Day 01: Tuesday: Arrival - Nauta - Embarkation - Marañon River (D)
Your guides await you at Iquitos International Airport. Claim your luggage, which our porters deliver to your suite, then board our air-conditioned Mercedes bus for the ride to the river. Transfer to Nauta Wharf. Enjoy a scenic one-and-a-half hour drive through the Peruvian countryside to the small village of Nauta. You will be traveling on the only road out of town to the end of the line, as it only goes as far as Nauta. The Aqua Amazon, your home for the next three nights, awaits you. Embarkation and Check-in. Welcome to the low key luxury of the Aqua Amazon. Settle into your well-appointed river facing suite as the vessel begins to move and thus begins one of life’s great adventures. Ascend to the Observation Deck if you wish, to take in the view, as the Aqua Amazon leaves Iquitos behind. Over the next three days, the Aqua Amazon sails along the largest tributaries of the Amazon River, as well as on the mighty Amazon itself, towards remote destinations visited by only a few of even the world’s most experienced travelers. Safety Drill and Briefing on the Observation Deck. Before dinner, participate in our routine safety drill and then head into the air-conditioned Indoor Lounge to meet the cruise director and for your first briefings from our naturalist guides about the adventures ahead. Welcome Dinner. Toast your journey with our sommelier-selected fine South American wine that accompany the Amazonia-influenced cuisine of Aqua Expeditions Executive Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, whose restaurant, Malabar, ranks among Lima’s best. Schiaffino’s healthy and innovative recipes incorporate the freshest local products – fruits, fish, spices – adding culinary adventure to our journeys. (Menus always offer choices, including a vegetarian option – please let us know any other specific dietary requirements in advance of your voyage). Perhaps a nightcap on the Observation Deck, counting constellations.
Day 02: Wednesday: Ucayali River - Madgalena Village - Puinahua Canal (B, L, D)
Ucayali River Exploration. Board our comfortable excursion skiffs for your first adventure. Life jackets, ponchos, rubber boots, and plenty of cold potable water are always available for you on board the skiffs. Explore the Ucayali River, the Amazon’s largest tributary, in search of slow-moving three-toed sloths, green iguanas, and monkeys as well as orioles, horned screamers, kingfishers and many other birds in this especially busy time for Amazon wildlife. Our sumptuous daily breakfast buffet offers a wide selection of traditional egg dishes, Peruvian specialties, homemade baked goods and fresh-squeezed juices, made from luscious tropical fruits you may never have tasted before. Jungle Walk to Madgalena. Stroll through the village of Madgalena, a small community of just ten families. After you meet the people, including lots of lively and curious children, your naturalist guides lead you through the jungle to a beautiful lake to behold the world’s largest aquatic plant, the giant water lilies or Victoria Regias. Here you become one of a very small number of people who have ever seen these plants bloom. Return to the Aqua Amazon and a delicious lunch of Peruvian-inspired midday fare in our air-conditioned dining room. In the afternoon, enjoy a lecture abou the Taricaya Turtles in our air-conditioned Indoor Lounge. Our naturalist guides recount the history of these adorable creatures along the Amazon, their near extinction and the recent efforts supported by Aqua Expeditions that are successfully growing the turtle population in the Pacaya-Samiria Nature Reserve. Ucayali Exploration, Puinahua and Discovery Tour. Cruise the majestic Ucayali River to see and meet native balseros, or fishermen, who may even let you see their catch, including a type of "armored” catfish with a shell-like skin, and show you how they reel them in. We are also likely to spot, and have an opportunity to photograph, the "banana balsero” rafts, loaded with hundreds of clusters of bananas, floating down the river to market. Our guides will keep on the lookout to help you spot woodpeckers, parrots, macaws, and toucans. Return to the Aqua Amazon for Dinner at 8 pm.
Day 03: Thursday: Puinahua River - Hatum Posa Lake - Pacaya River (B, L, D)
Breakfast followed by Jungle Walk Near Hatum Posa Village. Walk into the jungle to meet native Amazonia people. With our guides as your interpreters, ask about subsistence farming in Amazonia and they will tell you how they cultivate these wild plants and trees. Here, deep in the primary rainforest, your guides identify for you the fruit trees and medicinal plants that comprise Amazonia’s natural pharmacy. Return to the Aqua Amazon for lunch. In the afternoon, enjoy a lecture about the fish of the Amazon in our air-conditioned Indoor Lounge. Learn about the 28 species of piranha swimming in the black waters of the Amazon and its tributaries, as well as the catfish, paiche fish that grow up to 12 feet long in these waters, and about how Aqua Expeditions provides fishing equipment and technical advice to Amazonia fishermen. Pacaya River Exploration, Night Trip from Ranger Station No. 1 to Yanayacu Lake. In the late afternoon, our skiffs skim the Pacaya River, journeying from Ranger Station No. 1 toward Yanayacu Lake, where an abundance of wildlife hides in the deep rainforest. This time of day gives you the best chance to see the most activity among rainforest animals, including fluffy monk saki monkeys, capuchin monkeys, and the howler monkeys. As the sun sets, listen for the loud, ferocious-sounding warning signals made by howler monkeys, marking their territories. When night falls, you listen for the second movement of the Amazon rainforest symphony, as nocturnal animals send their piercing calls across the tree canopy. As we take the skiffs back to the Aqua, special spotlight torches help our naturalist guides to locate caimans, owls and capybara. Return to the Aqua Amazon at 7:30. Tonight the vessel will dock by the No. 1 Ranger Station in Pacaya-Samiria. Dinner at 8.
Day 04: Friday: Pacaya River - Village Visit (B, L, D)
Pacaya Exploration and Breakfast Aboard the Skiffs. We take to the river as the sun rises to see and hear a treasure trove of wildlife, including parrots, macaws, toucans, and many kinds of monkeys—as well as some "surprise” species that you may never have seen before. We pack a luxurious "bag breakfast” for you, of homemade baked goods, light sandwiches, freshly squeezed juices and hot Peruvian coffee. This is also a popular dolphin feeding spot, so we won’t be the only ones enjoying our happy meal here. After breakfast, armed with poles and bait, we take you to a special place on this fish-rich river, to catch some of the more than 3,000 species of tropical fish that live in the Amazon Basin. Guides know all the best tricks to lure piranhas, those small, mostly carnivorous fish with a big reputation for their vicious bite. Return to the Aqua Amazon at 11:00 when the Aqua Amazon begins sailing down river, toward Iquitos. Lunch followed by a lecture about endangered animals of the Amazon in the air-conditioned Indoor Lounge. One of our naturalist guides will introduce the major threats to this magnificent but precarious eco-system we are exploring and describe some successful initiatives supported by Aqua Expeditions including camu camu tree planting and wildlife education for local youth. Village Visit. This optional afternoon excursion is a short informational walk into a riverside village, to understand the way of life in these communities of fishermen and farmers. Return to the Aqua Amazon at 5:30. Once we are back on board, the ship continues downstream, sailing toward Iquitos through the night. Evening briefing in the Indoor Lounge - A Recap of Itinerary and Sightings followed by dinner. Crew Presentation. After dinner, your naturalist guides introduce the very important crew members whom you may not have met, as they have been busy "behind the scenes” to create your seamless Aqua Expeditions experience.
Day 05: Saturday: Check Out - Disembark In Iquitos - City Tour - Transfer to the Airport (B)
Depending on water levels, the vessel may end in Nauta rather than Iquitos, requiring guest to transfer by road for 1.5 hours to the airport. Breakfast followed by Morning Excursion – Dependent on the level of the river and weather and time permitting, we set off on this last opportunity to see how people live along the Amazon by visiting the lively riverside community of Belen, in Iquitos, by skiff. Here, where the houses and shops actually float on the river during some months, visit the bustling food market that supports the entire Peruvian Amazon, where all the inhabitants of Amazonia sell and purchase their goods. Return to the Aqua Amazon at 11 for an early lunch at 11:40. Share a last lunch with fellow passengers, before your onward journey. Disembarkation/Manatee Rescue Center/Transfer to the Airport. En route to Iquitos airport, your naturalist guides bring you to visit the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have rescued. Learn about this highly successful project, supported by Aqua Expeditions since its inception, and efforts to help these endearing mammals. See how the manatees are cared for, and prepared for re-introduction into their natural habitat. Check-in at Iquitos International Airport at 4:30pm. Your guides will help you with check-in, and will stay with you until its time to board for your flight back to Lima.
End of our services
Embark on the voyage of a lifetime, sailing the earth’s mightiest river — the Amazon. The first luxury vessel in the region, the M/V Aqua caters to the most discriminating and adventurous of world travelers, providing an unforgettable journey into areas penetrated by only a privileged few. Aqua Expedition’s 4 nights Amazon River luxury cruise begins in the remote colonial city of Iquitos, Peru and transport guests in exceptional comfort deep into the Amazon rainforest, along the Ucayali River, the Amazon’s largest tributary, as well as the four other rivers, each one rich in vibrant wildlife with thriving rainforests. Go piranha fishing, trek into the dense jungle in search of Amazon monkeys, three-toed sloths, visit local villages and learn about wildlife preservation efforts in Peru's Amazonia, crown headed hoatzin birds, toucans, macaws and giant water lilies. As you explore these pristine wilderness areas teeming with wildlife, you will also encounter local people living in villages as they have for centuries. And when the day’s sightseeing is over, the comforts of your luxurious floating hotel will await you. Come back to the comfort of our skiffs to cruise up close to view Taricaya turtles and spectacled caimans in their natural habitat while pink dolphins, at play, challenge your photography skills. As the Aqua Amazon journeys towards the confluence of the Ucayali and the Marañón Rivers, considered the birthplace of the Amazon, learn from our experienced, English speaking naturalist guides about the diverse Amazon wildlife and birds of Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. Explore the Marañón, Ucayali, Pacaya, Puinahua Rivers and rainforests. Its 12 luxury guest suites designed by an internationally renowned Peruvian interior designer, measure a generous 230 to240 square feet, and feature large, outward facing panoramic windows and en suite sitting areas. All suites are air conditioned, and four are interconnected, to cater to families. Guests can socialize in the dining room, bar, on the observation deck and in the outdoor lounge. There is also a small boutique. You’ll be served by a crew of 16, plus three skilled guides.