International Expeditions Amazon Voyage Aboard The Zafiro

Amazon Voyage

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International Expeditions Amazon Voyage Aboard The Zafiro

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Amazon Voyage

Over the 40 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. 

While specific stops are never guaranteed, daily excursions can include everything from birding at dawn, 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 River Experience

Aboard this luxury 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 rainforest; or the awe of floating along narrow streams accompanied by pink dolphins. Drawing on insight from our native Amazon travel guides, International Expeditions intentionally varies the villages and tributaries we visit, ensuring you get the most authentic experience possible.

Explore with Pioneers in Amazon Travel

International Expeditions pioneered travel to the Peruvian Amazon, and our nature-focused, small-group expeditions remain the standard for expedition cruises in the Amazon. 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 experienced expedition leader—accompany all of our Amazon 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'll 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

Experience vibrant Lima as you delve into some of the city's most interesting sights!

2019 Pricing: Double Occupancy $798; Single Occupancy $1,098

2020 Pricing: Double Occupancy $898; Single Occupancy $1,298

 

Day
1

Arrive Lima

Arrive in Lima, Peru, where you are met and transferred to our the Swissotel. (Meals Aloft)

amazon voyage lima extension
Day
2

Colonial Lima

This morning tour the historic district of Lima. Visit the cathedral, where Francisco Pizarro is entombed, the Plaza de Armas, the monastery and vast catacombs of the Iglesia de San Francisco before visiting Casa Aliaga, a private home dating back to the Conquistadors. This afternoon we enjoy lunch overlooking the pyramid, Huaca Pucllana. Afterwards, we tour the ruins built by a Pre-Incan indigenous coastal civilization. Late this afternoon, we return to the hotel. This evening, enjoy the night in Lima on your own. Consider using this evening to experience some of Lima's world famous cuisine. (B,L)

Day
3

Lima

Today we begin with a visit to the vibrant Indian Market where crafters display a wide variety of handmade items, jewelry, and art. We have lunch at a local restaurant and explore the surrounding shops before returning to the hotel to refresh before a late afternoon visit to the Larco Herrera Museum. This museum is housed in an 18th century vice-royal mansion built over a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid and surrounded by beautiful gardens. The museum was founded in 1926 and has the finest gold and silver collection from Ancient Peru. The galleries provide an overview of 3000 years of development of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. After our visit, we enjoy dinner at the museum's restaurant, Museo Larco, noted as one of Lima's finest dining options. We return to the hotel this evening and prepare for the next mornings' flight to Iquitos. (BLD)

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

Make the most of your travel to South America by combining the Amazon tour with our pre-tour extension to Peru's Nazca Lines. The Nazca Lines are among the most astonishing early human creations — a series of large geometric shapes and depictions of animals, humans and plants carved out of the desert by a civilization that lived here between 200 BC and 600 AD. Their purpose has been the subject of intensive scientific investigation as well as all kinds of speculation. Since the Nazca Lines are best seen from the air, aboard this Wings Over Peru journey, you soar above the lines on a flightseeing excursion. We’ll also go by boat to the Ballestas Islands to see an incredible spectacle, with tens of thousands of roosting seabirds and colonies of sea lions patrolling the beaches. This extension adds two days to the length of your journey.

Interested in traveling to the Nazca Lines after your Amazon cruise? Call for details!

 

2019 Pricing: Double Occupancy $1,250; Single Occupancy $1,800

2020 Pricing: Double Occupancy $1,498; Single Occupancy $1,898

Day
1

Arrive Lima

Our expedition begins with our flight to Lima. On arrival, we meet our guide and transfer to the Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport Hotel for the night. (Meals Aloft)

Day
2

Lima / Paracas / Nazca / Paracas

We depart Lima early this morning and drive south to the town of Paracas, where we board a small plane for our flight over the Nazca Lines. Among the many figures we see are the “hummingbird,” “monkey” and “dog,” along with some of the many lines that run through the desert. Returning to Paracas, we enjoy an afternoon at leisure and overnight at La Hacienda Bahia de Paracas. While here you can relax seaside or treat yourself to a massage at the spa. (B,L,D)

Day
3

Ballestas / Lima

This morning we take a boat ride to the Ballestas Islands to see its thousands of seabirds: Humboldt penguins, Inca terns, two kinds of boobies and three kinds of cormorants. More than 200 species have been recorded here. Noisy sea lions also inhabit the beaches and waters. We continue on for more wildlife viewing, including Chilean flamingos. After our boat ride, we return to Lima. We have the evening to relax at our hotel. The rest of our group arrives this evening. (B)

Rainforest Canopy & Lodge Extension

From first light until after dark, immerse yourself in the sensations of our Amazon rainforest tour while enjoying our comfortable, air-conditioned lodge artfully constructed to exist in harmony with the surrounding environment. Explore a different side of Amazon rainforest travel as you head high into the canopy at day break, encountering birds and other wildlife in the treetops.

2019 Pricing: Double Occupancy $1,148; Single Occupancy $1,348

2020 Pricing: Double Occupancy $1,248; Single Occupancy $1,648

Day
1

Arrive Lima

Fly independently to Lima, Peru, and overnight at the Costa del Sol. (D Aloft)

Day
2

Ceiba Tops

Fly across the Andes to the lively frontier city of Iquitos. Enjoy an interactive visit to the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have rescued. Board a speed boat and head out onto the Amazon River toward Ceiba Tops Lodge. This evening, join our guide for a jungle hike, visiting the immense ceiba tree for which the lodge is named.  (B,L,D)

Day
3

Ceiba Tops

After a hearty breakfast, travel to a Yagua village. The Yagua people live scattered throughout the Amazon Basin, supporting their communities with small-scale agriculture, fishing and light hunting. Additionally, the Yagua are known for their craft-making skills, and you have ample opportunity to purchase wooden animal carvings, decorative blowguns, and a variety of necklaces, bracelets and jewelry fashioned from natural materials such as seeds and fibers. Call on the Amazon Medical Clinic operated by former IE guest Dr. Linnea Smith. The clinic provides  river communities with their only access to modern medical care. Before returning to Ceiba Tops, stop at a library offering a book club, computer classes and special activities for students at local schools. (B,L,D)

Day
4

Canopy Walkway

Walk the trail to the Canopy Walkway. In conjunction with Explorama Lodge, IE conceived and funded the building of this walkway in 1992. Wooden steps take us from the forest floor to suspended pathways and platforms. Ascend the walkway to a height of more than ten stories, emerging above the seemingly endless canopy. Enjoy a close-up view of life in the canopy: plants and bright flowers attracting gorgeous birds and other creatures. After lunch at the lodge, visit the ReNuPeRu Ethnobotanical Garden, where plants are grown for use in local medicine and healing ceremonies. (B,L,D)

Day
5

Iquitos / Embark

Awake to the sounds of the forest, joining your naturalist for an early morning bird walk. Transfer by boat to Iquitos. Head out onto the Amazon River to Monkey Island. Monkey Island is a private reserve whose free-roaming inhabitants include wooly, saki and titi monkeys as well as tamarins and marmosets. After lunch, meet your fellow Amazon cruise passengers in Iquitos and embark. (B,L,D)

Optional Post-Trip Extensions

Machu Picchu & Cusco Extension

A visit to Machu Picchu, the grandest of all the Inca sites, must stand out as a highlight of anyone’s travels. It has the most dramatic of settings, atop an Andean mountain surrounded by other peaks. For all its extent — Machu Picchu has some 200 structures, along with brilliant stone masonry — it was almost forgotten until its rediscovery in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. But there is a great deal more to see, and this Machu Picchu tour includes a variety of experiences in the great city of Cusco and in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Day
9

Guayaquil / Lima

Late this afternoon, we fly from Guayaquil to Lima, and overnight at the Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport Hotel. (B,L)

Machu Picchu
Day
10

Lima / Cusco / Urubamba Valley

Fly to Cusco — 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 and spend tonight at the Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day
11

Machu Picchu

Board the train to Machu Picchu, where we spend the afternoon exploring the ruins with our guide. Our home for the next two nights is the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day
12

Machu Picchu

Today is yours to explore Machu Picchu or simply relax! Wake up early and hike to the Sun Gate or enjoy some early morning birding in the abundant gardens surrounding our hotel, home to 16 species of hummingbirds. (B,L,D)

Day
13

Ollantaytambo / Sacsayhuamán / Cusco

Catch the morning train back to the Sacred Valley. 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. We stop at Sacsayhuamán — a huge fortress of massive stones which zigzags across the side of the mountain. Spend tonight at the Palacio del Inka. (B,L,D)

Day
14

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. Return to the Palacio del Inka for the night. (B,L,D)

Day
15

Cusco / Lima / En Route

Fly back across the Andes to Lima, and transfer to the airport this evening for flights home. (B,L)

Day
16

Arrive Home

Connect with your flight home. (Meals Aloft)

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
Cooking demonstrations
All onboard Peruvian cocktails, soft drinks, local wine and local beer.
Blessing ceremony with a local Shaman
Arrival and departure transfers between the group hotel and airport regardless of day or time
Potable water
Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

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 25, 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.

Amazon 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 with 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 20 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 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 expedition leader Guillermo

Guillermo Knell

Amazon Cruise Expedition Leader

Amazon Expedition Leader Guillermo Knell is a trained biologist with a Master’s Degree in Ecotourism who has a wealth of experience in sustainable tourism development and project management. As the International Programs Field Manager for The Field Museum of Chicago, Guillermo conducted biological inventories, field research and coordinated field logistics in his native Peru as well as in Cuba. While working with Development Center of the Amazonian Native People, Guillermo evaluated natural and cultural activities for potential tourism development, and worked with native communities from Machiguengas, Urarinas, Iquitos and Piros ethnic groups on sustainable development projects. Guillermo has more than 20 years of extensive experience working as a naturalist guide across the Peruvian Amazon and in the Andes, plus was heavily involved in showcasing the various environments and indigenous people of Peru in documentaries for Discovery Channel and the BBC.

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.

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.

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 Happy Hour receptions.