This private Amazon tour holds many exciting discoveries! From exploring pristine rainforests along tranquil tributaries of the Amazon to experiencing the rainforest canopy from high above the jungle floor, this is the quintessential wilderness and wildlife journey.
What is Custom Travel? The itinerary below is only a small sample of options in the Upper Amazon. Every traveler can envision their ideal way to see the world. International Expeditions’ experienced Custom Travel Planners create individually tailored tours that match your style of travel, budget and timeline. Tell us the dates you wish to travel, and we’ll take care of the details.
Call Custom Travel Planner Kim Guth at 800-234-9620 ext. 137 for more information.
IQUITOS, PERU / EXPLORNAPO LODGE
Fly independently to Iquitos, Peru, where you will be met and transfer to the Explorama dock. Journey 100 miles down the Amazon River to the Amazon Rainforest Reserve and ExplorNapo Lodge). The first day of your Amazon tour includes an afternoon hike along the Useful Plants Trail, where your guide will point out plants of the primary rainforest, which are used by local residents in the construction of their homes, canoes and tools. Enjoy an evening boat excursion to enjoy the night sounds and, if it is a clear night, the stars of the Southern sky.
EXPLORNAPO LODGE / EXPLORTAMBOS CAMP
Begin your morning with a visit to the ReNuPeRu Ethnobotanical Garden. A respected local shaman and his apprentice tend the garden. With over 240 different plant species, the garden is used to show visitors some of the rainforest plants used in modern medicine as well as examples of native plant remedies which science may utilize in the future. Hike through the jungle to ExplorTambos, where you spend the night in small shelters at one with the surrounding rainforest. After dark, there will be a rainforest tour to an area where phosphorescent fungi light up the forest floor like stars in the sky.
EXPLORTAMBOS CAMP: CANOPY WALKWAY
Begin your Amazon tour with a morning hike to the Canopy Walkway, a suspended bridge spanning 1,640 feet, connected by tree platforms and reaching a height of over 115 feet above the forest floor. Here there is time to observe a part of the rainforest rarely seen by man but accessible without any type of climbing skill or equipment. Hike back to ExplorTambos for lunch. This afternoon take a walking excursion in the expansive primary forest around ExplorTambos.
EXPLORTAMBOS / EXPLORNAPO
Hike back to ExplorNapo Lodge and board a boat taking you to visit one of the local villages. The river people, called ribereños, share insight into the people of the rainforest and their lifestyle dominated by the movements of the great rivers. Enjoy an afternoon excursion to a black water oxbow lake formed when water from the Napo River became separated from the main flow of the river. These lakes are often covered with giant Victoria Regia water lilies and can offer a view of the elusive hoatzin bird.
Embark on an excursion to visit a river school and see the many differences between an Amazonian school day and those in other parts of the world. This afternoon, boats take you along one of the many Napo tributaries, a prime location for spotting for birds and sloth. Try your hand at fishing with cane poles and nets, as well as an opportunity to swim.
Cruise the Amazon’s tributaries, this time along the Sucusari Stream to the only other village along this tributary. The Maihuna village of Sucusari is part of a coalition of four Maihuna communities uniting to protect a huge indigenous rainforest reserve beyond the Napo to the Algondon River bordering with Colombia. The communities meet frequently to talk about the challenges of protecting such a large concession. This afternoon, return to the Canopy Walkway where each visit can offer the opportunity to see different wildlife and birdlife than what we saw earlier in the morning.
Your Amazon tour is free to enjoy your choice of boating or walking excursions to further enjoy the rainforest of the Napo River.
EXPLORNAPO – EXPLORAMA LODGE
Embark on an early morning birding excursion before breakfast. After breakfast there will be a boat transfer from ExplorNapo to Explorama Lodge. On the way you will pass the town of Francisco de Orellana, where a statue is erected to the intrepid explorer who in 1542 at the mouth of the Napo River became the first European to see the Amazon River. After lunch hike along the "Lake Trail" through seasonally flooded, lowland rainforest. During the high water season, this excursion is done by canoe! After dinner, visit the Lodge's "Tahuampa Bar," a meeting area where local musicians play guitar and flute music. Our naturalist guides can also sit down with you to share local legends.
Today, hike along the Bushmaster Trail. Scientific studies by the Missouri Botanical Gardens have found one of the highest biodiversity of trees per square hectare in the world along this trail. Your guide will point out many examples of native plants used as ornamental plants in other parts of the world. If you are quiet ― and lucky ― you may also find poison dart arrow frogs, squirrel monkeys or marmosets along this trail. Visit a neighboring Yagua indigenous “Cocamera” ― or tribal building ― where your guide will explain the Yagua culture and how their way of life has changed over time. Tomorrow you will visit their village as it appears in modern times.
Visit the community of Palmeras II which has a primary and secondary school. Classed are taught in both Spanish and Yagua languages. This afternoon, hike along the Amazon River, stopping to visit the local people, see a sugar cane factory, visit our resident American doctor in her clinic, and visit a small library built and run by an American for local students.
EXPLORAMA LODGE / CEIBA TOPS
During a morning rainforest tour along the Manguare trail you may spot monkeys like the pygmy marmoset or saddleback tamarin. This afternoon, journey 25 miles up the Amazon River to Ceiba Tops, where rooms with air conditioning and private bathrooms provide the comforts of home in the rainforest.
Hike in the primary and secondary forest surrounding Ceiba Tops, where your naturalist guide explains the difference between these two forest types and where you will see many huge trees literally covered in epiphytes including the immense Ceiba or Kapok Tree for which the lodge is named. There is also a bromeliad and orchid garden where many species of these magnificent plants, usually growing in the canopy top, can be seen at eye level.
This afternoon visit Monkey Island, a private 295-acre reserve. All of the monkeys on the island are free-roaming and most collect their own food in the surrounding forest although some food is also placed in common areas for new arrivals and to supplement the diet of those unaccustomed to foraging. Most of the monkeys are acculturated, which means they are not afraid of people, and therefore are great subjects for photos. The owner of the reserve, Gilberto Guerra, has been reforesting the island for the last 10 years including many fruiting trees to provide food for the animals and a natural rainforest environment. The island's residents include wooley, saki, and titi monkeys as well as tamarins and marmosets.
Take a boat to the town of Timicuro, where you ride moto-rickshaws to cross a paved land bridge connecting the Amazon and Napo Rivers to the market town of Mazan on the Napo River. In Mazan, there is a large morning market where farmers come from both the Amazon and Napo Rivers to sell their produce. From Mazan, continue on to the town of Indiana on the Amazon River. Originally a Franciscan mission, Indiana is now the political capital of the lower Amazon and upper Napo regions, and has grown into one of the largest river communities in the area with its own market, high school and small hospital. Take a boat excursion along the Amazon River in search of pink and gray river dolphins. You may also try fishing to see the some of the incredible diversity of fish in the Amazon River, including piranha, and where more species exist than in the entire Atlantic Ocean.
IQUITOS / EN ROUTE
Choose from a variety of morning activities, including a rainforest tour or boat excursion along the river. Take an Amazon cruise to Iquitos, where you are transferred to the Iquitos Airport for onward travel.