Amazon Cruises for Independents

The traditional way of doing an Amazon cruise is to book through a big company then board a big boat with many others for an Amazon cruise which may be interesting, but hardly adventurous.

If you are independent-minded, don’t want to do the norm, and don’t want to travel on too big a boat, then Dawn on the Amazon, a small cruise specialist based in the Peruvian river city of Iquitos may be the perfect panacea for you.

Dawn on the Amazon doesn’t deal with travel agents, or big tourist conglomerates, preferring to deal direct with their clients, either through their website or by phone, and to tailor a cruise that is just right for a few.

The business is run by an ex-pat American, Bill Grimes, who seems to have a moral compass because he refuses to take clients to a couple of animal reserves where, he believes, the animals are treated poorly.

Dawn of the Amazon has three boats, all of which are named after Bill’s daughter. The largest of the riverboats is the 65 foot Selva Viva, which has four cabins, the Dawn of the Amazon which is 33 feet in length and has communal sleeping on the deck so that you really do feel part of the Amazon, and the smallest in the fleet the Dawncita (Little Dawn), which is used mainly for day tours.

When you venture out for a multi-day cruise the boats carry their own food: live chickens, ducks, Suri Grubs, and giant Amazon snails, and they barter for fresh fish with the locals. Suri Grubs are the larvae of the palm weevil and a said to be both delicious and nutritious.

Like I said before, with Dawn on the Amazon you really do experience the true Amazon, and for me that authenticity is the true appeal.

Dawn on the Amazon has a number of itineraries, which vary depending on how many days you wish go cruising, or if you have your own ideas for an itinerary they will be happy accommodate you as best they can.

One of the places that Bill does recommend you visit is Pacaya Samiria National Reserve which is one of the most important areas of biodiversity in the world, and the largest reserve in Peru. The Reserve encompasses 5,139,680 acres, an area twice the size of Yellowstone National Park.

The reserve is home to, and protects, nearly all the species native to low lying jungle that are threatened with extinction including the spider monkey, giant otter, manatee, and harpy eagle.

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