Our guests enjoy unrivaled access to the Peruvian rainforest’s most pristine areas and the company of the river’s most knowledgeable guides.
While specific stops are never guaranteed, daily excursions can include everything from birding at dawn, school visits in local villages and even piranha fishing! Join us and be transported to the Amazon of your imagination to discover a rainforest that pulsates with an unrivaled diversity of wildlife.
Authentic Amazon River Experience
Aboard this luxury Amazon River cruise, you’ll create a lifetime of memories: the joy in the eyes of a village child when you visit their school; the enveloping darkness of the rainforest; or the awe of floating along narrow streams accompanied by pink dolphins. Drawing on insight from our native Amazon travel guides, we intentionally vary the villages and tributaries we visit, ensuring you get the most authentic experience possible.
Explore with Pioneers in Amazon Travel
We’ve pioneered travel to the Peruvian Amazon, and our nature-focused, small-group expeditions remain the standard for expedition cruises in the Amazon. We not only pioneered travel to this region, we still work with many of the naturalist guides that we helped to train. Ensuring a worry-free and educational journey, these expert local naturalist guides—along with an experienced expedition leader—accompany all of our Amazon cruises. Each day, these knowledgeable Amazon River travel guides use their decades of learning and guiding experience to serve as lecturers, field guides and friends as you explore the rainforest.
Go Deeper Into the Rainforest
Our exclusive Amazon River tour covers more than 600 miles on the Amazon and its tributaries. You’ll explore three different habitats so you have the best chance of spotting rare wildlife! On our Amazon River cruises, we look for monkeys, birds, sloths and other mammals, pink and gray dolphins and so much more.
Optional Pre-Trip Extensions
Experience vibrant Lima as you delve into some of the city’s most interesting sights!
Arrive in Lima, Peru, where you are met and transferred to our the Swissotel. (Meals Aloft)
This morning tour the historic district of Lima. Visit the cathedral, where Francisco Pizarro is entombed, the Plaza de Armas, the monastery and vast catacombs of the Iglesia de San Francisco before visiting Casa Aliaga, a private home dating back to the Conquistadors. This afternoon we enjoy lunch overlooking the pyramid, Huaca Pucllana. Afterwards, we tour the ruins built by a Pre-Incan indigenous coastal civilization. Late this afternoon, we return to the hotel. This evening, enjoy the night in Lima on your own. Consider using this evening to experience some of Lima’s world famous cuisine. (B,L)
Today we begin with a visit to the vibrant Indian Market where crafters display a wide variety of handmade items, jewelry, and art. We have lunch at a local restaurant and explore the surrounding shops before returning to the hotel to refresh before a late afternoon visit to the Larco Herrera Museum. This museum is housed in an 18th century vice-royal mansion built over a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid and surrounded by beautiful gardens. The museum was founded in 1926 and has the finest gold and silver collection from Ancient Peru. The galleries provide an overview of 3000 years of development of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. After our visit, we enjoy dinner at the museum’s restaurant, Museo Larco, noted as one of Lima’s finest dining options. We return to the hotel this evening and prepare for the next mornings’ flight to Iquitos. (BLD)
Wings Over Peru: Nazca Lines & Ballestas Islands Pre-Extension
Wings Over Peru: Nazca Lines & Ballestas Islands Pre-Extension
Make the most of your travel to South America by combining the Amazon tour with our pre-tour extension to Peru’s Nazca Lines. The Nazca Lines are among the most astonishing early human creations — a series of large geometric shapes and depictions of animals, humans and plants carved out of the desert by a civilization that lived here between 200 BC and 600 AD. Their purpose has been the subject of intensive scientific investigation as well as all kinds of speculation. Since the Nazca Lines are best seen from the air, aboard this Wings Over Peru journey, you soar above the lines on a flightseeing excursion. We’ll also go by boat to the Ballestas Islands to see an incredible spectacle, with tens of thousands of roosting seabirds and colonies of sea lions patrolling the beaches. This extension adds two days to the length of your journey.
Interested in traveling to the Nazca Lines after your Amazon cruise? Call for details!
Our expedition begins with our flight to Lima. On arrival, we meet our guide and transfer to the Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport Hotel for the night. (Meals Aloft)
Lima / Paracas / Nazca / Paracas
We depart Lima early this morning and drive south to the town of Paracas, where we board a small plane for our flight over the Nazca Lines. Among the many figures we see are the “hummingbird,” “monkey” and “dog,” along with some of the many lines that run through the desert. Returning to Paracas, we enjoy an afternoon at leisure and overnight at La Hacienda Bahia de Paracas. While here you can relax seaside or treat yourself to a massage at the spa. (B,L,D)
Ballestas / Lima
This morning we take a boat ride to the Ballestas Islands to see its thousands of seabirds: Humboldt penguins, Inca terns, two kinds of boobies and three kinds of cormorants. More than 200 species have been recorded here. Noisy sea lions also inhabit the beaches and waters. We continue on for more wildlife viewing, including Chilean flamingos. After our boat ride, we return to Lima. We have the evening to relax at our hotel. The rest of our group arrives this evening. (B)
Rainforest Canopy & Lodge Extension
Rainforest Canopy & Lodge Extension
From first light until after dark, immerse yourself in the sensations of our Amazon rainforest tour while enjoying our comfortable, air-conditioned lodge artfully constructed to exist in harmony with the surrounding environment. Explore a different side of Amazon rainforest travel as you head high into the canopy at day break, encountering birds and other wildlife in the treetops.
Fly independently to Lima, Peru, and overnight at the Costa del Sol. (D Aloft)
Fly across the Andes to the lively frontier city of Iquitos. Enjoy an interactive visit to the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have rescued. Board a speed boat and head out onto the Amazon River toward Ceiba Tops Lodge. This evening, join our guide for a jungle hike, visiting the immense ceiba tree for which the lodge is named. (B,L,D)
After a hearty breakfast, travel to a Yagua village. The Yagua people live scattered throughout the Amazon Basin, supporting their communities with small-scale agriculture, fishing and light hunting. Additionally, the Yagua are known for their craft-making skills, and you have ample opportunity to purchase wooden animal carvings, decorative blowguns, and a variety of necklaces, bracelets and jewelry fashioned from natural materials such as seeds and fibers. Call on the Amazon Medical Clinic operated by former IE guest Dr. Linnea Smith. The clinic provides river communities with their only access to modern medical care. Before returning to Ceiba Tops, stop at a library offering a book club, computer classes and special activities for students at local schools. (B,L,D)
Walk the trail to the Canopy Walkway. In conjunction with Explorama Lodge, IE conceived and funded the building of this walkway in 1992. Wooden steps take us from the forest floor to suspended pathways and platforms. Ascend the walkway to a height of more than ten stories, emerging above the seemingly endless canopy. Enjoy a close-up view of life in the canopy: plants and bright flowers attracting gorgeous birds and other creatures. After lunch at the lodge, visit the ReNuPeRu Ethnobotanical Garden, where plants are grown for use in local medicine and healing ceremonies. (B,L,D)
Iquitos / Embark
Awake to the sounds of the forest, joining your naturalist for an early morning bird walk. Transfer by boat to Iquitos. Head out onto the Amazon River to Monkey Island. Monkey Island is a private reserve whose free-roaming inhabitants include wooly, saki and titi monkeys as well as tamarins and marmosets. After lunch, meet your fellow Amazon cruise passengers in Iquitos and embark. (B,L,D)
Amazon River Cruise Itinerary
- Day 1
Fly independently to Lima, Peru, the nation’s capital and largest city, and transfer to the Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport Hotel for the night. (D Aloft)
- Day 2
Lima / Iquitos / Embark / Amazon River
Fly over the Andes to Iquitos. Board the elegant riverboat, Zafiro, home for seven nights. Enjoy stargazing and storytelling with our local guides while cruising slowly on the Amazon River toward the confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali Rivers. (B,L,D)
- Day 3-8
Amazon River & Tributaries
Spend the next six nights aboard your plush riverboat navigating deep into the tributaries of the Amazon—a web of forests and lakes that pulsates with a chorus of birdlife, the calls of primates, and flashes of colorful butterflies.
More than 1,300 species of birds, 40,000 plant species and grey and pink river dolphins can be found in this lush, ever-changing rainforest known collectively as “The Amazon.”
Enjoy unprecedented access to three habitats, varzea, igapó and palm-flooded forest, including the deep reaches of the protected Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, for the greatest diversity of wildlife sightings, including spectacular blue-and-gold and scarlet macaws, hoatzins and horned screamers. Traverse the waterways aboard sturdy excursion boats to areas where you may find marsh birds such as oriole blackbirds, green ibis, yellow-headed caracaras, black-capped donacobis and white-headed marsh-tyrant. Nighttime excursions may reveal caimans, capybaras, common pootoos, frogs and other nocturnal wildlife. Periodically throughout the year, guests may even release turtle hatchlings.
Daily excursions include early morning birding, enriching presentations, school visits in local villages and even piranha fishing! Learn about the lives of the Ribereño people as we visit villages perched along the riverbanks. This is a fantastic opportunity to stroll through their gardens and learn about medicinal plants from a local Shaman. Depending on the villages visited during your voyage, you may also see an IE-funded
water treatment tower or home filtration systems provided through our partnership with a local conservation organization.
Pointing out details no guidebook could provide are your IE Expedition Leader and the ship’s team of world-class naturalists, while Zafiro’s attentive crew ensures exceptional service in the wild. (B,L,D daily)
· Day 9
Iquitos / Lima
On an early morning excursion to Pilpintuwasi Rescue Center, see two- and three-toed sloth, red uakari and even a jaguar which have been rescued. Upon arrival back in Lima late this afternoon, hotel rooms are provided. You can stay overnight and depart on day 10, or alternatively use them as dayrooms and connect with independent overnight flights home today. (B,L)
· Day 10
Depart Lima at any time today.
Optional Post-Trip Extensions
Machu Picchu & Cusco Extension
A visit to Machu Picchu, the grandest of all the Inca sites, must stand out as a highlight of anyone’s travels. It has the most dramatic of settings, atop an Andean mountain surrounded by other peaks. For all its extent — Machu Picchu has some 200 structures, along with brilliant stone masonry — it was almost forgotten until its rediscovery in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. But there is a great deal more to see, and this Machu Picchu tour includes a variety of experiences in the great city of Cusco and in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Galapagos / Lima
Fly to Lima and transfer to Costa del Sol Wyndham. (B, Meals Aloft)
Lima / Cusco / Urubamba Valley
Fly to Cusco — the heart of the Inca Empire. Drive into the historic Urubamba Valley, stopping in Chinchero to browse and shop for Andean handicrafts and alpaca sweaters. Visit the Urubamba Market and spend tonight at the Aranwa Hotel. (B,L,D)
Board the train to Machu Picchu, where we spend the afternoon exploring the ruins with our guide. Our home for the next two nights is the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. (B,L,D)
Today is yours to enjoy a private Machu Picchu tour or simply relax! You may wake up early and hike to the Sun Gate if you wish to return to the citadel. Alternatively, enjoy early morning birding in the abundant gardens surrounding our hotel. This afternoon, treat yourself to the spa or visit the extensive orchid garden, currently considered the biggest in-habitat garden on the planet. The grounds of the Machu Picchu Pueblo are home to exquisite birds including 16 species of hummingbirds and the Andean cock-of-the-rock, the national bird of Peru. Tonight, enjoy an enriching lecture on the history and mysticism surrounding the ruins, along with a detailed discussion of Inca culture. (B,L,D)
Ollantaytambo / Sacsayhuamán / Cusco
Catch the morning train back to the Sacred Valley. Explore the mighty archaeological wonder of Ollantaytambo, where ancient temples and fortresses were built to protect the Sacred Valley. After a Paso Fino horse show at Wayra Ranch, continue across the valley toward Cusco. We stop at Sacsayhuamán — a huge fortress of massive stones which zigzags across the side of the mountain. Spend tonight at the Aranwa Hotel. (B,L,D)
Stroll the streets of Cusco, exploring the Koricancha — also known as Santo Domingo, Santa Catalina Convent and the Cathedral. After lunch, the afternoon is free to explore on your own before a farewell dinner featuring Andean fare. Return to the Aranwa Hotel for the night. (B,L,D)
Lima / Arrive Home
After lunch in Cusco, return to Lima for check in at the Costa Del Sol Wyndham. Enjoy dinner and the evening at your leisure. Late evening you will transfer to the airport for your overnight flight home. Arrive home Saturday. (Day 15: L,D; Day 16: Meals Aloft)
Things to Know
What kind of visas are required for travel to Peru?
Bring a valid passport. We recommend that your passport remain valid for at least six months after your departure date. Visas are not required for US or Canadian citizens.
What kind of weather can you expect during your Amazon tour?
The Iquitos area, near where IE explores on the Amazon Voyage travel package, is located a few degrees south of the Equator and is characterized by strong tropical sun and rainforest. Average temperatures range from the upper 70° to upper 80°F year-round during the day, to the lower 70s at night. It can be cool on the river at night or on overcast days. There is very little seasonal variation between winter and summer temperatures. The average humidity ranges from 60-80%, and rainfall occurs approximately 250 days out of the year. Most showers occur in the late afternoon or evening and are of short duration.
Lima temperatures vary from 70-84°F January through March; 63-81°F April through June; 59-66°F July through September; and 61-75°F October through December.
What’s included in the price of our Amazon River travel packages?
- Guided tours & lectures by native naturalists
- Services of experienced expedition leader
- 8 nights’ accommodation
- All meals on cruise
- Wildlife excursions on land & by skiff in three habitats: varzea, igapó & terra firma
- Piranha fishing
- Dawn birding
- Local village & school visits
- Nighttime skiff rides & rainforest walks
- Full educational program with lectures & field interpretation
- Cooking demonstrations
- All onboard Peruvian cocktails, soft drinks, local wine and local beer.
- Blessing ceremony with a local Shaman
- Arrival and departure transfers between the group hotel and airport regardless of day or time
- Potable water
- Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance