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Amazon Voyage

Amazon luxury riverboat, Zafiro

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Amazon Voyage

Over the 37 years that International Expeditions has been leading Amazon River cruises, our guests have enjoyed unrivaled access to the Peruvian rainforest’s most pristine areas and the company of the river’s most knowledgeable guides. IE’s exciting daily excursions include dawn birding, school visits in local villages and even piranha fishing! Join IE and be transported to the Amazon of your imagination to discover a rainforest that pulsates with an unrivaled diversity of wildlife.

Authentic Amazon Experience

Aboard our Amazon River cruise you’ll create a lifetime of memories: the joy in the eyes of a village child when you visit their school; the enveloping darkness of the jungle; or the awe of floating along narrow streams accompanied by pink dolphins. Drawing on insight from our native Amazon travel guides, IE intentionally varies the villages and tributaries we visit, ensuring you get the most authentic rainforest experience possible.

Explore with Pioneers in Amazon Travel

International Expeditions pioneered travel to the Peruvian Amazon, and our nature-focused, small-group expedition travel remains the standard for Amazon Voyage expedition cruises. IE not only pioneered travel to this region, we still work with many of the naturalist guides that we helped to train. Ensuring a worry-free and educational journey, these expert local naturalist guides — along with an expedition leader — accompany our Amazon Voyage cruises. Each day, these knowledgeable Amazon River travel guides use their decades of learning and guiding experience to serve as lecturers, field guides and friends as you explore the rainforest.

Go Deeper Into the Rainforest

International Expeditions’ exclusive Amazon River tour covers more than 600 miles on the Amazon and its tributaries. You travel deep into the protected Pacaya-Samiria Reserve and explore three different habitats so you have the best chance of spotting rare wildlife! On our Amazon River cruises, we look for monkeys, birds, sloths and other mammals, pink and gray dolphins and so much more.

Amazon River

Optional Pre-Trip Extensions

Lima Pre-Extension

Wings Over Peru: Nazca Lines & Ballestas Islands Pre-Extension

Rainforest Canopy & Lodge Extension

Daily Itinerary

Amazon River Cruise Itinerary

  • Day
    1

    Arrive Lima

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

  • Day
    2

    Lima / Iquitos / Embark / 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 the elegant riverboat, Zafiro, 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 the 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)

    amazon voyage overview scarlet macaw
  • 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 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 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 the 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

    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, learn to make traditional Peruvian dishes or enjoying an enriching lecture. After dark, go out in excursion boats to listen to the sounds of the rainforest and look for nocturnal wildlife. (B,L,D)

    Guests tour an Amazon village
  • 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 your luxury Amazon River cruise ship, we enjoy a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    9

    Iquitos / Lima / Depart

    Disembark in Iquitos and fly back to Lima for lunch. Dayrooms are provided until you connect with flights home, which depart after midnight. (B,L)

  • Day
    10

    Arrive Home

    Arrive Sunday and connect with flights home. (Meals Aloft)

Optional Post-Trip Extensions

Machu Picchu & Cusco Extension

Things to Know

What kind of visas are required for travel to Peru?

Bring a valid passport. We recommend that your passport remain valid for at least six months after your departure date. Visas are not required for US or Canadian citizens.

What kind of weather can you expect during your Amazon tour?

The Iquitos area, near where IE explores on the Amazon Voyage travel package, is located a few degrees south of the Equator and is characterized by strong tropical sun and rainforest. Average temperatures range from the upper 70° to upper 80°F year-round during the day, to the lower 70s at night. It can be cool on the river at night or on overcast days. There is very little seasonal variation between winter and summer temperatures. The average humidity ranges from 60-80%, and rainfall occurs approximately 250 days out of the year. Most showers occur in the late afternoon or evening and are of short duration.

Lima temperatures vary from 70-84°F January through March; 63-81°F April through June; 59-66°F July through September; and 61-75°F October through December.

What's included in the price of IE’s Amazon River travel packages?

  • Guided tours & lectures by native naturalists
  • Services of experienced expedition leader
  • 8 nights’ accommodation
  • All meals on cruise
  • Wildlife excursions on land & by skiff in three habitats: varzea, igapó & terra firma
  • Piranha fishing
  • Dawn birding
  • Local village & school visits
  • Nighttime skiff rides & rainforest walks
  • Full educational program with lectures & field interpretation
  • Visit to Ranger Station used for scientific study
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Guides’ reception with a complimentary Peruvian cocktail, soft drink, wine or beer onboard daily.
  • Blessing ceremony with a local Shaman
  • Tips to porters & waiters for included meals
  • Arrival & departure transfers

Accommodations

Amazon luxury riverboat, Zafiro

The Zafiro

Travel aboard the Zafiro, a luxurious vessel we have chartered for your adventure, which blends stylish design and modern comforts. Classic touches include magnificent floor-to-ceiling windows and — for those on the Upper Deck — private balconies. A ship staff and crew of 23, including a cruise director and local naturalist guides, are joined by an IE Expedition Leader to ensure an unprecedented level of service. All 19 spacious suites are air-conditioned and feature en suite bathrooms, a desk and ample closet space.

Zafiro Master Suite

CABINS

Lower Deck Suite: Cabins with convertible twin or California King-sized bed and panoramic floor-to-ceiling window. Approx. 226 sq. ft.

Upper Deck Suite: Cabins with convertible twin or California King-sized bed, panoramic floor-to-ceiling window and balcony. Approx. 226 sq. ft.

Master Suite: Cabins with convertible twin or California King-sized bed, panoramic floor-to-ceiling window with 90° view. Approx. 248 sq. ft

Zafiro Suite: Cabins with convertible twin or California King-sized bed, panoramic floor-to-ceiling window with 180° view, balcony and Jacuzzi-style bathtub and convertible sofa bed. Approx. 480 sq. ft.

Zafiro Jacuzzi

PUBLIC SPACES

SAVOR regional specialties and contemporary cuisine infused flavors from the surrounding rainforest. The atmosphere is casual yet elegant as you sample Amazon fusion cuisine while enjoying spectacular views from the panoramic windows.

CONNECT with fellow travelers, chat with your local guides or enjoy snacks and a drink in the large indoor lounge. The comfortable furnishings make a perfect spot for relaxing with a book or enjoying the passing scenery.

GLIDE past the Amazon rainforest and clusters of wooden houses on stilts with children playing soccer as you sip morning coffee and take in the fresh air from the river’s most luxurious Observation Deck. Siesta on a cushioned lounger beneath a soaring canopy — ideal for avoiding the sun’s glare. Plus, ease into the Zafiro’s outdoor Jacuzzi to relax after a shore excursion.

INDULGE  in aromatherapy or a massage in the spa, which is staffed by a wellness specialist. 

SEE THE ZAFIRO

 

Field Leaders

Dennis Osorio

Dennis Osorio

Amazon Cruise Expedition Leader

An avid birder, Dennis Osorio holds a master degree in hotel and tourism management with a concentration in Sustainable Tourism. After completing guide training in South Africa, his passion for travel and wildlife led him back home to Peru to seek a position in the Amazon, and in IE he found the perfect match to his commitment to conservation and the environment. Dennis is a guarantee of success to any expedition in the Amazon.

amazon voyage guides angel cardenas

Angel Cardenas

Amazon Cruise Expedition Leader

Cusco native Angel Cardenas has spent the past 11 years leading small-group expeditions in Peru after earning his degree in tourism. Although Angel is adept at spotting birdlife, his true passion is for teaching IE guests about Peru’s extraordinary culture and history. Adding to his depth of natural history knowledge is a true dedication to guests, which is why Angel is earning rave reviews!

amazon voyage guides usiel vasquez

Usiel Vasquez

Amazon Cruise Naturalist

Before migrating to Iquitos with his family in search of a better education, Usiel had already began his life-long love affair with the rainforest, fishing in lakes, gathering wild fruits and learning about the surrounding jungle. While attending high school in Iquitos, he would venture to the main square on weekends, determined to practice his English while mingling with tourists. For more than two decades, Usiel has worked as a rainforest guide, and has assisted researchers and scientists while deepening his knowledge of biology and botany.

amazon voyage guides freddy avalos

Freddy Avalos

Expedition Leader

Cusco-native Freddy Avalos first began working with International Expeditions’ groups in 1998, when he was an assistant guide on our Machu Picchu journeys. Prior to guiding in Machu Picchu, a love of the outdoors led him to guide treks on the famed Inka Trail in the mid-1990s. Freddy earned a degree in Tourism Studies, but his work with IE groups sparked an additional interest in wildlife. After graduation, he volunteered as a ranger in Peru’s Manu National Park, learning about both wildlife and the importance of preserving his country’s natural heritage. Freddy now has more than 18 years of experience in tourism. Freddy’s interests include spending time with his family and taking his bike, backpack, binoculars and camera into the mountains to both photograph and observe wildlife. 

International Expeditions Amazon Guide Juan Tejada

Juan Tejada

Amazon Cruise Naturalist

When Juan Tejada was growing up in a small Amazon River village, he never dreamed that his future teachers would be some of the world’s top rainforest researchers!  He had the opportunity to work with the best botanists, ornithologists, herpetologists and ichthyologists during many International Expeditions Rainforest Workshops.  Juan says this hands-on education taught him "more than I could ever have learned in a classroom with walls." Since then he's been able to share his knowledge with visitors from all over the world, and learned to speak both English and German.  One of Juan’s fondest memories is from a trip to the US, where he toured elementary schools, regaling the children with stories of the rainforest. Children of all ages were enthralled by his tales of piranhas, blowguns, pink dolphins and Amazonian myths.  Even after almost three decades as a nature tour guide, Juan is able to find enthusiasm and a new adventure every time he steps into the rainforest.

Amazon Voyage guide Segundo Mesia

Segundo Mesia

Amazon Cruise Naturalist

Segundo Mesia Coral grew up along the Momón River in a tiny village of just 20 families. After finishing elementary school at the age of 11, Segundo was “adopted” by a family of Belgian anthropologists who had come to do research in his village. The Belgian family supported Segundo’s education and he made the difficult decision to leave his family and pursue higher education in Iquitos. After earning his degree, Segundo began working in the tourism industry at a hotel in Iquitos and working in the rainforest with biologists doing research. Segundo later studied to become a naturalist and has spent more than 20 years working as a naturalist guide.

A Note About Field Staff

This is just a selection of the Expedition Leaders and Naturalists who may lead your ecotour.  A particular departure may be escorted by any one of them.  If you would like to find out which leaders are scheduled to lead each departure, please contact our office.

Wildlife

Pink River Dolphin

The Pink River Dolphin, aka Boto, is the world’s largest fresh water dolphin. To see a bubble-gum pink dolphin as it surfaces in the black waters of the Amazon is one of the greatest pleasures in the natural world. In the black water systems, one can easily view all of the characteristics of this unique animal.

Capybara

Resembling both a guinea pig and a beaver, the 100-pound mammal is the largest rodent in the world. Found in several South American countries, the capybara lives in the dense vegetation that surrounds lakes, rivers, marshes and ponds, which is why visitors to the Pantanal — a spectacular wilderness of wetlands — are likely to see one.

Black Caiman

Alligators are some of the most dangerous predators in the world, and few are more feared than the black caiman. These semi-aquatic reptiles are the largest alligator species on the planet, and the deadliest killers in the Amazon rainforest. They tend to stick to shallow waters. Black caiman typically grow to be about 13 feet in length on average, but there have been reports of individuals reaching nearly 20 feet from their snouts to the tips of their tails. This is one of the largest alligator species in the world, and easily one of the largest caiman species in South America. Not only are these hunters massive in size, but they can live anywhere from 50 to 80 years.

Blue Morpho Butterfly

The most common species of butterfly in Costa Rica, the blue morpho is an adaptive beauty that can be found living along the edge of a range of habitats including forest, field, river and ocean. Its iridescent blue wings flap in a flight-and-fall pattern, highlighting its chocolate-brown underside and perplexing potential predators.

Emperor Tamarins Monkeys

These tiny primates were allegedly named for their resemblance to Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany as they have distinctive long, white mustaches. Some also have beards, while other are black-chinned. Emperor tamarins stand eight to ten inches tall and have tails a little longer than two feet. They can primarily be spotted around the Northern Amazon Basin in the tropical canopies and open woodlands of the jungles. Some monkeys act very human, but these little guys are much more animalistic, and their large, dewy eyes give them a puppy-like cuteness that may make you want to pick one up and cuddle it. However, emperor tamarins are very territorial.

Amazon Kingfisher

Although they are named "Amazon" kingfishers, this large bird is a resident of lake shores and large-slow flowing rivers from northern Mexico to central Argentina. Amazon Kingfishers hunt fish and crustaceans from a perch, diving into the water to catch their prey and then returning to the same perch before stunning their prey and swallowing it head first.

From: $5,348 per person
Duration
10 Days, 9 Nights
Guest Capacity
38 Guests
Trip Type
River

Special Offers

Trip Highlights

  • View wildlife on hikes, excursion boat rides & even while kayaking in three different habitats
  • Sample local culture with cooking demonstrations, village & school visits, stops at riverside markets & Shaman blessing ceremony.
  • Learn during guided tours, lectures & field interpretation by experienced native naturalists
  • Dance to traditional music during nightly Happy Hour receptions.