After a two hour afternoon flight from Lima to the heart of the Peruvian Amazon region, you arrive at Iquitos Airport. Upon arrival, the guides welcome you and whisk you to the air-conditioned bus for the scenic one-and-a-half hour drive to Nauta, on the banks of the Marañon River, where the Aria Amazon is moored. We will arrive at Nauta’s Main Wharf in time for lunch. Our first skiff excursion will follow, to visit the birthplace of the Amazon. At 6:00pm, we will board the Aria Amazon. From the moment you step aboard the luxurious vessel – home for the next four nights – the atmosphere of low-key luxury is apparent. While settling into the handsomely-appointed, spacious suite, the vessel begins to move: it is the start of one of life’s great adventures, to a place visited by only a few of even the most experienced travelers. Stand on the Upper Deck to take in the view, as the Aria Amazon leaves Nauta behind. Over the next four days, we sail the largest tributaries of the Amazon, as well as the mighty Amazon itself. Before dinner we perform a routine safety drill. Then it’s into the air-conditioned lounge, to learn about life onboard, and for the first of the nightly briefings about your adventure to follow. The naturalist guides and cruise director introduce themselves and use video, photos, and maps to explain the details of your upcoming adventure. This is the first chance to enjoy the boat’s world-class cuisine, created by Executive Chef
Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, whose restaurant, Malabar, is one of the best in all of Lima. Schiaffino’s recipes, with their imaginative use of local products – fruit, fish, spices – make every meal a delightful adventure. (The menu always offers choices, including a vegetarian option.) Toast the beginning of your journey, with a glass of South American
After dinner, there is a chance to enjoy a nightcap on the Upper Deck, under the stars, before retiring.
In High Water season (Dec – May) today we explore the black waters of the Yanallpa River by skiff, disembarking to walk deep into the Amazonian rain forest. Later, we board the skiffs again to cruise along the El Dorado River for a dusk excursion in search of exotic nocturnal wildlife. In Low Water season (Jun – Nov) we board our skiffs and start the day like Amazon River dwellers, cruising along the Ucayali River. As these farmers and fishermen go about their business, we search for pink river dolphins in these pristine waters. Later in the day, we return to the skiffs, to ride along the black waters of the Pacaya River at dusk, searching for the mysterious wildlife that come out after dark.
The rewards of our early start today are plentiful, including a breakfast picnic accompanied by jungle symphony and fishing along the black waters of the Pacaya River. After lunch, we venture out by skiffs on the Ucayali River alongside the banana boats transporting their jungle products to the port of Requena, keeping an eye out for pink river dolphins.
Aria Amazon Cruise Day 4
Choose to go jungle walking, canoeing, kayaking or swimming on the black water Yarapa or Clavero River in the morning. In the afternoon in High Water season (Dec – May) we visit a remote Amazonia village, and in Low Water season (Jun – Nov) take a short jungle walk instead in the San Jose flooded forest to see the unforgettable giant water lilies. This evening before dinner, we will gather to introduce you to some of the crew members whom you may not have met, working “behind the scenes” to ensure your countless exceptional experiences aboard the Aria Amazon.
Aria Amazon Cruise Day 5
In the high water season (Dec-May), depending on the weather, we will tour the flood zone that borders the city of Iquitos and observe the houses and shops that actually float on the Itaya River for several months of the year. Then we will visit the traditional market of Bellavista Nanay, bordering the Nanay River, to see products from the Peruvian Amazon including exotic snacks like the Amazon Caterpillar. Called “Suri,” these caterpillars live in the palm trees and are considered a very appetizing snack for Amazonia people, even in the city. In the low water season (Jun-Nov) we will visit the local fresh market of Nauta Town with your guides who can identify the day’s catch by the fishermen of Amazonia and the region’s exotic fruits. En route to Iquitos 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. Lunch or box lunch is included, depending on the exact departure flight time, which can vary. If there is time, we may also visit the San Juan craft market, and other local activities may be included according to the flight schedule. Later, you will be transported to Iquitos Airport, where your guides will help you with check-in and stay with you until you have boarded your flight back to Lima.