Cruising the Peruvian Amazon

MVAriaThe mighty Amazon is the world’s greatest river and with cruises growing in popularity, and passengers seeking new destinations to explore, the specialist river cruise company Avalon Waterways has introduced an Amazon itinerary on their purpose built ship MV Aria.

Aria is a purpose-built luxurious vessel with a shallow draft that is ideal for sailing rivers. She is based in the city of Iquitos, Peru where she undertakes a three day itinerary that is part of an 11-day itinerary of Peru that is called From the Inca Empire to the Peruvian Amazon, a title which rather neatly encapsulates the whole tour.

The vessel has three decks, two of which each have eight luxurious cabins, each with its own bathroom and huge picture windows which enable guests to view the Amazon from the comfort of their cabins. The top deck is the observation deck which features sun lounges and even a Jacuzzi.

The Amazon cruise begins on day seven of the 11-day itinerary, when passengers transfer to Iquitos from Cusco, via the capital Lima.

As the ship will travel through exquisite river country, that is lined both sides with abundant rain forest, there is a naturalist on board to help prepare passengers for the some of the sights and experiences they will enjoy, and to answer questions about the flora and both land and aquatic wildlife passengers will encounter as part of the cruise.

One of the floral highlights is to encounter the giant water lily, which has flowers the size of soccer balls and boasts leaves that can grow over two metres in diameter and support the weight of an adult human!

The vessel also calls in at some of the river villages so that passengers can mingle with the locals and learn something about the local culture.

The Aria also has smaller launches which passengers board for excursions into narrower waterways. One of these is a trip to the Yacapana Isles, where there is a visit to the “Isle of the Iguana”, so named because of the number of these reptiles which call the island home.

Other creatures likely to be encountered include gray and pink freshwater dolphins, piranha (you fish for them, not become their meal), bald uakari monkeys, squirrel monkeys, sloths, and numerous bird species.

There are also nocturnal tours for those who wish to visit the rain forest at night.

On board food and service is first class and features ingenious dishes created from fresh local fruits, fish, spices, and other local products.

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