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Zafiro: 8-Day Cruise

Zafiro 8-Day Cruise Itinerary Map

8-Day Pacaya Samiria Cruise

This 7-night riverboat cruise gives lucky passengers a comprehensive Amazon experience and a true taste of what life in the rainforest is like as they head out on wildlife excursions on land & by skiff in three habitats: varzea, igapó & terra firma.

Explore the Amazon, Pacaya and Ucayali Rivers and discover the natural beauty of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve on this epic river adventure, and partake in piranha fishing, dawn birding, local village & school visits, cooking demonstrations and more!

Note:

Please remember the itinerary below is dependent on the river water level, weather conditions, wildlife behavior, and accessibility to locations, so may vary.


Zafiro Cruise At Night

Day 1: SATURDAY
Iquitos - Manatee Rescue Center - Embarkation - Amazon River

Our crew will be expecting your arrival at Iquitos airport to transfer you the short distance to visit the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have rescued. Learn about efforts to help these endearing mammals. See how the manatees are cared for and prepared for reintroduction into their natural habitat.

Prior to boarding the elegant riverboat, Zafiro, survey the history of local tribes at a small museum.

Enjoy stargazing and storytelling with our local guides while cruising slowly on the Amazon River toward the confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali Rivers. 

Zafiro Side View

Day 2: SUNDAY
Confluence of the Amazon River - Río Ucayali

We awake this morning on the Amazon River, seeing some of the ever-changing panorama of jungle life as the Amazon River cruise ship continues upriver. Small villages dot the shoreline, and channels weaving through island mazes provide close-up views of a variety of birds. The confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón Rivers is famous as the beginning of the Amazon River in Peru. Amazingly, we are about 2,400 miles from where the river flows into the Atlantic. The river drops only about 350 feet the entire way!

On our Amazon Voyage adventure, travel waterways aboard sturdy excursion boats to areas where we may find marsh birds such as oriole blackbirds, green ibis, yellow-headed caracaras, black-capped donacobis and white-headed marsh-tyrant. We turn into the Río Ucayali, where we’re apt to find gray river dolphins and Amazon pink dolphins cavorting near the boat and along the shoreline.

Later we take an excursion into the surrounding rainforest in search of giant water lilies and elusive wildlife such as monkeys and sloths. As dusk approaches, fishing bats begin their night’s foraging. 

zafiro amazon cruise itinerary

Day 3: MONDAY
Río Ucayali - Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

After a peaceful breakfast along the black-water Sapote Creek, we explore a small tributary of the Ucayali aboard excursion boats. Look for animals including primates, sloths and an enormous variety of birds.

Our Amazon Voyage adventure continues upriver to the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. Although scientific studies are far from exhausted, the Pacaya-Samiria is the known home to 450 bird species, 102 species of mammals, over 130 species of reptiles and amphibians, and countless plants.

This afternoon, an excursion into this largest wetland reserve in the world provides the opportunity to see 13 species of primates, including monk sakis, red howler, saddle-backed tamarin and squirrel monkeys. Explore Caro Lake, connected to the river by way of a very small stream, where we may find flocks of greater ani, often seen following monkeys in search of insects disturbed by the monkeys’ foraging.

We enjoy a nighttime boat excursion for a chance to find caimans, capybaras, common potoos, frogs and other nocturnal wildlife. 

Zafiro Jacuzzi

Day 4: TUESDAY
Rio Pacaya - Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

Spend the day exploring this flooded realm, seeing wading birds such as herons, wattled jacanas and horned screamers. Venturing deep into the rainforest, tour an igapo (seasonally flooded forest), where plant life is very different from what we see along the main course of our Amazon cruise, and walk through the forest. Lucky guests may release turtle hatchlings.

A delicious lunch energizes us for afternoon excursions with our expert naturalists, where we may find scarlet macaws, hoatzins, black-collared hawks and red howler monkeys. 

zafiro amazon cruise

Day 5: WEDNESDAY
Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

After an early breakfast, we board excursion boats for access even further into the heart of these vast wetlands. As our Amazon Voyage adventure cruises the narrow waterways, we’ll find birds such as canary-winged parakeets and spectacular blue-and-gold and scarlet macaws. Primates also are fairly common, including noisy squirrel monkeys.  

Once we arrive at a remote ranger station, enjoy a refreshing swim. Gradually make our way back to the riverboat through the maze of waterways. Enjoy an al fresco lunch and time to relax before our afternoon excursion. 

Jungle trekking

Day 6: THURSDAY
Río Ucayali

Head back downriver, with a morning wildlife or other activity. Visit a village along the river, with the chance to learn about the lives of the “Ribereño” people who live there. Accompanied by guides who grew up along the river, this is a fantastic opportunity to stroll through gardens learning about medicinal plants and folklore, visit a school, or join in a game of soccer. The children are especially excited to see their faces on digital cameras and to show off their school and sing Peruvian songs.

Depending on the villages visited during your Amazon River tour, you may also have the opportunity to see a water treatment plant. The clean drinking water provided by these plants is having an enormous positive health impact in remote river villages.

Learn about medicinal plants and enjoy a blessing ceremony by a respected village shaman. Aboard the ship, learn to make traditional Peruvian dishes or enjoying an enriching lecture. After dark, go out in excursion boats to listen to the sounds of the rainforest and look for nocturnal wildlife.

 

Monkeying around

Day 7: FRIDAY
Amazon River

Wake up early for a morning birdwatching excursion along the Yarapa River.

After breakfast, try your hand at piranha fishing in Ubos Lake. Piranha are very common in the slower-moving water. With luck, we may catch red-breasted, white or black piranha, and feast on our catch this evening at dinner.

Once back aboard your luxury Amazon River cruise ship, we enjoy a farewell dinner. 

zafiro amazon cruise

Day 8: SATURDAY
Check Out - Disembark In Iquitos

After an early morning excursion you return to the Zafiro for brunch with your fellow passengers, before your onward journey 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