Luxury Travel the Amazon River
This sample luxury Amazon River cruise tour brings you on a cruise through a place often mythologized in adventure stories and films, and a destination of which many intrepid travelers often dream: the Amazon jungle! During your four-night luxury Amazon River cruise, you’ll travel along the main branch and the tributaries of this mighty and vital waterway. Depart from the isolated jungle city of Iquitos and float further into the depths of the rain forest, where you’ll enjoy excursions and activities including piranha fishing, jungle trekking, and wildlife watching. Expect to see all kinds of jungle creatures and critters, from graceful and elusive pink river dolphins to slow-moving sloths, as well as feathered fliers of every imaginable color. Conclude your adventure with a luxurious jaunt to the New World Wonder of Machu Picchu and the former Inca capital of Cusco.
- Glimpse monkeys, macaws, and many more of Peru’s most curious animal inhabitants.
- Float along the Amazon River and participate in jungle excursions during your luxury cruise.
- Visit rural communities in the Sacred Valley towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo.
- Embark on a private city tour of Cusco, whose fascinating streets feature a unique concoction of Inca ruins and colonial constructions.
- Scale the ancient stone stairway up Machu Picchu’s neighboring peak, Huayna Picchu.
- Tour Machu Picchu with your very own expert guide to explain the history, architecture, and theories surrounding the site, before wandering independently among the iconic ruins the following day.
- Discover the delights of Peruvian cuisine at the country’s finest dining establishments.
- Immerse yourself in local life with a visit to a remote Andean village that is, for most travelers, uncharted territory.
- Enjoy enriching experiences with local artists at their workshops.
- Relax in deluxe and characteristic accommodations throughout your personalized trip of Peru.
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Arrival in Lima – Welcome to Peru!
Day 2: Lima to Cusco – Fly to Cusco to visit an ancient hacienda and indulge in a locally-prepared gourmet meal, then tour the vibrant Pisac market.
Day 3: Exploring the Sacred Valley –Hike through the expansive Patacancha valley to the steep ruins of Ollantaytambo, and delight in a Peruvian “Pachamanca” feast!
Day 4: The Lost City of the Incas –Arrive to Aguas Calientes by train and spend the afternoon with your private guide visiting the World Wonder, Machu Picchu!
Day 5: Machu Picchu on your terms – Hike the legendary Huayna Picchu, and then enjoy a scenic train ride back to the Sacred Valley, and private car back to Cusco.
Day 6: Cusco – Enjoy a tour of “The Navel of the Universe” and former capital of the Incan Empire with your private guide. Return to Lima in the afternoon.
Day 7: Your Luxury Amazon Cruise begins – Fly from the “City of Kings” to the heart of the Amazon jungle, and board your luxury cruise ship. (Group Service)
Day 8: Luxury Cruising the Amazon River – Cruise along the Belluda Caño Creek during the wet season or hike the Belluda Caño during dry season, where you can explore two different kinds of ecosystems: “flooded forest” and “terra firme” forest. After lunch, swim with the pink river dolphins. (Group Service)
Day 9: Luxury Cruising the Amazon River – Kayak along the Zapote River to spot for prehistoric-looking iguanas. In the afternoon, take a dip in one of the Amazon lagoons in Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. (Group Service)
Day 10: Luxury Cruising the Amazon River – Explore Clavero Lake to see a diversity of rainforest flora and fauna. Later, you have the chance to explore the tranquil water of Yarapa River in your very own kayak. (Group Service)
Day 11: Iquitos to Lima to Homebound – Visit the Rescue & Rehabilitation Center of River Mammals (ACOBIA), before your flight back to Lima and international flight home.
DAY 1: Arrive at your hotel in Lima after your international flight to Peru!
Lima is a metropolitan city known for its colonial architecture and mouthwatering ceviche!
When your international flight arrives in Lima, look for your Kuoda host holding a sign with your name on it! We know you’ll most likely be a little tired after your long flight, so we’ll save you the stress of trying to navigate and bring you straight to your hotel adjacent to the airport where you can shake off that icky flight feeling with a shower and a sleep. Relax into the evening and enjoy a good night’s rest before your flight to Cusco in the morning!
DAY 2: Fly to Cusco to tour an ancient local hacienda, the Pisac Market, and the Peruvian countryside.
The Sacred Valley, lower in altitude than Cusco, offers gorgeous landscapes and a serene atmosphere.
This morning we’ll escort you back to the airport for your morning flight to Cusco. Watch the windows as the desert coast rises into the snow-capped peaks of the Andes!
Just 15 minutes outside of Cusco, true Peruvian countryside will stretch away on either side of you, sheep grazing tranquilly road-side. Impossibly steep peaks rise in the distance. Your journey will take you to an ancient hacienda, nestled in the fertile valley next to the pueblo of Pisac. Step onto the family-owned hacienda grounds and step into centuries past while your hosts expound upon the growing process of Giant White Corn and its profound cultural significance in the Andes Mountains. This hacienda dates back generations, and you’ll immediately be immersed in local customs steeped in the spirits and mysticism of the Andes, and embraced by the warmth of local Peruvians.
Relish your time on the farm with a delicious multi-course lunch with sample dishes featuring none other than the “white gold” giant-kernelled corn, and make sure to visit the on-site stables housing the renowned Peruvian Paso horses. Watch the horses dance with their human counterparts in a “marinera” demonstration, and even go for a quick trot yourself if you feel up to the task!
From there, your exclusive tour of Peru will take you to another valley town – Pisac – where you’ll have the chance to rub shoulders with locals as you survey the artisan offerings of the market. Vegetables, textiles and silver jewelry are just some of the items that are sold here. Later, return to the hotel of your choice.
DAY 3: Hike to Ollantaytambo’s iconic ruins and enjoy a traditional Peruvian feast!
Ollantaytambo is an incredible Incan town known for its original urban planning and awe-inspiring ruins.
Today’s journey through the Sacred Valley of the Incas will start with a drive through the breathtaking Patacancha Valley. At the ruins of Pumamarca we’ll begin our hike down a pre-Columbian trail, following irrigation canals that line terraced fields still in use today.
After approximately two hours of easy hiking, we’ll find ourselves in the Incan town of Ollantaytambo, one of the few remaining places in Peru that retains its original Incan urban planning. You’ll note still-functioning street canals, multi-family houses with secret interior courtyards and iconic Incan trapezoidal doors. Here we’ll visit the Incan fortress perched on the mountainside overlooking the sleepy pueblo, and learn about nearby stone quarries and the pivotal Incan battle fought here.
We hope you worked up an appetite while hiking, because next on the schedule is a true Peruvian feast: the traditional Pachamanca! The centuries-old Pachamanca tradition involves marinating lamb, pork, chicken, and potatoes in a variety of Andean ingredients and cooking them to perfection in an underground oven. You’ll witness each step of the process: how the oven is prepared, how white-hot stones are layered, and how the feast materializes before your eyes. While waiting for your feast to roast, make sure to wander through the grounds’ organic garden, smell the fresh-roasted coffee produced by the farm’s head roaster, and sample some of the varieties of cañazo (a local Andean spirit) that are produced on-site at the one-of-a-kind distillery.
Upon completion of your tour, we will bring you back to your hotel for an evening spent at leisure.
DAY 4: Enjoy a morning train through the cloud forest and visit the Machu Picchu Citadel!
Machu Picchu will take your breath away with its enigmatic and historical atmosphere.
Prepare for a climactic day! In the morning, we will board the train in Ollantaytambo for our journey to Machu Picchu. Watch the cloud jungle pass by through the large glass windows! Upon arrival to Aguas Calientes, we’ll tuck in to an early lunch in order to refuel before ascending to Peru’s lost citadel.
After a bus ride to the gates of this wonder of the world, you will pass through the main gates with your private guide to finally emerge at the top of the world – Machu Picchu. The incredible Inca stone construction will be spread below, alternately hidden and revealed by clouds. Your expert guide will give you a private tour of the ancient city.
Upon conclusion of your tour, return for an evening in Aguas Calientes. Enjoy an excellent dinner on-site at your hotel and fall into bed, lulled to sleep by the sound of the cloud forest around you.
DAY 5: Hike one of the coveted, limited-entry hikes, Huayna Picchu!
Huayna Picchu, a not to miss experience while exploring Machu Picchu!
Today you have the option to hike two different trails – Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, so it’s completely up to you on how you would like to culminate your Machu Picchu luxury tour. Feeling adventurous? Consider hiking the steep slope of neighboring Huayna Picchu, which offers unrivalled views over Machu Picchu. Please note that only a limited amount of hikers are allowed to climb Huayna Picchu each day and tickets will need to be purchased in advance along with your Machu Picchu entrance.
In the afternoon, reconvene in Aguas Calientes and board the return train to Ollantaytambo. Your Kuoda host will meet you at the station and bring you to your hotel for a well-deserved good night’s rest.
DAY 6: Explore the hidden cobblestone streets of historical Cusco on a private city tour and fly back to Lima
Tucked into the Andes Mountains, the city of Cusco lies at 11,150ft (3,300m) above sea level!
It’s time to get acquainted with Cusco, a gorgeous city that wins the heart of most every traveler that passes through it. Get to know the real Cusco during a private tour. After breakfast, meet your guide and wander among the archaeological remains of Sacsayhuaman, where the Incas staged a great battle against the conquistadors. Return to the city and roam the atmospheric streets of the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, which is known for its free-spirited scene. Explore Qoricancha and the Santo Domingo monastery (a colonial structure built on top of the ancient Inca temple of the sun); see where the locals make their grocery runs at the open-air San Pedro market and pass the famous 12-angled stone, whose image appears on the bottle of the local Cusqueña beer. At the end of the tour, your guide will suggest places to visit for lunch. In the afternoon, fly back to Lima.
DAY 7: Fly from Lima to Iquitos and board your luxury Amazon cruise
Iquitos is the largest city in the world without highway access – one can only arrive by boat or by plane
After breakfast at your hotel, we will escort you back to the airport for your flight to Iquitos Upon arrival, you’ll meet your Delfin II’s guide and take a seat on an air-conditioned bus for a scenic 90-minute drive to the small village of Nauta where the Delfin II Cruise – of the luxury Delfin cruise line – is anchored.
Board the Delfin II and settle into one of the 14 cabins. After a safety drill and a quick briefing, tuck into a delicious welcome dinner and toast the beginning of your voyage with a glass of fine South American wine.
DAY 8: Luxury Cruising the Amazon River
Pink river dolphins have sophisticated sonars, which allow them to send out electromagnetic pulses that bounce off of solid objects under water.
On your first morning, getting up early is highly recommended! This enables you to appreciate one of the most important zones of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Early rising is always rewarding, since wildlife is most abundant and active with the rising of the sun. Be sure to keep an attentive eye open for spotting surprises. During the dry season (Jun-Nov), you will have the chance to do some hiking at Belluda Caño, where you can explore two different kinds of ecosystems: “flooded forest” and “terra firme” forest. Here you may see snail kites, black-tailed ant birds, manikins, tanagers, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, nun birds, orioles, blackbirds, and pygmy marmosets. Your hike will take you to a lagoon filled with endangered and unique fresh water fish, where you will explore the waters in a dugout canoe.
During the wet season (Dec – May), you will explore Belluda Cano Creek by skiff. Here you will get a chance to spot parrots, macaws and monkeys. You may also see Morpho butterflies, and various species of hawks, including the noisy “laughing falcon,” named for its loud falsetto call.
This afternoon we’ll visit the Dorado River (“golden river”), where you might choose to go fishing for the famous piranha, a captivating and challenging experience you won’t forget! Or, you might want to go swimming with the delightful pink river dolphins, which some locals believe can transform into beautiful humans. These rare and yet friendly creatures are mostly found in the freshwater rivers of the Amazon, near Iquitos. So make sure you bring your bathing suit and a waterproof camera, as a snapshot of the pink river dolphin will surely be one for the Amazon adventure photo collections. As night approaches, your guide will take you on a night safari in search of caiman alligators and nocturnal birds and creepy-crawlies.
DAY 9: Day full of jungle activites
The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is the world’s largest protected wetland
The morning is a perfect time for kayaking along the calm and inspiring rainforest waters of Zapote River. Your guides will take you upstream while you spot for prehistoric-looking iguanas lying lazily in the sun. Travel along the shoreline and be ready for whatever the jungle has to offer. Squirrel monkeys are very active at this time of the day, when they move in large noisy troops at mid to upper levels of primary and secondary lowland forest.
In the afternoon, we will have reached our main goal, the Pacaya River at the very heart of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Peru’s largest protected area with a mean annual rainfall of nearly 3,000 millimeters (or 118 inches), and by far the largest protected wetland reserve in the world. Filled with lakes, palm swamps, and streams, the reserve becomes a flooded forest in the rainy season and is sure to be one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever visit. You will also have the chance to swim in one of the pristine Amazon lagoons in this wonderful region!
DAY 10: Day full of jungle activites
The rising and falling cycles of rivers in Pacaya Samiria National Reserve allow an abundance of aquatic species to flourish.
This morning after breakfast, board on Delfin’s aluminum skiff to explore Clavero Lake, where you will have a chance to get deeper into the rainforest and see a fantastic diversity of flora and fauna and local villagers paddling in their traditional dugout canoes.
In the afternoon, you’ll have the opportunity to test your own skills on the water. First, you’ll board the Delfin’s skiffs taking you to the Yarapa River, and then it’s into your very own kayak. Paddle through the tranquil waters, keeping an eye out for native flora and fauna at every turn! Next, you’ll visit the village of Puerto Miguel to meet local villagers who have called Amazonia their home for generations. Here, your naturalist guides will introduce you to village life in the jungle, and you’ll learn about native plants, local customs, and the seamless interaction between humans and wildlife.
Fall asleep for the last time under the Amazonian stars as the Delfins pulls you back towards Iquitos.
DAY 11: Explore a bit more of Iquitos before your international flight home
Mommy manatees are pregnant for around 12-13 months with manatee babies, which are called calves.
After one final breakfast on the ship, you will arrive at the port of Nauta. The ground crew will be waiting to take you by private vehicle back to the city of Iquitos, about 95 kilometers journey by paved road. As we are journeying back from Nauta to Iquitos airport, we will stop by the Rescue & Rehabilitation Center of River Mammals (ACOBIA), where you will have the chance to meet baby manatees and learn about these wonderful and docile creatures and why they are on the endangered species list.
Afterwards, your guide will bring you to Iquitos airport for your return flight to Lima. In Lima, you will be met by a Kuoda host, who will escort you to Costa del Sol on-site airport hotel and will leave you to enjoy one final dinner in Peru before your international flight. Buen viaje!
Like the sound of this Cruising the Amazon private tour? Get in touch with Kuoda and we’ll start crafting your very own customized private travel experience to Peru!
There are many additional activities that can be added to the Cruising the Amazon private tour, as our tours are entirely customized to your interests, hobbies, and expectations! Please note that Huayna Picchu has a limited entry quota per day and needs to be booked months in advance.
- Take the reins of a Peruvian Paso for a trail ride through the Sacred Valley.
- Sit down with a shaman for a private meditation ceremony.
- Observe local weavers at work during private demonstrations.
- Hone your kitchen skills during Peruvian cooking classes with celebrated chefs.
- Join a local Peruvian family for a home-cooked meal in their residence.
- Admire views of the Andes from your luxury, vintage-style carriage on the Belmond Hiram Bingham Train.
- Take a day hike along part of the famed Inca Trail and arrive in Machu Picchu via the iconic Sun Gate.
- Revel in the gorgeous views as you tuck into lavish picnics that come complete with glassware, crockery, and even a professional waiter to serve you.
- Amp up the adrenaline with exhilarating adventure activities such as riding the fast-flowing rapids of the Vilcanota River, or zooming along zip lines among towering Andean peaks.
- Personalized itinerary planning: Work with a Kuoda Travel Designer to create the trip of your dreams.
- Kuoda hosts take the hassle out of traveling. They’ll be there to assist you – whether with luggage, check in, transport or translating – at every destination during your private tour of Peru.
- Got a question or query? Kuoda operate a 24-hour, seven day a week customer service operation and can provide updates and assistance whenever you need it.
- With Kuoda, you’ll never be bundled in with big groups; each visit, activity, tour and experience will be completely private and conducted by your very own expert, English-speaking guide.
- Our private tours of Peru are fully flexible, which means we can modify them to suit your travel mood. So if you want to cut an activity or add on a new one, just say the word!
- All necessary adventure and trekking equipment will be provided so all you need bring is yourself.
- Receive a customized Kuoda Travel kit upon arrival.
Our staff hand picks the best hotels in the country to ensure you experience utmost comfort and character.
Feel free to browse our recommendations and let us know if you’d like to incorporate a specific property in your customized journey!
This sample itinerary is the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation, Andean Mountains and the expansive Amazon basin. This Cruising the Amazon River itinerary will serve as the perfect inspiration.
Please know we will work with you to change or modify these tours however you deem necessary – all Kuoda itineraries are crafted just for you, built to suit your individual interests and schedules. Interested in customizing this particular itinerary?
The price will be based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.