Peru and Ecuador adventures | Aqua Expeditions

Where to Travel in December 2023 and January 2024

11 months ago Experiences

Break away from your usual holiday destinations this December and January and discover where to travel on an exciting adventure in some of the most remote and extraordinary destinations that promise to awaken your senses and leave you with unforgettable memories. From the mystical rainforests of Peru to the captivating islands of Indonesia, these remote destinations each have something unique to offer – breathtaking natural wonders, vibrant culture and traditions, and incredible wildlife.

 

Take advantage of our Early Bird bonus and embark on a truly unforgettable travel adventure.

 

Destination #1: Peru

Best for: Rainforests

If you’re looking to swap the city views with unending lush sceneries, then the Peruvian Amazon is the perfect choice. Escape the bustling sounds of the rat race with the peace and calm of drifting down the mighty Amazon River.

 

In Peru, you will find the most direct and accessible route to the heart of the rainforest. The port of Iquitos is only a two hour flight from the capital of Lima and the archeological treasure trove of Cusco. Aria Amazon and Aqua Nera sail the lush Amazon headwaters and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, where the waters are low in sediment and rich in aquatic life, making it the ideal location for wildlife encounters.

 

 

There are two key seasons in the Peruvian Amazon: a low water season that lasts from June to November and a high water season from December through to May. The rise in water levels allows guests to be that much closer to the jungle canopy. You’ll get to see monkeys play and exotic birds roosting, among many other sights! This time of year also allows for the navigation of smaller rivers, creeks, and lakes, making the diversity of the Amazon rainforest more accessible.

 

Amazon Pink River Dolphin | Aqua Expeditions

 

Besides the immersive sights and sounds of the rainforest, you’ll also have the chance to befriend the hospitable indigenous communities of the Amazon and kayak down the serene waters to spot the legendary pink dolphins.

 

Destination #2: Indonesia

Best for: The islands of Raja Ampat

As the largest archipelagic country in the world consisting of over 17,000 tropical islands, Indonesia straddles three time zones and two oceans, with the open sea making up three quarters of the country’s area. The best thing about this incredibly picturesque country is that there’s always a location that is ‘in season’ during the year (i.e. with ideal weather conditions).

 

 

 

From December to February, Aqua Blu sails Raja Ampat which comprises over 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals. Raja Ampat translates to ‘Four Kings’ representing the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo. The highlight of these limestone karst island clusters are their historical significance, dramatic landscapes, secret lagoons, and exotic wildlife. On these islands, our guests get to explore local pearl farms, and we take them to local villages to witness their traditional dances.

 

 

Aboard Aqua Blu, there will be ample opportunities to dive and snorkel in the perfect turquoise blue Raja Ampat waters. In fact, it’s widely regarded as the number one dive and snorkeling destination in the world. This officially protected region is right in the heart of the Coral Triangle where nearly 600 different species of corals and other marine life call home. The region alone nurtures six of the world’s seven marine turtle species and more than 2,000 species of reef fish. Expect to spot black tip reef sharks and majestic manta rays on your visit!

 

There is no shortage of wonder on land too. Our expert local guides will take you through mangroves for a change in scenery to sport turtles, hornbills, the Wilson Bird of Paradise and even saltwater crocodiles.

 

Destination #3: Galapagos Islands

Best for: Endemic Wildlife

Visiting the Galapagos Islands aboard the Aqua Mare is a David Attenborough documentary come to life. This remote Archipelago of 18 islands and more than 100 small islets lies around 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Its proximity to the equator, volcanic activity, and influence from three ocean currents created a distinctive set of environmental conditions that allowed for unique land and marine ecosystems to develop over the course of four million years.

 

Galapagos Islands - Aqua Mare

 

Each island offers a different landscape which makes everyday a new adventure with Aqua Mare. From hiking mountainous terrains scattered with shield volcanoes and lava fields to lounging on beautiful white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, there’s an activity for everyone. For those opting for our 14 night itinerary, there will even be a day to choose your own adventure from activities like snorkeling, hiking, cycling, and even scuba diving.

 

 

Nature lovers will not be disappointed here – the Galapagos has a remarkable number of endemic plant and animal life unlike any other destination. Nearly 80 percent of land birds and mammals and over 90 percent of reptiles found on the Galapagos Islands are native to the archipelago. This includes species such as the Galapagos sea lion, giant tortoise, flightless cormorant, and Darwin’s finches.

 

North Seymour Island - Frigate bird

 

You will have the chance to enjoy these and more such as the green turtle mating season, male iguanas competing with each other in a bid to win a mate, and the hatching of Giant tortoise eggs in December. Those visiting in January may see nesting land birds such as red-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, and frigatebirds.

 

The Galapagos Archipelago is a year-round destination, but December to May is characterized by clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine. This is ideal for snorkeling and swimming with sea turtles, penguins, and turtles. 

 

Destination #4: Cambodia

Best for: Culture

Over 2,000 years of heritage make Cambodia an epic destination of choice. Whether it’s for the stunning palette of flavors or the search for rich culture and traditions with a glorious past, Cambodia is best explored by a river voyage aboard Aqua Mekong. Opening a window into the 9th to 15th-century Khmer empire and modern-day Theravada Buddhism, travelers can take advantage of our expert local guides to uncover intriguing cultural facets of the Mekong Delta, well beyond the region’s beautiful golden-roofed temples and ancient relics. Guests are able to experience an authentic, seldom-seen aspect of the Mekong way of life and practices that have endured for many centuries.

 

 

Our highlights include insights into the magnificent royal Khmer silverware in the silversmith village of Koh Chen, visiting Koh Oknha Tey, Mekong’s famed ‘Silk Island’, to learn how artisans handcraft traditional krama silk scarf, exploring daily life in the pastoral villages dotting the picturesque river bank, and even receiving a ceremonial blessing by a monk in the enigmatic floating village of Moat Khla! 

 

December to mid-August marks the dry season where visitors can expect crystal clear blue skies, brilliant green landscapes, and lower levels of humidity; making it excellent for outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, and kayaking. 

 

 

All guests traveling with Aqua Mekong during this period will have the option to continue their journey onwards with complimentary flights to Siem Reap for all itineraries ending in Phnom Penh.

 

Ready to have the trip of a lifetime but can’t decide where to go? Talk to our friendly Expedition Consultants to learn more about which destination is right for you. Don’t wait too long or you might miss our Early Bird rates.