DAY 1 - WEDNESDAY
Upon arrival in Iquitos, the largest inland city in the world that can only be accessed by air or water, you will be met by your naturalist guide and we will board our air-conditioned bus. Our first stop will be at the CREA Manatee Rescue Center located outside of Iquitos where one of the manatee caretakers will explain how their conservation program rescues, rehabilitates and returns these majestic mammals to the wild. After returning to the bus, we will continue towards the town of Nauta where the Amazon Star awaits us. Construction of the 61 mile road to Nauta began in the 1970’s but was not paved until 2004; it is the only road that departs Iquitos. Along the way we will have a box lunch as we pass rural villages as well as unique white sand forests where a number of new species of birds and plants, previously unknown to science, have been discovered in recent years. Upon arrival to Nauta, crew from the Amazon Star will meet us and we will take a short skiff ride to the ship where a short orientation session and safety briefing will preface the start of our adventures. Later in the afternoon we will explore along Pawachiro Creek, a tributary of the Marañon River. We hope to see night monkeys along this creek as well as many species of colorful birds. This evening we’ll have a special musical performance by the crew before our delicious buffet dinner.
DAY 2 - THURSDAY
We will depart early this morning with a picnic breakfast to explore in the Yanayacu-Pucate River Basin stopping first at the ranger station to sign in before entering this very important area of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. This is a perfect place to see macaws flying overhead and to spot pink and gray freshwater dolphins in the river and to fish for the infamous piranha and other species of tropical fish. The diversity of fish in the Amazon River and its tributaries is amazing, with more species found here than in the entire Atlantic Ocean. We will also search for a quiet area for swimming in this blackwater tributary. After lunch back on board the Amazon Star, our guide will teach us more about the Amazon River, its source and its course before reaching the mouth at Belem, Brazil. In the afternoon we will explore along the Nauta Caño Creek to look for sloth, marsh birds and to enjoy the dolphins sharing the waterway with us. Kayaks will be available for those interested in discovering on their own. After dark we will return to Nauta Caño to stargaze and enjoy the night’s symphony of sounds, with possible sightings of caiman, fishing bats, frogs, and night birds such as the Common Potoo, Great Potoo, nightjars and night herons, as well as other nocturnal wildlife of the Amazon rain forest. Upon return to the ship, we’ll enjoy another wonderful dinner on board.
DAY 3 - FRIDAY
After breakfast, we will visit Puerto Prado, a small river village where a local resident will take us along a terra firme primary rainforest trail through their community reserve. Our naturalists will show us some of the incredible biodiversity of the forest as we search for poison dart frogs, various insects, and snakes, many of which are unique to this environment. We may also see saddleback tamarins, small primates that travel in groups, shaking the vegetation as they jump through the highest branches of the trees. At Puerto Prado we will see a lake covered with giant Victoria Regia lilies and visit a shaman who will explain his traditional healing using medicinal plants and spiritual practices. The shaman will perform a traditional blessing for those who are interested in taking part in this ceremony. Before we leave, a women’s artisan group from the village will show us their exquisite handicrafts for purchase, including birds and animals fashioned from “chambira” palm fibers. After lunch on the Amazon Star, our chef will hold a cooking class for those interested in learning how to make the traditional Amazonian fish dishes of “patarashca” and Peruvian ceviche. There will also be an opportunity to learn towel origami from one of the cabin stewards. This afternoon, on our last excursion on the Amazon River, we will celebrate our journey with a sunset champagne toast. A special farewell dinner is planned for us tonight with a musical presentation by the crew.
DAY 4 - SATURDAY
Our final breakfast on board will be early. Following breakfast, we will disembark from the ship for the airport for departure flights or to the city of Iquitos.