Expert Review: Delfin I Amazon Cruise
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Last October, I travelled deep into the remote Peruvian Amazon rainforest on the Delfin I Amazon cruise. I travelled to Iquitos from Lima to board the Delfin I riverboat for a 4-Day, 3-Night cruise itinerary, that took me into the Pacaya-Samiria flooded forest. From the initial welcome, to the last farewell, the Delfin I was intimate yet adventurous, delivered delicious food and exceptional service. The Delfin I riverboat and its crew define boutique cruising, all while keeping the vast and mysterious Amazon jungle close.
Arriving to Iquitos
As soon as I arrived to Peru’s jungle city, Iquitos, the Delfin crew immediately welcomed me at the airport with a cold beverage and friendly smile. The transport from Iquitos to Nauta, where the Delfin I riverboat is docked, is a comfortable 1.5 hour ride in an air-conditioned spacious van. Once in Nauta, I was dropped off at the Delfin Amazon cruise dock, which is a beautiful and spacious, jungle-like hut with a bar, rest area and bathrooms. We sat down with our maracuya (passion fruit) beverage, that was given to us upon entry, and waited to board the boat. Our Amazon naturalist guide, Rudy, gave us a run-down of the boat and how to get around once onboard. He gave us some time to unpack and rest before dinner that evening.
Delfin I Jungle Excursions
The Delfin's jungle excursions were by far the best part of the trip. Venturing deep into the remote Amazon rainforest is an incredible experience. On the first morning, pre-breakfast, we took a skiff into a flooded forest to look for birds. Slowly passing through the forest's small creeks and streams, we were able to catch a glimpse of many Amazonian birds. The Delfin I provides 1 set of binoculars for these types of excursions. After breakfast, we took a hike through San Isidro, a flooded eco-system. Here we got to know some of the jungle's medical plants and looked out for the Amazon's flora and fauna. After lunch we continued our treks looking for wildlife but this time, we took a skiff to the Yana Yacu River. Here we saw pink and grey river dolphins and many, many species of birds.
The second day was full of excursions, we trekked to the La Posada Canopy Walk, were we had the chance to get a unique view of the Amazon rainforest. While passing through the canopy bridges, we saw a small pack of squirrel monkeys pass by. The canopy walk is just over 500m long. After lunch we took a skiff to the Nauta Caño to fish for pirañas. Although I am not a fan of fishing, I somehow managed to catch the largest piraña! After fishing we went out to look for caimans. By this time, a rainforest shower hit us hard. We were headed back to the riverboat when our naturalist guide, Rudy, found a Caiman!
On the last day, we went kayaking before breakfast and visited a local Amazon community after lunch. At the community, we went into a class room where we met and interacted with the children. They were happy to receive Canadian flags (since we were all Canadians on board!) and many treats and school supplies. After our community visit, we were able to pass by Monkey Island, where we were able to see difference types of monkey species. We saw (and heard!) the Howler monkey, the black spider money and a pack of squirrel monkeys. After lunch, everyone headed back to Iquitos, to visit the Manatee Rescue Center, unfortunately I had to miss that excursion since I was on my way to the Treehouse Lodge.
Delfin I Luxury Suites & Boat Specifications
The time on board the Delfin riverboat was almost just as fun as being out in the jungle. Being on board the Delfin I is truly like being in a 5-star hotel. You have all the luxuries, comforts and service that comes with a 5-star rating. There are only 4 cabins on board, 2 on the top deck and 2 on the lower. All 4 cabins are suites, however only 2 have the private plunge pool on their balconies. Each suite is very spacious with a comfortable king-size bed. The bathroom has hot water at all times and the rooms have air conditioning. There is a dining room on the lower deck, and a bar/ lounge area on the top deck where you can sip your coffee in the morning, or enjoy traditions Peruvian cocktails in the evening.
Delfin I Amazonian Cuisine
The Amazonian cuisine on board the Delfin I riverboat, is by far the cream of the crop. Lunch and Dinner is a 3-course gourmet meal made from traditional and local Amazonian ingredients. Delicious salads, Peruvian causas and ceviche are some of the appetisers, while grilled meats and tasty fish are main meals. Desserts were my favorite part of the meal, from aguaje ice cream to passion fruit cheese cake, my sweet tooth was satisfied with every bite.
Breakfast is "buffet" style with a selection of eggs, breads, meats, cheeses and fruit. One morning we went out for a "special breakfast." We headed out on skiffs looking for Amazonian birds and ended up in the middle of the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. There was a small island set up with a dining table and we had our breakfast and morning coffee there, literally in the middle of the Amazon rainforest!
The Delfin changes the dining room decoration before every meal. Each day there were different colors and themes. It was a very lovely detail. During meal time there is also entertainment, the Delfin crew play traditional Peruvian music. A fun activity related to food was learning how to make a Pisco Sour drink (traditional Peruvian cocktail). After lunch we went up on the top deck of the riverboat, took out some cocktail shakers and mixed up all the ingredients. Afterwards, we all enjoyed our freshly made pisco sour cocktail while watching the Amazon rainforest scenery pass by.
Personal Notes & Recommendations:
• Don’t forget your toothpaste (I was lucky my Amazon guide had an extra one). The Delfin supplies most products you may need, but toothpaste isn’t one of them.
• Bring extra socks, you never know when you’ll get stuck in a thunder shower. The Delfin does provide heavy rain ponchos, however, it’s impossible to prevent rain getting into your rainboots during a rainforest shower. For more information on What to Pack for an Amazon Tour, look here.
• Bring an extra memory card. Unfortunately my memory card stopped working mid-trip, so I had to use my cell phone for photos. It’s a good idea to have a spare, your card will fill up quickly with photos of the Amazon's flora and fauna!
• All 4 luxury Delfin I suites are wonderful, but if you can, book the cabin with the private plunge pool, you’ll want to cool off mid-day after jungle excursions!
• If you have any dietary preferences, make sure to tell the Delfin crew ahead of time.
Expert Review Written By: Pats Krysiak
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