Day 1: (Saturday) ARRIVE IQUITOS
Our early-morning flight takes us from Lima across the majestic snow-capped Andes Mountains to the tropical forest and winding rivers of the Amazon and the exotic city of Iquitos. After collecting our luggage, we meet our English-speaking naturalist/guide and make our way to the M/V ARAPAIMA docked near downtown Iquitos. En route to the ship, we enjoy a short sightseeing tour to view Belen Market, the main square, plazas, the Eiffel or Iron House, and the Boulevard area. We board the M/V ARAPAIMA and following cabin assignments, an English-speaking naturalist/guide gives a general ship orientation, crewmember introduction and ship’s safety information, amenities and excursions to be held for the day. Our departure is a few miles downstream on the Itaya River passing islands of varying sizes, small villages and farms lined along the river shore as we meet up with the Amazon River. A few miles downstream, we depart the Itaya River to meet the mighty Amazon and continue upriver. A Peruvian welcome buffet lunch is served in the dining room while the M/V ARAPAIMA continues to sail, stopping in the afternoon for a motorized boat excursion at a black water lake. (L, D)
Day 2: (Sunday) SAPUENILLO
Early morning finds us at the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañon rivers, the point where the Amazon River takes its name and its waters flow to the Atlantic Ocean. Occassionally, fisherman paddling canoes and children living in villages along the bank greet us with a smile. We have a chance to observe a wide variety of birds, such as orioles, jacanas, ibis, egrets and eagles, that can be spotted in the trees and overhead. We continue cruising the left branch of the Ucayali River. After lunch and a lecture about the amazing Amazon rainforest and culture, we visit a village nearby Sapuenillo Creek for a short jungle walk. We reboard the ARAPAIMA and continue sailing along the Ucayali River to the Tapiche River, a newly created Amazon wildlife refuge. Return to the M/V Arapaima for a delicious dinner and overnight aboard (B, L, D)
Day 3: (Monday) TAPICHE / ALEMAN / GALACIA
We awake to the exotic sounds of the dawn chorus and join our naturalist/guides for a bird-watching excursion at Aleman Creek. Excellent views and photo opportunities abound of different species including jacamars, Ibis, parrots, the spectacular red-and-green, blue-and-gold and Scarlet Macaws that reside within this virgin paradise. Near the anchored ARAPAIMA, it is easy to spot groups of pink and grey river dolphins arching silently out of the black waters. A lavish buffet lunch is served on board followed by an optional lecture. Around mid-afternoon, we arrive at Galacia village where our naturalist/guides lead us into the Amazon rainforest for an extensive jungle hike. We marvel at the sudden changes in the vegetation as we observe different species of huge trees, colorful flowers, lianas, and wildlife. When the day again cools, we have time to get back into our motorized aluminum boats to head into the jungle once more for exploration. Invisible birds call sporadically to each other in shrill chirps shattering the silence, like distant gunshots, while our eyes dart in all directions, trying to locate the sources of these occasional sounds. Our tour ends with a night excursion for the South American crocodile known as Caiman. Guides using flashlights shine a bright light on the reeds of the distant shore, and the eyes of Caiman light up like bike reflectors. Our guide might pick up a small Caiman for closer inspection but rest assured they are returned from whence they came. Dinner, accompanied by shared stories of our day’s adventures, is served while the ship continues sailing up and deep into the Tapiche River. (B, L, D)
Day 4: (Tuesday) TAPICHE / IBERIA
At daybreak, we explore the surroundings at Garza Lake or cocha, nearby Iberia, visiting an Amazon flooded forest searching for primitive-looking birds called Hoatzins. It is also highly probably to see a vast variety of colorful birds, three-toed sloth and numerous species of monkeys like the Squirrel and the Capuchin. Guides teach us to catch piranhas and other species of fish like sardines and catfish with just a wooden stick, a bit of fishing line, a hook and a cube of beef or chicken. After lunch, our English speaking naturalist/guides, most are native born and grew up in nearby river villages, lead us on a jungle hike, pointing out which plants are for medicinal and healing purposes and to see the leaves, lianas and pieces of wood people in the Amazon use to build their houses. Our naturalists discuss the fascinating rainforest creatures we may observe while moving through the dense woodland. Following dinner, the top deck is a magnificent place to keep an eye out for wildlife while the M/V Arapaima makes her way to our next destination. (B, L, D)
Day 5:(Wednesday) TAPICHE / SAN PEDRO
Early morning arrival finds us docked at the village of San Pedro, where after breakfast we have a chance to visit, talk and enjoy the local village atmosphere. The children, especially, are intrigued and pleased by our visit, an opportunity that provides excellent photo possibilities. Naturalist-guides are always on-hand to escort guests, to identify and discuss the thousands of plants and animal species we may find around the villages and the numerous questions about their lifestyle in the Amazon rainforest. Lunch is served on-board; an optional lecture gives us a chance to exchange stories of our experiences in the village. In the afternoon, an easy-paced three-hour hike through the jungle provides time to study and photograph the wilderness and wildlife that surrounds us. Return from this adventure-filled day to the ARAPAIMA to relax in one of the hammocks on the sun deck or take a hot shower to prepare for a fantastic regional dinner while we begin our cruise back to the Ucayali River. (B, L, D)
Day 6: (Thursday) TAPICHE / REQUENA / YUCURUCHI
Early morning is the perfect time for exploring the rainforest because it is the most active time for birds and animals. As daylight, slowly dawns we witness an amazing experience of spotting parrots flying overhead in pairs, their distinctive squawks piercing the jungle air, along with other species such as tinamous, herons, vultures, kingfishers, ibis, kites, woodpeckers, flycatchers and many, many more. After mid-morning, because of the heat, the wildlife tend to sleep or to rest, so the ship drops anchor in mid-Ucayali River and we travel in the aluminum boats up a tributary. Following a hearty lunch, and when the outside temperature is uncomfortably hot, we have a lecture and slide show, if available, by our naturalist experts. During this talk, we learn about the fishes, plants, birds, the fascinating life of river dolphins and details about weather patterns of the Amazon region. The remainder of the afternoon affords us an opportunity to explore for wildlife, taking an optional short jungle hike or relaxing in a hammock overlooking breath-taking panoramic views along the river. Before sunset, a brief stop at Libertad village gives us a chance to understand how these people live in the Amazon and to buy some of the handicrafts they make. Dinner is served on-board. (B, L, D))
Day 7: (Friday) YANAQUILLO / DEPART IQUITOS
After an all night cruise down the Ucayali River, we awake this morning on the mighty Amazon. After breakfast, the ARAPAIMA docks at the Yanaquillo Creek. Our small boat excursion transports us to observe the Victoria Amazonica water lilies, which can be several feet across and adorned with basketball-size flowers, and other wildlife along the river shores. We arrive in Iquitos around midday and enjoy the afternoon at our leisure. We can walk through the stunning streets of this exotic city or have a cold drink at one of the local bar-restaurants in front of the Main Square. A late-afternoon transfer to the hotel or airport for flight to Lima is arranged. (B)
Note: Transfers from/to hotel or airport are not included and are charged as additional services. Also at additional cost, an array of activities suited to every interest like a city tour, visit to the local zoo, meals at local restaurants, or stays at jungle lodges before or after each cruise program, may also be scheduled.
Departure cruise dates – 2008
Apr. 26-May 02
Sep. 27-Oct. 03
Other services not mentioned in the tour
Bar service (beverages and / or soft drinks)
All programs decribed in the tour.
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