Aqua Expedition’s 4 night luxury cruise on the Aria Amazon begins in the remote colonial city of Iquitos, Peru and transport guests in exceptional comfort deep into the Amazon rainforest, along the Ucayali River, the Amazon’s largest tributary, as well as the four other rivers, each one rich in vibrant wildlife with thriving rainforests. Go piranha fishing, trek into the dense jungle in search of Amazon monkeys, three-toed sloths, crown headed hoatzin birds, toucans, macaws and giant water lilies.
Come back to the comfort of our skiffs to cruise up close to view Taricaya turtles and spectacled caimans in their natural habitat while pink dolphins, at play, challenge your photography skills. As the Aria Amazon journeys towards the confluence of the Ucayali and the Marañon Rivers, considered the birthplace of the Amazon, learn from our experienced, English speaking naturalist guides about the diverse Amazon wildlife and birds of Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.
High Water Itinerary
December - May
Tuesday: ARRIVAL - NAUTA - EMBARKATION - MARAÑON RIVER
Arrival from Lima, a 1 hour 25 minute journey to the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. Your Aqua Expedition's guides await you at Iquitos International Airport. Claim your luggage, which our porters deliver to your suite, then board our air-conditioned bus for the ride to the river.
Transfer to Nauta Wharf. Enjoy a scenic one-and-a-half hour drive through the Peruvian countryside to the small village of Nauta. You will be traveling on the only road out of town to the end of the line, as it only goes as far as Nauta. The Aria Amazon, your home for the next three nights, awaits you.
Embarkation and Check-in. Welcome to the low key luxury of the Aria Amazon. Settle into your well appointed river facing suite as the vessel begins to move and thus begins one of life’s great adventures. Ascend to the Observation Deck if you wish, to take in the view, as the Aqua Amazon leaves Iquitos behind.
Over the next three days, the Aria Amazon sails along the largest tributaries of the Amazon River, as well as on the mighty Amazon itself, towards remote destinations visited by only a few of even the world’s most experienced travelers.
8:00 p.m. Safety Drill and Briefing on the Observation Deck
Before dinner, participate in our routine safety drill and then head into the air-conditioned Indoor Lounge to meet the cruise director and for your first briefings from our naturalist guides about the adventures ahead.
Welcome Dinner. Toast your journey with our sommelier-selected fine South American wine that accompany the Amazonia-influenced cuisine of Aqua Expedition's Executive Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, whose restaurant, Malabar, ranks among Lima’s best. Schiaffino’s healthy and innovative recipes incorporate the freshest local products – fruits, fish, spices – adding culinary adventure to our journeys. (Menus always offer choices, including a vegetarian option – please let us know any other specific dietary requirements in advance of your voyage). Perhaps a nightcap on the Observation Deck, counting constellations.
Tuesday: MARAÑON RIVER - CHOROYACU - SAN PEDRO DE TIPISHCA - PACAYA-SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE
Our sumptuous daily breakfast buffet offers a wide selection of traditional egg dishes, Peruvian specialties, homemade baked goods and fresh-squeezed juices, made from luscious tropical fruits you may never have tasted before.
Nature Expedition. Board our comfortable excursion skiffs for your first adventure. Life jackets, ponchos, rubber boots, and plenty of cold potable water are always available for you on board the skiffs.
Within the vast Amazon flooded forest, cruise along an amazing black water stream, as your guides tell you about the rainforest. We explore what scientists call a “gallery forest,” because of its narrow vegetation that creates a tunnel of leaves. As we float through this tunnel, our naturalist guides help you to spot parrots, macaws, and fluffy monk saki monkeys in the trees along the riverbanks.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 11:30 AM. followed by lunch, delicious Peruvian inspired midday fare in our air-conditioned dining room.
Jungle Walk and Village Visit at 4 PM. Walk into the jungle to meet native Amazonia people. With our guides as your interpreters, ask about subsistence farming in Amazonia and they will tell you how to cultivate these wild plants and trees. Here, deep in the primary rainforest, your guides identify for you the fruit trees and medicinal plants that comprise Amazonia’s natural pharmacy.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 7:30 PM followed by dinner in our elegant Aria Amazon dining room.
Wednesday: TACSHA RIVER - PACAYA-SAMIRIA - SAN MARTIN DE TIPISHCA
Breakfast and Guided Jungle Walk/Siesta/Monkey and Dolphin Expedition. At 7:30 AM our naturalist guides leads your jungle walk while introducing you to some of the sustainable resource management projects in Amazonia. Visit one, where villagers plant palms to obtain oil. Go deeper still into the jungle, where you encounter more wildlife and learn about the Amazon’s natural pharmacy of medical plants. Wander under a canopy of kapok trees (ceiba pentandra), the tallest trees in the Amazon Basin.
Return to the Aria Amazon at noon followed by lunch and a siesta.
Monkey and Dolphin Expedition. On this late afternoon expedition, you are very likely to see the Amazon’s two different kinds of freshwater dolphins—gray and pink. Keep your eyes on the jungle canopy too, where our naturalist guides help you to spot some of Pacaya-Samiria’s 13 species of monkeys including tamarins, howlers, dusky titi and pigmy marmoset monkeys. Watch for crocodiles, and keep your binoculars at the ready, as you are likely to see more than 200 species of birds.
As the sun sets and our searchlight comes on, keep your eyes out for caimans, tree boas, tarantulas, and frogs.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 7:30 and dinner.
Thursday: YANAYAQUILLO - TAHUAYO - CHARO LAKE
Yanayaquillo Exploration and Breakfast Aboard the Skiffs. At 6:30 AM, we take to the river as the sun rises to see and hear a treasure trove of wildlife, including parrots, macaws, toucans, and many kinds of monkeys—as well as some “surprise” species that you may never have seen before. We pack a luxurious “bag breakfast” for you, of homemade baked goods, light sandwiches, freshly squeezed juices and hot Peruvian coffee. This is also a popular dolphin feeding spot, so we won’t be the only ones enjoying our happy meal here.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 11 AM and begin sailing down river, toward Iquitos.
Lunch and Charo Lake Fishing Trip. In the mid afternoon, travel by skiff to Charo Lake, a splendid “hot spot” where catching some of the more than 3,000 species of tropical fish that live in the Amazon Basin is assured. Guides know all the best tricks to lure piranhas, those small, mostly carnivorous fish with a big reputation for their vicious bite.
Return to the Aria Amazon. Once we are back on board, the ship continues downstream, sailing toward Iquitos through the night.
Briefing in the Indoor Lounge at 7 PM and recap of your Amazon River itinerary and wildlife sightings.
Dinner at 8 PM. followed by Crew Presentation. After dinner, your naturalist guides introduce the very important crew members whom you may not have met, as they have been busy “behind the scenes” to create your seamless Aqua Expeditions experience.
Friday: CHECK OUT - DISEMBARK AT IQUITOS - CITY TOUR - TRANSFER TO THE AIRPORT
Breakfast and Morning Excursion (dependent on the level of the river).Weather and time permitting, we set off on this last opportunity to see how people live along the Amazon by visiting the lively riverside community of Belen, in Iquitos, by skiff. Here, where the houses and shops actually float on the river during some months, visit the bustling food market that supports the entire Peruvian Amazon, where all the inhabitants of Amazonia sell and purchase their goods.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 11 AM followed by an early lunch. Share a last lunch with fellow passengers, before beginning your journey homeward.
Disembarkation/Manatee Rescue Center/Transfer to the Airport. En route to Iquitos airport, your naturalist guides bring you to visit the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have rescued. Learn about this highly successful project, supported by Aqua Expeditions since its inception, and efforts to help these endearing mammals. See how the manatees are cared for, and prepared for re-introduction into their natural habitat.
Check-in at Iquitos International Airport at 4:30 PM. Your guides will help you with check-in, and will stay with you until its time to board for your flight back to Lima.
Note: All itineraries are subject to change, due to weather and other conditions. All times indicated are approximate, and are also subject to change.