Aqua Expeditions launched the first Amazon River cruises on the Peruvian section of this iconic river in 2007. Due to the extraordinary success of these unique journeys into the jungles of Amazonia, the company added a second luxury vessel, the Aria Amazon in 2011. With 7 night, 4 night and 3 night cruises on the Aqua Amazon, guests travel far into the depths of the Amazon’s rainforests enjoying an intimate glimpse of her wildlife, ecosystems, local customs and marine and jungle landscapes. Listen to the many species of Peruvian birds as they call their mates through the leafy canopy. Learn about the habitats essential to the livelihoods of the endangered Amazon river dolphins, taricaya turtles and manatee. Photograph a three toed sloth as he peers down at you while dangling from a nearby branch.
A cruise on the Aria Amazon offers guests the comfort and elegance of a custom-designed ship and the high levels guest service possible with a 1.3 guest to staff ratio. The Aria Amazon was designed by leading Peruvian architect Jordi Puig and measures 45 meters (147 feet). Spacious and indulgent, yet private enough to feel entirely exclusive, the Aria Amazon includes generous lounging and dining areas, and can accommodate a maximum of 32 guests plus crew including our onboard paramedic. Aqua Expeditions highly experienced river pilots and the most rigorous cruise ship standards ensure smooth travel and safety on the water.
Generous picture windows face the Amazon River (with blackout windows for maximum privacy) in each of the Aria Amazon’s 16 cruise ship Design Suites. Handsomely decorated with natural fibers and neutral hues these air-conditioned accommodations with en suite sitting areas and stone bathrooms each measure between 23 square meters (250 square feet).
High water season ( December – May)
Low water season (June-November)
Cabin Types & Common Areas
4 Days / 3 Nights
Arrival from Lima, a one hour 25 minute journey to the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. Your Aqua Expedition’s guides await you at Iquitos International Airport at 5:15 PM. Claim your luggage, which our porters deliver to your suite, then board our air-conditioned Mercedes bus for the short ride to the river.
Transfer to Iquitos’ Main Wharf. The Aria Amazon, your home for the next three nights, awaits you.
Embarkation and Check-in. Welcome to the low key luxury of the Aria Amazon. Settle into your well appointed river facing suite as the vessel begins to move and thus begins one of life’s great adventures. Ascend to the Observation Deck if you wish, to take in the view, as the Aria leaves Iquitos behind.
Over the next three days, the Aria Amazon sails along the largest tributaries of the Amazon River, as well as on the mighty Amazon itself, towards remote destinations visited by only a few of even the world’s most experienced travelers.
Safety Drill and Briefing on the Observation Deck. Before dinner, participate in our routine safety drill and then head into the air-conditioned Indoor Lounge to meet the cruise director and for your first briefings from our naturalist guides about the adventures ahead.
Welcome Dinner. Toast your journey with our sommelier selected fine South American wine that accompany the Amazonia influenced cuisine of Aqua Expeditions Executive Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, whose restaurant, Malabar, ranks among Lima’s best. Schiaffino’s healthy and innovative recipes incorporate the freshest local products – fruits, fish, spices – adding culinary adventure to our journeys. (Menus always offer choices, including a vegetarian option – please let us know any other specific dietary requirements in advance of your voyage). Perhaps a nightcap on the Observation Deck, counting constellations.
Sunrise Over the River. Catch your first glimpse of the Amazon, as you watch the sun come up over this vibrant world of wonderful wildlife.
Our sumptuous daily breakfast buffet offers a wide selection of traditional egg dishes, Peruvian specialties, homemade baked goods and fresh-squeezed juices, made from luscious tropical fruits you may never have tasted before.
Yacapana Isles Exploration. Board our comfortable excursion skiffs for your first adventure. Life jackets, ponchos, rubber boots, and plenty of cold potable water are always available for you on board the skiffs.
Locals call the Yacapana Isles the “the Isle of the Iguana” thanks to the great number of these reptiles, resembling tiny dinosaurs, which inhabit them. Amazonian beliefs state that if you touch an iguana, you will develop some of its characteristics and, as no one wants to look like one of them, these animals are well protected. We pass very close the islands, giving you an opportunity to take photos of the vibrant flora and fauna. Go fishing here too for the Amazon’s infamous piranhas with our naturalists.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 11:45 where icy cold towels and fresh squeezed camu camu juice await you. The vessel continues up the Amazon River, while you relax, or even take a nap, before lunch.
Lunch of Peruvian inspired midday fare in our air-conditioned dining room.
Canoeing and swimming at Lake Clavero. We sail on to Lake Clavero where villagers paddle in their traditional dugout canoes. You may wish to swim in the lake’s calm waters and visit the community to interact with our Amazonia neighbors who will be pleased to welcome you.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 7:30 PM. Perhaps sip a camu-camu sour on the Observation Deck as the sun sets followed by another Peruvian-inspired dinner from our Executive Chef.
Breakfast at 7 AM then Flooded Forests of Yanallpa Excursion. Explore the Yanallpa Stream looking for wildlife such as squirrel monkeys, saddleback tamarin monkeys, sloths and other species. Walk among the rainforest trees that grow in these seasonally-flooded areas as our guides explain how this vegetation withstands the high water during these months.
Return to the Aria Amazon followed by Lunch and a siesta.
Ucayali River Excursion to Watch Monkeys and Dolphins. On this late afternoon trip, we head off in search of freshwater Amazon dolphins, including the rare pink dolphins. Bring your binoculars to observe the many species of birds crisscrossing the Ucayali, among them the macaws stand out for their dramatic coloring. As the sun sets, watch for nocturnal wildlife on the Dorado River, especially the caimans that our guides have a native’s instinct for spotting. Often they are able to reach out into the black water to pick up one of these prehistoric reptiles for once-in-a-lifetime photo opps.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 7:30 followed by a relaxing dinner.
Breakfast and Birthplace of the Amazon. On this last morning of your Amazon adventure, the Aria skirts the edges of Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, a flooded forest covering five million acres at the headwaters of the Amazon basin. Here we witness one of the great phenomena of the Southern Hemisphere as the sun rises over the birthplace of the Amazon River.
Two major tributaries, the Ucayali and the Marañon, converge to ‘give birth’ to the world’s greatest waterway. Nature here appears especially dramatic: birdsong accompanies your morning excursion as you glide past river banks populated by large-billed terns, laughing falcons, gray tanagers, sandpipers, five kinds of parakeets, the exotic short-tailed parrot, and countless other colorful birds.
Puerto Miguel Village. Meet the genuinely welcoming people of this riverside community and with your naturalist guide as interpreter, talk with them about their life along the Amazon. Of course, no one has to interpret these kids’ bright smiles and wide eyed curiosity about you. This visit also offers an excellent opportunity to buy easy to pack artisanal handicrafts, from painted coconut bowls to surprisingly chic seed bead jewelry.
On the way back to the Aria Amazon we navigate on a small connector canal between the Ucayali and Marañon River, to admire the world’s largest aquatic plant, the giant water lilies or Victoria Regias. Here you become one of a very small number of people who have ever seen these plants bloom.
Early Lunch as you share a last lunch with fellow passengers, before your onward journey.
Disembarkation/Manatee Rescue Center/Transfer to the Airport. Disembark in Nauta at 12:15 PM for the 1.5 hour countryside drive to Iquitos. En route to Iquitos airport, your naturalist guides bring you to visit the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have rescued. Learn about this highly successful project, supported by Aqua Expeditions since its inception, and efforts to help these endearing mammals. See how the manatees are cared for, and prepared for re-introduction into their natural habitat.
Check-in at Iquitos International Airport at 4:30 PM. Your guides will help you with check-in, and will stay with you until its time to board for your flight back to 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.
- All meals while onboard
- All excursions off the Aqua Amazon
- All beverages (non-alcoholic, house wine and beer)
- Group transfers to/from vessel when arriving or departing on recommended flights
- Pacaya Samiria National Reserve entrance fee