Amazon Star River Cruise
| Amazon Star
We three sisters visited the upper Amazon River during the last week in March. We joined the 7 night / 8 day river cruise in Iquitos, Peru, aboard International Expeditions' Amazon Star cruise. The Amazon Star is a modern, first-class vessel. We had 27 passengers, a crew of 15, an expedition leader and 2 naturalist guides. This week long format allowed us to travel 340 miles upriver beyond the confluence of rivers that come together to form the Amazon. This is much further than most of the shorter river cruises; as a result we were amazingly alone amidst pristine nature.
Our week could not have been better. Every detail was well covered. Our triple room was roomy and space efficient. Laundry services were available all week. The food was delicious with emphasis on local dishes, and even included a deluxe picnic breakfast one morning out in the skiffs. The team of Dennis Osorio (expedition leader) and Segundo and Juan (naturalist guides) performed like a well-oiled educational machine; they filled us with their vast knowledge and insight into the upper Amazon environment and its inhabitants, both wild and human. Being the flooded season, all of our excursions were by skiff, except for one hike on "terra firma". The 2 skiffs were comfortable for the 27 guests with one guide each. Rocco and Jorge, the skiff drivers, were extremely proficient at handling the boats safely while spotting hard-to-see wildlife. During our two to three outings per day, we explored the flooded rainforest of the upper Amazon and the diversity of its wildlife, including many types of monkeys, pink and gray dolphin, three-toed sloths, bats, lizards, frogs, snakes, caiman, and 172 types of birds including the rare Harpy Eagle.
Our two visits to "Ribereño" villages were eye opening, At one, we met their school children who greeted us with "Hola, Hola, Inca Kola", and we presented them with school supplies; the other included a visit with a shaman who shared with us the natural plant materials that he uses for healing, and then performed a smoke blessing. International Expeditions is to be commended for their efforts in “adopting” and helping these villages, including building a water filtration system at one. In return, the villagers welcomed our visit and allowed us rare insight into their river life. It benefits both ways.
On our last afternoon, we celebrated the Amazon River and the Amazon Star with a sunset champagne toast in the middle of the River!
Our trip during the last week in March was during the rainy/flooded season. It is interesting to note that the weather all week was fabulous with no rain during our excursions! The poncho never made it out of its bag. And, there were very few mosquitoes! Sunrises and sunsets were fabulous.
Remi of Rainforest Cruises was great to work with, both in helping us to choose this itinerary, and in expert execution and clear communication of all of the trip details.
Still basking in the glow of the amazing Amazon!
Patricia Lloyd, Susan Swala, and Sandy Willey