AQUA - HIGH WATER
Saturday: IQUITOS - AMAZON RIVER
Arrival from Lima, a one-hour 25 minute journey into the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. Your guides await you at Iquitos International Airport. 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 Aqua Amazon, your home for the next seven nights, awaits you.
Embarkation and Check-in. Welcome to the low key luxury of the Aqua 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 Aqua Amazon leaves Iquitos behind.
Over the next seven days, the Aqua 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.
Sunday: AMAZON RIVER - YARAPA RIVER - NAUTA CAÑO (PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE)
Sunrise Over the River. Catch your first glimpse of the Amazon River, 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.
River Exploration and Fishing Trip at Moringo Lake. 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.
Travel from the Amazon River and onto its black water tributaries where fishermen paddling dug-out canoes greet us. Our naturalist guides help you to spot terns, egrets, orioles, hawks and kingfishers as well as monkeys among Amazonia’s other fascinating inhabitants.
At Moringo Lake, bait your hooks to catch piranhas, as the Guarani Indians named these vicious creatures, and other Amazon fish as well.
Returning to the Aqua Amazon, 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.Peruvian inspired midday fare in our air-conditioned dining room.
Endangered Amazon Lecture in the air-conditioned Indoor Lounge. One of our naturalist guides will introduce the major threats to this magnificent but precarious eco-system we are exploring and describe some successful initiatives supported by Aqua Expeditions including camu camu tree planting and wildlife education for local youth.
Excursion to Nauta Caño, part of the Pacaya Samiria Reserve, also known as the Forest of Mirrors due to its dark lagoons, which reflect the scenery. In this area we will observe toucans, macaws, and iguanas, among many other species. In this area we may observe and hear toucans, macaws and iguanas. As we head back to the AQUA AMAZON, you will enjoy one of the most incredible sunsets reflected in the black water of the flooded forest.
Return to the Aqua Amazon, Perhaps sip a pre-dinner camu-camu sour on the Observation Deck as the sun sets. Dinner at 8:00 pm.
Monday: MARAÑON RIVER - YANAYACU - PUCATE RIVER (PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE)
This morning, we visit the Yanayacu - Pucate River in Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. On the black water river you can observe the vibrant flora and fauna while looking for macaws and several species of primates like the capuchins and squirrel monkeys as well as the famous Amazon River dolphins, either pink or gray. Amazonian people hold the belief that these dolphins possess the magical power to turn into men and women of great beauty. We will enjoy a light breakfast on board, consisting of homemade baked goods, hot coffee and fresh juice. We stop near a quiet place where you will see and hear quite a show put on by Mother Nature while you enjoy your meal.
Return to the Aqua Amazon at 11:00 to a delicious lunch followed by a siesta.
In the afternoon, enjoy a lecture about the marinelife and fish of the Amazon River in our air-conditioned Indoor Lounge. Learn about the 28 species of piranha swimming in the black waters of the Amazon and its tributaries, as well as the catfish, paiche fish that grow up to 12 feet long in these waters, and about how Aqua Expeditions provides fishing equipment and technical advice to Amazonia fishermen.
On this late afternoon expedition, we sail along the Maranon River, watching the different species of flora and fauna as we approach the Casual community where we will hike on land. Here you will see a plethora of wildlife, so keep your binoculars ready to observe tanagers and orioles as well as various reptiles and amphibians. Keep an eye out for the beautiful and eye-catching but poisonous frogs along this fascinating trail, as well as trees and medicinal plants.
Return to the Aqua Amazon at 6pm and receive a briefing about tomorrow's adventures followed by dinner.
Tuesday: AMAZON BIRTHPLACE - VILLAGE VISIT - NAUTA CITY
Birthplace of the Amazon. After breakfast,the Aqua 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.
Village Visit. Meet the genuinely welcoming people of Amazonia at this riverside community. Your naturalist guide acts as interpreter so that you may 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 Aqua Amazon we navigate on a small connector canal between the Ucayali and Marañon Rivers, 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.
Lunch. Share a last meal with fellow passengers who have taken the three-night journey.
Afternoon Excursions to Nauta City. For our guests who wish to explore on land, we organize two wheel motorized ‘moto’ tours of the small riverside Peruvian town of Nauta, the oldest town in the state of Loreto. This village, founded in the 1930’s, is very important to the local river communities, as it is the port where they come to sell their produce.
Others venture to Nauta Caño within Pacaya-Samiria Reserve which is known as the mirrored forest, which makes perfect sense as you gaze upon its glistening black water lagoons. Our naturalist guides use their eagle eyes to help you spot toucans, parrots and macaws overhead and iguanas, sloths and monkeys among the soaring trees. On the way back to the Aqua, the glorious sunset is reflected in these glistening waters.
Return to the Aqua Amazon at 6pm followed by dinner.Meet new passengers who come aboard for their four-night trip, as we start our journey along the Ucayali River.
Wednesday: UCAYALI - YANALLPA - DORADO RIVER - PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE
Yanallpa River Expedition. After breakfast, within the vast Amazon flooded forest, cruise along an amazing black water stream, as your guides tell you about the rainforest. We explore what scientists call a “gallery forest,” because of its narrow vegetation that creates a tunnel of leaves. As we float through this tunnel, our naturalist guides help you to spot parrots, macaws, and fluffy monk saki monkeys in the trees along the riverbanks.
Return to the Aqua Amazon at 11 followed by lunch.
At 3pm, enjoy a lecture about the Taricaya Turtles in our air-conditioned Indoor Lounge. Our naturalist guides recount the history of these adorable creatures along the Amazon, their near extinction and the recent efforts supported by Aqua Expeditions that are successfully growing the turtle population in the Pacaya-Samiria Nature Reserve.
Dorado River Exploration and Night Excursion. At 4pm, take a magical journey aboard the skiffs through the “Mirrored Forest” to see towering trees reflected in the black water river, while on the lookout for enchanting parrots, blue-yellow macaws, as well as the great variety of primates and sloths unperturbed by our presence. As we make our way back to the Aqua, our guides point out caimans and frogs in the water, and fishing bats overhead.
Return to the Aqua Amazon around 7:30 followed by a delicious dinner.
Thursday: PUINAHUA RIVER - PACAYA RIVER - PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE
This morning we will undertake a full-day excursion along the Pacaya River, observing and exploring the flooded forest of this vast region of the Peruvian Amazon. You will sail among a wide variety of wildlife, birds including large parrots, macaws, herons and storks and many species of primates like the capuchin, howler and squirrel monkeys, who can be very funny. We will have the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful lakes in the protected reserve and to meet some of the friendly local people who take care of the reserve’s natural resources. Our nature guides will discuss Aqua Expeditions involvement in the natural resource management of Amazonia. We will eat a picnic lunch en route and on our return, we can see the famous Ceiba tree, the highest in the Amazon.
Return to the Aqua Amazon followed by lunch.
During this expedition, we’ll be keeping our eyes out for two different kinds of freshwater dolphins but especially the unusual pink dolphins found in the Amazon River. We’ll also spot arboreal lizards, iguanas and look up to catch a glimpse of some of the area’s 200 bird species.
Return to the Aqua Amazon around 7:30 pm and enjoy a relaxing dinner while discussing your day with your dinner companions.
Friday: UCAYALI RIVER - CLAVERO LAKE - AMAZONAS RIVER
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 Aqua Amazon as we we start sailing down river, toward Iquitos.
After lunch, we sail along the great Amazon River, observing the flora and fauna, then stop at a riverside community that actively conserves the forest’s natural resources and their own ancestral customs.
Return to the Aqua Amazon in the evening as the ship continues downstream, sailing toward Iquitos through the night.
Evening briefing in the Indoor Lounge - A recap of our trip, wildlife sightings and review of your Wildlife Checklist with our naturalist guides.
Dinner followed by Crew Presentation. After dinner, your naturalist guides introduce the very important crew members whom you may not have met, as they have been busy “behind the scenes” to create your seamless Aqua Expeditions experience.
Saturday: CHECK OUT - DISEMBARK AT IQUITOS - CITY TOUR - TRANSFER TO THE AIRPORT
Breakfast at 7:30 followed by a morning excursion dependent on the level of the river. Weather and time permitting, we set off on this last opportunity to see how people live along the Amazon by visiting the lively riverside community of Belen in Iquitos, by skiff. Here, where the houses and shops actually float on the river during some months, visit the bustling food market that supports the entire Peruvian Amazon, where all the inhabitants of Amazonia sell and purchase their goods.
Return to the Aqua Amazon followed by lunch. Share a last lunch with fellow passengers, before your onward journey.
Disembarkation/Manatee Rescue Center and transfer to the AirportEn 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 by 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.
(Please note the following itinerary is a sample only; actual routes and activities are subject to prevailing conditions)