AQUA - LOW WATER
Saturday: IQUITOS - AMAZON RIVER
Arrival in Iquitos from Lima, a one hour 25 minute journey to the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. Your guides await you at Iquitos International Airport at 5:15. Claim your luggage, which our porters deliver to your suite, then board our air-conditioned bus for the ride to the river.
Transfer to Nauta Wharf. Enjoy a scenic one-and-a-half hour drive through the Peruvian countryside to the small village of Nauta. You will be traveling on the only road out of town to the end of the line, as it only goes as far as Nauta.
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 three 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 Lima's restaurant, Malabar, ranks among the 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 - NAUTA CAÑO - YACAPANA
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.
Amazon to Yarapa River 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.
As you float down the Yarapa, past the occasional fishermen paddling in their canoes, keep your binoculars ready to spot wildlife: terns, tropical songbirds, black collared hawks and sloth share this wonderful world with us.
Return to the Aqua Amazon as 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.
Peruvian inspired midday fare for lunch in our air-conditioned dining room.
Enjoy an afternoon lecture about Amazon River fish 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.
Excursion to Nauta Caño which is 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.
To the Headwaters. Return to the Aqua Amazon at 7:30 and enjoy another Amazonia dinner from our Chef.
Monday: MARAÑON RIVER - PACAYA-SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE (YANAYACU-PUCATE)
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 capuchin 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 for lunch, followed by a siesta.
In the afternoon, 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 7:30 followed by dinner.
Tuesday: BIRTHPLACE OF THE AMAZON - VILLAGE VISIT - NAUTA TOWN
Breakfast followed by Birthplace of the Amazon/Puerto Prado Village. On this last morning of your Amazon adventure, the Aqua Amazon skirts the edges of Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, a flooded forest covering five million acres at the headwaters of the Amazon basin. We witness one of the great phenomena of the Southern Hemisphere as the two major tributaries, the Ucayali and the Marañon, converge to ‘give birth’ to the world’s greatest waterway, the Amazon River. 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.
Travel onward by skiff to a native village located along the Maranon river, where you will meet and interact with local villagers in this remote part of the world and learn about their traditions and folklore. Walk around with our naturalist guides to see how Aqua Expeditions works with these communities to improve their natural resource management. We will learn about traditional uses of medicinal plants from a shaman whose knowledge of spiritual healing has been down from generation to generation since time immemorial. You will also have the opportunity to shop for local handicrafts directly from the artisans.
Return to the Aqua Amazon for lunch. Share a last meal with fellow passengers who have taken the three-night journey.
Nauta Town Visit. This afternoon you will have the opportunity to visit the Town of Nauta, the oldest town in the state of Loreto. This village, founded in the 1930’s, is our only access point to Iquitos during our expedition. Nauta is very important to the local river communities, as it is the port where they come to sell their produce. We will take a leisurely walk through town, to experience what life in a large river community is like.
Return to the Aqua Amazon. At dinner, meet the new passengers who come aboard for their four-night trip, as we start our journey along the Maranon River.
Wednesday: UCAYALI RIVER - YANALLPA RIVER - EL DORADO - PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE
Our sumptuous daily breakfast buffet features a wide variety of dishes, plus Peruvian specialties and fresh fruit juices.
Ucayali River Exploration.This morning, board the skiffs to explore a fascinating black water stream, part of the vast Amazon flooded forest within the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Your guides will tell you about the jungle as we explore what scientists call a "gallery forest," because of its dense vegetation that creates a tunnel of leaves. As we explore this type of riparian vegetation, watch above for parrots, macaws, and fluffy monk saki monkeys.
We will also have the opportunity to hike the Yanallpa Gorge, watching the forest and the animals that can be found along the way.
Return to the Aqua Amazon followed by lunch.
Enjoy a lecture about 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.
Ucayali Exploration and Dorado Night Exploration. This afternoon, cruise the majestic Ucayali River and Dorado River, giving you the chance to meet the local fishermen who will demonstrate their skills and let you see their catch - including catfish armored with a shell-like skin – en route to the market in the small town of Requena. You can’t help but notice their photogenic "rafter banana” boats, loaded with hundreds of bananas, drifting down the river.
Return to the Aqua Amazon and compare notes with dinner companions over an Amazonia-influenced menu from our Executive Chef.
Thursday: PUINAHUA RIVER - PACAYA RIVER - PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE
Breakfast at 7:00 followed bya 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 and dine.
Second option: Exploring the Pacaya and Puhinahua / Monkey and Dolphin Expedition
Pacaya River Exploration and Piranha Fishing. This morning you will board our comfortable boat to sail and explore the Pacaya black water river. Life jackets, ponchos, rubber boots, and fresh water are always available in our boats. As we sail, the occasional fisherman will paddle past in their homemade canoes. Keep your binoculars ready to spot terns, tropical songbirds, black hawks, monkeys and sloths necks that share this enchanted place with us. After our arrival at a particular point, you may use your hooks to try to catch some of the ferocious piranhas of the Amazon. As you fish, trained naturalist guides will tell the story of the lake and its inhabitants.
Return to the Aqua Amazon and lunch.
Dolphins Along the Puhinahua River. 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 a dine.
Friday: UCAYALI RIVER - VILLAGE VISIT - CLAVERO LAKE
Breakfast and Exploring the Ucayali River and Village Visit. This morning we sail on the great Ucayali River, observing the flora and fauna along the way. We visit a riverside community known for actively protecting their forest’s natural resources and practicing their ancestral customs. We head back to the AQUA AMAZON, watching for iguanas and examples of the area’s 200 species of birds.
Return to the Aqua Amazon at 11:00. At this turning point, we start sailing down river, toward Iquitos.
After Lunch, 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 at 6:00. Once we are back on board, the ship continues downstream, sailing toward Iquitos through the night.
Evening Briefing in the Indoor Lounge - A Recap of Itinerary and Sightings followed by Dinner.
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 then 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 at 11:00 followed by an early lunch. Share a last lunch with fellow passengers, before your onward journey.
Disembarkation/Manatee Rescue Center/Transfer to the Airport.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. 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.