Cruising the Amazon

Amazon Jungle
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Monkeys, sloths and anacondas were the first to come to mind when I began planning my trip to the Amazon jungle. Yet somehow I never imagined I would be seeing and experiencing just that whilst cruising the Amazon! Having fallen victim to safari obsession over the past few years throughout Africa, I have since been seeking a new wildlife experience to match or surpass my previous animal encounters. On my recent trip to the Peruvian Amazon I have found just that.

Having always dreamt of visiting the jungle and not knowing where to start in planning a trip, I jumped at the opportunity to cruise along the river network throughout the Amazon with Aqua Expeditions on a four day river cruise.

Over five days and four nights we covered 355 nautical miles, spotting wildlife near and far on day excursions, enjoying Peruvian hospitality on board and forming new friendships with our small group of 24 travellers on board.
Cruising the Amazon
Cruising the Amazon

Cruising the Amazon: Five days & Four Nights On Board

The tour began in Iquitos, a sizeable town known as the gateway to the Peruvian amazon. Before arriving in Iquitos I had only ever travelled to Lima (the capital of Peru) and Cusco towards the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Those experiences were quite pleasant and breezy in terms of weather, though in Iquitos you can expect 90% humidity year round – so be sure to pack accordingly!

The trip departed on a Tuesday afternoon and after a long drive through the countryside, we arrived at the port to embark on our journey. Although I was travelling solo I met a lot of great people in the five days that followed, which made the experience a much more pleasurable one. Because of the small size of the boat the maximum capacity is 24 guests, so the experience allows you to get to know each of your fellow travellers better of the days that seemingly mesh into one, rather than to be overwhelmed with new names and faces.

Over the length of the trip we would cover a number of rivers throughout the Amazon river network, eventually arriving on the Amazon River proper on our last two days of the cruise. Waters we travelled along included the Yanallpa river, Dorado-Warmi River and Carocurahuayte Lake where we spotted a toucan, one of the (many) animals on my Amazon bucket list!

Cruising the Amazon Wildlife in the Amazon Cruising the Amazon

Wildlife Expeditions 

Venturing out twice daily on skiffs gave us the opportunity to see a wide range of wildlife up close. Never knowing where to turn and what we would see next, each excursion was an exciting new adventure into the depths of the Amazon River.

On our first day we spotted the well-camouflaged green tree iguana, with our naturalist guide ensuring us this was just the beginning of our wildlife adventure. Not to be mistaken, we soon spotted our first three toed sloth hanging way in the distance and only truly visible through a pair of binoculars, a necessary accessory for any Amazon adventure.

Over the next few days we continued to marvel at the incredible wildlife both on the river and on shore, with the likes of pink river dolphins, caimans, scarlet macaws, toucans and red howler monkeys most impressing our group. While we were unable to catch a glimpse of those higher in the food chain such as the anaconda, we were still able to see a great range of wildlife typical to this dense jungle land.

Amazon Jungle Amazon Jungle

Amazon Flora

Being the largest river by discharge in the world (second in length after the Nile), it is little wonder there was plenty to explore by way of nature. On one of our on-shore excursions we went in search of giant water lilies, nestled in the shallow waters of the Amazon river basin. This gave us on opportunity to see the Amazon flora more up close, as previously we had been viewing the giant cane trees, cecropia trees, and gorgeous heliconia plants from afar on our twice daily river excursions.


In the Amazon Jungle | World of Wanderlust Community_Visit_Amazon_Peru In the Amazon Jungle | World of Wanderlust

Community Visits & Giving Back

Perhaps the single most impressive aspect of Aqua Expeditions and my time on board was the devotion to small river communities we passed and subsequently visited throughout our time on the river. On the last day we had a chance to visit a small school where the children sang us songs (including their national anthem, hand on heart, which was all very patriotic!) We were also introduced to Amazon life and given a much closer look at housing arrangements, whereby families sleep on the floor of their stilt houses which protect them from the ever rising river levels in the wet season.

All in all the trip was incredible but these community visits were what really tied it all together. By visiting Peru and investing in the economy you are directly aiding in the development of this country, particularly out of the big cities like Lima and Cusco where tourism is already so developed. I’d definitely recommend this trip for anyone looking to be introduced to the Amazon – it certainly isn’t one I will forget any time soon!

Amazon Jungle Cruise | World of Wanderlust Amazon Jungle Cruise | World of Wanderlust Amazon Jungle Cruise | World of Wanderlust

A very very very big thanks to the team on board the Aqua Expeditions for an unforgettable experience and to Aqua for welcoming me to experience this cruise as a guest. All opinions are my own! I flew to Peru with LATAM Airlines, flying in to Lima and eventually Iquitos to begin my Amazon adventure.

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    June 18, 2016 at 4:13 am

    Looking forward to exploring the Amazon or the Orinoco soon!

    June 11, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Love this post, great photos & content! Your blog is such an inspiration! Xx.

    Miles of Happiness - Marie
    June 9, 2016 at 10:04 am

    What a real adventure!! It looks really amazing. This is a part of the world I’d love to finally explore…

    June 9, 2016 at 12:33 am

    This is probably one of my favorite posts of yours. It brings me a bit back to what used to be my home. The Amazon is incredible an while I have never been to this particular section I have been to the Venezuelan Amazon. The beauty and feelings it evokes are very hard to describe. So glad you got to experience this and that you shared it with us.

    June 8, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    OMG, this looks amazing! I would really like to go there!

    June 8, 2016 at 7:05 am

    This got me so excited for my trip to the Amazon in December. I’ve booked a Peruvian Amazon lodge and I couldn’t be more excited. It looks like you had a magical time!

    Kaili Willows
    June 7, 2016 at 2:56 am

    What an incredible opportunity! This is something I will definitely have to add to my bucketlist.

    Kristen @ Muddle + Joy
    June 7, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Ah! Wild Toucans! It must be incredible to see all of these animals in the wild. Absolutely gorgeous pictures.

    June 6, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    What an amazing trip, it is on my bucket list to go to the Amazon someday!!

    June 6, 2016 at 10:03 am

    I can’t get over how huge those lily pads are!

    June 5, 2016 at 11:24 am

    This trip looks amazing, and one I never thought of before! I would LOVE to do a trip like this.

    June 5, 2016 at 8:17 am

    I just did an Amazon River cruise last week and it looks like we spotted a lot of the same wildlife. The sloths were the cutest, though I have to say, the pink dolphins were my absolute favourite! I did my trip aboard the Delfin, which looks exactly like the boat in your post…I wonder if that one was ours?!

    • Brooke Saward
      June 5, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Hey Audrey – such an amazing experience I will never forget it!! 🙂 I heard that cruise name when I was on board, I believe that is their competitor – interesting to know the boats look the same!!

    June 5, 2016 at 6:58 am

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    Simran sharma
    June 4, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    Nice Post and Good Work i’like your blog i m a dealy visiter for your blog. Thanks

    June 4, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Such a wonderful experience.

    June 4, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Magnificent photos

    Ellie Quinn
    June 4, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Great post! I did an Amazon tour in Ecuador last year and I also really liked how we were able to see how our tourism was benefiting the local communities positively.

    June 4, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Sounds amazing! How cute is the toucan 🙂

    June 4, 2016 at 8:19 am

    I also have been to the Amazon and just loved it! People are so kind! Environment so rich and lush! Thank you for bringing back fond memories!