Amazon River Cruise: Peru's Wildlife Wonders - 2019

Lima • Iquitos • 7-Night Amazon River Cruise into the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
  • $490
  • 11
  • 18
13 DAYS FROM $5,798
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Trek deep into the heart of the jungle and discover a region of unrivalled biodiversity: the Amazon River basin. Threading eight countries and nearly half of the South American continent, the Amazon is also a wellspring of culture and economic livelihood, and on this extraordinary small-ship adventure you’ll explore not only incredible wildlife but also the indigenous communities and jungle-shrouded port cities that comprise this Peruvian slice of the Amazon. Your journey begins in historic Lima, a lively UNESCO World Heritage Site, before introducing Iquitos, the captivating port city that’s become the hub of Amazonian travel and culture. A seven-night cruise aboard the M/V Zafiro will then showcase the natural wonders of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, home to a star-studded roster of wildlife — from howler monkeys to mythic pink dolphins.

A series of excursions on special skiffs designed for river exploration will bring the remotest corners of the Amazon into view, as will the eagle eye of naturalist guides. Pre-dawn and nighttime outings immerse you in the sights, smells, and sounds of this lush wonderland in an ideal small group size. In addition to 18 included tours, you’ll relish the comforts of the deluxe, all-suite M/V Zafiro during the cruise portion of your trip. Traveling solo? With low-cost Single Supplements on each departure, Vantage makes it easy for solo travelers to join the action, too. Prepare for fun and awe-inspiring nature on this unforgettable Amazonian adventure. Welcome to the jungle, indeed.

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:

Explore Lima's historical highlights

Explore Lima’s historic center — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — on a half-day walking tour of fascinating hotspots including Plaza Mayor, the Basilica and Convent of San Francisco and its catacombs, and the lively Miraflores district. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure and dinner on your own.

Included Meals:


DAY 4:

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

We’ll put Iquitos in our sights this morning when we depart for this adventurous “Capital of the Amazon” nestled in the Peruvian rainforest. A 20th-century rubber boom launched Iquitos into jungle-shrouded modernity, and today the city is a fascinating study in contrasts, a place where handcrafted canoes cruise the river alongside stately cruise ships, and open-air 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 intriguing and lively city on your own.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

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 Manatee Rescue Center, where we’ll learn about these beloved marine mammals and the dangers threatening their survival. Afterward, a panoramic city tour takes us to the turn of the century homes of the city’s onetime “rubber barons,” and introduces us to some interesting Iquitos trivia, including its unique standing as the farthest inland port in the world that serves ocean ships. Speaking of ships … late this afternoon, we’ll embark the luxurious M/V Zafiro in time for a tasty Welcome Dinner on board. Tonight, your rainforest explorations kick off with some stargazing on the ship deck and a live music performance.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 6:

Sailing the wildlife-rich Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

Today we’ll revel in the Amazonian remoteness when we head to the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Unforgettable Moment: Named for the rivers that run through this 8,000-square-mile protected area, Pacaya Samiria teems with more than 1,000 plant species and myriad wildlife, including puma, jaguar, anaconda, spider monkeys, and the pink river dolphin. You’ll sail through this rainforest, soaking in the natural splendor of your surroundings in what’s been called the “birthplace of the Amazon,” while your naturalist guide’s encyclopedia knowledge — and his or her eagle eye — will ensure that you get the most from your explorations inside this lush 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 sloths, pygmy marmosets, and other reclusive species. Later, we’ll visit an area where Amazonian pink dolphins are known to feed on fish. Seeing these creatures in their element is a true thrill! We’ll embark on additional excursions in the cool of the evening when nocturnal species emerge. Tonight we’ll venture to the Tigre River, an offshoot of the Amazon home a wide variety of birdlife, including coots, herons, sea gulls, and intriguing nocturnal birds.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:

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

On a pre-dawn Samiria River expedition, our naturalist guide will lead us farther into the rainforest, pointing out the stunning array of wildlife often overlooked by the untrained eye. Our area of focus today is renowned for its macaws and toucans, so we’ll keep our eyes trained toward the canopy to catch a glimpse of the colorful wildlife overhead. In the afternoon, our guide becomes an interpreter when we visit with the local Kukama community, getting an insider’s look at indigenous Amazon culture and learning about everyday life here. Our visit concludes with a stirring singing performance by some local children. This evening, we head to 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:

Plants, rituals, and healing: inside a shamanic village

We uncover more fascinating culture on the Amazon with a morning visit to the shamanic village of Shiryacu. Unforgettable Moment: In Shiryacu, we’ll learn about the plants used by 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, alongside among other impressive natural features, we’ll view the largest aquatic plant in the world: Victoria amazonica.

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,” named for the unique enclosed environment the jungle creates here. Tonight, on the Dorado River, we’ll be 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’ll spend the morning swimming the pristine 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 local food during an Amazonia cooking class, followed by a home-hosted lunch. Interacting with locals 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 one 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. 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 your own airfare, please plan to arrange your own transfer (or purchase from Vantage) and plan your flight arrangements to fly home from Iquitos.

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

Included Meals:


Post-Trip Extension

Machu Picchu & Cusco


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 - 2019

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VantageSmithsonianVantage Advantage
JourneyAmazon River Cruise: Peru's Wildlife WondersAmazon River Cruise 2-FOR-1 CRUISE PRICES! NEW FOR 2018: NOW INCLUDED GRATUITIES FOR LOCAL GUIDES & DRIVERS!
Cruise-Only Prices $5,399$5,295Enjoy the best value at a cost of up to $2,192 less per couple!
Trip Length11 days10 daysWe offer you one extra day to enhance your discoveries!
Per Diem $446 per day$530Save up to $664 per couple per day!
Cabin sizesBrand-new deluxe M/V Zafiro built in 2015, all-suite ship for just 38 travelers with floor-to-ceiling windows in each cabinAll M/V Zafiro cabins are 220 square feet with regional art & textilesdeluxe open spacesfloor-to-ceiling windows and private balconiesYour Adventure Leader joins you onboard to enhance your discoveries like only a local can!
Cabin UpgradesCabin jumps from $400No jumpsReasonable priced jumps make it great value to upgrade your accomodation.
Included Tours and Special Features21 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 LimaDaily tours and shore excursions, including:active adventures river village visitsEnjoy the most sightseeing plus exciting Cultural Connections with many opportunities for wildlife viewing including a "night safari."
Extend Your Trip6-days MACHU PICCHU POST EXTENSION, $2,099 $350 per day Lima pre-tripBest value and extension options! See a Wonder of the World at Machu Picchu!
10 Ways to Save & Preferred Traveler RewardsNew 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 ProtectionTHE 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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