A luxury cruise down the Amazon River in Peru gives you a feeling of being completely transported to a new natural world. Beginning in the bustling city of Iquitos, this four-day Amazon luxury cruise experience will be packed with new discoveries as you explore remote places along the Amazon.
Explore one of the wildest swaths of nature in the world by water and on foot, spot unusual wildlife, and meet local native people. This is the ideal way to experience Peru’s Amazon - by water, traveling in comfort, and going deep into the Amazon rainforest and jungle.
Please note that the itinerary below is dependent on the river water level, weather conditions, wildlife behavior, and accessibility to locations, so may vary. All times indicated are approximate, and are also subject to change.
DAY 1: FRIDAY
Iquitos Airport - Amazon River
After a two hour afternoon flight from Lima to the heart of the Peruvian Amazon region, you arrive at Iquitos Airport. Your guides will welcome you and whisk you to the air-conditioned bus for your journey to the Amazon River. Depending on the season, you will either be transported to the nearby port in Iquitos (High Water, Dec - May) or the port of Nauta (Low Water, Jun - Nov) which will involve a 1.5 hr journey.
From the moment you step aboard, the Aria Amazon’s atmosphere of low-key luxury is apparent. While settling into the handsomely-appointed, spacious suite, the vessel begins to move: it is the start of one of life's great adventures, to a place visited by only a few of even the most experienced travelers.
Stand on the Upper Deck to take in the view, as the Aria Amazon leaves Iquitos behind. Over the next three days, we sail the largest tributaries of the Amazon, as well as the mighty Amazon itself.
Safety Drill & Briefing on the Top Deck
Before dinner, we perform a routine safety drill. Then repair to the air-conditioned lounge, to learn about life onboard, and for the first of the nightly briefings about your adventure to follow. The naturalist guides and cruise director introduce themselves and use video, photos, and maps to explain the details of your upcoming adventure.
This is the first chance to enjoy the boat's world-class cuisine, created by Executive Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, whose restaurant, Malabar, is one of the best in all of Lima. Schiaffino’s recipes, with their imaginative use of local products – fruit, fish, spices – make every meal a delightful adventure. (The menu always offers choices, including a vegetarian option.) Toast the beginning of your journey, with a glass of South American wine, perhaps.
After dinner, there is a chance to enjoy a nightcap on the Upper Deck, under the stars, before retiring.
DAY 2: SATURDAY
Amazon River/Yacapana Islands - Yarapa River - Clavero Lake
See the Sun Rise Over the River
Be up early to catch your first glimpse of the majestic Amazon River, as you watch the sun rise over this green world filled with wonderful wildlife. This initial contact with Amazonia is only a brief sampling of what the rest of your journey will hold.
In High Water season (Dec - May) you will explore the Yacapana Islands, called by locals "The Islands of the Iguana" because of the large number of these reptiles - like tiny dinosaurs - which inhabit them. Amazon folklore says that if you touch an iguana, you will develop some of its characteristics and, as no one wants to look like them, these animals are well protected.
We will also see the famous Amazon River dolphins, pink or gray, along our route. Amazonian people believe that these dolphins possess the power to turn into men and women of great beauty.
Return to Aria Amazon & Breakfast
Our sumptuous daily breakfast buffet features a wide choice of traditional breakfast egg dishes, plus Peruvian specialties, and fresh-squeezed juices, made from tropical fruits you’ve never tasted before.
Yarapa River Exploration
This morning you will board our comfortable skiff to sail from the Amazon River to the Yarapa River. Life jackets, ponchos, rubber boots, and fresh water are always available in our private boats. As you float down the Yarapa, past the occasional fishermen paddling in their canoes, keep your binoculars ready to spot wildlife: terns, tropical songbirds, black collared hawks and sloth share this wonderful world with us.
In the high water season (Dec-May) you will also head to Lake Moringo to use your hooks to try to catch some of the ferocious piranhas and other fish species. As you fish, trained naturalist guides will tell the story of the lake and its inhabitants.
1Return to the Aria Amazon
While the boat continues its journey along the Amazon River, you have time to rest before lunch.
Enjoy a light lunch in the air conditioned dining room.
Lecture in the lounge by naturalist guides
Canoeing and Swimming at Lake Clavero
We sail on to Lake Clavero where villagers paddle n their traditional dugout canoes. You may wish to swim in the lake’s calm waters and visit the community to interact with our Amazonia neighbors who will be pleased to welcome you.
Return to the boat
Before dinner, we recommend drinking a Pisco sour aperitif on the top deck, while watching the sunset.
DAY 3: SUNDAY
Yanallpa & Dorado Rivers - Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
Ucayali River Exploration / Yanallpa
This morning we will explore the Yanallpa Stream looking for wildlife such as the bald uakari monkey, squirrel monkeys, saddleback tamarin monkeys, sloths and many other species. Our guides will explain the natural mechanisms through which the vegetation withstands the water during the seasonal flooding.
Return to the Aria Amazon
Optional Peruvian cooking lessons
Lunch, followed by relaxation
Lecture in the lounge by our naturalist guides
Dorado River Exploration and Night Excursion
This afternoon we take a magical journey through the "Jungle of the Mirrors," where towering trees are reflected in the dark river. We move on to Dorado River where you may observe enchanting parrots, macaws and a variety of primates, unperturbed by our presence. As we make our way back to the Aria Amazon, you may see alligators, frogs and fishing bats.
Return to the Aria Amazon
Towards the Birth of the Amazon River and Dinner
While you dine, we continue our journey upstream, toward the headwaters of the Amazon River, where the Ucayali and Maranon Rivers merge.
Day 4: MONDAY
Birthplace of the Amazon - Village Visit - Iquitos Airport
Birthplace of the Amazon
This morning, the Aria Amazon skirts the edge of the vast Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, a flooded forest covering five million acres at the headwaters of the Amazon basin. We board the skiffs to view one of the great spectacles of the Southern Hemisphere: the sun rising over the birthplace of the Amazon River. Here two major tributaries, the Ucayali and Marañon Rivers merge to form the world’s greatest waterway, with nature is at its most dramatic: abundant birdsong coming from river banks populated by large-billed terns, laughing falcons, gray tanagers, sandpipers, five kinds of parakeets, the exotic short-tailed parrot, and dozens of other birds.
We continue to a local Indian village on the Maranon River, where you can interact with the hospitable native Indians. They are happy to share their culture, traditions, folklore and handicrafts. We may have the opportunity to learn about medicinal plants from a Shaman or local medicine teacher, whose knowledge of spiritual healing has been passed down from generation to generation since time immemorial. Alternatively you may walk around with our naturalist guides to see how the boat's owners works with these communities to improve their natural resource management. You will also have the opportunity to shop for handicrafts directly from the artisans.
Return to the Aria Amazon
Depending on flight times, you may share a final lunch on board with the friends you have made on your Amazon journey or alternatively may be provided with a packed lunch.
Disembarkation - Manatee Rescue Center - Iquitos Airport
After disembarkation in Nauta, we begin our return towards Iquitos Airport via the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have seized from local people and fishermen. Biologists give a presentation about the project's efforts to help these vulnerable mammals. You also see how the manatees are cared for and are prepared for re-introduction into their natural habitat.
If there is time (if your flight is at 3pm or after) we may also stop at the San Juan Amazonian Indian Market, for a last chance to shop for local crafts.
Later, you will be transported to Iquitos Airport, where your guides will help you with check-in and stay with you until you have boarded your flight back to Lima.
- 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.