You are using an old version of the browser and your video viewing experience may be impacted

The Leader in Small Groups on the Road Less Traveled
Never more than 10-16 travelers—guaranteed!

2016 Amazon River Cruise & Rain Forest

Sold out in 2016 , Join us in 2017

Lima • Iquitos • Amazon River Cruise on Río Marañon and Río Amazonas

Trip Experience

Cruise through the Amazon rain forest, experience its natural diversity, and meet people in riverside villages.

Trip Itinerary

Trace your journey along the Amazon's waterways, from Iquitos to the small village of Nauta.

Trip Leader

Hear Trip Leader Erik Flores reflect on growing up in the Amazon and some of his favorite regional dishes.

Trip Extension: Machu Picchu & Cuzco, Peru

Meet the business owners who help keep local Peruvian crafting and natural medicines a tradition on this trip extension

Courtesy Ke Nguyen
Cuzco, Peru

Witness the iconic landscapes and the people who call Cuzco home.

Courtesy Regina Fraser and Pat Johnson
Peru – Its Coastal Cultural Heritage

Follow two women as they explore Peru's Atlantic coast, discovering its culture, cuisine, and arts scene.

Courtesy Regina Fraser and Pat Johnson
Peru – Cusco & Machu Picchu

Delve into the folk art of Cuzco and feel history come alive in Machu Picchu with the Grannies on Safari.

Courtesy Mitchell Teplitsky
Pedro e Ivan

Meet a father and son who left Lima for rural Peru to cultivate and live off the land.

Courtesy David Karg

Feel the pulse of contemporary Peru in this colorful film portrait.

Courtesy Mitchell Teplitsky
The Knitters

Follow a group of rural Peruvian women who started a knitting cooperative to earn money.

©2015 The New York Times
Intersection: Lima, Peru

Discover the Barranco disctrict of Lima and meet the young, artsy generation who work and live there.

Courtesy David Conover
The Shamans of Peru

Meet Peru’s shamans and learn how they dedicate their lives to ancient rituals in an increasingly modern world.

Courtesy Kaila Taylor
Earth Diaries - Machu Picchu

Journey high above Peru to discover the Inca civilization’s ancient city, Machu Picchu.

Sold out in 2016 , Join us in 2017
Extend Your Trip

See how you can create your own unique travel experience
Learn more »


Share Your Travel Moments
Share your photo and video memories
from your past trips with us

Itinerary Overview

Travel into Peru's rain forest on this Amazon River cruise and explore a region with an amazing diversity of plant and animal life. Pink and gray dolphins may swim alongside our skiff as we explore the Amazon and its tributaries. Colorful birds like macaws and toucans, together with mammals including monkeys, may create a beautiful rain forest cacophony with their cries. And we'll witness the remarkable way of life of the ribereños—the Amazon's river people—who have sustained themselves with the resources of the rain forest and its waterways for many generations.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 5 nights from only $1095

    Precede your Amazon River cruise by exploring the pre-Incan kingdoms of Chimú and Moche in northern Peru. Among the Moche treasures we’ll see are those found in the tomb of the warrior-king known as the Lord of Sipán. Our discoveries are based in the culturally rich cities of Trujillo and Chiclayo on Peru's Pacific Coast.

    View Extension Itinerary
Lima Iquitos Expand All
  • Today, you'll fly from the U.S. to Lima. An O.A.T. representative will meet you when you arrive to assist with your transfer to your hotel.

  • See the Plaza de Armas of Lima during a tour of Peru

    Today, we'll meet our Trip Leader and fellow travelers—including those joining us from our optional Before the Incas: Peru's Pyramids & the Lord of Sipan pre-trip extension. We'll have lunch together, and then take an orientation walk through the boulevards and plazas around our hotel, which is situated in the stylish Miraflores district. After our walk, we'll return to our hotel; dinner is on your own.

  • Encounter some of Villa El Salvador’s forward-thinking residents

    After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll explore Lima in greater depth on a colonial tour, where we’ll see some of the city’s most interesting sites. Founded by the conquistadors in 1535, Lima became Spain’s largest and wealthiest city in the New World. The city has a proud history, including the founding of one of the first universities in South America, the Universidad de San Marcos, in the middle of the 16th century. Today, Lima’s historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We begin with a guided visit to Lima’s National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology, and History at Bolivar Square, where we can view the eras of Peru’s history through art, from pre-Incan turquoise figurines to Incan textiles and Spanish paintings. The museum contains an impressive collection of ceramics, gold and silver items, and textiles from the ancient cultures of Chavin, Mochica, Chimu, Tiahuanaco, Pucara, Paracas, Nazca, and Inca. A local guide will then join us as we explore Lima’s colonial streets and architecture—evidence of the city’s Spanish heritage—concluding with a private tour of San Francisco Church, a distinctive yellow building constructed in the Baroque style, known for its beautiful painted ceilings and extensive catacombs. Lunch is on your own and your afternoon is free. In the evening, we gather for a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.

  • Explore local markets in Iquitos

    After breakfast today, we fly to Iquitos. This is Peru’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.

    When we arrive, we’ll  enjoy an included lunch and then check into our hotel. Then we’ll take an orientation walk with our Trip Leader. 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.

    Dinner is on your own tonight.

  • After breakfast, we'll visit two places that help us learn about the wildlife of the Amazon rain forest. First we stop at a butterfly farm that is a breeding and conservation center for tropical butterflies. We continue to the Amazon Rescue Center, the first formal facility dedicated to wildlife rescue in the Peruvian Amazon. Here we'll have the chance to see Amazonian manatees, an endangered species. Afterwards, we have lunch in Iquitos, and the rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax or explore on your own. We gather for dinner this evening at a local restaurant.

  • Explore the Amazon on a small ship river cruise

    After breakfast, we’ll board our ship and begin our Amazon River cruise. Once aboard, you can just relax and let the wild rain forest 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 winds its way to the confluence of the Marañon and Ucayali rivers, considered to be the point where the main stem of the mighty Amazon begins. For this first part of our cruise, we are truly traveling on the waters of the Amazon River itself, not just its tributaries. As we cruise today, we'll meet the ship's crew and enjoy a discussion of tropical fruits of the Amazon. We'll also take our first open boat tour today, the first of many rides we take in the smaller skiff used for excursions from our river ship.

    The Amazon Basin is a fragile environment, constantly under threat from industrial development and population growth. Some 60 miles from Iquitos, however, the Peruvian government has established the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, encompassing five million acres and accessible only by water. During our cruise, we'll explore this area by skiff with an expert guide. Watch for a phenomenal range of wild species in Peru’s largest national park.

    Late this afternoon aboard ship, we'll have a demonstration of how to make a favorite Peruvian drink—the pisco sour. Then we'll enjoy our first dinner onboard. Please note: Due to weather or river conditions, the activities described in this cruise itinerary may take place on different days or at different times from what is shown here. You will still enjoy all the included features mentioned, but the order in which they occur may vary.

  • View diverse wildlife during your Amazon river cruise

    Today we'll begin exploring the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Started in 1940, this reserve now has an area of 7,700 square miles and is the largest protected area in Peru. The reserve harbors 539 species of birds, 101 mammal species, 256 kinds of fish, and 22 species of orchids.

    Early in the morning, you can enjoy a small-boat excursion before breakfast to observe wildlife at a time of day when many birds and animals are active. After breakfast, we'll take a half-hour boat ride and one-hour walk through the jungle to see water lilies on the Ucuyali River. Following lunch back aboard ship, we'll ride in the skiff along the Marañon River to take in more of the Amazon's flora and fauna. We return to our ship in time to have dinner onboard.

  • Early this morning, you can join an elective jungle walk for another chance to experience the rain forest while the wildlife is most active. We return to the ship for breakfast, then have a Spanish lesson onboard. We'll take a canoe ride on San Regis Creek, then head for San Regis Village to  meet a local shaman and learn how he communicates with the spirits of the forest as he prepares remedies with rain forest plants long known to the spiritual healers of the Amazon. After lunch aboard our ship, we have some time to relax before heading out for an afternoon boat excursion on the Choroyacu River. We return to our ship with some time for relaxation before dinner onboard.

  • Explore the Amazon and fish for pirhana

    This morning during our Amazon River cruise, we'll have an early picnic breakfast as we explore part of the Pacaya Samiria Reserve by boat. Afterwards, we'll try our hand at fishing for piranha—the notorious predatory fish, which turns out to be a staple of the local diet since they're quite tasty. Later in the morning, we'll visit a ranger station in the reserve where a project is underway for the region's freshwater turtles. We rejoin our ship on the Marañon River in time for lunch onboard. In the afternoon, we'll swim in the blackwater Nauhapa River, where dolphins may swim close to us. We'll return to our ship with time to relax before dinner on board. In the evening, we'll board our skiff again for a nocturnal excursion to look for caiman and other wildlife that is most active after dark.

  • We continue our Amazon River cruise today with a rewarding day of discoveries that immerses us in the local culture of the Amazon Basin. After breakfast, we travel by skiff to the village of Las Palmas to share A Day in the Life of this Amazon Basin community. As we walk through the village, the ribereños (river people) who live here will introduce us to their way of life, which relies on the resources of the rain forest and the crops that they cultivate. We'll visit the Las Palmas School, supported by Grand Circle Foundation as part of the World Classroom initiative, where we'll meet the young students. Then we'll be the guests of a local family for a Home-Hosted Lunch, including a cooking lesson.

    After returning to our ship in the afternoon, we'll head out for a walk of about 90 minutes on high ground in the jungle. Dinner is back onboard ship this evening.

  • Discover Nauta town during a tour of Peru

    Early this morning, as we cruise back toward Iquitos, we stop at the town of Nauta. We'll stroll through the local market, where local people from the villages along the Amazon come to sell their crops. We'll also visit Sapi Sapi Lake to look for turtles and the arapaima fish (also known as piracu or paiche fish)—one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. After breakfast aboard ship, we take a small-boat excursion on the Yarapa River. We return to our ship for lunch onboard, and then in the afternoon, we’ll have time to relax and enjoy a cooking lesson. This evening, we’ll bid goodbye to our captain and crew at a Farewell Dinner aboard ship.

  • Explore Iquitos after your Amazon small ship river cruise

    We disembark in Iquitos and you have the morning at leisure, with a day room provided at our hotel and lunch on your own. We check out of the hotel and fly to Lima, where we’ll connect to our overnight flight to the U.S., which departs Lima around midnight. Please note: You have a day room available until we leave Iquitos, but there is no overnight hotel stay tonight. If you are taking the post-trip extension to Machu Picchu & Cuzco, Peru, you’ll fly from Iquitos to Cuzco via Lima this morning.

    Machu Picchu & Cuzco, Peru

    5 nights from only $1595

    Don’t leave Peru without experiencing this Andean nation’s other fabled destination—Machu Picchu. We stay overnight and visit its ancient temples twice, once in the afternoon and again in the early morning before the crowds arrive. We delve deeper into Inca traditions when we observe a curandero healing ceremony. And we ride by train through the Sacred Valley—the unforgettable heart of Peru.

    View Extension Itinerary

Click below to read our Travel Planning Guide on Amazon River Cruise & Rain Forest

Read Travel Planning Guide