainforest and its connection to the spiritual world as we experience a traditional shaman ceremony in San Regis. This is concluded with a tree planting ceremony.
6.00 pm. We return to the boat to a reception with live music and dinner.
9.00 pm. But the excitement doesn't end there, tonight we venture out on a night time boat ride in to the jungle of Nauta Creek. Listen to the cacophony of calls of all kinds of nocturnal creatures as they start their day and keep a look out for the reflection of eyes in the skiff spotlights.
Day 5: THURSDAY
Pacaya Samiria National Reserve: Amazon Culture
7.30 am. After a wake up call we make our way to breakfast before our morning excursion.
9.00 am. Today you come face to face with one of the most fearsome Amazon species, the piranha. Learn about their undeserved reputation as you try your hand (not literally) at piranha fishing in the Shiriyacu black water stream at San Jose de Zarapanga.
12.30 pm. Lunch on board is followed by relaxation time.
3.00 pm. Now is the time to learn all about Amazonian cuisine as you receive a cooking demonstration from the kitchen staff. This is followed by a geographic orientation by our naturalist guide.
4.00 pm. This afternoon we visit the Prado Kukama Indian village to see what life in Amazonia is like first hand, and get a glimpse into their culture. They will also teach us about traditional medicine, sourced direct from their pharmacy - the rainforest itself!
5.30 pm. This evening we take a boat excursion to observe one of the most amazing spectacles of nature - the sunset on the Amazon River - as we wait for the night's symphony of fauna. During this excursion we will look for caimans, frogs, tarantulas, snakes and anacondas.
6.30 pm. Our last night on board is full of entertainment as we enjoy a farewell dinner, followed by a crew presentation, as the boat makes its way back to Nauta.
Day 6: FRIDAY
Amazon River - Nauta - Iquitos
7.00 am. After breakfast on board, we disembark in Nauta, and then make the two hour return trip by bus to Iquitos.
10.30 am. Once here, we have a brief tour of the city to see the main sights, including the famous houses dating from the rubber time era, such as Iron House, Belen Market and more, before we continue to the airport
- Please note that all cruise itineraries are subject to change due to seasonal weather conditions (and resultant variations in river and tributary water levels) affecting accessibility to locations. Thus navigation routes, times and excursions may need to be modified at the cruise captain’s discretion.
- Passengers should also be aware that animal sightings cannot be guaranteed due to the unpredictability of wildlife behavior.