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.
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/Nauta Caño or Yanayacu Pucate River/Marañon 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) aboard our comfortable skiffs, we set sail from the Amazon River to the Yarapa River. Keep your binoculars ready to spot tropical songbirds, black collared hawks and sloths. We’ll go fishing for Amazonia’s notoriously ferocious piranhas while our naturalist guides share stories of Lake Moringo. As the sun sets, we head off on an evening’s wildlife excursion with extraordinary stargazing on the black waters of Nauta Caño.
In Low Water season (Jun - Nov) we commence today’s adventures near the main entrance of Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, cruising along Yanayacu Pucate in the comfort of our state-of-the-art skiffs. Kayak, canoe and swim in these unspoiled black waters, keeping eyes peeled for the Amazon’s legendary pink dolphins. In the afternoon, we will visit a remote village along the Marañon River to learn about traditional customs.
DAY 3: SUNDAY
Marañon Creek/Suspended Bridges/Yanayacu-Pucate or Samira River/Nauta Caño or Amazonian Natural Park
In High Water season, rise with the sun to explore a ‘lost river’ along the Marañon River. After breakfast, we will take a jungle walk, crossing suspended bridges and bushwhacking into the high ground forest. Later, swim, canoe or kayak in Yanayacu-Pucate River as we look for legendary pink river dolphins. Focus our hi- tech telescope on the night sky to identify the planets and constellations.
In Low Water season, we set off by skiffs for an excursion along the Samiria River with optional fishing. Listen carefully to our after lunch flora and fauna lecture, then venture out for a singularly thrilling jungle walk across suspended bridges deep into the high Amazon rainforest.
Day 4: MONDAY
Birthplace of the Amazon - Village Visit - Iquitos Airport
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 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.
We return to the Aria Amazon for a last lunch together. This afternoon, before saying goodbye, we stop in Nauta where villagers from around Amazonia come to sell their harvest. If there is time, we will also visit the Manatee Rescue Center, a kind of animal orphanage for Amazonian manatees to rescue, 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.
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.