ARIA - LOW WATER
Friday: IQUITOS - AMAZON RIVER
Arrival from Lima, a 1 hour 25 minute journey to 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 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 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.
Saturday: AMAZON - YANAYACU - YACAPANA - YARAPA
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 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 at 12:30 PM of Peruvian inspired midday fare in our air-conditioned dining room.
Expedition to the Yarapa River. We continue exploring the waterways by skiff, to where gray and pink freshwater dolphins swim and play around our boats. The people of Amazonia believe these very dolphins turn into humans to steal handsome men or pretty women from their villages during celebrations.
As the sun sets, different kinds of wildlife come out. Search for caiman, frogs, owls and capybara, the world’s largest rodent and a most curious sight to behold.
Return to the Aria Amazon to perhaps sip a camu-camu sour on the Observation Deck as the sun sets followed by another delicious dinner.
Sunday: YANALLPA - DORADO RIVER - PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE
Optional sunrise excursion at 6:30 AM to see wildlife along the Ucayali River.
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, 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 opportunities.
Return to the Aria Amazon followed by lunch and a siesta.
Dorado River Exploration and Night Excursion.This afternoon we take a magical journey through the "Jungle of the Mirrors," where towering trees are reflected in the dark river. We move on to Dorado River where you may observe enchanting parrots, macaws and a variety of primates, unperturbed by our presence. As we make our way back to the ARIA AMAZON, you may see alligators, frogs and fishing bats.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 7:30 and dinner.
SOURCE OF THE AMAZON / VILLAGE VISIT /NAUTA TOWN
Breakfast and Birthplace of the Amazon/Puerto Prado Village. On this morning, the Aria 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 Puerto Prado native village, to meet and interact with the hospitable Cocama Indians. With your naturalist guide acting as interpreter, you may ask them about their way of life along the river as they share their culture, traditions, and folklore with you. This is also an excellent opportunity to purchase some of their handicrafts and original folk art.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 11 AM followed by an early lunch. Share a last meal with fellow passengers who have taken the three-night journey.
This afternoon, we will visit the town of Nauta, founded in 1930. Nauta is the main point where villagers from around Amazonia come to sell the products they harvest in their rural communities. We'll walk around Nauta to gain insights into the life of these coastal peoples. We will also visit the local fresh market, with your guides on hand to point out the different fish caught by the fishermen of Amazonia, and all types of indigenous fruits.
Later, you may explore the Lupunillo or Marayali creek, a tributary of the Maranon River.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 6 PM followed by dinner. Meet new passengers who come aboard for their four-night trip, as we start our journey along the Ucayali River.
Tuesday: YANAYACU – PUCATE RIVER / MARAÑON RIVER / PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE
Breakfast and Nature Expedition. 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 Aria Amazon followed by lunch.
Maranon river exploration and Village Visit
Marañon river exploration and Village Visit. We have chosen this time of day to observe the wildlife activity to sunset, including friar apes, monkeys capuchin and howler monkeys. As the sun sets, you will hear the second symphony of the Amazon rainforest, as other nocturnal animals send their shrill calls across the treetops. En route back to the boat, you can see nocturnal creatures, including, perhaps, huge caimans and alligators.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 7:30 PM followed by dinner.
Wednesday: SAMIRIA RIVER / NAUTA CAÑO / PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE
Breakfast and Guided Jungle Walk/Siesta/Monkey and Dolphin Expedition. Our naturalist guides leads your jungle walk while introducing you to some of the sustainable resource management projects in Amazonia. Visit one, where villagers plant palms to obtain oil. Go deeper still into the jungle, where you encounter more wildlife and learn about the Amazon’s natural pharmacy of medical plants. Wander under a canopy of kapok trees (ceiba pentandra), the tallest trees in the Amazon Basin.
Return to the Aria Amazon at noon followed by lunch and a siesta.
Excursion to Nauta Caño and night exploration. Nauta Caño is part of the Pacaya Samiria Reserve, also known as the forest of mirrors due to its dark lagoons, which reflect the beautiful scenery. In this area we will observe toucans, macaws, and iguanas, among many other species. As we make our way back to the ARIA AMAZON, you may also see alligators, frogs and fishing bats.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 7:30 followed by dinner.
Thursday: MARAÑON RIVER / TAHUAYO RIVER / AMAZON RIVER
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 Aria Amazon. At this turning point, we start sailing down river, toward Iquitos.
This afternoon you will board our comfortable boat to sail from the Amazon River and enter to Tahuayo River. Life jackets, ponchos, rubber boots, and fresh water are always available in our boats. As you float down the river, occasional fishermen paddling in their canoes. Keep your binoculars ready to spot a vast variety of wildlife: terns, tropical songbirds, pipites, black collared hawks and sloth share this wonderful place with us. After our arrival at a particular spot, you may use your hooks to try to catch some of the ferocious piranhas and other fish species.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 6:30 PM. Once we are back on board, the ship continues downstream, sailing toward Iquitos through the night.
Briefing in the Indoor Lounge with a recap of your Amazon River itinerary and wildlife 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.
Friday: CHECK OUT - DISEMBARK AT IQUITOS - CITY TOUR - TRANSFER TO THE AIRPORT
Breakfast and Morning Excursion (dependent on the level of the river).
We will have the opportunity to visit an animal rescue center called "Fundo Neycer" on the Amazon River. Here, monkeys and birds receive much needed care from experts in the management and recovery of wildlife species.
Return to the Aria Amazon at 11 AM for 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 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.