The Amazon River. The very name conjures images of tremendous biological diversity: tropical birds winging through the forest … bromeliads blooming on ancient trees … Yagua villagers gliding along in dugout canoes. We’ll navigate this region on foot and by boat, and discover its astonishing beauty and diversity up close.
- It's Included:
- Roundtrip airfare between Lima and Iquitos
- Accommodations for 1 night in Lima and 4 nights in Amazon lodges
- 16 meals—6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 4 dinners
- 11 small group activities
- Services of a local guide
- All transfers
- Porterage for 1 bag per traveler
Depart the U.S. late this evening on an overnight flight to Peru.
We arrive at the airport in Lima early in the morning and transfer to our hotel. We have an included breakfast and the rest of morning us at leisure. Later, we’ll get acquainted with our local guide and fellow travelers over lunch at a local restaurant, and enjoy an orientation walk through the fashionable Miraflores District around our hotel. Dinner tonight is on your own.
After our early morning flight to Iquitos—a lively port city in the northern part of Peru—we board our boat and head downriver on the legendary Amazon. The river is two miles wide here, 2,300 miles from the Atlantic, and we travel along it for about 25 miles, into a forested area with a few riverfront farms and homes.
We arrive at our rain forest lodge, where we'll have lunch, receive a briefing to get oriented, and take an initial nature walk on the local Lake Trail. This evening, kerosene torches and lamps light our way along the covered pathways to the dining room for our first dinner in the rain forest. We'll make an open boat excursion on a small stream to hear night sounds, and see the many stars and constellations of the southern hemisphere if the skies are clear.
After breakfast, we'll take a walk along the Bushmaster Trail, through some of the most biologically diverse forest on Earth. Then our guide will talk to us about the local Yagua culture, including the effects of the arrival of Europeans to South America and the encroachment of the modern world. We then have the opportunity to visit the Yaguas, who will share insight into their way of life, and show us how to use their traditional blowgun.
We have lunch at the lodge, and then spend much of the afternoon on a boat excursion where we may see freshwater dolphins swimming through the river, or sloths hanging in cecropia trees along the water's edge. Along the way we'll also see ribereño houses—thatched-roof cottages built on stilts—and local people going about their daily lives.
We enjoy another included dinner this evening.
After breakfast we hike about an hour to the Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies (ACTS) and learn about ongoing scientific projects taking place there. Then, we ascend to the tops of the giant trees, to the center’s canopy walkway, a unique system of aerial platforms and cableways more than 1,500 feet long, the longest treetop walkway in the world. From high above the forest floor, we’ll observe complex layers of tropical vegetation, and enjoy a rare panoramic view of the Amazon. We may also spot scarlet and blue macaws or the paradise tanager, and saki and titi monkeys may join us as we walk through their domain.
After lunch, we visit a well-organized botanical garden that preserves more than 240 species of medicinal plants, and learn from a local practitioner about their use in traditional remedies. This afternoon, we may also elect to join a boat excursion to fish for piranha, observe the giant Victoria Regina water lily (in season), spot more sloths, or canoe on a blackwater lake. We dine at our lodge again this evening.
After breakfast, we head to our next lodge by boat, stopping to visit the Yanamono Clinic, an Amazon medical center supported by Grand Circle Foundation. We arrive at our lodge in the late morning, leaving us some time to enjoy the lodge's gardens, swimming pool, and hammock house before lunch.
In the afternoon, we walk to the immense Ceiba tree for which the lodge is named. The Ceiba tree is a beautiful sight to behold; it can grow up to 150 feet in height and be hundreds of years old. Its base is thick and spreads out in woody folds that are known to house bats and their young. Its trunk is long and straight, and its branches reach almost horizontally, giving the tree an unusual appearance. Indigenous to Mesoamerica, the Ceiba was worshipped in ancient times by the Mayan people as a representation of the connection between Earth and the heavens. Even today, you may come across a lone Ceiba tree standing in a cleared field, untouched by the farmer's axe in homage to its mythological status.
This afternoon, we also make a boat excursion to the large river village of Indiana, where we'll keep our eyes peeled for the dolphins known to thrive in this area. Then, after our day’s adventures, we return to our lodge for dinner this evening.
Following breakfast this morning, we visit Monkey Island, a private nature reserve where several species of tropical primates are protected, including small tamarins, saki, titi, and large woolly monkeys. After lunch at our lodge, we journey back upriver to Iquitos. Later, we fly to Lima to begin our Real Affordable Peru adventure.