Of all the wonders of the world, the Amazon Rainforest remains one of the most breathtaking, untouched wildlife habitats. As mysterious as it is breathtaking, few places inspire such awe as this immensely biodiverse region, home to one in ten known species on earth.
The best way to experience all that it has to offer is through a river cruise, deep into Peru’s mighty Amazon River. Sail across the mystical black water lagoons, get ready for up-close wildlife encounters and visit the indigenous residents of Amazonia. Read on for five of the best adventures that await you.
1. Visit the Manatee Rescue Center in Iquitos
A must-see before or after taking any Amazon River cruise into the Pacaya-Samiria National Park is the Amazonian Manatee Rescue Centre. The endangered Amazonian Manatee is almost extinct, as it has been heavily hunted for its meat. This center rescues and rehabilitates these rare creatures, and if you’re lucky you’ll meet adorable orphaned baby manatees, as well as other animals like ocelots, parrots, and turtles.
2. Jungle Trekking and Animal Spotting
Walk deep into the rich Amazonian rainforest for a rendezvous with exotic wildlife. The forests are home to three-toed sloths, jaguars, macaws, hoatzins, capuchin monkeys and anacondas, to name just a few of the thousands of species.
The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in Peru nicknamed the ‘Jungle of Mirrors’ due to the glassy reflections in its peaceful waters, is ideal for exploring the region’s abundant biodiversity. Once you are there, be still and keep a watchful eye to see them in their natural habitat.
3. Fish for Piranha in the Amazon River
Piranha can be found throughout the Amazon River and its subsidiaries. With their fearsome reputation, these red-bellied fish are said to have inhabited the Amazon for 3 million years. Plan an excursion on a smaller canoe or boat to fish and fish for piranhas while you admire the multitude of parrots living in their natural environment. Just keep your fingers far away from their razor-sharp teeth, even once they’re on your plate!
4. Mingle with the Locals
Learn more about jungle living from the locals. Hop onto a bike and explore the larger riverside community of Nauta, one of the main hubs of the Amazon. Although the truly remote indigenous tribes are protected and inaccessible to visitors, there are stilted villages and riverside settlements to visit where you’ll get a glimpse of the Amazonian way of life, customs and traditions.
5. Swim in the Lap of Nature
The calm waters of Lake Clavero are ideal for a refreshing swim, while you watch villagers paddle in their traditional dugout canoes and pink and grey river dolphins frolic around you. The lake offers a remote location for dips with magnificent natural landscapes in the backdrop.
The Aria Amazon and Aqua Nera offer three, four- and seven-night cruise on the Peruvian Amazon that manages to fit all of the major highlights of the Peruvian Amazon and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in an action-packed itinerary.