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 the Sacred Valley – Sacred Valley / Living Museum of Awanakancha
Day 3: Exploring the Sacred Valley – Ollantaytambo and Pisac Archaeological and Market
Day 4: The Lost City of the Incas: Machu Picchu – Private Tour of Machu Picchu
Day 5: Hiking Huayna Picchu – Hike a coveted limited-entry hike with your guide
Day 6: Cusco – Private Walking Tour of Cusco
Day 7: Cusco to Lima to Iquitos, your Luxury Amazon Cruise Begins – Begin Your Cruise in Nauta / Marañon River
Day 8: Luxury Cruising the Amazon River – Explore and Delve into the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
Day 9: Luxury Cruising the Amazon River – Yarapa River / Nauta Caño (Pacaya Samiria Reserve)
Day 10: Luxury Cruising the Amazon River – Yanayacu-Pucate River (Pacaya Samiria National Reserve) / Casual / Marañon River
Day 11: Iquitos to Lima – Pacaya Samiria National Reserve / Disembark in Iquitos / City Tour / Flight to Lima
DAY 1: Arrival in Lima
Welcome to Peru!
After meeting your Kuoda host in Lima, you’ll be brought to the Costa Ramada del Sol Hotel in the airport. Most international flights arrive late in the evening and you’ll be flying to Iquitos early tomorrow morning, so we recommend putting your head to the pillow and getting a good night’s sleep.
DAY 2: Lima to the Sacred Valley
Sacred Valley / Living Museum of Awaka Kancha
Your Lima host will pick you up from the hotel and accompany you to the airport, where you’ll board a flight for Cusco. During the quick flight, admire the scenery from the window as you cruise over the ice-smothered Andean summits, terraced fields, and picturesque high-elevation hamlets that make up the Sacred Valley.
In Cusco, your host will take you to the Living Museum of Awanakancha where you can meet some soft wooly natives – including vicuñas, guanacos, llamas, and alpacas – and observe expert weavers skillfully turning the camelids’ luscious fibers into patterned textiles.
DAY 3: Exploring the Sacred Valley
Ollantaytambo and Pisac Archaeological and Market
Ollantaytambo and Pisac Archaeological Site & Market
Today will be devoted to the calm and crowd-free Sacred Valley, which exerts a special hold over many travelers who venture here. You’ll begin exploring the ancient town of Ollantaytambo, where the Inca touch is still very much evident in the ancient street canals and trapezoidal doors.
In the company of your guide, climb up past hillside terraces where crops of corn and potatoes are grown, until you reach the Inca Temple of the Sun. Gaze out at valley vistas and ask your guide to point out the quarry from where the stone for this site was sourced. Consider the odds that were stacked against the Incas – they had neither animals to aid them (llamas were too weak) nor the wheel – and ponder the incredible effort that must have gone into hauling these stones to this site.
Continue on your private guided tour to Pisac and its artisan market. Size up the colorful textiles, delicate ceramics and well-crafted silver pieces on offer and perhaps pick up a gift for a friend or family member back home. Finish by surveying Pisac’s mountainside ruins, which overlook the town below.
DAY 4: The Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu
Morning Train through the Cloud Forest, Private Afternoon Tour of Machu Picchu
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: Hiking Huayna Picchu
Hike one of the Coveted, Limited-Entry Hikes at Machu Picchu
At the appropriate time this morning, board the bus with your guide and return to the front gates of Machu Picchu.
We have secured hiking permits for you to scale the iconic sugarloaf peak in the background of the classic Machu Picchu postcard photo – Huayna Picchu! Delight in an alternate perspective of Machu Picchu from the top of what is certainly a true feat of engineering.
Descend to Aguas Calientes for lunch and your return train to Ollantaytambo. We will be waiting in the station for you and will bring you to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
DAY 6: Cusco
Private Walking Tour of cusco
Today, explore the extraordinary cultures of Cusco during an exclusive city tour. Discover the legacy left by the Incas and earlier indigenous groups at Qorikancha (the Temple of the Sun) and the pre-Columbian Art Museum, and examine the Spanish-style churches and cathedrals. Experience the modern-day charms of Cusco in the bohemian San Blas neighborhood and the bustling San Pedro market. Then enjoy a free afternoon to stroll around this historic city at your leisure.
DAY 7: Cusco to Lima to Iquitos, your Luxury Amazon Cruise Begins
Begin Your Cruise in Nauta / Marañon River
After transferring to the Cusco airport, board a flight to Lima and catch a connecting flight to the jungle city of Iquitos. Upon arrival, you’ll meet your guide and take a seat on an air-conditioned bus for a scenic 90-minute drive to the small village of Nauta where the Aria Cruise – of the luxury Aqua cruise line – is anchored.
Board the Aria and settle into your suite. 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
Explore and Delve into the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
In the morning you will board the skiffs to explore a fascinating black water stream, part of the vast Amazon flooded forest that is within the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Your guides will tell you about the jungle as we explore what scientists call a “gallery forest,” because of its dense vegetation that creates a tunnel of leaves. As we explore this type of riparian vegetation, watch above for parrots, macaws, and fluffy Monk Saki monkeys.
This afternoon after experiencing a memorable journey through the “Jungle of the Mirrors,” where towering trees are reflected in the dark river, make your way to the Dorado River for animal spotting before you head out for your night excursion.
DAY 9: Luxury Cruising the Amazon River
Yarapa River / Nauta Caño (Pacaya Samiria Reserve)
Overnight, you will have traveled deeper into the Amazon. Come morning, it’s time to get out there among the animals. Board a comfortable skiff and sail off down the Yarapa River. Life jackets, ponchos, rubber boots, and fresh water will all be available on board.
Glide down the Yarapa, passing the occasional canoe-paddling fisherman and listening to the chirps and chirrups of the forest. Have your binoculars at the ready, for you never know when the terns, tropical songbirds, black collared hawks, and sloths will appear. After a few hours out in the steamy jungle, return to the Aria cruise for a rejuvenating lunch in the air-conditioned dining room.
This afternoon, head out to Nauta Caño in the Pacaya Samiria Reserve with its inky lagoons which reflect the surrounding scenery. Watch for toucans, macaws, iguanas, and other species hunting for their evening meal. On the return journey to the Aria cruise, sit back and observe one of the most striking sunsets on the planet being reflected onto the dark, near-black waters of the flooded forest.
DAY 10: Luxury Cruising the Amazon River
Yanayacu-Pucate River (Pacaya Samiria National Reserve) / Casual / Marañon River
This morning, your customized tour of Peru’s jungle continues as you cruise toward the Yanayacu-Pucate River in Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Colorful flora and fauna – including macaws – are frequently spotted here as are troops of capuchin and squirrel monkeys. Don’t neglect to look down at the water too; that’s where the Amazon River dolphins – both pink and gray – will be. According to Amazonian myth, these graceful creatures have the power to shapeshift into a beautiful human form. You’ll enjoy a light breakfast on board, munching on homemade baked goods, drinking hot coffee and fresh juice, and listening to the sounds of the jungle as it springs into life for the day.
Next, we’ll sail along the Marañon River to the Casual community, where we will disembark for a hike into the heart of this spectacular forest. Observe an array of Amazonian wildlife on this trail, from showy-plumaged tanagers and orioles to more inconspicuous reptiles and amphibians. Watch out for the eye-catching – and poisonous – spotted dart frog.
Return to the boat to enjoy dinner, while the Aria cruise floats upstream toward the headwaters of the Amazon River, where the Ucayali and Marañon Rivers merge.
DAY 11: Iquitos to Lima
Pacaya Samiria National Reserve / Disembark in Iquitos / City Tour / Flight to Lima
Rise early and take in Amazon views over coffee as the Aria cruise skirts the edge of the vast Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, a flooded forest spread across the headwaters of the Amazon basin. You’ll be rewarded for your early start with a front-row view of one of the greatest spectacles of the Southern Hemisphere: the sun rising over the origins of the world’s largest river. Here, two major tributaries – the Ucayali and the Marañon – collide to create one of the greatest waterfalls in the world. To see the cascade bathed in the warm morning light is to see nature at its most captivating. Adding to the atmosphere will be the accompanying birdsong soundtrack; large-billed terns, laughing falcons, short-tailored parrots and dozens of other radiantly hued birds sing and flit about the skies.
Continuing by boat, we’ll reach a native community located along the Marañon River, where you will have the chance to meet local villagers and learn about their traditions and folklore. A naturalist guide will get you up to speed on how Aqua Expeditions work with these communities to improve their natural resource management, while a local shaman will reveal the secrets of their spiritual healing rituals, which have been passed down from generation to generation. Handicrafts and keepsakes can also be purchased direct from the artisans who made them.
In the afternoon, we will visit the Manatee Rescue Center, an animal orphanage where these beguiling Amazonian creatures are rescued and brought back to health before being released back into the wild.
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 check you into your lovely hotel and help you with arrangements for your international flight home.
Want to combine adventure and luxury during an Amazon luxury cruise? Reach out to a Kuoda travel consultant and we’ll help you design your exclusive luxury Peru vacation.
The Aqua cruise mentioned in this itinerary is one of several luxury cruises on the Amazon River that we can offer. The exact itinerary will vary depending on the cruise chosen, departure date and length of cruise.
- 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.