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Amazon River Expedition Cruise - Low Water (8 days)
8 days duration
Upon arrival at Iquitos Airport, you will be transferred to the main wharf where you embark the ‘M/V Aqua’. As you settle into your over-sized suite, your vessel will start on its journey toward the Yanayacu River, deep in the heart of Amazonia. Before dinner, your Cruise Director and Guides will give a brief orientation talk about life on board, where you will go and what you will see on your Amazon journey. Enjoy a Welcome Dinner and watch the river go by as you experience your first wonderful meal aboard the 'M/V Aqua'. (D)
An early morning skiff expedition allows you to catch your first glimpse of the majestic Amazon River, as you watch the sun rise over this green world filled with wonderful wildlife. You return to 'M/V Aqua' for a sumptuous breakfast.
Afterwards you reboard our comfortable excursion skiffs, traveling the Amazon through the Huaysi short-cut canal to explore the Tahuayo black water river. As you float down the Tahuayo, occasional fishermen paddling in their dug-out canoes will give us a cheerful greeting. Keep your binoculars ready to spot a vast variety of wildlife: terns, orioles, blackbirds, black collared hawks, monkeys, and sloth share this wonderful environment with us. Upon arrival at Charo Lake, you can bait your hooks to try to catch one of Amazonia’s fearsome piranhas (and other fish as well). You return to 'M/V Aqua' for lunch.
In the late afternoon, you re-join the skiffs for further exploration. Locals call the Yacapana Islands the “Iguana Islands,” because of the huge population of these reptiles. As the sun sets, you will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and photograph both gray and pink freshwater dolphins.
You then return to the 'M/V Aqua' for dinner and continue the journey upstream, toward the headwaters of the Amazon River, where the Ucayali, Marañon, and the Amazon Rivers merge. (BLD)
This morning your Park Ranger will tell you all about sustainable resource management projects in Amazonia. You will visit one of the projects, where villagers are planting palms to obtain oil. Your Guide may also show you the artificial nests created on the sand to protect turtle eggs. Then we will take you deep into the jungle, where you will encounter wildlife and learn first-hand about the important medical value of jungle plants. And we will show you famous Kapok Trees (ceiba pentandra), the tallest trees in the Amazon Basin. You then return to the 'M/V Aqua' for lunch and a siesta.
In this late afternoon skiff excursion, you are likely to see howler and capuchin monkeys, the squirrel-sized monkeys called tamarins, and a vast variety of birds. You are also apt to see the two different kinds of freshwater dolphins—including the unusual pink ones—found in the Amazon. Later, keep your eyes directed toward the jungle canopy, where you can spot at least several kinds of primates—among the 13 species of monkeys resident in the National Park. Perhaps you will catch a glimpse of tamarins and dusky titi monkeys and pigmy marmoset monkeys. Watch for alligators, and keep your binoculars at the ready, as you are likely to see more than 200 species of birds. As the sun sets and our searchlight comes on, keep your eyes out for caimans, tree boas, tarantulas, and frogs.
After this night adventure, the 'M/V Aqua' will start sailing downstream on the Marañon River, back toward the headwaters of the Amazon as you enjoy dinner onboard. (BLD)
Early this morning you will travel by skiff along the Ucayali River to Yucuruche Lake, where you will walk a little way into the jungle to see the world’s largest aquatic plant, the giant water lilies or “Victoria Regias”. You will be one of a very small number of people who have ever seen these plants bloom.
After returning to the vessel for breakfast, the 'M/V Aqua' skirts the edges of the vast Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, a flooded forest covering five million acres at the headwaters of the Amazon basin. You board the skiffs to view one of the great spectacles of the Southern Hemisphere: the birthplace of the Amazon River. Here—where the union of two major tributaries, the Ucayali and the Marañon, form the world’s greatest waterway—nature is at its most dramatic. Your morning excursion will be accompanied by abundant bird song, as you glide in small boats past river banks populated by large-billed terns, laughing falcons, gray tanagers, sandpipers, five kinds of parakeets, the exotic short-tailed parrot, and dozens of other birds.
You will then travel by skiff to Puerto Prado native village, where you will meet and interact with the hospitable native Cocama Indians. They will share their culture, traditions, and folklore with you, and you will have the opportunity to purchase some of their handicrafts and delightful folk art before returning to 'M/V Aqua' for lunch.
This afternoon you will have the opportunity to visit the Town of Nauta, the oldest town in the state of Loreto, founded in the 1930’s. Nauta is very important to the local river communities, as it is the port where they come to sell their produce. You will take a leisurely walk through town, to experience what life in a large river community is like. Return for dinner onboard. (BLD)
You will set out early this morning to explore the Ucayali River, the Amazon’s largest tributary. Sightings will include the slow-moving three-toed sloths, iguanas, orioles, and horned screamers, as well as many other birds.
After breakfast you will walk through the village of Madgalena, a small community of ten families. After meeting the people, including lots of lively and curious children, your naturalist guides will lead you through the jungle to a beautiful lake that is home to the world famous Victoria Regia giant water lily. Return to the vessel for lunch.
This afternoon you will cruise the majestic Ucayali River, giving you a chance to see and meet native balseros, or fishermen, who will demonstrate their skill and let you see their catch—including a type of “armored” catfish with a shell-like skin. You will have at least one chance to sample this delicious local fish at dinner aboard the M/V Aqua. You are also likely to spot, and have an opportunity to photograph, the “banana balsero” rafts, loaded with hundreds of clusters of bananas, drifting down the river to market. Other highlights include the viewing of woodpeckers, parrots, macaws, and toucans. Dinner onboard. (BLD)
After breakfast you’ll take a walk where your guides will introduce you to native people doing subsistence farming, and will tell you how they learned to cultivate wild plants and trees to earn farm income. Deep in the primary forest, your guides will also show you the wealth of fruit trees and medicinal plants hidden in the jungle—the source of many of the world’s pharmaceutical products. Return for lunch.
In the late afternoon, you will take our skiffs along the Pacaya River, journeying from Ranger Station No. 1 toward Yanayacu Lake, where you can view the abundant life that is hidden in the deep rainforest. You may see saki monkeys, capuchin monkeys, and the easy-to-spot heavy howler monkeys, leaping long distances from tree to tree. As the sun sets, you will hear the loud, ferocious sounding warning signals made by the howler monkeys as they mark their territories. When night falls, you will hear the second movement of the Amazon rainforest symphony, as other nocturnal animals send their shrill calls across the tree tops. We will use our special spotlight torches to locate night creatures, including, perhaps, huge caimans.
Tonight the 'M/V Aqua' will be docked by the No. 1 Ranger Station in Pacaya Samiria National Park. Dinner onboard. (BLD)
In the bright morning light, your Guides will show you parrots, macaws, toucans, and many different types of monkeys. We will also go to the dolphin feeding spots along Pacaya River, where you will be delightfully surrounded by these creatures while enjoying a light breakfast and fresh juice.
After breakfast, armed with poles and bait, we will take you to a special place on this fish-rich river, where you will catch some of the more than 3,000 species of tropical fish that live in the Amazon Basin. The key target will be piranhas, the small carnivorous fish with a fearsome reputation—considered a good food source by the locals.
Whilst enjoying lunch, you will begin your homeward journey, sailing downstream toward Iquitos.
Your optional afternoon excursion is a short informational walk into a native riverside village. Your guide will show you way of life in these communities of fishermen and farmers. Once we are back onboard, the ship will continue its journey down stream, sailing toward Iquitos through the night as you enjoy a Farewell Dinner. (BLD)
After breakfast, weather and time permitting, there will be a 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, you will see the bustling food market for the entire Peruvian Amazon. All local inhabitants throughout the region sell and purchase goods here.
After returning to 'M/V Aqua' for a light lunch, we arrive for an afternoon of the remote city of Iquitos. This bustling town was once a rich centre of the rubber industry. En-route, you will visit the Manatee Rescue Centre, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have seized from local people and fishermen. You will see how the manatees are cared for and are prepared for re-introduction into their natural habitat. Finally, we will stop at the San Juan Amazonian Indian Market, for a last chance to shop for local crafts.
You are then transferred to the airport for your flight back to Lima. (BL)
Inca Tours does not own any of the hotels, lodges or service providers utilised in making up the tours. As a result Inca Tours is only acting as an agent for the operators and as such does not accept responsibility for any negligence, omissions, errors or differences in standard experienced by passengers when utilising the operators' products or services. Please Note: for full booking terms and conditions please see the back of our booking form.
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