Peru Tours Packages
AQUA - Amazon River Discovery Cruise
4 days / 3 nights Program
June - November (Low Water) Itinerary
Aqua Expeditions operates every week of the year and all of Amazon River Cruise departure dates are guaranteed.
Embark on the voyage of a lifetime, sailing the earth’s mightiest river — the Amazon. The first luxury vessel in the region, the M/V Aqua caters to the most discriminating and adventurous of world travelers, providing an unforgettable journey into areas penetrated by only a privileged few. As your ship docks along the river, knowledgeable and experienced naturalists will take you, via small launches, into remote estuaries in the Peruvian rain forest and the Pacaya Samiria Reserve. As you explore these pristine wilderness areas teeming with wildlife, you will also encounter local people living in villages as they have for centuries. And when the day’s sightseeing is over, the comforts of your luxurious floating hotel will await you.
Amazon River voyages depart from the port city of Iquitos, Peru. Iquitos is served by numerous daily flights from Lima, Peru’s capital. The flights take one hour and twenty-five minutes.
DAY 1: SATURDAY
Iquitos / Amazon River
5:50 p.m. Arrival
Your guides await you, as your flight from Lima glides in for landing at Iquitos International Airport. After you’ve claimed your luggage, you will board an air-conditioned bus for your journey to the river.
6:00 p.m. Transfer to Iquitos’ main wharf. There the M/V Aqua awaits you.
6:20 p.m. Embarkation and check-in
As you settle into your over-sized suite, your vessel will start on its journey toward the Yanayacu River, deep in the heart of Amazonia. Over the next three days, you will also sail along one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon, the Marañón, as well as on the mighty Amazon itself. You are embarking on a spectacular adventure, to a place visited by only a few of even the most experienced world travelers.
7:30 p.m. Safety Drill and Briefing on the Top Deck
Before dinner we will perform a routine safety drill. Following that, your Cruise Director and Guides will give a brief orientation talk about life on board, where you will go and what you will see on your Amazon journey.
8:00 p.m. Welcome Dinner
Peruvian cuisine is considered one of the world’s best. Here it is presented with a touch of European flair, and a vegetarian dish is always available. Raise a glass of fine South American wine to toast the beginning of a beautiful journey, then look out the window and watch the river go by as you experience your first wonderful meal aboard the M/V Aqua.
Perhaps enjoy a nightcap on the Upper Deck, under the stars, before retiring
DAY 2: SUNDAY
Amazon / Tahuayo Rivers and Charo Lake
6:30 a.m. Early morning Skiff Expedition on the Amazon River
Be up early to catch your first glimpse of the majestic Amazon River, as you watch the sun rise over this green world filled with wonderful wildlife. This initial contact with Amazonia is only a brief sampling of what the rest of your journey will hold.
8:00 a.m. Breakfast
Our sumptuous daily breakfast buffet features a wide choice of traditional breakfast egg dishes, plus Peruvian specialties, and fresh-squeezed fruit juices.
9:15 a.m. Tahuayo River Exploration and Fishing Trip at Charo Lake
This morning you will board our comfortable excursion skiffs for your first adventure, traveling from the Amazon through the Huaysi short-cut canal to explore the Tahuayo black water river. Life jackets, ponchos, rubber boots and plenty of cold potable water will always be available for you on board the skiffs. As we float down the Tahuayo, occasional fishermen paddling in their dug-out canoes will give us a cheerful greeting. Keep your binoculars ready to spot a vast variety of wildlife: terns, orioles, blackbirds, black collared hawks, monkeys, and sloth share this wonderful environment with us. Upon arrival at Charo Lake, you can bait your hooks to try to catch one of Amazonia’s fearsome piranhas (and other fish as well). As you fish, trained naturalist guides will also tell you the story of the lake and its inhabitants.
11:30 a.m. Return to the M/V Aqua
Icy cold towels await you, as you transfer from your skiffs into the M/V Aqua. As the vessel continues up the Amazon River, you have some time to relax, or perhaps even take a nap, before lunch.
12:30 p.m. Lunch
Enjoy lighter mid-day fare in our air-conditioned dining room.
4:00 p.m. Yacapana Islands Exploration and Dolphin Sighting
Locals call the Yacapana Islands the “Iguana Islands,” because of the huge population of these reptiles—like tiny dinosaurs—crawling over the ground and resting in the tree tops. We will pass by in the skiff, giving you a chance to snap good photos. As the sun sets, you will have the chance to see and photograph both gray and pink freshwater dolphins. The people of the Amazon believe that these dolphins turn into humans to steal handsome men or pretty women from their villages during celebrations.
6:30 p.m. To the Headwaters
We will return to the M/V Aqua vessel and continue our journey upstream, toward the headwaters of the Amazon River, where the Ucayali, Marañón, and the Amazon Rivers merge.
Perhaps sip a pre-dinner pisco sour on the Upper Deck, while you watch the sun set.
8:00 p.m. Dinner
DAY 3: MONDAY
Marañon River / Pacaya Samiria National Reserve (Yanayacu-Pucate)
6:30 a.m. Breakfast
7:30 a.m. Guided Jungle Walk in the Primary Forest
This morning your Naturalist Guide will tell you all about sustainable resource management projects in Amazonia. You will visit one of these projects, where villagers are planting palms to obtain oil. Your Guide may also show you the artificial nests created on the sand to protect turtle eggs. Then we will take you deep into the jungle, where you will encounter wildlife and learn first-hand about the important medical value of jungle plants. And we will show you famous Kapok Trees (ceiba pentandra), the tallest trees in the Amazon Basin.
12:00 p.m. Return to the M/V Aqua
12:30 p.m. Lunch, followed by a Siesta
3:30 p.m. Monkey / Dolphin and Caiman Expedition
In this late afternoon skiff excursion, you are likely to see howler and capuchin monkeys, the squirrel-sized monkeys called tamarins, and a vast variety of birds. You are also apt to see the two different kinds of freshwater dolphins—including the unusual pink ones—found in the Amazon. Later, keep your eyes directed toward the jungle canopy, where you can spot at least several kinds of primates—among the 13 species of monkeys resident in the National Park. Perhaps you will catch a glimpse of tamarins and dusky titi monkeys and pigmy marmoset monkeys. Watch for alligators, 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. After this night adventure, the M/V Aqua will start sailing downstream on the Marañon River, back toward the headwaters of the Amazon.
7:30 p.m. Arrive at the M/V Aqua
8:30 p.m. Dinner
Day 4: TUESDAY
Yurucuche Lake / Birthplace of the Amazon / Puerto Prado Village Visit / Iquitos
6:30 a.m. Ucayali River and Yucuruche Lake
Rise early and be on your skiff at 6:30 AM. This morning we will travel by skiff along the Ucayali River to Yucuruche Lake, where we will walk a little way into the jungle to see the world’s largest aquatic plant, the giant water lilies or “Victoria Regias”. You will be one of a very small number of people who have ever seen these plants bloom.
8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:15 a.m. Birthplace of the Amazon / Puerto Prado Village
This morning, the M/V Aqua skirts the edges of the vast Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, a flooded forest covering five million acres at the headwaters of the Amazon basin. We board the skiffs to view one of the great spectacles of the Southern Hemisphere: the birthplace of the Amazon River. Here—where the union of two major tributaries, the Ucayali and the Marañon, form the world’s greatest waterway—nature is at its most dramatic. Your morning excursion will be accompanied by abundant bird song, as you glide in small boats past river banks populated by large-billed terns, laughing falcons, gray tanagers, sandpipers, five kinds of parakeets, the exotic short-tailed parrot, and dozens of other birds.
We will then travel by skiff to Puerto Prado native village, where you will meet and interact with the hospitable native Cocama Indians. They will share their culture, traditions, and folklore with you, and you will have the opportunity to purchase some of their handicrafts and delightful folk art.
11:00 a.m. Return to the M/V Aqua
11:40 a.m. Lunch
Share a final onboard lunch with the friends you have made on your Amazon journey.
1:15 p.m. Disembarkation / Manatee Rescue Center / Transfer to the Airport
We will visit the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have seized from local people and fishermen. Biologists will give a presentation about the project and its efforts to help these helpless mammals. You will also see how the manatees are cared for and are prepared for re-introduction into their natural habitat.
5:00 p.m. Check-in at Iquitos International Airport
Your guides will help you with check-in, and will stay with you until you have boarded your flight back to Lima.
6:20 p.m. Departure. Your flight leaves for 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.
2012 Departures Dates for 4days/3nights Amazon River Discovery Cruise – Low Water:
June: 02, 09, 16, 23, 30
July: 07, 14, 21, 28
August: 04, 11, 18
September: 08, 15, 22, 29
October: 06, 13, 20, 27
November: 03, 10, 17, 24
Aqua Expeditions operates every week of the year and all of Amazon River Cruise departure dates are guaranteed.
This program includes:
All meals while onboard
Wine with meals
Transfers to/from vessel when arriving on recommended flights
Pacaya Samiria entrance fee
It does not include:
· Airfares Lima - Iquitos - Lima
· Guide and crew gratuities
· Bar and Boutique purchases
· Personal insurance, expenses and tips
· Any service not specified in the program
Program per person
4days/3nights program per person in Double Occupancy
4d / 3n
Single Supplement is 25% in addition to the regular rate
Children Policy: 7 year age minimum on all departures, child under 12 years old will receive a 20% discount.
Third person sleeping on sofa bed will receive a 20% discount
Third person being a child under 12 years old sleeping on sofa bed pays USD 450 per night
All Amazon River Cruises are priced based on per person, double occupancy of suites and master suites.
Suites: All of the M/V Aqua's oversized suites measure a spacious 230 square feet, with a comfortable en suite seating area and extra-large windows that enable you to get the "big picture" of the rivers and their banks from the comfort of your air-conditioned room. All suites are decorated to create the feeling of a luxury lodge on the Amazon River, complete with Amazon photography by French photographer Jean Claude Constant. Sheet and bedspreads are 100% Peruvian cotton, with at least a 280-thread count.
Master Suites: The M/V Aqua's four master suites, at the front of the vessel, measure 240 square feet and contain all of the luxury features of the main suites, including natural fiber tapestry paneling over the bed. Large glass windows at the foot of the king-sized bed make it possible for you to pull back the curtains and count the constellations in a sky filled with brilliant stars. These suites have a totally separate seating area for optimum privacy.
· We recommend that all guests fly into Iquitos on flight that arrives Saturdays and Tuesdays and that guests depart from Iquitos on flight that leave Saturdays and Tuesdays. Please note that airport transfers are only included if arriving or departing on these recommended flights.
· Guests on the M/V Aqua will change planes in Lima for the one hour twenty-five minutes air flight into Iquitos, Peru, which arrives daily.
· Aqua Expeditions is not responsible for activities or services for passengers arriving prior to the scheduled arrivals and departures.
· Transfers are only included if arriving or departing on the above recommended flights.
· All picks-ups and drop-offs will be to and from Iquitos' Francisco Secada airport.
Remarks about Low and High Water Seasons:
The Amazon River in Peru has basically has two seasons, a high water season (December through May) and a low water season (June through November). Traveling to Peru in either season offers rich rewards, fabulous sites, and amazing opportunities to view plant and animal life and hot weather with some rainy days here and there.
Two key points to remember, as you choose between visiting Peru and the Amazon River in the high water season or during the low water season: there will be some rain whichever season you choose, and you will see spectacular wildlife and plant life, whether you go in the wetter or in the drier season. The Amazon basin is as rich and lush and green as it is because it gets an abundance of rain (12 feet a year on average). In a typical year, the Amazon River rainforest experiences 200 rainy days, which means that there will be days of heavy rain even in the low water season.
December through May - High Water Season
Peru’s rainy season runs from December through May - summer and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. This is our relatively cooler and wetter season when the Amazon region receives a little more than half (60%) of its total rainfall. During the high water season the average temperature is 86 degrees Fahrenheit, only 12 degrees cooler than in the low water season.
There are great benefits to traveling to Peru’s Amazon at this time of year. Perhaps most important, the Amazon Basin’s rivers and streams are about 23 feet higher than they are during the low water season, meaning that every river, creek and lake is navigable. Thus, you are able to explore on your cruise excursions by skiff, more of the waterways of Amazonia and will have access to areas with more plant life and wildlife than if you travel to Peru during the low water season. The flooded waterways put travelers much closer to the Amazon jungle canopy, where monkeys play and our beautiful Amazon birds like to roost. In fact, you are very likely to see many more mammals, both monkeys and others, during the high water season.
Enhanced navigation by water has a flip side - areas to walk and hike are sometimes limited at this time, and if we do find usable hiking trails there will be more mosquitoes than in the low water season. Fishing in the Amazon River is more limited during these months too, but you still have close to a 50:50 chance to get out your rod and reel and make a catch.
June through November - Low water Season
The low water season in Amazonia coincides with our winter in the Southern Hemisphere (from June to November). This is the warmer season on the Amazon River, with temperature averaging about 98 degrees Fahrenheit, and, despite its name, the low water season still exhibits some heavy rains.
A key difference between visiting Peru in this season vs in the high water season is that trails and jungle paths that are flooded from December to May are now easily accessible, allowing groups to explore deep in the jungle by foot (and accompanied by fewer mosquitoes than during the flooded season). The flip side of this is that water levels on the Amazon River and its tributaries are much lower from June to November, which means that many of the creeks and lakes that we visit during the rainy season are inaccessible. But lower water levels, however, can be a bonus in another way: During these months fishing is 100 percent guaranteed . . . you even stand a fair chance to catch a piranha. And while you are farther below the birds that roost in the Amazon jungle canopy, you will have the chance to see dozens of species of migratory birds in flight, something you would completely miss during the high water season.