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Aria Amazon: 8-Day

8-Day Pacaya Samiria Cruise

Beginning in the bustling jungle city of Iquitos in the Peruvian Amazon, this 8-day luxury cruise experience aboard the classy Aria Amazon offers the ultimate in relaxation and exploration in the depths of the stunning scenery of the rainforest.

With the help of expert guides, spot unusual and exotic wildlife, meet and interact with indigenous tribes, and immerse yourself into the exciting world of Amazonia. A truly indulgent yet thoroughly rewarding cruise for those wanting luxurious adventure.

Note:

This itinerary runs from Friday-Friday but a Monday-Monday itinerary is possible, although it would involve a long layover on the Friday with no activities in the afternoon. Please note that the itinerary 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.


Aria Amazon Cruise Day 1

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.

Embarkation

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. 

Welcome Dinner

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.

Aria Amazon Cruise Day 2

DAY 2: SATURDAY 
Amazon/Yarapa River - Yacapana - 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.

Return to the Aria Amazon
While the boat continues its journey along the Amazon River, you have time to rest before lunch.

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.

Dinner

Aria Amazon Cruise Day 1

DAY 3: SUNDAY
Yanallpa & Dorado Rivers - Pacaya Samiria National Reserve 

Breakfast

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

Crew presentation

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.

Aria Amazon Cruise Day 4

Day 4: MONDAY
Birthplace of the Amazon - Village visit - Iquitos 

Breakfast

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.

Village Visit
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

Lunch

Nauta City Tour
This afternoon, we will visit the town of Nauta, founded in 1930. Nauta is the main point where villagers from around Amazonia come to sell the products they harvest in their rural communities. We'll walk around Nauta to gain insights into the life of these coastal peoples. We will also visit the local fresh market, with your guides on hand to point out the different fish caught by the fishermen of Amazonia, and all types of indigenous fruits.

Later, you may explore the Lupunillo or Marayali Creek, a tributary of the Marañon River, or if it is the low water season (Jun-Nov), you may visit the Sapi Sapi Lagoon instead. 

Return to Aria Amazon

Dinner
Meet new passengers who have signed on for the five-day cruise, and enjoy your gourmet meal as we start our journey along the Marañon River. 

Aria Amazon Cruise Day 5

DAY 5: TUESDAY
Marañon & Yanayacu - Pucate Rivers

Breakfast

Skiff Expedition to Yanayacu - Pucate River
This morning, visit the Yanayacu - Pucate River within Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Here on this black water river you can observe many species of flora and fauna, especially macaws and several species of primates like squirrels monkeys, capuchins monkeys and the famous river dolphins, either pink or grey. In the high water season (Dec-May) you will also have the chance to fish for the ferocious piranha.

Return to the Aria Amazon

Lunch

Lecture in the lounge
Your naturalist guide will tell you about sustainable development projects carried out in this part of the Peruvian Amazon.

Maranon River Exploration & Village Visit
On this visit to a community located along the great river Maranon, our expert guides will introduce you to the native people of Amazonia. You will be invited to visit the lands where they practice subsistence farming and see how they cultivate wild plants and trees to earn income. In the primary forest, your guides will also teach you about the fruit trees and medicinal plants hidden in the jungle.

We have chosen this time of day to observe the wildlife activity to sunset, including friar apes, monkeys capuchin and howler monkeys. As the sun sets, you will hear the second symphony of the Amazon rainforest, as other nocturnal animals send their shrill calls across the treetops. En route back to the boat, you can see nocturnal creatures, including, perhaps, huge caimans and alligators.

Return to the Aria Amazon

Dinner

Aria Amazon Cruise Day 6

DAY 6: WEDNESDAY
Samiria River - Nauta Caño

Exploration, breakfast on board and walk along the Samiria River
This morning your naturalist guide will talk about sustainable development projects in Amazonia. You will visit one of the projects, where villagers are planting palms to obtain oil. Your guide will also show you the artificial nests created in the sand to protect turtle eggs. Then we will go into the jungle to encounter wildlife and learn first-hand about the value of medicinal plants found here. Keep an eye out for the famous Ceiba tree, the highest in the Amazon. We will have the opportunity to make brief trips in traditional Amazonian canoes and to swim in the waters of the Samiria River.

Return to the Aria Amazon

Lunch

Excursion to Nauta Caño and night exploration
Nauta Caño is part of the Pacaya Samiria Reserve, also known as the forest of mirrors due to its dark lagoons, which reflect the beautiful scenery. In this area we will observe toucans, macaws, and iguanas, among many other species.

As the sun sets, we hear the loud, ferocious-sounding warning signals made by the howler monkeys as they mark their territories.

When night falls, we enjoy the second movement of the Amazon rainforest symphony, as other nocturnal animals send their shrill calls across the tree tops. We will use our special spotlight torches to locate night creatures, including, perhaps, huge caimans.

Return to the Aria Amazon

Dinner

Aria Amazon Cruise Day 7

DAY 7: THURSDAY
Marañon River - Forest Walk - Piranha Fishing

Breakfast

Maranon Exploration and Trail Walk
We sail along the Maranon River, watching the different species of flora and fauna as we approach the Casual community where we will hike on land. Here you will see a plethora of wildlife, so keep your binoculars ready to observe tanagers and orioles as well as various reptiles and amphibians. Keep an eye out for the beautiful and eye-catching but poisonous frogs along this fascinating trail, as well as trees and medicinal plants.

In the high water season (Dec-May) depending on conditions, for those that wish, there will be canoeing at Sapira Creek - Maranon river.

Return to the Aria Amazon
We will begin our homeward journey, sailing downstream toward Iquitos.

Lunch

River Exploration and Fishing Trip
This afternoon we will get to try our hand at piranha fishing, but the location will depend on the time of year. In High Water season (Dec - May) this will be at the Yacapana Islands, called by locals "The Islands of the Iguana" for the large number of these reptiles that inhabit them. You may also spot one of the world's largest aquatic plant called “Victoria Regia". In Low Water season (Jun - Nov) this will be off the Tahuayo River. As you float down the river, occasional fishermen paddling in their canoes. Keep your binoculars ready to spot a vast variety of wildlife: terns, tropical songbirds, pipites, black collared hawks and sloth share this wonderful place with us.

After our arrival at a particular spot, you may use your hooks to try to catch some of the ferocious piranhas and other fish species. As the sun goes down, photograph the freshwater Amazon dolphins both gray and pink.

Return to the Aria Amazon
We will sail downstream all night, as we make our way to Iquitos, and your onward flight.

Crew Presentation
Tonight, the Cruise Director will introduce some of the crew members you haven’t yet met on the trip, but who have worked behind the scenes to give you an unforgettable experience. There may even be a bit of musical entertainment!

Farewell Dinner
Just minutes after being in the wilderness, surrounded by monkeys and birds and the other wildlife of the rainforest, you will find yourself sitting down to a final gourmet feast in the ship’s dining room.

Aria Amazon Cruise Day 8

DAY 8: FRIDAY
Disembarkation - Manatee Rescue Center - Iquitos Airport 

Breakfast

Morning Excursion

In the high water season (Dec-May), depending on the weather, we will tour the flood zone that borders the city of Iquitos and observe the houses and shops that actually float on the Itaya River for several months of the year. Then we will visit the traditional market of Bellavista Nanay, bordering the Nanay River, to see products from the Peruvian Amazon including exotic snacks like the Amazon Caterpillar. Called "Suri," these caterpillars live in the palm trees and are considered a very appetizing snack for Amazonia people, even in the city. 

In the low water season (Jun-Nov) we will have the opportunity to visit an animal rescue center called "Fundo Neycer" on the Amazon River. Here, monkeys and birds receive much needed care from experts in the management and recovery of wildlife species.

Return to Aria Amazon
Time to pack and prepare for the next stage of your journey.

Light Lunch

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 - Indigenous Market

Depending on the season, we may disembark in Nauta (Low Water, Jun - Nov) or Iquitos (High Water, Dec - May). En route to Iquitos Airport we will visit the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have seized from local people and fishermen. Biologists will give a presentation about the project and its efforts to help these helpless mammals. You will 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. 

About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises and tours, providing you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Panama. As South American travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime.

Testimonials

Geri Daniel loved her vacation with Rainforest Cruises.
We had an absolutely fabulous time on the cruise. Thank you again for the trip of a lifetime.
— Geri Daniel, Austin, TX
The Johannson family encounter a sloth on their rainforest cruise.
We had a wonderful time. We were all impressed with the efficiency and organization of the trip from start to finish.
— Jeanette Johannson & Family, USA