Cattleya 4-Day Cruise Review
"After wanting to see the Amazon River and forest for many years we finally booked a 4 day 3 night cruise on Cattleya through Rainforest Cruises. Since we also planned to travel to Cuzco/Machu Picchu and the Galapagos we thought it best to work through a travel agent. Jeremy was our contact with Rainforest Cruises and everything he did for us (the travel arrangements, hotels, guides, boats and sage advice) was just as we had expected. In other words, he did a good job.
Anyway, we arrived late at night in Lima and spent the night at the airport Ramada. The next morning we flew to Iquitos on a cramped LAN airbus (30" pitch) where we met our guide, Luis, who loaded us into a van and headed to Nauta, some 50 miles up river. Lucky for us the river was in flood stage. This was unusual for late May as we expected it to be much lower. So, what we found was river and then jungle. No muddy banks leading up to the villages. In fact many of the buildings were under water on the lowland side of the river. In short, there was an immense amount of water moving more swiftly than I would have expected seeing as we were 3,000 miles upstream and at an altitude of only 400 feet. Amazing!
Cattleya is a small boat with only 4 cabins. One entire wall is a window. The beds are comfortable and the air conditioner works. No internet, but that's not something you would expect in the Amazon. The food was very good and the chef took pride in giving us fascinating, beautiful, and delicious food for lunch and dinner. Since the we do everything on a skiff that seats all 8 passengers the boat would tie up anywhere along the bank where it could find a sturdy tree. Interesting mooring.
After settling in we took off on the skiff to see what we could find. Funny, because it was pouring rain and we went anyway. Everybody donned ponchos (provided by the boat) and off we went in the downpour, but still dry. After all, it is a rainforest. We spent the next 3 days taking many trips on the skiff up and down channels and side creeks that fed the river. We saw sloths, monkeys (4 kinds) snakes, all sorts of brightly colored birds and Luis gave us an explanation of many of the aspects of life in a tropical rainforest. We even got a lecture on commensalism, parasitism and symbiosis. No cayman on the night trip though.
One of the most enjoyable activities was swimming there. We did not swim in the main river itself, but instead went up a blackwater stream. It's black due to the tannic acid in the water. Smart thinking on the part of Luis since the lower pH on that water prevented those nasty critters that like to swim up your urethra and cause lots of problems. I mean, how many people can say they went swimming in the Amazon (or at least a tributary)?
We were a group of 4 traveling from Sacramento. The other passengers were a couple from Washington and a lady from Australia. We had a great time with all of them. Especially the Australian. She was a kick!
So, the trip was over too soon and it was back to Iquitos and then on to Cuzco, via Lima again. I would easily recommend Cattleya and Rainforest Cruises to anyone contemplating an adventure like this."