Home to one in every ten species discovered on planet Earth, the sheer scale and immensity of the Amazon rainforest is a wonder to behold. It spans eight different countries and is larger than the next two biggest rainforests combined. On average, a new species of animal or plant is discovered in the Amazon rainforest every three days. The region is full of mysteries waiting to be uncovered.
The best way to discover the rainforest is through a luxurious river cruise in the mighty Amazon river. This can entail a variety of experiences depending on where it is you sail – after all the Amazon river flows through six different countries as well. We believe that the Peruvian Amazon offers the finest sailing experience.
Being the birthplace of the Amazon – where the Ucayali and Marañon converge – the river is at its narrowest here. This means that you can always gaze upon a picturesque view of the Amazon’s riverbanks through Aqua Nera’s floor-to-ceiling windows which grace every cabin. As you venture into the depths of the rainforest, sail across mystical black water lagoons, enjoy up-close wildlife encounters, and visit the indigenous residents of Amazonia. Read on for five of the most exciting adventures which await you.
1. Jungle Trekking and Animal Spotting
Walk deep into the rich Amazonian rainforest for a rendezvous with exotic wildlife. The forest is home to three-toed sloths, macaws, hoatzins, capuchin monkeys and anacondas, and that’s just the beginning. Aqua’s expert guides are well-versed in spotting animals through the camouflage and helping you get a close-up look at the variety of species which inhabit the region.
As you make your way over to the rainforest on a tender ride, you might find yourself accompanied by the elusive pink river dolphins which can be found in these waters. There are also caiman which rest along the riverbanks and are best spotted once it’s dark outside. You’ll have the opportunity to go looking for these incredible predators on a night excursion aboard Aqua Nera.
Throughout the expedition, you’ll be exploring the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, which is nicknamed the ‘Jungle of Mirrors’ thanks to the glassy reflections in its peaceful waters. Well-protected and conserved, this is the ideal place to explore the region’s abundant biodiversity.
2. Visit the Manatee Rescue Center in Iquitos
Conservation projects have always played an integral role in protecting the Amazon rainforest and its wildlife over the years. The Amazonian Manatee Rescue Center is a great example of how the local people are actively involved in such efforts.
The endangered Amazonian Manatees are almost extinct as they have been hunted heavily over the decades. Being slow-moving and docile creatures, they’re an easy target which are exploited for their oil, meat, and skin.
The Manatee Rescue Center rescues and rehabilitates these rare creatures – a process that can often take months or years. While visiting, you might also be able to meet and help feed adorable orphaned baby manatees. Apart from manatees, the center also looks after other animals like ocelots, parrots, and turtles.
3. Fish for Piranhas in the Amazon River
Piranhas can be found throughout the Amazon River and its tributaries. With a fearsome reputation which precedes them, these red-bellied fish are said to have inhabited the Amazon for 3 million years. Piranhas have an extremely keen sense of smell, as often depicted in movies when they smell blood. Along with this, they’re equipped with razor sharp teeth and powerful jaws using which they can exert force up to three times their own bodyweight.
Since it’s tough to see what’s going on beneath the water’s surface in the Amazon, you’ll definitely be in for a surprise once you cast a line in the water. Fishing for piranhas is a bucket list adventure which will leave you filled with adrenaline and excitement. After you’ve taken a photo with your catch, our naturalist guides will ensure that they make it safely back into the water.
4. Learn about Local Life
Beyond nature and the wildlife, the Amazon also has a lot to offer in terms of culture and heritage. Introduce yourself to a brand new way of life and find out all there is to know about jungle living. This provides an eye-opening insight into how people can live in harmony with the rainforest, depending only on their surroundings for sustenance.
Our expert naturalist guides are natives from the region, who’ll share first-hand accounts of life in the Amazon during your expedition. There’ll also be an opportunity to embark on a bike ride and explore the 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, and the native 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. You might find pink and grey river dolphins frolicking around you and schools of fish brushing past your legs. It can be scary to take the first dive in but the waters are perfectly safe.
Would you really want to travel this far and miss out on the opportunity to swim in Amazonian water? Lake Clavero is a magnificent spot to relax after a day of spotting animals and exploring the rainforest. Cool off and rejuvenate yourself for the adventures which lie ahead.
The Aria Amazon and Aqua Nera offer three, four- and seven-night cruises on the Peruvian Amazon that manage to fit all of the major highlights of the Peruvian Amazon and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in an action-packed itinerary. Check the dates for your next adventure here.
Check the dates for your next adventure here.