On a journey into the planet’s largest rainforest, an avid explorer is accompanied into Mother Nature’s cradle of Life, which covers some 40% of South America across nine countries. A trip into the rainforest is only possible by boat on the mighty Amazon River. This spectacular waterway originates in The Andes mountains in Peru and flows east on a 6,400 km trajectory towards the Atlantic Ocean. The Amazon rainforest is home to the world’s largest and most diverse collection of flora and fauna and is home to more than one-third of all recorded animal species in the world, including 20% of all bird species. Forty thousand plant species, 1,300 birds, 427 mammals, 378 reptiles, over 400 amphibian species and around 3,000 varieties of freshwater fish are known to inhabit this natural paradise. Peru offers explorers the most direct access into the heart of the Amazon. From and from Iquitos, you can find lush Amazon territory, a region comprised of the Amazon River and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. Here the Amazon waters are low in sediment and rich in aquatic life, paired with a significant concentration of wildlife on its riverbanks.
The best way to get the most out of a river cruise into the Peruvian Amazon is to cruise with experienced naturalist guides on board. A keen eye and tons of experience are needed to navigate challenging terrain and help visitors spot wildlife in an environment designed by Mother Nature to conceal them. Amazon boat tours and river cruise ships that conduct small-group excursions are also preferable, as a lesser human presence often leads to more up-close wildlife sightings. The best amazon river cruises enable the comfort and luxury required for safe and adventurous navigation through the beautiful Peruvian Amazonian wilderness. Here is our pick of the best Amazon cruises.
The smallest luxury ship on the Peruvian Amazon, the Delfin I, offers highly customized services in a luxurious setting. Each of its four luxury suites has its private terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows, providing uninterrupted views of the outside jungle. The personalized service makes this boutique option shine, from daily customized gourmet meals to friendly naturalist guides who will explain all about the surrounding jungle.
This cruise ship combines a mix of the traditional and the modern in its design. The larger Delfin II has 14 suites, some of which offer panoramic views, while others can be interconnected for families wishing to explore the Amazon. Remodeled for extra luxury in 2014, amenities include a massage and exercise room, an open bar, friendly and sophisticated common areas, and even a conference room for corporate groups.
With 22 cabins, the Delfin III is the largest and, subsequently, the cheapest of the Delfin series. This impeccable ship has been tastefully decorated using local materials to bring a bit of Amazonian culture on board, including an abundance of native sustainable woods and colorful handmade textiles acquired from local expert artisans. See something you like? All the artwork can be purchased as a souvenir and mailed back home to save on your baggage allowance!
Travel to off-the-beaten-track destinations and explore the hidden secrets of the Amazon jungle. Escape the city of Iquitos in Peru and journey to the most inaccessible remote jungle regions and lesser-visited tributaries of the mighty Amazon River. Visit the Pacaya & Samiria Natural Reserve, and meet the people who call the riverbanks home. Be amazed by the mystery, spirit, way of life and remarkable flora and fauna that can be observed from the comfort of the boutique class Expedition ship. The Spondias is designed and built exclusively for cruising along the Amazon River and its tributaries. The shallow draft of only 3 feet, four spacious suites, stylish contemporary décor and delicious cuisine allow passengers to visit remote black water lakes, lagoons, creeks, and channels ordinarily inaccessible to other boats.
The masterpiece of the Peruvian architect Jordi Puig, this great vessel is arguably the most luxurious on the river. But above all else, the Aria Amazon is known for its impeccable service. The rotating gourmet menu, designed by celebrity Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, is accompanied by the finest Chilean and Argentinean wine, personally selected by the onboard sommelier. Despite its larger 32-passenger capacity, the Aria Amazon is pure floating decadence. They are designed to explore the Peruvian Amazon and the famous Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. It offers luxurious comforts with minimal impact on the Amazon River and the Rainforest. Expert naturalist guides lead small-group excursions that include no more than eight passengers for unforgettable wildlife encounters.