Amazon River Cruise
Experience one of the greatest voyages in natural history as you navigate more than 500 miles of the Amazon and its tributaries.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
This trip was exactly what we were looking for - a good introduction to the nature, history and culture of the Amazon Basin in Peru. It served to whet our appetite for more explorations into the vibrant, colorful watery jungles of the Amazon.”
We loved the naturalists, the crew, the local food, and are convinced the boat was the best on the Amazon. We learned so much about the natural environment, had new experiences (I caught my first fish - 3 piranhas!), swam in an amazon tributary and identified over 130 birds and participated in a shaman ceremony. Our fellow travelers were interesting and we enjoyed meeting the Ribeneros along the rivers. Truly an unforgettable experience!”
The enthusiasm and knowledge of nature guides was second to none. They truly cared.”
One of our best trips ever!”
Previous Journeys Traveler
- The Forbidden City: Official Spaces and Private Quarters
- Journey from Bangkok to Bali: Following the Spirits
- Haydn Seek
- Smithsonian Journeys to Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand
Book by July 31, 2015 and save $100* off per person on our 2016 departures.
The Peruvian Amazon River basin is an enchanting world of verdant forests and serene waterways. Here, you’ll find an exceptional variety of animal life, including monkeys, pink river dolphins, and more than a hundred species of birds. On our small-ship adventure, spend seven nights navigating more than 500 miles of the Amazon aboard a new riverboat featuring private balconies and air conditioning for each cabin. You’ll enjoy access to the deep reaches of the pristine Pacaya-Samiria Reserve for the best chance of rare wildlife sightings. Plus, exciting daily expeditions on two 18-passenger excursion boats feature wildlife outings, school visits in local villages, rainforest walks, kayaking, and even piranha fishing!
To enhance your understanding of this tropical wilderness, you’ll be accompanied by a Smithsonian Journeys Expert throughout your program as well as knowledgeable local naturalist guides.
Please note: For 2016 we are offering an optional, comprehensive 3-night pre-voyage program in Lima. There is also an optional post-voyage extension to Machu Picchu and Cuzco.
Day 1 — Depart U.S. / Arrive in Lima, Peru
Fly nonstop to Lima, Peru. You are met upon arrival and transferred to the Swissôtel for the night.
Day 2 — Iquitos, Manatee Research Center / Embark Ship
Depart Lima on a morning flight to Iquitos, arriving in time for lunch. In the early afternoon visit the Manatee Research Center. The Amazon Manatee is vegetarian and only eats hyacinth and water lettuces found in the river. While at the center learn about the important research being done on these magnificent mammals and have an opportunity to see manatee pups being studied. These baby manatees are released back into the river wild at 2 years of age. Late in the afternoon board the ship and enjoy a festive dinner and welcome remarks by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Amazon River, Río Ucayali
Awake to the ever-changing panorama of jungle life. Small villages dot the shoreline, and the channels that weave through the island mazes provide closeup views of a variety of marsh birds. Arrive at the junction of the Río Marañón and Río Ucayali. Turn into the Río Ucayali, home to gray and pink Amazon River dolphins. Set out aboard sturdy excursion boats into the dramatic Amazon wilderness. Learn about the lives of the Ribereño people as you explore a local village. Accompanied by guides who grew up along the river, stroll through gardens learning about medicinal plants and folklore, visit a school, or join in a game of soccer. Take an excursion in search of giant water lilies and elusive wildlife. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Río Ucayali, Pacaya-Samiria Reserve
Try your hand at piranha fishing. Search for primates, sloths, and birds. Return to the boat and continue upriver, heading for the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. The largest wetland reserve in the world, it provides the opportunity to view a variety of primates including monk sakis, red howlers, saddle-backed tamarins, and squirrel monkeys. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Pacaya-Samiria Reserve
Explore this tangled realm of forest, rivers, and lagoons on foot and aboard excursion boats, seeing pink dolphins and wading birds such as jabiru storks, wattled jacanas, and horned screamers. Search for wildlife as we walk through an igapó (seasonally flooded forest), where plant life is very different from what is seen along the main course of the Amazon. On excursions with your expert naturalists, you may find Amazon parrots and black-collared hawks. Take-in a dramatic sunset on the river before a nighttime boat excursion, where we observe caiman, pootoos, and other nocturnal wildlife. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Pacaya-Samiria Reserve
Board excursion boats for access even further into the heart of the vast wetlands. Along the narrow waterways find wading birds, as well as canary-winged parakeets and blue-and-gold and scarlet macaws. Primates are also fairly common, including noisy squirrel monkeys. Take a short hike once we reach the reserve’s second checkpoint to explore the forest, and return to your riverboat through the maze of waterways. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Río Ucayali, Pacaya-Samiria Reserve
This morning head downriver, with a wildlife excursion into Yanallpa Creek, looking for cream-colored woodpeckers and white-throated toucans. Meet a respected Shaman and visit a local village. At dark and from our excursion boats explore the banks looking for caiman, colorful poison dart frogs and mammals that are more active in the evening. Return to La Estrella for cocktails and dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Amazon River
Enjoy kayaking with your guide on a peaceful creek. Delve into the terra firma forest on a winding trail into the jungle. Large trees festooned with epiphytes, palms, woody vines, and a vaulted canopy add to the shadowed mystery of the tropical rain forest. Enjoy a festive farewell dinner aboard ship. (B,L,D)
Day 9-10 — Disembark, Iquitos, Lima, Depart
After breakfast depart the ship directly for the airport and return to Lima in the late morning. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Day rooms will be provided at the Swissotel for guests to relax prior to their evening flights. Board overnight flights to the U.S. and connect to your domestic flight home. (B,L)
Please Note: This itinerary serves as an example of a typical experience, and may vary based on wildlife sightings, water levels, and navigability. The order of events, tributary streams cruised, and villages visited is intentionally varied to reduce impact on any one area. Each departure is a unique and exceptional experience. The order of land-based activities may change based on air schedules.