Join us for the phenomenal Amazonian natural history voyage aboard the deluxe, all-Suite M.V. ZAFIRO, uniquely designed to cruise the remote tributaries of the Amazon. Visiting the mysterious Amazon River Basin, one of Earth’s most exotic natural realms and our planet’s largest rainforest ecosystem, is an unforgettable and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Expert naturalist guides will lead walks through lush rainforests and excursions down some of the Amazon’s most remote tributaries to visit indigenous villages and observe unique wildlife, such as pink river dolphins and capuchin monkeys.
Feb 17 Depart the U.S./Arrive Lima, Peru
Depart for the cosmopolitan coastal city of Lima, Peru, located at the foot of the Andes Mountains, and arrive late this evening. In the heart of the upscale, cultural Miraflores district, check into the deluxe Casa Andina Private Collection hotel.
Feb 18 Lima
Following a morning at leisure, enjoy a tour of the historic center of Lima, Peru’s capital city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See pre‑olumbian temples and proud colonial mansions amid modern architecture, and the colorful buildings lining the Plaza de Armas—the city’s main square. Tour the magnificent Casa de Aliaga, built in 1535 as the residence of Don Jeronimo de Aliaga, the co‑ounder of Lima. Filled with original 16th-century Spanish art and furniture, it is the oldest private house in continuous use in the western hemisphere and has been inhabited by the Aliaga family for 17 generations. Then, visit the 17th‑century colonial Convent and Church of San Francisco, a brilliant combination of Moorish and Baroque architectural styles and one of the finest churches in South America. Gather for the Welcome Reception in the hotel this evening. (b,r)
Feb 19 Lima/Iquitos/Nauta/Río Amazonas
This morning, fly to the vibrant international city of Iquitos, an important rubber boom city during the late 19th century that attracted thousands of immigrants from around the globe to the Amazon River Basin hoping to build their fortunes in the rubber industry. After lunch in a local restaurant, visit Plaza de Armas and see the Casa de Fierro—or Iron House—designed by Gustave Eiffel for the International Exposition of Paris in 1889 and still considered one of the finest examples of civil architecture in Peru. Continue to the Amazon waterfront and stroll along the lively Malecon Tarapaca riverwalk. Admire impressive views of the river and 19th‑century European‑Amazonian‑style mansions built with Baroque and Rococo influences and beautiful ceramic tiles imported from Italy and Portugal. Visit the colorful Upper Belen Market, the largest traditional market in the Peruvian Amazon. Then, transfer to Nauta and embark the Zafiro. Leave the modern world behind as you begin your voyage of discovery into one of the world’s most remote regions. Gather on the ship’s observation deck and watch as civilization fades away and the vast Amazon River unfolds before you. A team of expert naturalists will share their insight into this rich and complex ecosystem and help you identify fascinating species like the colorful large‑billed toucan, pink river dolphin, and South American oriole. Look for a three‑toed sloth moving between trees in a slow‑motion ballet, while hawks, kites and turkey vultures glide overhead and jabiru storks methodically search for food in the shallows. (b,l,d)
Feb 20 Río Amazonas/Río Ucayali
Awaken in the heart of the Amazon Basin, where the dense jungle teems with the greatest diversity of plant and animal life on Earth and the perfect serenity of the river is broken only by the occasional fisherman paddling by in a traditional dugout canoe. This afternoon on the shores of the Amazon, meet with ribereños (river people) in their village, which has been inhabited for generations. Here, the villagers maintain conservation efforts to raise several of the thousands of butterfly species that live in the Amazon’s unique ecosystem, including the rare electric-blue morpho. (b,l,d)
Feb 21 Río Amazonas/Río Ucayali/Río Marañón
This morning, embark one of the vessel’s small excursion boats to explore the Pacaya‑amiria National Reserve, the largest wetlands reserve in the world. This area is home to rare animals like the endearing capybara—a large, semi‑quatic rodent endemic to South America—nd a profusion of palms, orchids and other tropical plants that flourish at ground level. Watch for pink and gray river dolphins swimming alongside your boat. After lunch, board a small river skiff in search of exotic wildlife, including toucans and saddleback tamarin monkeys, and marvel at the giant Victoria amazonica water lilies. (b,l,d)
Feb 22 Río Marañón/Río Pucate/Río Ucayali
Early this morning, enjoy a picnic breakfast under the shade of a magnificent rainforest canopy while you watch for white‑necked heron and wattled jacana dipping into nearby shallow waters. Explore this mysterious realm as you walk through the spectacular rainforest of soaring ceiba trees that reach as high as 200 feet. Listen for endangered scarlet macaws chattering in the canopy and watch for egrets, oriole blackbirds and purple gallinules. This afternoon, by special arrangement, meet a local shaman, or medicine man, who will perform a traditional ritual and explain how the ribereños have used indigenous medicinal plants and herbs to cure ailments for centuries. Participate in a traditional Amazonian tree‑planting ceremony dedicated to ensuring the longevity and well-being of the rainforest. This evening, enjoy a special nighttime excursion into the Pacaya‑Samiria National Reserve in search of elusive nocturnal creatures such as caimans and bats, and admire the vast blanket of stars that seem to shine brightest here, close to the Equator. (b,l,d)
Feb 23 Río Marañón/Nauta
Enter a virtually uninhabited portion of the Amazon where the river narrows. Board excursion boats and cruise along serpentine blackwater tributaries while the vessel’s naturalists point out captivating animal and plant life rarely detected by the untrained eye. Then, try your hand at catching a red‑bellied piranha during a fishing expedition. This afternoon, stop in a local village for a demonstration on how to prepare Amazonian specialties, including juanes, a regional favorite made of chicken and rice wrapped in banana leaves. Later, visit another Amazonian village to experience the timeless way of life of the ribereños. This is a unique opportunity to interact with the villagers and learn more about their special relationship with this remarkable environment. Enjoy a final evening of cruising the Amazon. Gather on the vessel’s upper deck for a festive farewell as the sun sets over the lush flora of the passing rainforest. (b,l,d)
Feb 24 Nauta/Disembark ship/Iquitos/Fly to Lima/Depart for the U.S.
Following breakfast, disembark the ship and continue to the Manatee Rescue Center for a fascinating, up‑close encounter with young, orphaned Amazonian manatees. After your visit, transfer to the Iquitos airport. Fly to Lima, where day-room accommodations have been reserved in the Wyndham Costa Del Sol Hotel. Stay overnight near the airport to continue on the Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley Post‑Tour Option. Or, late tonight, board your return flight to the U.S. (b)
Feb 25 Arrive in the U.S.