Upon arrival from your international flight, you will be transferred to your hotel and overnight in Lima, the nation's capital and largest city. Please note that hot water shortages and power outages can be fairly common in Peru (even in upgraded hotels and private homes). We appreciate your patience and understanding that these occurrences are outside of our control.
Today will begin very early, to give us time to eat breakfast and catch our flight to Iquitos, where we’ll transfer to our Amazon River ship, our privately chartered home for the next seven days. But before boarding, we get acquainted with this jungle port city an orientation tour. This is the country’s main river port, established in 1864 in the heart of rubber country on the Amazon’s deep waters. Like any port, it has a hustle-bustle feel, yet it is not without its places of quiet and shaded retreats. Much of the architecture we see is a 19th-century vestige of the era when European commercial barons held sway over life and culture here. And while Iquitos has seen many fortunes rise and fall, its isolation has remained constant: access to the city is by air or river only. We will also make a brief stop at the Amazonian Manatee Rescue Centre. The Amazonian Manatee is very rare and endangered mammal unique to the Amazon Jungle. This centre focuses on rescuing orphaned manatees who have been victims of poaching. The centre helps rehabilitate and reintroduce these wonderful creatures back into the Amazon Basin. Here you will have a see the efforts of the rescue centre as well as have the opportunity to feed these amazing and loveable animals. Once on board ship, you can just relax and let the wild rainforest surround you. Step out on deck to watch the riverbanks go by—but keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as gray and pink dolphins. Our ship casts off and wends its way to the confluence of the Marañon and Ucayali Rivers. Here, it is generally (but not universally!) considered that the Amazon River begins, at least in name. Approximate Distance: 1020km Estimated Travel Time: 3 hours
After breakfast, we have an excursion on the Amazon and some of its tributaries to see the wonders of the rain forest. This is our chance to see monkeys, sloths, and a variety of birds. Back onboard , we’ll gather for lunch, followed by a presentation on the Amazon River. Afterwards, we’ll walk along the shores of the Ucayali River, located in the Yucuruchi region of the Amazon. Here we’ll have an opportunity to see the Victoria Regia water lily—a gigantic aquatic plant
Today we rise early to visit the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve for a full day of discovery in Peru's largest national park. Then, keep your eyes wide open and your binoculars at the ready to catch sight of cocoi heron and striated herons, colorful macaws, squirrel and woolly monkeys, caimans, sloths and many more primate, bird and mammal species. Current counts record more than 200 bird species and 10 primate species within its boundaries. Our route takes us over the tributary waters of the Marañon. Along the way, our guides will point out the interesting wildlife species that inhabit the riverbanks—not to mention unusual fish and vegetation in the river. Back onboard, we'll gather for breakfast followed by a presentation on the life, history, and culture of the Amazon's main tribes. After lunch, we have an introductory discussion about shamanism that will help us understand the traditions of the rain forest people. Our ship then arrives in the Amazon Natural Park where we'll take a short walk to the Enchanted Lake. Here a catamaran waits to sail us along the lake's tranquil waters, where we'll listen to the local birdsong and keep our eyes peeled for sighting the different animal species found in this area. Before dinner, we'll touch upon the spirit realm, paying a visit to a local shaman. Mystic ... minister ... healer—one might consider a shaman to be "all of the above." But to understand shamanism requires something of a leap of faith, a leap into the spirit world that is the shaman's domain. Shamanism is practiced around the globe, and is universally distinguished by a trance state called shamanic ecstasy. In these "out of body" travels, the shaman enlists denizens of the spirit world to help him with a variety of duties, from healing the sick to assisting a deceased person's soul into the afterworld—and all the while, the shaman remains conscious. Before you leave the Amazon jungle, you'll gain rare insight into the complexities of this phenomenon when you meet an actual practicing shaman in a river village. He'll introduce us to his spiritual healing craft and tell us about rain forest plants that indigenous peoples have for untold centuries held to possess curative properties. Your experience may not be "out of body," but it's sure to be out of the ordinary.
The early morning offers another opportunity to watch the world awakening in the rain forest. Perhaps you'll spy iguanas, river turtles, cormorants, or wattled jacana during this excursion. We return to our riverboat and prepare to meet a local Indian family. They will welcome us into their home to share conversation over the midday meal, introducing you to their culture, costumes, and way of life. This is a rare and unforgettable opportunity to gain new insight into a world truly apart from our own. Be sure to be well rested, so that you won't miss our late-night excursion to discover who comes out at night in the jungle! As we join our Trip Leader for a nighttime boat ride in the wild, be on the lookout for mammals, bats, and reptiles such as capybara, black caiman, poison frogs, and a vast number of other species.