Amazon River Cruise: Peru's Wildlife Wonders - 2018

Lima • Iquitos • 7-Night Amazon River Cruise into Pacaya Samiria Reserve
  • Swim in the mystical waters of the Yarapa River, home to the famous pink Amazon dolphin
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Machu Picchu & Cusco

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Combine the ancient and natural wonders of Peru on this extraordinary small-group adventure. The centerpiece of our journey is a seven-night Amazon cruise that takes you into the famous Pacaya Samiria Reserve, a verdant jungle quite deserving of its nickname: “Heart of the Amazon.” We'll spend eight days exploring rivers, canals, and hidden lakes, soaking in the scenery and feeling the thrilling remoteness of this unique environment. Each day, set off on special excursions when the jungle is brimming with activity: before dawn and at night. The rainforest comes alive during these times, and we’ll have the opportunity to explore it in depth on five pre-dawn and two night excursions (on special skiffs designed for river exploration). In the still of these placid hours, we’ll be immersed in the sights, smells, and sounds of this lush wonderland — and truly appreciate the life of the jungle.

Throughout our journey, we’ll be enjoying the luxurious surroundings of the deluxe, all-suite M/V Zafiro. Launched in 2015, this ship offers a 5-star experience amidst the rugged environs of the Peruvian Amazon. It is the perfect place to enjoy lazy afternoons as you glide down the river, enjoying the indoor reading lounge, fitness center, and massage room, or just indulging in an afternoon nap (which is suggested, given our early morning excursions). You'll also get the opportunity to explore the historic center of Lima — a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Traveling solo? With free or low-cost single supplements on every departure, you’ll always enjoy the best value for solo travelers with Vantage. Join us and experience the best of the Peruvian Amazon — and beyond — on this unforgettable adventure.

Lima to Iquitos

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DAY 1:

Depart home for Lima, Peru

Set off on your Amazonian adventure by boarding an overnight flight to Lima, Peru.

DAY 2:

Arrive in Lima

You’ll transfer to your hotel after arriving in Lima. After settling in, you'll embark on a short orientation tour to familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Your Welcome Dinner is at the hotel this evening.

Included Meals:


DAY 3:

Peruse Lima’s historical highlights followed by an afternoon at leisure

Founded in 1535, Lima is an enchanting treasure trove of history. We'll set out on a half-day tour of Peru’s bustling capital city, including such sites as the Plaza Mayor, the Cathedral, and the San Francisco Catacombs, as well as the lively Miraflores district. Then, enjoy the balance of an afternoon at leisure with dinner on your own. 

Included Meals:


DAY 4:

Journey to the rainforest and explore the mystical jungle town of Iquitos

We depart early this morning for Iquitos, an adventurous river city nestled in the Peruvian rainforest. Iquitos is a fascinating study in contrasts; unadulterated jungle sits just beyond the edge of the modern city center, handcrafted canoes maneuver the river besides grand cruise ships, and elegant restaurants and glistening mansions share the streets with bustling markets and mud huts. Upon arrival this afternoon, you'll have the rest of the day to explore this lively city on your own.

Included Meals:


DAY 5:

An exploration of Iquitos, from manatees to the rubber boom; embark the deluxe M/V Zafiro

Following a relaxing morning at leisure, our first stop today is the city's Manatee Rescue Center, where we'll learn about these playful animals and the dangers that threaten their survival. Then, enjoy a panoramic city tour that includes the 20th century remains of the grand homes of the city’s former “rubber barons.” Later, embark the luxurious M/V Zafiro in time for a delicious Welcome Dinner on board. Tonight, cap off your rainforest explorations with a night of stargazing on the deck or live music performance.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 6:

Sailing the wildlife-rich Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

Unforgettable Moment: Revel in the remoteness of the exotic Amazon jungle, as you begin your travel through the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Named for the rivers that run through this 8,000-square-mile protected area, Pacaya Samiria is teeming with wildlife. You’ll sail through this rainforest, soaking in the natural splendor of your surroundings in what has been called the "birthplace of the Amazon."

Here amidst towering trees that are reflected in the dark waters below (hence the name “mirrored forest”), the jungle comes alive. Alligators, frogs, herons, monkeys . . . the diversity of this region’s denizens will become apparent right away. Your naturalist guide’s encyclopedic knowledge — and eagle eye — will ensure that you get the most from your explorations of this verdant wilderness. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

Search for sloths by day — at night, embark on a search for nocturnal species

To truly experience the Amazon, we delve deeper into some of its lesser-known tributaries. Today, we’ll set off on the Yanayacu and Pucate rivers, keeping an eye out for reclusive species like sloths. Later, we’ll visit an area where the pink dolphins of the Amazon are known to feed on fish. Seeing these creatures in their element is a true thrill. 

We also embark on excursions in the cool of the evening, when nocturnal species emerge. Tonight, we discover the Tiger River, an offshoot of the Amazon that is home to a variety of fascinating creatures like snakes, tarantulas, and many intriguing nocturnal birds. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:

Get up-close with the Kukama tribe and sightseeing Amazon birdlife

We venture further into the rainforest today with our naturalist guide, who will point out the stunning array of wildlife around us. The area is renowned for its macaws and toucans, so we’ll keep our eyes trained toward the canopy to catch a glimpse of these colorful birds. In the afternoon, we’ll have a chance to visit with the local Kukama tribe, getting an insider’s look at their culture and learning about their everyday lives. Our visit concludes with an uplifting singing performance by the local children. 

In the evening hours, we’ll explore Tipishca Lake to see even more rare species of birds, including the black collared hawk and the pygmy kingfisher.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

Inside a shamanic village: Plants, rituals, and healing

Unforgettable Moment: In addition to its natural riches, the Amazon is home to fascinating cultures as well. We’ll interact with one of those cultures this morning, when we visit a shamanic village called Shiryacu. Here, we’ll learn about the plants used by the locals for medicinal purposes, and get a chance to witness a healing ceremony — a riveting glimpse of this local tradition. 

The evening brings us to Yuricuchi Canal, where among other impressive natural features we’ll see the Victoria Regia, the largest aquatic plant in the world.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Yanallpa River’s “gallery forest” and the search for caimans

A new day brings yet another thrilling river experience, as we explore the Yanallpa River and its famous “gallery forest,” so named because of the unique enclosed environment the jungle creates here. Tonight, we’ll discover the creatures of the Dorado River, like Capybaras, while we're on the lookout for caimans, those rare and deadly Amazon alligators.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

Keep an eye out for pink dolphins on the Yarapa, then savor a home-hosted lunch and cooking class

Our last full day is one of our most diverse. Unforgettable Moment: We spend the morning swimming in the mystical waters of the Yarapa River, home to the famous pink Amazon dolphin. Keep your eyes on the surrounding waters —according to Amazonian legend, pink dolphins possess the power to turn into humans and steal the most attractive people from surrounding villages! In the afternoon, we’ll learn about the local food during an Amazonia cooking class, followed by a home-hosted lunch. Interacting with the friendly people of this region while enjoying a wonderful meal will be the perfect coda to our journey. That is, unless you choose to add yet another unforgettable experience to your adventure: our Cusco and Machu Picchu extension.

Please note: Depending on river currents and weather conditions, some departures may not have the opportunity to swim, and will explore the river via skiff instead. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 12:

Disembark and settle into the hotel for leisure or spa amenities before flying home

Enjoy your final leisurely morning onboard; this afternoon, we’ll disembark in Iquitos and transfer to our hotel. Spend a relaxing afternoon taking advantage of the hotel’s amenities: treat yourself to a hot stone massage in the hotel’s Wellness Center, enjoy a swim in the outdoor pool and whirlpool, or explore the vibrant city around you. Or, continue on to your post trip extension in the mythical Sacred Valley. We’ll head to Iquitos Airport this evening for a short connecting flight to Lima on our way back to the U.S.

If you’ve purchased air with Vantage, your transfer to Iquitos Airport and your flight to Lima prior to your international flight home will be included in your airfare package. If you’ll be purchasing airfare on your own, please plan to arrange (or purchase from Vantage) your own airport transfer and plan your flight arrangements from Iquitos Airport. 

Please Note: You may have to wait 5 to 6 hours at Lima airport due to connections. 

Included Meals:


Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or regional expert.

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Amazon River Cruise: Peru's Wildlife Wonders - 2018

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Vantage Smithsonian Vantage Advantage
Cruise-Only Prices $0 $5,295 Enjoy the best value at a cost of up to $2,192 less per couple!
Trip Length 0 days 10 days We offer you one extra day to enhance your discoveries!
Per Diem $0 per day $530 Save up to $664 per couple per day!
Cabin sizes Brand-new deluxe M/V Zafiro built in 2015, all-suite ship for just 38 travelers with floor-to-ceiling windows in each cabin All M/V Zafiro cabins are 220 square feet with regional art & textiles deluxe open spaces floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies Your Adventure Leader joins you onboard to enhance your discoveries like only a local can!
Cabin Upgrades Cabin jumps from $400 No jumps Reasonable priced jumps make it great value to upgrade your accomodation.
Included Tours and Special Features 21 excursions & sightseeing tours & Cultural Discoveries — a $3,900 value per couple! Including 7 nights aboard the deluxe M/V Zafiro and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lima Daily tours and shore excursions, including: active adventures river village visits Enjoy the most sightseeing plus exciting Cultural Connections with many opportunities for wildlife viewing including a "night safari."
Extend Your Trip 6-days Machu Picchu Extension, $1,999 $333 per day Lima pre-trip Best value and extension options! See a Wonder of the World at Machu Picchu!
10 Ways to Save & Preferred Traveler Rewards New for 2018—including gratuities for local guides and drivers! Enjoy traveler referral rewards & SmartPay early-payment savings plan: Save up to $1800 per couple combining maximum SmartPay savings and Past Traveler Discounts (based on a $6,000 trip cost) Travel Protection THE BEST REWARDS PROGRAM IN TRAVEL!Save more than competitors with preferred traveler rewards!

*Prices are subject to change and based on comparable departure months.
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