6 DAYS FROM $2,099
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.
Depart home for Lima, Peru
Set off on your Amazonian adventure by boarding an overnight flight to Lima, Peru.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They are destinations on any adventurous traveler’s must-do list: Cusco and Machu Picchu. These inimitable Peruvian locales offer a glimpse into the country’s past — especially the mighty Inca Empire.
On this extension, you’ll enjoy guided tours of the most celebrated archaeological sites in the country: Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuamán, and, of course, the crown jewel, Machu Picchu. We’ll travel to this architectural marvel by rail on a breathtaking journey that is a highlight in itself. Then, an overnight stay allows us to explore the “Lost City of the Incas” in-depth on two guided tours. While here, we’ll also have the opportunity to engage in a thrilling hiking adventure to nearby Inti Punku, or "Sun Gate."
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.