What to Expect
Is This Adventure Right For You?
Each Vantage Adventure is designed to help you fully experience local culture and to get out and explore while keeping active. We find these are the two most fulfilling and rewarding ways to transform any trip into an adventure, and into the experience of a lifetime. To that end, we’ve rated each trip to indicate the level of cultural immersion and physical activity, with “1” being the lowest and “3” being the highest.
- You must be able to walk 1-2 miles unassisted in hot, humid and rainy conditions
- You must have some balance to board on skiffs for excursions onboard M/V Zafiro
- This is not a very physically challenging trip but due to the remoteness and lack of medical facilities good health is essential for your own personal safety and the rest of the group
- Travelers using wheelchairs, walkers or other mobility aids should not reserve this adventure
Travelers who’ve reserved our post-trip extension to Cusco and Machu Picchu: You’ll fly early on Day 12 from Iquitos early to Lima, connecting to Cusco at 12,000 feet. From here you will travel to the Sacred Valley’s lower elevation of 10,000 feet by bus. This extension involves 2-3 miles of hiking in uneven grounds and climbing many uneven stairs at high elevation in the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. This extension is very physically challenging and excellent balance and health are essential for your own personal safety and the rest of the group.
Travelers using any mobility aids are not suited for this adventure.
- 3 destinations in 10 nights (2 nights in Lima, 1 night in Iquitos & 7 nights onboard the M/V Zafiro)
- One 2-night stay in Lima and one 1-night stay in Iquitos
- 5 pre-dawn excursions and 2 nighttime excursions
Weather Conditions: The Amazon basin is as lush and green as it is because it gets an abundance of rain — a staggering 12 feet a year on average. In a typical year, the Amazon River rainforest experiences 200 rainy days, which means that there will be days of rain even in the low water season. However, it rarely rains all day, often falling in passing cloudbursts.
Peru’s rainy season runs from November through May, which is summer and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. This is our relatively cooler and wetter season when the Amazon region receives more than half (60%) of its total annual rainfall. During the high water season, the average temperature is 86°F, about 12°F cooler than in the average low water season. The benefits of visiting Peru’s Amazon at this time of year include dramatic high water panoramas. The Amazon Basin’s rivers and streams rise about 25 feet higher or more than during the low water season. Aside from the striking visual effect, this also means that every river, creek and lake is navigable. While the odds of sighting wildlife do not change significantly between the two seasons, you are likely to see more of some Amazon wildlife favorites such as monkeys, turtles and caimans during the high water months. Enhanced navigation by water has a flip side – walkable areas become less accessible this time of year. When we do find usable hiking trails, you'll find mosquitoes are more prevalent now than during the low water season. Fishing in the Amazon River is actually more limited during these high water months too.
Low water season in Amazonia coincides with our winter in the Southern Hemisphere, fromJune to October. This is the warmer season on the Amazon River, with temperature averaging about 98°F. Despite its name, the low water season still exhibits some heavy rains. A key difference between visiting Peru in low water season vs. high water season is our ability to access jungle trails that would most likely flood from December to May, allowing local Amazon guides to take us deeper into the jungle by foot. We'll also experience fewer mosquitoes this time of year than we would during the high water season. Travelers also tend to spot a greater abundance of migratory birds in flight during the low water season.However, the trade-off at this time of year is that water levels on the Amazon River and its tributaries drop from June to October, which means that many of the creeks and lakes that we visit during the rainy season will be inaccessible. Lower water levels do, however, offer a bonus: good fishing is 100% guaranteed. You even stand a fair chance to catch a piranha!
FLIGHTS: Your flight to South America is overnight. At the conclusion of your trip, your flight from Lima will depart at night and you may have a longer wait than normal due to air routing. If you’ve purchased air with Vantage, your transfer to Iquitos Airport and your connecting flight to Lima prior to your international flight home will be included in your airfare package. If you purchase airfare on your own, please plan to arrange for a transfer to the Iquitos airport (or purchase from Vantage) in addition to your flight arrangements home.
- Be prepared for hot, humid and rainy weather. Most excursions are onboard skiffs and water ponchos will be provided by Zafiro.
- Uneven terrain during jungle hikes and villages visits: muddy soils and roots make the terrain very uneven. Knee-high rubber boots are provided by Zafiro
- Travel by private, air-conditioned motorcoach
- Enjoy 8 days and 7 nights navigating Pacaya Samiria National Reserve onboard deluxe expedition cruise ship M/V Zafiro. Please note the Zafiro is three decks and has no elevator onboard. Excursions are onboard skiffs with comfortable individual seats
HOTELS: Our hotels are high international standards properties with unique local charms and are conveniently located. In Lima we will use deluxe Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores and in Iquitos we will use the El Dorado Plaza Hotel.
EXPEDITION CRUISE: Enjoy the luxurious surroundings of the deluxe, all-suite M/V Zafiro. Launched in October 2015, this ship offers a five-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).
All cabins include breathtaking views of the Amazon, whether it is through the floor-to-ceiling windows or, in the upper deck cabins, from the chairs on your balcony. The ship has central air conditioning (which can be individually controlled), and each cabin has an en-suite bathroom and living room. The Master Suites include extra amenities such as 90-degree front-facing windows, while the ultra-luxurious Zafiro Suite includes 180-degree views of the Amazon and an in-room Jacuzzi.
All shore landings are in small groups of maximum 19 people per SKIFF (rigid aluminum boats of up to 25paxs ideal for exploring the small streams) with convenient access from the aft platform. Each skiff is safely equipped with two 4stroke, low emission engines, constant radio communication with ship, life jackets and flares.
You will have ample opportunities to swim and kayak with the 6kayaks onboard.
- Passenger Capacity: 38
- Crew: 20
- Length: 150 feet
- Draft: 3.61 feet
- Speed: 11.8knots
- Engines:2 x Caterpillar 250HP
- Generators: 2x90.4 KVA Caterpillar-Olympian (encapsulated)
COMMUNICATION: Each cabin has a phone to be use for communicating between cabins only. there will be no outside communication by phone or internet. No internet onboard. Note that you will have phone signal and internet opportunities in Iquitos and Nauta only.
FACILITIES: The ship features an Indoor & Outdoor Bar, Outdoor Jacuzzi, Indoor reading room lounge, Observation deck, Exercise room, Massage room, a small boutique and comfortable dining room. All cabins have:
- Individually controlled A/C
- Twin beds convertible to a California king-size bed
- Suites’ sitting area
- Private bathroom with Spanish shower
- Hot running water 24/7 and basket with high quality environmentally-friendly toiletries that are locally-produced
- Hair dryer
- Safe box
DINING INFORMATION: Breakfast and Lunch on board are served buffet style, and dinner is served one course at a time. The deluxe m/v Zafiro is all-inclusive. Local wine and beer is included with all meals, and our cocktail hours offer travelers a great opportunity to mingle while enjoying wine, beer, or pisco-based cocktails (also included).
SPECIAL MEAL REQUESTS: Food in the Amazon is limited to chicken, fish and pork always accompanied by rice, beans and plantains. The deluxe M/V Zafiro is all-inclusive. Local wine and beer is included with all meals, and our cocktail hours offer travelers a great opportunity to mingle while enjoying wine, beer, or pisco-based cocktails. You will also have the opportunity to learn some of the best secrets of Amazonian traditional cuisine during a home hosted lunch.
Most dietary requests can be accommodated if notified well in advance, but not always.
MEDICAL: There is a medical officer on board who can handle any emergencies.
SAFETY: Radio Communication system with separate battery, satellite phone, life jackets, flare signals, fires extinguishers and smoke detectors in each cabin. There is also an onboard defibrillator.
VALUABLES : Safety deposit boxes are available in the cabins. We urge you to leave valuable jewelry at home. Ship is not responsible for any valuables left in the cabins.
SMOKING POLICY: Smoking is only permitted outside in designated areas.
MONEY MATTERS WHILE ON BOARD: The onboard currency is US dollars. The “cashless” system on board allows passengers to sign for all onboard expenses and pay at the end of the cruise. At that time, shipboard accounts may be settled by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express).
CULTURAL IMMERSION: This Peru vacation provides many opportunities to interact with the local culture. You'll visit Inca ruins and small indigenous towns, where you will enter homes and markets, and interact with artisans, musicians, and other local people. In fact, the whole time in Peru will be a fascinating Cultural Discovery for Vantage travelers, who will discover that South American culture is more diverse than you ever imagined.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Despite the altitude you will encounter, this Peru travel itinerary isn't strenuous and offers plenty of time to enjoy the destinations. Tours run on modern coaches, but in some areas air-conditioned coaches are not available. Altitude is a consideration on the visits to Cuzco (approx. 12,000 feet) and the Lake Titicaca area (12,421 feet). This tour requires considerable walking, sometimes on uneven ground or cobblestone streets. Visiting Machu Picchu and archeological ruins in general requires heavy walking, often on uneven natural terrain. The hike to Wayna Picchu in particular is challenging; you should be active and in good physical condition to embark on it.
SPECIAL FACTORS: Please take the high altitudes in Cuzco (12,000 feet) and Lake Titicaca (12,421 feet) into consideration. Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley are not as high (approx. 9,000 feet), but some travelers may be affected.
Important Notice: 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 Director or regional expert.