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
- Smithsonian Journeys to Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand
- A Leopard Named "Hollywood"
- Memories of Africa
- Treasuring Life in the Indian Desert
James Karr is Professor Emeritus of Aquatic Sciences and Biology, and formerly the Adjunct Professor of Civil Engineering, Environmental Health, and Public Affairs, and the Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Washington. He specializes in tropical ecology, ornithology, stream ecology, and environmental policy and has done extensive field work in Central and South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and New Guinea. In the 1980s he developed a biologically-based way to evaluate the quality of water resources, called the Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI), which is a tool now used all over the world. He has a B.S. from Iowa State University and Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. He has also taught at Purdue, University of Illinois, and Virginia Tech and is the author of more than 300 scientific papers and monographs.
Mark S. Garland is a naturalist who has taught hundreds of classes, led thousands of field trips, and served as guide or study leader for over 200 tours to destinations on 4 continents. His 30-year career has included positions with the National Park Service and two Audubon Societies. He now runs his own business, planning and conducting nature education programs for a variety of organizations. He is an award-winning writer and for 15 years has served as Nature Editor for the Metro Connection radio program on WAMU, a public radio station in Washington, DC. His interest in nature extends to all subjects, but birds are a particular interest, and birds are a major focus of many of his tours and classes. He has twice captained a winning team in the World Series of Birding.
Dr. Nina Zitani bonded with nature as a young child growing up in a small historic New Jersey town with giant trees and lots of bugs. During her first field season as an entomology graduate student she fell in love with tropical forests and their myriad creatures at the Área de Conservación Guanacaste in Costa Rica. After working throughout Costa Rica for nearly a decade, she began teaching a field course in the upper Amazon basin of Ecuador. She holds a Master of Science and Doctorate in systematic entomology from the University of Wyoming. Her published research includes discovering 15 new insect species of Costa Rica. Other scientists have named six new insect species in her honor. Currently she resides in London, Ontario where she is an advocate for the conservation of biodiversity both locally and globally. In 2011 she launched a popular website about biodiversity gardening, or gardening to restore biodiversity using 100% native plants. Monarch butterflies, Giant Swallowtails, and pollinators of all shapes and sizes frequent her family’s garden each year. She has been teaching people of all ages for nearly 25 years, and is a part-time Assistant Professor at the University of Western Ontario. “Dr. Z”, as she is known to her students, relishes any opportunity to show scientists and non-scientists alike the astonishing biodiversity – plants, fungi and animals of all sorts – found in Neotropical forests.
A popular and respected naturalist, Patty Hostiuck is well-versed in tropical as well as polar ecosystems. Patty leads trips to the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Honduras, the Caribbean, and Baja California, as well as Australia, and Borneo. Patty's high-latitude work has taken her to every northerly nation from the Canadian High Arctic, Greenland, and Iceland to Svalbard, Norway, and Russia. Over 20 trips to Antarctica, Tierra del Fuego, and Patagonia make for a nearly pole-to-pole career!
Patty has led over 50 trips with Smithsonian Journeys. Fun to travel with, she has shared her expertise in mammals, birds, insects, and plants aboard ships and on the trail with thousands of fellow explorers in dozens of remote areas.
Traveling up the far reaches of the world's mightiest river offers superb views of forests stretching to the horizon, magnificent sunsets, and (to me, at least) the most delicious fresh air on the planet. But the real fun begins as we explore the details of this fascinating ecosystem and get to know the people who call this water-woven land home.
How does one adequately convey the kaleidoscopic variation on every theme of living thing found in this richest of tropical jungles? We'll see dozens of parrot species and other birdlife that defy imagination: tanagers, toucans, honey creepers, flycatchers, herons, caciques, barbets, egrets, jacamars, and tinamo, to name just a few (literally!). Far greater in variety than the birds are the fish - we'll even try our hand at catching piranhas! Our time spent together will investigate the engines that power this system - the myriad plants and invertebrates upon which all other life depends.
Although I've traveled the river many times as a Smithsonian Study Leader, my 'day job' is as a biologist in the Amazonia department of the National Zoo. There, we study and care for a few hundred Amazonian species of plants and animals - yet our collection is a fraction of what we see on any given day during the Amazon Voyage.