Upon arrival in Iquitos, the largest city in the world that can only be accessed by air or water, you will be met by your Amazon Star naturalist guide. We will board buses to pass through the city where your guide will provide you with a brief introduction to the history and the present-day reality of Iquitos, the capital of the Peruvian Amazon. There are more than 40 indigenous groups in the greater region, and the famous rubber boom of 1880-1914 brought great wealth into the area. Just outside of the center of town we will board and begin cruising on the Amazon River in our comfortable riverboat, the Amazon Star. After an orientation session, safety briefing and crew introduction, we will enjoy a welcome drink followed by dinner. As well as every night, before retiring we will be briefed on tomorrow’s activities.
For those who wish to wake up at dawn, there will be a bird-watching session from the ship’s bar deck. This is the perfect time to see some of the exotic birds native to the Amazon waterways. After a hearty buffet-style breakfast in the dining room, we will explore by boat on the very scenic Amazon River passing its picturesque villages while learning about the flora and fauna from the expert naturalists who will accompany us. We will pass the confluence of two powerful rivers, the Marañón and Ucayali, which meet to form the Amazon, now considered the longest river in the world. The full length of the river is 4,345 miles when measured from its origin in a small stream in the Peruvian Andes to the mouth of the river in the Atlantic Ocean. Before lunch we will provide an overview of the activities of the entire voyage’s program in the lecture room. In the afternoon we will explore the beautiful black-water Yarapa River, which because of the presence of tannins from decaying vegetation is acidic and darkly stained, resembling tea or black coffee. In this area we have a good chance of observing many species of birds, monkeys, bats, and sloths. For dinner we will enjoy a buffet of a variety of Peruvian and local regional specialties.
Before breakfast we will set off to explore the beautiful pristine forest in the Yanallpa area inside the 5,000,000 acre Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. After breakfast, we will visit a local river village and its school where we will interact with the children and their teachers. As we walk through the village we will see local people’s farms and homes and learn about their unique lifestyle without any connection by roads to anywhere else in the world. There will also be an opportunity to purchase the wonderful arts and crafts made by these river people. After a delicious lunch aboard the Amazon Star, our naturalist guide will tell us more about the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, the largest protected area in Peru, with its incredible biodiversity and various conservation efforts by the Peruvian government and its allies. In the afternoon we will go fishing for piranha and other species of tropical fish. After dark, we will stargaze on Dorado Creek 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. Once again a wonderful dinner will await us on board.
This morning there will be an early wake-up call and breakfast in the dining room. We will then depart to explore by boat along the Pacaya River in search of primates such as Red Howler Monkeys, squirrel monkeys and tamarins, as well as amazing bird species such as the Hoatzin, Horned Screamer, macaws, and various raptors. We will return for a delicious lunch onboard and afterward our guides will tell us more about the Amazon River and its source. In the afternoon we will explore by boat on the Yuracocha Lake to see the world’s largest water lily, the Victoria Amazonica, and enjoy the natural history of the area.
After an early breakfast we will explore by boat on Supay Creek in search of the pygmy marmoset, one of the smallest primates in the world. There will also be a great chance for sightings of large raptors, such as the Great Black Hawk, Black-collared Hawk, and Harpy Eagle. Before lunch our naturalist guides will share some tales of the Amazon, stories and myths of the local culture. In the afternoon we will visit the village of San Jose de Paranapura where a shaman will explain his traditional healing using medicinal plants and spiritual practices. The shaman will perform a traditional blessing ceremony for us. At the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón rivers we will enjoy the unique scenery and landscape, as well as another breathtaking sunset, weather permitting.
Our final breakfast on board will be early and afterward we will disembark from the ship to buses to transfer to the airport in Iquitos for departure flights or to the city of Iquitos.