The best way to visit the Peruvian Amazon in style is by luxury Amazon Cruise. Aqua Expeditions and Delfin are the two top cruise companies, with different size vessels than undertake cruises of differing durations. Aracari’s team member Giovanna recently tested out one of the top luxury amazon river cruise options in Peru, the Delfin II. Here Giovanna shares her first hand review and impressions of the luxury Amazon river cruise aboard the Delfin II.
Luxury Amazon River Cruise – Delfin II
Day 1 – Arrival in Iquitos
When the day finally arrived for me to go on my first Amazon river cruise, I excitedly headed to the airport in Lima for my flight to Iquitos. I took the earliest flight available so that I could get to know the city of Iquitos prior to boarding the cruise. In particular, I was interested in visiting the Quistococha Zoo, which I had heard a lot about. Upon arrival, one of the guides from the Delfin II cruise was waiting for me and accompanied me to the zoo. During the visit, I saw and learned about local flora and fauna, which made it a worthwhile visit, even though the zoo looked as if it could use some renovations. In the afternoon I headed back to the airport to wait for the rest of the guests that would be joining me on the cruise. Together we continued to the private dock in Iquitos from where Delfin’s cruise ships embark and we took a boat to the main ship. The sun was already setting as we arrived and saw the silhouette of the cruise ship floating in the distance. Once I was all settled on the Delfin II, I met some of the other guests and we talked about how we were looking forward to our four-day Amazon adventure.
Day 2 – Pink Dolphins
The following morning after breakfast we set off on our first excursion through the Quebrada Yanayacu on one of the skippies to get a closer look at the jungle around us. A family of pink dolphins passed by right near us as if welcoming us to the Amazon. There are over 6,500 species of birds endemic to the Amazon rainforest, and we spotted all sorts of birds of various sizes and colors during our excursion.
After returning to the ship, the guests were gathered for a brief explanation of the course of the trip and where we were going to stop along the way, pointed out to us on a detailed map. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch. During the whole trip, lunch and dinner were amazing. Not only was the food superb but for each meal the decoration of the entire room was changed, from the place mats to the curtains. I thought it was a great idea because although we were on the same cruise ship for a few days, each meal felt like dining in a new restaurant. It was just one of the many details that kept each moment on the Delfin II interesting and exciting.
That afternoon was the best of the whole trip for me. We had the opportunity to swim in the river and it was an unforgettable experience. Not only was it the first time I had ever swam in a river of that size–let alone part of the famous Amazon river–but we had the unique experience of seeing another group of pink dolphins, but this time they were swimming along with us! Afterwards we continued along the Quebrada Cumaceba in the skippy on our way back to the ship. In the evening before dinner the guests attended a lecture that provided more information about the different kinds of dolphins native to the Amazon river and its tributaries.
Day 3 – Kayaking & Local Life
On the third day, we left bright and early before breakfast to explore the Laguna Clavero by kayak. After returning to the ship for breakfast, we returned to the skippies for another excursion. While out exploring Caño de Flor de Castaña, we were lucky enough to see a few exotic creatures such as a sloth, various species of monkey, spiders and many beautiful birds. Once we returned to the ship, we attended a cultural lecture about villages throughout the Amazon, to prepare us for our afternoon visit to Puerto Miguel, where we witnessed how locals live in this small village, admired their handicrafts, and gave small gifts to the children we met along the way. In the evening we enjoyed a gorgeous view of the sun setting over the water where two tributaries meet, the Marañon and the Ucayali rivers. The impressive sunset was accompanied by tasty exotic fruit cocktails served by the friendly barman on board. After the sun disappeared below the horizon, we watched a short film about the Amazon and then enjoyed dinner before settling in for the night.
Read more about all the luxury amazon river cruise options in Peru
Day 4 – Piranha fishing
On our final day aboard the Delfin II, we were set to have a picnic breakfast in the rainforest but it began to rain heavily and so we enjoyed our buffet breakfast on the ship. The scheduled activity for the day was fishing for piranhas in the Quebrada Tamshiyacu and we were all enthusiastic about the prospect of catching this notorious sharp-toothed fish. However, of the few skippies that set out for this fishing adventure, no one on our boat was fortunate enough to catch one. We were back on the Delfin II by midday in order to enjoy one last delicious lunch on board and then pack our bags as the ship continued on towards Iquitos. Once on land we visited a market, the floating neighborhood of Belén, the Eiffel house, and the Manatee Rescue Center where we fed these cute, large mammals.
After an amazing four days and three nights aboard the Delfin II, it was time to head back to Lima. I was grateful to Delfin for their impeccable service, from the guide that meets guests at the airport to the barman on the ship, to the knowledgeable staff. The rooms were comfortable, with beautiful jungle views through panoramic windows and the food was excellent. The excursions were fun and educational and the lectures were interesting and informative. All and all it was a fantastic, comfortable and luxurious way to explore the Amazon.