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Amazon River Cruises

The Amazon is clearly an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. So what better way to explore the impenetrable rainforest than an Amazonian riverboat cruise?

 

Today’s new and modern river cruise ships are “floating boutique hotels” that offer luxury accommodations, gourmet cuisine, mesmerizing itineraries, well-appointed leisure areas, and thoroughly knowledgeable guides. On daily off-ship excursions, you’ll be surrounded by Pink river dolphins, scarlet macaws, three-toed sloths, families of raucous Howler monkeys, and many other species of exotic wildlife. And traveling deeper into the less disturbed areas, you'll visit indigenous villages in areas where few outsiders venture.

 

Feel free to contact us at Surtrek – we’ve journeyed into the Amazon many times before, understand the region, and possess the expertise to properly custom design your cruise through the amazing rainforest world.

Highlights

 

  • Daily land expeditions for up-close encounters with wildlife, particularly Amazonian aquatic creatures like Giant otters, caiman, manatees, and – yes – even the elusive Pink river dolphin!
  •  “Floating boutique hotel” experiences with elegant showers, resplendent well-appointed cabins, sun decks, Jacuzzis, high-thread-count sheets, 24/7 electricity, and spa services
  • Bug-free accommodations, completely enclosed and free of any surprise visitors
  • A chance to cover more ground, visit more sites, and see more of the jungle’s creatures, yet without sacrificing any of your own creature comforts
  • Freshly prepared food served onboard, with candle-light dinners, fine china place settings, and extensive menus serving the region’s most flavorful dishes
  • Spectacular views of Amazonian rivers, passing by as if you’re watching your own Nat Geo special
  • An unrivaled level of personal service, with no need for “roughing it”

 

What you’ll experience on an Amazonian riverboat cruise

 

Amazon river cruises travel to the most remote and pristine areas of Ecuador and Peru’s rainforest, where few people have the chance to travel.

 

In addition to taking in the unique landscapes as you cruise through the rainforest, other activities on this unparalleled adventure include daily land excursions to explore the Amazon by canoe or on foot. On these excursions, you’ll observe unique species of plant and animal life, make contact with remote communities to learn what life is like for indigenous peoples of the region and climb observation towers to enjoy jaw-dropping perspectives from above the forest. You can also explore black water rivers escorted by otters and turtles, and hike along rainforest trails to learn about the wonderful flora that makes up the eternal green of the Amazon.

 

Though you will be traveling through this region teeming with outlandish creatures, you won’t have to sacrifice any of your own creature comforts.  Travelers on Amazon cruises enjoy fine dining that features a wide variety of national dishes and international “fusion cuisine.” Similarly, the accommodations are top-notch, with spacious suites that highlight sitting areas, large comfortable beds, and wall-to-wall panoramic windows. The riverboats’ social areas typically include Jacuzzis, sun decks, bars, and observation decks – ideal places for relaxing and enjoying spectacular Amazon rainforest views and for attending briefings from expert multilingual naturalist guides.

 

Is it safe to visit the Amazon?

 

While cruises in the Amazon are typically safe and problem-free, there’s no ignoring the fact that the jungle is alive with potentially threatening wildlife, home to a unique climate, and located in a developing part of the world.

 

To ensure your safety and security while on your rainforest tour, Surtrek has selected highly rated river-tour operations. The vetting of top-notch river-tour operations is based in part on them having taken concrete measures to safeguard the well-being of travelers, with Surtrek looking specifically at these company’s access to and delivery of health services, their foodservice operations, safety equipment and protocols, and provision for security during trips into the Amazon.

 

Additional Riverboat Security Improvements: To continually improve security on rainforest river cruises, various river-tour operations throughout the Amazon are taking concrete actions. These steps include security staff being placed on board certain ships at all times, and riverboats being outfitted with video surveillance systems, satellite phones, and onboard emergency buttons.  Safety measures include mandatory safety drills on ships, additional fire extinguishers being added to staterooms, in addition to carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Some companies are also staffing their boats with at least one paramedic on board their ships to help with health crises.

 

Recommended Traveler Precautions: In addition, there are several “common sense” steps that we suggest travelers themselves take to help guarantee a safe adventure:

 

These include:

 

  • Getting the appropriate vaccinations and medications before you go to the Amazon
  • Protecting yourself from mosquito bites (using insect repellant, wearing long sleeve shirts…)
  • Keeping a safe distance from wild animals and NOT provoking them
  • Not drinking tap water or using ice cubes
  • Rinsing fruit in purified water
  • Keeping an eye on your luggage and take practical steps to avoid pick-pocketing in tourist areas

 

Best Time to experience the Amazon on a river cruise 

 

The seasons in the Amazon are frequently described as the “low water” and “high water” seasons. The best time of the year for an Amazon river cruise is generally considered the December-to-May high-water season when rivers can rise up to 23 feet (7m) above the level of the June-to-November low-water season. This opens more waterways and makes them more accessible and navigable, giving you more opportunities to go deeper into Amazonia.

 

During high water season, the temperature averages a hot 86°F (30°C), which is still about 12°F cooler than the low-water season, allowing for a somewhat more comfortable stay.  Also, though the water levels rise significantly in the high-water season, the increase in rainfall is relatively less drastic, meaning that you’ll only have to endure about 15 minutes more of rain in an hour of afternoon rainfall during this period.

 

What to pack for an Amazon cruise

 

Packing is always tricky, but it’s even more so when preparing for a unique, nature-based adventure in the Amazonian rainforest. Most travelers expect the jungle heat, and therefore think that a few token shorts, t-shirts, and a pair of flip flops are enough. But what some don’t consider are the frequent and heavy rains, the creepy-crawly jungle critters, the strict weight limits on small charter flights, or the high humidity that makes it hard for some types of clothes to ever dry. But more than these conditions, you’ll need to be prepared for all kinds of unusual adventure activities – everything from piranha fishing and nocturnal river safaris to rainforest wildlife treks and kayaking on the Amazon River.

 

Given the wide range of conditions and activities in the Amazon, you’ll receive a detailed packing list after you book your once-in-a-lifetime rainforest adventure tour with Surtrek. In general, though, the types of clothing and gear we recommend include the following:

 

AMAZON PACKING ESSENTIALS:

 

Documents & money

 

  • Passport (valid 6 months after the date of travel) + 1 photocopy
  • Visa or visa fee requirements (if applicable)
  • Tickets or e-tickets
  • Itinerary
  • Guidebook & maps (cellphone downloads)
  • Insurance cards (medical & travel insurance)
  • Credit cards (+ credit card contact info)
  • Cash (a minimal amount and in small untorn newer bills)
  • Emergency contact info
  • List of your personal medications
  • Copies of all documents and cards (hardcopies & saved online)

 

Travel Luggage and Packing

 

  • Backpack, duffle bag, or duffle-backpack
  • Packing cubes
  • Packable day pack or cross-body purse or for urban exploring
  • Drybag(s) 

 

Toiletries & glasses

 

  • Toiletry bag (1-quart size, 7”x8”, clear plastic)
  • Preferred toiletries
  • Personal medications
  • Broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 minimum)
  • Insect repellant (50% DEET minimum)
  • Contact lenses (+ saline solution) &/or extra glasses
  • Polarized sunglasses (100% UVA UVB blocking)

 

Clothes

 

  • Comfortable walking shoes or athletic (running) shoes
  • Flip flops
  • Sturdy sandals (like Tevas), for non-hiking day-activities (beachcombing, horseback riding)
  • Socks – Moisture-wicking, lightweight, hiking socks with little or no cushioning recommended
  • Underwear (polyester, nylon or merino wool) / sports bras without clasps
  • T-shirts/tank tops (blended cotton-synthetic, which are soft and moisture-wicking)
  • Long pants and shorts (breathable, lightweight, moisture-wicking and quick-drying)
  • Casual shirts/blouses (merino wool or merino-synthetic blends recommended, avoid cotton)
  • Jacket (breathable, water-resistant, & wind-resistant)
  • Micro-fleece hoodie &/or merino wool sweater  
  • Long-sleeve thin shirts or t-shirts to protect your arms from the Brazil sun
  • A wide-brimmed hat or sun hat
  • Swimwear (+ long-sleeve T-shirt to wear while swimming if you sunburn easily)
  • Beach towel (quick-drying micro-fiber travel type)
  • Accessories (a belt, gloves, costume jewelry…)
  • Nightwear (warm pajamas)

 

Gear and gadgets

 

  • Camera & gear / GoPro (with extra memory disks, rain covers, batteries)
  • Unlocked smartphone
  • Battery charger/ lip-stick-sized powerbank / power cords
  • Voltage adapter 
  • Plastic water bottle
  • Collapsible travel umbrella
  • Binoculars (8 x 40 are excellent for dim lighting beneath the forest canopy)
  • LED Flashlight or headlamp for nighttime jungle excursions

 

Getting to the Amazon

 

The Amazon region is vast, covering nearly half of all South America and extending into nine countries. Surtrek-selected Amazon rainforest cruises depart principally out of both Ecuador and Peru:

 

  • Ecuador: Access to the Ecuadorian Amazon is easy. After landing in the capital city of Quito, Surtrek guides will meet you and assist you with making a short 45-minute flight to the Amazon. Landing at a local airport, in Coca Ecuador, you will be transferred to an Amazonian riverboat via a 4x4 vehicle or a motorized canoe to begin your unforgettable rainforest adventure.
  • Peru: Home to the second largest area of the Amazon, the Peruvian Amazon is also the most wildlife-rich. When you touch down in Lima, Surtrek partners will be there to welcome you and assist you with your connecting flight to the upper Amazonian city of Iquitos, where you will be welcomed and accompanied to your Peruvian Amazon riverboat.

 

Why go on an Amazon River Cruise with Surtrek? 

 

Since 1993, Surtrek has been introducing adventurous travelers to authentic, tailor-made luxury travel experiences across South America. Over this time, we have become adept at offering some of the best and most complete river-tour services in the Amazonian rainforest.

 

With our experienced travel team of 25 members strong — including native speakers of five different languages — we will work one-on-one with you to custom-design an Amazonian river cruise that perfectly suits your particular interests and needs.

 

Feel free to contact us at Surtrek – we’ve journeyed into the Amazon many times before, understand the region, and possess the expertise to properly custom design your cruise through the amazing rainforest world.

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“We loved every moment of our trip and could not have done it without Ligia and Surtrek. I highly recommend them!”Irene Alcock