Amazon & Peruvian Highlands

April 17, 2015 - May 1, 2015

Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.

Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.

April 17 Depart USA / Lima, Peru

Board your independent flight to Lima. Arrive in the late evening and transfer to the Hotel Costa del Sol Ramada located within Jorge Chavez International Airport.

April 18 Lima / Iquitos / Embark La Estrella Amazonica

This morning join a tour of Lima’s highlights. Visit Casa Aliaga, a private home dating back to the Conquistadors; the Cathedral where Francisco Pizarro is entombed; Plaza de Armas, the historic heart of the city; and tour the monastery and vast catacombs of the Iglesia de San Francisco. After lunch board our flight to Iquitos. Board La Estrella Amazonica, your home for the next seven days. This evening join your guides on deck for stargazing and storytelling as you cruise toward the confluence of the Amazon River.

April 19 Amazon River / Río Ucayali

Flexibility in the ever-changing Amazon is a must and we cannot guarantee specific landings. The following is a list of places we plan to visit.

Awake this morning on the Amazon and witness the ever-changing panorama of jungle life as you continue upriver. Arrive at the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón Rivers, the headwaters of the Amazon River in Peru, almost 2,400 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Board sturdy excursion boats to search for marsh birds such as oriole blackbirds, green ibis, yellow-headed caracaras, black-capped donacobis, and white-headed marsh-tyrants. In Río Ucayali, there is a good chance to spot gray river and Amazon pink dolphins. A nature hike in the surrounding rain forest may reveal elusive wildlife such as monkeys and sloths. As dusk approaches, bulldog bats, one of only a handful of bats that can fish, begin to forage along the river.

April 20 Río Ucayali / Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

After a peaceful breakfast along the blackwater Sapote Creek, explore a small tributary of the Ucayali. Species found here include primates, sloths, and an enormous variety of birds. Continue upriver to the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. Though more species are frequently discovered, the Pacaya-Samiria is home to 450 bird species, 102 species of mammals, over 130 species of reptiles and amphibians, and countless plants. This afternoon, take an excursion into the world’s largest wetland reserve to search for monk sakis, saddle-backed tamarins, and red howler and squirrel monkeys. On Caro Lake, you may find flocks of greater ani. Enjoy a nighttime boat excursion for a chance to see caimans, capybaras, common potoos, frogs, and other nocturnal wildlife.

April 21 Rio Pacaya / Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

Spend the day exploring this flooded realm, inhabited by wading birds such as herons, wattled jacanas, and horned screamers. Then venture deep into the rain forest to an igapo (seasonally flooded forest), where plant life is very different from what you have seen along the river. Visit the ranger station and continue to explore with your expert naturalists, to search for scarlet macaws, hoatzins, black-collared hawks, and red howler monkeys.

April 22 Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

After an early breakfast, board the excursion boats to venture even further into the heart of these vast wetlands. Birds frequently found here include canary-winged parakeets and spectacular blue-and-gold and scarlet macaws. Primates also are fairly common, including gregarious squirrel monkeys. Arrive at a ranger station for a short hike to explore the forest. After a picnic lunch, cruise along a maze of waterways en route to the ship. During a village visit, learn about the lives of the “Ribereño” people who live along the river. Accompanied by local guides, you have the opportunity to stroll through gardens of medicinal plants, learn of ancient folklore, visit a school, or perhaps join in a game of soccer. The children are especially excited to show off their school and sing traditional songs.

April 23 Pacaya-Samiria Reserve / Río Ucayali

This morning, as you cruise back downriver, learn how to prepare traditional Peruvian dishes or attend an educational lecture. As the sun sets, board the excursion boats to search for nocturnal wildlife.

April 24 Yarapa River

Depart early this morning for a bird-watching excursion along the Yarapa River. After breakfast, try your hand at piranha fishing in Ubos Lake. With luck, you may catch red-breasted, white, or black piranha, with the option to feast on your catch at dinner.

April 25 Iquitos / Disembark / La Estrella Amazonica / Arequipa

Disembark in Iquitos and enjoy a walking tour of this frontier city. Transfer to the airport for our flight to Arequipa via Lima. “The White City,” Arequipa is a glittering colonial gem surrounded by stunning snowcapped volcanoes. Transfer to the Libertador Hotel for dinner and overnight.

April 26 Arequipa / Colca Canyon

Today, enjoy a half-day tour of Arequipa with a visit to the beautiful main square, lovely colonial churches, a scenic view point, and the exceptionally well-preserved mummy of “Juanita” at the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries. Then set out for a breathtaking drive through the majestic Andes, making stops en route to observe wild vicunas, the national symbol of Peru. Check in to the Colca Lodge Hotel for dinner and overnight.

April 27 Colca Canyon

One of the deepest canyons in the world, Colca is also one of the best places to observe Andean condors. Other notable bird species include giant colibri, Andean geese, Chilean flamingos, and mountain caracaras. In the afternoon a village visit reveals how the local people maintain their ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate pre-Inca stepped terraces. Take a leisurely hike to the ruins of Uyo Uyo, a pre-Incan citadel, enjoying fabulous views along the way. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

April 28 Colca Canyon / Puno / Suasi Island

This morning depart early for your scenic drive to Lake Titicaca. Make stops en route to view herds of wild vicunas, alpacas, llamas, and guanacos, as well as a variety of birdlife. Arrive in Puno this afternoon, situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Board boats for a supremely photogenic cruise to Suasi, a privately-owned island with no inhabitants other than the staff and guests of the beautiful ecolodge Casa Andina, our base for two nights.

April 29 Suasi Island

Join a local guide for a full day of exploration on peaceful Suasi Island and Lake Titicaca. Here you will find a variety of birds and wildlife, as well as several gardens where local crops are cultivated.

April 30 Suasi Island / Uros / Taquile / Puno / Julica / Lima

After a leisurely breakfast on the terrace, board boats for a visit to the floating island of Uros. Built from the local totora reed, these floating islands are home to the Uros tribe, who predate the Inca. Continue to Taquile Island to learn about the local culture, known for their fine hand-woven textiles and clothing. Disembark in Puno and transfer to Julica for your flight to Lima, to connect with your independent flight to the USA.

May 1 USA

Arrive in the USA today and connect with homeward flights.