Our travel advisor, Louanne Warren, just took a fantastic trip to the Amazon with International Expeditions! For seven days, Louanne explored the river and surrounding villages, taking in the local culture, fishing, and kayaking.
Flying first into Lima, Peru, the evening of Louanne’s arrival was spent at the local Swissotel. “The Swissotel is a five-star hotel in the nicest area of Lima. This was a wonderful amenity after a seven-hour flight,” she remarked as she described the beginning of her trip. “After we left Lima we flew into Iquitos, about a two and a half hour flight. We could see the Amazon from the plane, and I was amazed by how large it is. I didn’t really understand until that moment when we were flying over it what an impact the river has on the world. It is as large as the 48 continental states of America and eleven times the volume of the Mississippi river. It’s difficult to grasp how truly impressive it is until you’re there, flying over it, knowing you’re soon going to be in it.”
As part of their seven-day itinerary, Louanne and her fellow travelers covered over 700 miles round trip on the river near Peru. Each day brought a new adventure for the twenty-seven passengers, and they often explored the river in small skiffs, which each held nine passengers. “We spent a lot of time on the river itself, but we also had these side adventures on smaller offshoots of the river in black water. We’d see monkeys, birds, frogs, and an overwhelming variety of flora and fauna. The crew on board was like a family, too! Our itinerary was full and busy, but it always felt organized. The crew looked out for everyone’s safety and health, and we had two fantastic chefs who prepared three healthy, delicious meals each day. We had three jungle guides who grew up in the Amazon (thank you, Daniel, Segundo, and Juan!!) and an International Expedition Guide who planned our activities each day (thank you, Giullermo!). Guillermo was a trained biologist with a Master’s Degree in Ecotourism, and worked with Discovery Channel, BBC, and National Geographic, so we experienced the best of the best!”
Dolphin watching: The river has pink and grey dolphins from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The River natives have many dolphin stories and revere the animals as neighbors! Dolphins will follow skiffs as they travel through smaller tributaries and lakes off the river. This is a can’t miss part of the Amazon trip. If you get out for a swim early enough in the morning, the dolphins may join you!Piranha Fishing: Cane poles and tenderloin. It seems like a scene from a movie, but on this cruise travelers get to experience it first hand. All three skiffs went out to the back waters of the Amazon and fished, catching a mix of piranhas and bass. Small fish were released, while large fish were kept and cooked later on in the ship’s kitchen! Nothing like catching your own food in the Amazon to make for a good adventure story!
Hunting for Creepy Crawlies: There were special night-time expeditions to look for Caiman, a reptile similar to what we know in the United States as an alligator. The main difference between alligator and caiman is that caiman has a hard, armored belly. We also searched for (and found, much to the dismay of some arachnophobic travelers!) many pink-toed Tarantula. The night expeditions are not for the faint of heart when it comes to wildlife, but they are fun and educational if you can brave it!
Early Morning Kayaking: For those who don’t want to come in to contact with piranhas and spiders and caimans (oh my!), the early morning kayak trip provides a peaceful view of the river. The water is smooth and kayakers can spot an array of wildlife and birds. This is most definitely a trip for avid bird watchers!
In addition to the cruise adventures, Louanne was able to experience manatees up close and personal at the Manatee Rescue Center in Iquitos, visiting the Pilipintuwasi Butterfly Farm, and live dancing sessions with the cruise staff to traditional Peruvian music! The trip is combinable with an extension in Machu Pichu, and Louanne recommends this itinerary to both family and solo travelers!
Travel Tips and Tricks
• Purchase a good pair of binoculars. You’ll want these to see wildlife from the ship.
• Bring a camera with a zoom lens- as well as extra batteries for the camera!
• Sunscreen, hats, and sturdy shoes are a MUST. Hiking boots are recommended.
• Bring pepto-bismol pills with you, and start taking them 3 days before you depart for the cruise to line your stomach.
• Bring pedialyte packets. If you get dehydrated, stomach illness will only get worse!
• Brush your teeth with BOTTLED water. Rinse your tooth brush with BOTTLED water.
• Be prepared to be disconnected from the moment you depart Lima until the moment you return. There is no internet or cell reception in the Amazon!