How we sail responsibly in the Amazon and Mekong

In the ecologically-sensitive and magnificent natural environments of the Peruvian Amazon and the Mekong river, Aqua Expeditions has established responsible and eco-friendly operational procedures to protect the natural environments where we sail. These are just some of the things we are doing:


Wildlife Preservation & Conservation


Some of our ongoing projects include:


  1. Supporting the Manatee Rescue Center in charge of rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned Amazonian manatees in Iquitos


  1. Repopulation projects for threatened species such as Peru’s yellow-spotted Amazon Taricaya turtles through nesting and release programs.


  1. Collaborating with our consulting chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino and local river communities to rehabilitate the population of native paiche fish through improving fish farming techniques. Through our efforts, we have seen the population of paiche fish increase from 489 in 2010 to more than 9,000 in 2018.



Sustainable Travel Policies


We’ve also developed a number of responsible ecotourism practices set against high standards. These include:


Fuel Efficiency

Our ships’ engines are the most fuel-efficient, quiet, and virtually smoke-free. We operate a specialized wet exhaust system to minimize the emission of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and reduce our carbon footprint. To minimize noise and vibration on board, our marine generators have been encapsulated. All these measures comply with the latest IMO and U.S. EPA standards.


Engine Emissions

Aqua Expeditions launch boats are equipped with low-emission aluminum speedboats for excursions. To minimize erosion to the shores and disturbance to wildlife such as nesting Taricaya turtles, sound and pollution, these launch boats do not exceed a speed of 10 knots. All skiff engines are also IMO-compliant with Four Stroke Technology.

Eco-Friendly Products

By using only non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products onboard all its vessels, Aqua Expeditions avoids contamination of the rivers on which it sails. On the Amazon, Aqua Expeditions uses Ecolab products, the world’s leader in biodegradable cleaning products for the hospitality industry. On the Aqua Mekong, the vessel is supplied with environmentally friendly Enjo products.


Waste Management

All waste is treated on board with smart sanitation systems and fully contained storage tanks that comply with IMO and U.S. Coast Guard standards. The result is 100% clean, sterile water that can safely be discharged into the rivers. Remaining waste materials unsuitable for this process is collected during the journey for delivery at disembarkation for recycling or responsible disposal.


In an effort to help eliminate plastic waste, passengers are provided with a reusable metal water tumbler which can be refilled at two central water points on board the Aria Amazon. Over the past year, we have also been gradually eliminating single-use plastics on the Aria Amazon and Aqua Mekong, including plastic straws.



Aqua Expeditions is equally committed to identifying and helping to meet the needs of the river communities of Peru’s Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve as well as our Cambodian and Vietnamese communities along the Mekong River. This includes environmental conservation and protection of natural resources surrounding these communities and supporting education, as well as environmentally sustainable ways for these locals to earn their living.



Community Outreach

Aqua Expeditions social outreach efforts include:


  1. Educating residents of the communities we visit in natural resources management.


2. Providing ongoing community support to encourage the protection of endangered species such as the Amazonian Manatee, paiche freshwater fish, Taricaya turtles and a variety of great monkeys, as well as aguaje palms, lupuna trees, and other indigenous flora.


3. Creating job opportunities: Aqua Expeditions makes a committed effort to employ local guides, whose passion for sharing knowledge creates an unforgettable adventure for travelers. In the Amazon, we also hire local Ribereos to join the guides on the guest excursions.


Additionally, many of the unique items used onboard or sold at the boutique such as napkin holders, table mats, and fans are sourced directly from artisans in the communities which we actively visit and support.


4. Promoting sustainable tourism to residents of the communities we visit as an economical alternative to the over-use of natural resources within their territories.


5. With the aim of improving the daily lives of local river inhabitants, Aqua Expeditions created three donation kits (classified into three areas: Sanitation, Education and Nutrition) that are available onboard the Aria Amazon for guests to purchase during the river cruises.


Aqua Expeditions is a proud member of Pack for a Purpose, a global initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a small extra space in your suitcase to bring supplies for area schools or medical clinics in need, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local

children and families. Learn more about what supplies are needed for our projects in Peru.