Experience one of the greatest voyages in natural history as you navigate more than 500 miles of the Amazon and its tributaries.

Starting at: $4,995 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542

Amazon River Cruise

Round-trip from Lima Aboard the 28-guest Amazon Star

10 days from $4,995

Experience one of the greatest voyages in natural history as you navigate more than 500 miles of the Amazon and its tributaries.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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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. 

- Barbara T.

We loved the naturalists, the crew, the local food, and are convinced the boat was the best on the Amazon. Truly an unforgettable experience!

- Carol M.

Our trip to the Amazon River was far greater than we expected! Not only did we get to learn a lot about wildlife and Peruvian culture, but also enjoyed delicious fresh food and an exceptional service!

- Arianna B.

The trip exceeded my expectations. I chose Smithsonian because my friend and travelling companion had been with them on a trip down the Nile, but I had no idea how wonderful this trip would be.

- Smithsonian Journeys Traveler

The staff on the trip are the best I have ever encountered, and I have been to Antarctica, Galapagos, Alaska, in the Mediterranean.

- Joan S. & Peter T.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Overview

Lima Pre-Program Option — 3 Days, 2 Nights

Day 1 — Arrive in Lima

Arrive in Lima, Peru, where you are met and transferred to the Swissôtel Lima. 

Day 2 — Colonial Lima

Tour historic Lima, visiting Casa Aliaga, a private home dating back to the Conquistadors. See the Cathedral, where Francisco Pizarro is entombed, and Plaza de Armas. Before lunch, tour the monastery and vast catacombs of the Iglesia de San Francisco. Enjoy lunch at Restaurant Huaca Pucllana, which is nestled within the compound of a 1,500 year old adobe pyramid. (B,L)

Day 3 — Lima

Browse at the Indian Market. Later, enjoy a guided visit to the Larco Herrera Museum, where we can view 3,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. Dinner is at the Café del Museo in the museum. (B,L,D)


Cusco and Machu Picchu Post-Program Option — 7 Days, 6 Nights (2016 Only)

Day 1 — Iquitos, Lima *Starts on Day 9 of the main program

Fly from Iquitos to Lima. Overnight at Costa Del Sol Wyndham Airport. (B,L)

Day 2 — Lima, Cuzco, Urubamba Valley

Fly to Cuzco — the heart of the Inca Empire. Drive into the historic Urubamba Valley, stopping in Chinchero to browse and shop for Andean handicrafts and alpaca sweaters. Visit the Urubamba Market. Overnight at Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 3— Machu Picchu

Board the train to Machu Picchu, where we spend the afternoon exploring the ruins with our guide. Check into the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Machu Picchu

Return to Machu Picchu in the morning, perhaps climbing to the Sun Gate. Enjoy some birding in the abundant gardens surrounding our hotel, home to 16 species of hummingbirds. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuamán, Cuzco

Travel back to Cuzco via train. Explore the archaeological wonder of Ollantaytambo, where ancient temples and fortresses were built to protect the Sacred Valley. After a Paso Fino horse show stop at Sacsayhuamán — a huge fortress of massive stones which zigzags across the side of the mountain. Overnight at Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Cuzco

Stroll the streets of Cuzco, exploring the Koricancha — also known as Santo Domingo, Santa Catalina Convent and the Cathedral. The afternoon is free to explore on your own before a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Cuzco, Home

Fly to Lima. Enjoy a lunch of local delicacies before an afternoon at leisure. Dayrooms are available at the Swissôtel Lima. Transfer to the airport this evening for flights home. (B,L)

Single and double occupany fees exclude airfare and park fees:

  • In-Country Airfare: (Lima, Iquitos, Lima) = $386
  • Park Fees: $185 (2016), $175 (2015)

Machu Picchu Post-Program Option — 6 Days, 5 Nights (2017 Only)

Day 1 — Disembark / Iquitos / Cusco / Urubamba *Starts on Day 9 of the main program

After disembarking Amazon Star, board connecting flights to Cusco. Drive into the historic Urubamba Valley. The valley is dotted with picturesque Andean markets, impressive churches and Inca ruins. Stop at Sacsayhuamán — a huge fortress of massive stones which zigzags across the side of the mountain. The stones forming Sacsayhuamán are cut so precisely that a piece of paper will still not fit between them. After browsing at Pisac Market, check into our home for the next two nights, the Sonesta Posada Yucay. (L,D) 

Day 2 — Urubamba / Machu Picchu / Urubamba

Board the train to Machu Picchu, where we spend the day exploring the ruins with our guide. The citadel lies between two peaks — Huayna Picchu (Young Peak) and Machu Picchu (Old Peak). The steep terrain is part of the reason that less than half of the ancient site has been examined. Catch the evening train back to the Sacred Valley. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Urubamba / Cusco 

Enjoy early morning birding in the Andean forests and meadows of Abra Malaga, home to endemic Inca wren, creamy-crested spinetail, white antpita and a variety of other birdlife. Explore the mighty archaeological wonder of Ollantaytambo, where ancient temples and fortresses were built to protect the Sacred Valley. After a Paso Fino horse show at Wayra Ranch, continue across the valley toward Cusco. Spend the next two nights at the Costa del Sol Cusco Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Cusco 

Stroll the streets of Cusco, exploring the Koricancha — also known as Santo Domingo, Santa Catalina Convent and the Cathedral. After lunch, the afternoon is free to explore on your own before a farewell dinner featuring Andean fare. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Cusco / Lima / En Route 

After breakfast, fly back across the Andes to Lima. Enjoy a superb lunch of local delicacies before an afternoon at leisure. Dayrooms are available at the Costa del Sol Wyndam Airport Hotel until you transfer to the airport for your independent flights home. (B,L)

Day 6 — Arrive Home

Connect with your flight home. (Meals Aloft)

Single and double occupancy fees exclude airfare and park fees

  • In-Country Airfare: (Lima, Iquitos, Lima) = $399
  • Park Fees: $185 

Pre- and Post-Program Options and Optional Excursions are available at additional cost. Details will be included with your reservation confirmation.​

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. 

- Barbara T.

We loved the naturalists, the crew, the local food, and are convinced the boat was the best on the Amazon. Truly an unforgettable experience!

- Carol M.

Our trip to the Amazon River was far greater than we expected! Not only did we get to learn a lot about wildlife and Peruvian culture, but also enjoyed delicious fresh food and an exceptional service!

- Arianna B.

The trip exceeded my expectations. I chose Smithsonian because my friend and travelling companion had been with them on a trip down the Nile, but I had no idea how wonderful this trip would be.

- Smithsonian Journeys Traveler

The staff on the trip are the best I have ever encountered, and I have been to Antarctica, Galapagos, Alaska, in the Mediterranean.

- Joan S. & Peter T.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart U.S. / Arrive in Lima, Peru

Fly independently to Lima, Peru, the nation’s capital and largest city. Meet upon arrival and transfer to the Swissôtel for the night. (D)

Day 2 — Lima / Iquitos / Embark Amazon Riverboat / Amazon River

Fly over the Andes to Iquitos. Visit the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have rescued. Learn about efforts to help these endearing mammals. See how the manatees are cared for and prepared for reintroduction into their natural habitat. Prior to boarding our riverboat, survey the history of local tribes at a small museum. Enjoy stargazing and storytelling with our local guides while cruising slowly on the Amazon River toward the confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali Rivers. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Confluence of the Amazon River / Río Ucayali

We awake this morning on the Amazon River, seeing some of the ever-changing panorama of jungle life as our Amazon River cruise ship continues upriver. Small villages dot the shoreline, and channels weaving through island mazes provide close-up views of a variety of birds. The confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón Rivers is famous as the beginning of the Amazon River in Peru. Amazingly, we are about 2,400 miles from where the river flows into the Atlantic. The river drops only about 350 feet the entire way! On our Amazon Voyage adventure, travel waterways aboard sturdy excursion boats to areas where we may find marsh birds such as oriole blackbirds, green ibis, yellow-headed caracaras, black-capped donacobis and white-headed marsh-tyrant. We turn into the Río Ucayali, where we’re apt to find gray river dolphins and Amazon pink dolphins cavorting near the boat and along the shoreline. Later we take an excursion into the surrounding rainforest in search of giant water lilies and elusive wildlife such as monkeys and sloths. As dusk approaches, fishing bats begin their night’s foraging. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Río Ucayali / Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

After a peaceful breakfast along the black-water Sapote Creek, we explore a small tributary of the Ucayali aboard our excursion boats. Look for animals including primates, sloths and an enormous variety of birds. Our Amazon Voyage adventure continues upriver to the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. Although scientific studies are far from exhausted, the Pacaya-Samiria is the known home to 450 bird species, 102 species of mammals, over 130 species of reptiles and amphibians, and countless plants. This afternoon, an excursion into this largest wetland reserve in the world provides the opportunity to see 13 species of primates, including monk sakis, red howler, saddle-backed tamarin and squirrel monkeys. Explore Caro Lake, connected to the river by way of a very small stream, where we may find flocks of greater ani, often seen following monkeys in search of insects disturbed by the monkeys’ foraging. We enjoy a nighttime boat excursion for a chance to find caimans, capybaras, common potoos, frogs and other nocturnal wildlife. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Rio Pacaya / Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

Spend the day exploring this flooded realm, seeing wading birds such as herons, wattled jacanas and horned screamers. Venturing deep into the rainforest, tour an igapo (seasonally flooded forest), where plant life is very different from what we see along the main course of our Amazon cruise, and walk through the forest. Lucky guests may release turtle hatchlings. A delicious lunch energizes us for afternoon excursions with our expert naturalists, where we may find scarlet macaws, hoatzins, black-collared hawks and red howler monkeys. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

After an early breakfast, we board our excursion boats for access even further into the heart of these vast wetlands. As our Amazon Voyage adventure cruises the narrow waterways, we’ll find birds such as canary-winged parakeets and spectacular blue-and-gold and scarlet macaws. Primates also are fairly common, including noisy squirrel monkeys. Once we arrive at a remote ranger station, enjoy a refreshing swim. Gradually make our way back to our riverboat through the maze of waterways. Enjoy an al fresco lunch and time to relax before our afternoon excursion. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Río Ucayali / Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

This morning we head back downriver, with a morning wildlife or other activity. Visit a village along the river, with the chance to learn about the lives of the “Ribereño” people who live there. Accompanied by guides who grew up along the river, this is a fantastic opportunity to stroll through gardens learning about medicinal plants and folklore, visit a school, or join in a game of soccer. The children are especially excited to see their faces on digital cameras and to show off their school and sing Peruvian songs. Depending on the villages visited during your Amazon River tour, you may also have the opportunity to see an IE-funded water treatment plant. The clean drinking water provided by these plants is having an enormous positive health impact in remote river villages. Learn about medicinal plants and enjoy a blessing ceremony by a respected village shaman. Aboard the ship, take advantage of the open-air top deck, learning to make traditional Peruvian dishes or enjoying an enriching lecture. After dark we’ll go out in our excursion boats to listen to the sounds of the rainforest and look for nocturnal wildlife. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Amazon River

Wake up early for a morning birdwatching excursion along the Yarapa River. After breakfast, try your hand at piranha fishing in Ubos Lake. Piranha are very common in the slower-moving water. With luck, we may catch red-breasted, white or black piranha, and feast on our catch this evening at dinner. Once back aboard our Amazon River cruise ship, we enjoy a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

Days 9 & 10 — Disembark / Iquitos / Lima / Depart

After breakfast depart the ship directly for the airport and return to Lima in the late morning. Enjoy a lunch of Peruvian delicacies and a scenic driving tour of the city. Return to the airport. Day rooms will be provided at the Hotel Costa Del Sol Wyndam Airport 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)