The mighty Amazon River – portions of it so broad and deep that it’s more of a slim inland ocean that a river – is most closely associated with Brazil. However, the world’s largest river originates high in the Peruvian Andes, and takes the name “Amazon” at the confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali Rivers in Peru.
The incredible biodiversity of the Amazon region can be enjoyed on a cruise of its Upper Basin. You’ll start by flying from Lima to the remote city of Iquitos, Peru; then, you’ll travel by bus to Natua, where you’ll board a comfortable river boat equipped to tour the intricate web of waterways, bordered by thick jungle, that flow into the storied river.
Most of the cruise will be within the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, 8,000 square miles of protected, flooded rainforest bursting with animal and plant life. Each day, you’ll hike or ride a skiff on a jungle safari. Monkeys, macaws, caiman, heron, butterflies, iguanas, enormous lily pads, towering ceiba trees, piranhas and pink river dolphins are just a few of the amazing inhabitants. Many cruises also provide opportunities to visit native villages and learn how the people live.
The tastes of the Amazon are wonderful, too. You’ll be able to try fruits and vegetables you may never have seen before, such as aguaje and chayote, along with more familiar passionfruit, yucca, plantains, corn, rice and grilled fish, often flavored with ginger and chili peppers.
There’s a lot to know about Amazon cruising, starting with when to go. The flood season is December through April, and the (relatively) dry season is May through November. There are advantages to cruising in either season: in flood season, water levels are higher and more tributaries are navigable; in the dry season, water levels are lower and more jungle paths are available for hiking. Whichever season you choose, be prepared for rain at any time! Temperatures don’t change much: the dry season’s average daily temperatures are in the mid-80s, the flood season in the mid-90s.
Preparation is important. You’ll need vaccinations or preventive medication for malaria, typhoid, yellow fever and dehydration; strong insect repellent; the right clothes (long sleeves and pants in light, breathable materials); and sturdy shoes that can stand up to mud. You’ll be well-equipped for the cruise of a lifetime!
For more information and options for Amazon cruising, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.