Upon arrival in Iquitos, you’ll be greeted by a member of the Amazon Discovery team. A short, air-conditioned, motor coach ride takes you through bustling streets where much of the city’s historical flavor can be seen in rickshaws, colorful tuk-tuks, and 19th century mansions financed by the rubber boom.
Originally inhabited by Amerindian hunter-gatherers, Iquitos was established as a port city during the Spanish Colonial era. In the late 19th century, an increase in demand for rubber drew large numbers of European immigrants to the area. While this “rubber boom” brought great wealth and commercial development, it also had a devastating effect on the native populations.
Upon arrival at Itaya River port, you’ll board the Amazon Discovery, then gather for cocktails and a celebratory welcome dinner as we make our way out of port and into the Amazon River.
This morning, you’ll awaken to the songs of Amazonian birdlife and the distinct calls from La Isla de los Monos (Monkey Island). Monkey Island is home to eight species of endangered primates, including: howlers, capuchins, dusky titis, pigmy marmosets, and petite tamarins.
After breakfast, we will board the Amazon Discovery’s skiffs and set off to meet with conservationists who are working to save monkeys that were orphaned or captured for trade. As you come ashore, you’ll be greeted by the mischievous local residents and Gilberto, the lead conservationist, who will describe the process of taking in sick and malnourished monkeys and preparing them for return to their natural habitat.
Back on board, we’ll enjoy lunch and relaxing free time as we cruise to the Momon tributary and our next adventure, a visit to the village of the Bora people who maintain many of their original beliefs and customs. After coming ashore, we will meet members of the Bora community, visit their ceremonial lodge (maloca), and witness an exhilarating, stick-thumping, traditional dance performance.
This morning, we will cruise the Tahuayo River, a tributary of the Amazon, to a favorite feeding spot of the Pink River Dolphin. Also known as the boto, these intelligent creatures are the largest freshwater dolphins in the world. In addition to their pink color, they boast un-fused neck vertebrae that allow them to turn their heads up to 180 degrees, enabling maneuverability among the underwater tree trunks of the rainforest.
The Tahuayo is one of several “black water” rivers we will encounter on our journey. It gets its color from tannins that leach into the water from the rich forest soil. After greeting the pink dolphins, you’ll have the chance to go for a swim in this unique environment. Back on board, we’ll enjoy lunch while we cruise to the Yarapa River. Then go ashore for a walk on the terra firma (un-flooded forest). Your naturalist guide will explain the layers of the jungle, point out tropical flowers growing wild on the shores of creeks, epiphytes such as orchids and mosses, as well as small monkeys, birds, butterflies, and green iguanas.
This morning we will awaken in an historic place, the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañon rivers, where the mighty Amazon River is born. Before the heat of the day, we’ll set off on short skiff ride to Piranha Caño (or Marayali Caño) to catch the early morning activity of the local wildlife. After breakfast, we’ll cruise to San Francisco Village, where our ship will be met by the local children of the Shipibo community. Accompanied by an expert guide and interpreter, we will have the unique opportunity to visit their homes and school and peruse their embroidery and beadwork.
After lunch on board, we’re off again on a hike into one of the most biologically diverse rainforests on earth, where canopy trees, such as the Kapok (ceiba pentandra) reach up to 55 meters (180 feet) in height. During our walk, a naturalist guide will provide insights into rare medicinal plants and exotic birds such as the bluish-fronted jacamar, collared trogons, and red-capped cardinals.
This morning, we’ll begin with a skiff excursion into the pure, black waters of the Yana Yacu Pucate River (a protected area within the Pacaya Samiria Reserve). Here, you’ll see brilliant parrots, hummingbirds, hawks, and “laughing” falcons. Spot pink and grey dolphins swimming below and red howler monkeys in the canopy above. Zoom-in on exotic spiders, dragonflies, butterflies, and tarantulas. Perhaps even catch glimpses of the endangered charapa turtle, spider monkey, giant river otter, or red macaw.
The largest wildlife preserve in Peru, Pacaya Samiria boasts more than five million acres of rich biodiversity. Throughout the day, expert naturalist guides will assist you in identifying flora and fauna from more than 527 species of birds, 102 mammals, 69 reptiles, 58 amphibians, nearly 300 varieties of fish, 1024 species of wild and cultivated plants, and innumerable classes of insects.
After lunch, we’ll cruise quietly near the shores of Nauta Caño watching the marshes, streams, and oxbows for wild life. Then, we’ll board our skiffs and set off for a hidden lake and an exhilarating piranha fishing adventure. There are over 25 different species of piranhas in the Amazon River Basin, including black-, white-, and red-bellied piranhas. During the rainy season, the river floods the forest with more than three feet of water. This attracts piranhas and other fish who come to feed on the low-hanging flowers, fruits, and skins of flooded trees.
As the sun sinks lower in the sky, and the jungle comes alive again with a cacophony of sound, you’ll witness for yourself why Nauta Caño is known as the “mirrored forest.” After dark, we’ll embark on a night safari with powerful spotlights to help us see herons, spectacled owls, exotic frogs, tree boas, fish bats, and caimans. Back on board, we’ll toast a spectacular day over another delicious evening meal and indulge in late night star gazing with our onboard telescopes.
This morning, after a light breakfast, we’ll cruise up another tributary to visit the local community of Santa Ana Village. Here, we’ll be treated to an enchanting dance performance by the children, with music provided by the parents. After the show, we’ll have a chance to shop their arts and crafts market. Back on the ship, we’ll enjoy a relaxing afternoon of scenic cruising as we return to the city of Iquitos. In port, a special farewell dinner experience awaits at Al Frio y al Fuego, a floating gourmet restaurant and one of the city’s cherished jewels. Here, you’ll dine on the local cuisine of Chef Carlos Sebastiani while you savor stunning views of Iquitos at sunset.
This morning, we’ll disembark the Amazon Discovery and take one last guided excursion into Iquitos for a tour of the Casa de Fierro (Iron House), which was designed by French architect Gustave Eiffel. Next, we’ll visit the Manatee Rescue Center, where you can see these gentle creatures up close, learn about the rescue efforts, and even feed them with a bottle of milk. After a picnic lunch, you’ll transfer to the airport via coach and say goodbye to the Amazon River as you catch your flight for home ... or on to your next adventure.
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