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. 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 Travelers Discover Machu Picchu's Sacred Spaces
- A Tailor-Made Journey to India and Nepal
- The Forbidden City: Official Spaces and Private Quarters
- Journey from Bangkok to Bali: Following the Spirits
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.
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.
Jim Karr is professor emeritus of aquatic and fishery sciences with the University of Washington, as well as a former professor of biology and adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering, environmental health, and public affairs. He has been a naturalist since boyhood. After earning a B.S. in fish and wildlife biology, and a Ph.D. in zoology, he traveled the globe’s tropical regions, studying forest birds in Central and South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and New Guinea. As a professor at Purdue University, the University of Illinois, and Virginia Tech—and as deputy director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama—Jim took his love of natural history beyond tropical ecology to the ecology of rivers, streams, and other fresh waters. He developed a tool, used worldwide, for looking at the biology of waters to assess their health. During the 1990s, Jim directed UW’s Institute for Environmental Studies, and his teaching and research broadened still more. Since then, he has focused on environmental policy and the ties binding human with nonhuman nature. Now, with more than 300 published works behind him, Jim continues to be a naturalist and teacher around the world with Smithsonian Journeys.
Patty Hostiuck has roamed the globe as a naturalist for nearly three decades, seeking out wildlife-rich niches, investigating breathtaking landscapes, and sharing her insights with thoughtful travelers. Her academic background in Biology and Geography shape a perspective that spotlights the importance of place, the abiding interdependence of living things, and the critical influence of nature on human cultures. She has served as a National Forest Ranger and National Park Ranger, worked extensively leading eco-travel and expedition trips from the tropics to both polar regions, and has led, on 7 continents, over 100 Smithsonian Journeys from Antarctica to Zimbabwe. Patty has an amazing breadth of knowledge and her passion to untangle nature’s secrets through her engaging presentations and informal commentary make her a favorite among Smithsonian travelers.
Jesus Rivas was born in Caracas, Venezuela and graduated with a degree in biology from the Universidad Central de Venezuela. His research interests include natural history, ethology, and conservation. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and has been studying behavioral ecology and conservation of large tropical reptiles of the llanos of Venezuela. Most of his experience has been with green iguanas and green anacondas as well as the Orinoco crocodile, spectacled caiman, and green sea turtles. Dr. Rivera has taught courses in tropical ecology and is currently working at New Mexico Highlands University where he oversees the ecology lab while he continues his research and teaching.
Greg Shriver is Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. He received his Ph.D. Environmental Forest Biology from the State University of New York, and his M.S. in Wildlife Conservation, from the University of Massachusetts. His research has included avian ecology and conservation, restoration ecology and the effects of sea-level rise on salt marsh birds. One of the highlights of Greg’s year is bringing his students to Costa Rica to study the conservation of tropical biodiversity.