Mention touring the Amazon and people tend to think of hard-core adventurers armed with machetes and rifles fighting off anacondas, piranhas and mosquitoes the size of small dogs. While it’s true the Amazon is still one of the most remote destinations in the world, experiencing one of the last bastions of pure wilderness is more realistic than you think.
River cruises along the Amazon’s wild waterways are making this isolated region more accessible for those looking to experience adventure and some of those cruise lines are going the extra mile to turn this incredible opportunity into a luxury experience. Jungle Experiences Amazon River Cruises is giving curious travelers an opportunity to experience this little-visited part of the world while maintaining a level of comfort.
The company charters cruises through Peru’s portion of the Amazon (the rainforest covers territory in nine different countries), departing from the city of Iquitos. Getting to Iquitos is easy by plane from the country’s capital city of Lima. Unlike large cruise ships filled with every activity known to man, Zafiro, the cruise line’s luxury ship, offers an experience focused on bringing small-ship class to an expedition, providing guests with an intimate nature experience.
Passengers can choose from 19 cabins, all air-conditioned to make your stay in the humid rainforest comfortable. Each one is equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize your viewing. Many of the cabins come with private balconies and three are suites at the front of the boat that offer panoramic views.
The ship is equipped with a spa, fitness room and outdoor Jacuzzi so you can enjoy the beauty of the rainforest or the expanse of the starry night sky from a relaxing hot tub. In addition to an indoor dining room offering traditional Peruvian dishes, there are two lounge areas onboard, perfect for relaxing between shore excursions and meals. These lounges, one indoors and one outdoors, offer great views of the river and the jungle beyond. Both are well-furnished to make relaxation a priority and have bars so passengers can enjoy a cocktail while sailing down river.
When not relaxing onboard, passengers can enjoy several excursions unique to the Amazon. With expert guides leading the way you can fish for piranha, test your bravery on the region’s hanging rope bridges, visit local communities, view local wildlife (both day creatures like pink dolphins and nocturnal species like black caimans and poisonous toads) or go for an exploratory jungle walk.
The best times of year to enjoy this unique experience are during the high-water and low-water seasons. Each has its draws — high-water season (December–May) is perfect for travelers who want to stay on the boat and enjoy the scenery from the water while low-water season (June–November), when the waters recede and it is easy to travel through the jungle on foot, is the perfect time for those who want to disembark and explore the interior of the rainforest.
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