The mighty Amazon meanders its way through forest fringes which harbor some of the most stunning animal and plant species in the world, throughout its 4345 miles length stretching from the Peruvian Andes to Brazil. Even if you are not the adventurous type, exploring this mysterious river on a cruise can be the most gratifying experience of a lifetime.
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Ships are ideal for those wanting to experience the jungles of Amazon without compromising on service and comfort. The large labyrinth of waterways and tributaries which pour into the river through Ecuador, Peru and Brazil, make the task of choosing the right cruise a bit difficult. Hence we hope his Amazon cruise guide will go a long way in helping travelers in deciding what’s best for them.
Plan in Advance
Booking your rainforest cruises as much as 9-12 months in advance will offer the best types of boats, itinerary options, cabin categories and more significantly early bird discounts. If you want to combine the cruise with a land-based tour like the Galapagos in Ecuador then more advanced planning is required. Though last-minute deals are available, don’t guarantee choice of dates or accommodation.
Ecuador Amazon Cruises
As the best choice for an Ecuador Amazon Cruise there are two vessels worth considering. First the 40-guest Anakonda and secondly the 30-guest Manatee as only these two ships offer an upscale cruise experience. The itineraries of both ships are designed by the respective captains who provide the right blend of both shore and offshore excursions to explore the depths of Yasuni National Park, the largest park of Ecuador.
Peru Amazon Cruises
The Amazon flows through two distinct regions of Peru namely, North and South Peru. Cruises in the north take place on the Ucayali and Maranon rivers where they join to meet the Amazon. A ten day adventure cruise offers a unique way to get up close to the pristine rainforests region of the Pacaya Samira National Reserve apart from trying a hand at piranha fishing or swimming with pink Amazon river dolphins. Vessel categories range from the economical Amatista and Delfin III to the luxurious Aria and the authentic Delfin I which caters to just eight guests.
Brazil Amazon Cruises
The cruise from Brazil is said to be the ultimate voyage of a lifetime. The trip which starts from Manaus penetrates deep into the jungle and tends to last for about eighteen days. This is where to see the river at its best as in places it is difficult to spot the opposite shore. The M/Y Tucano is the only vessel which ventures into the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Central Amazon Conservation Complex, home to thousands of miles of undisturbed wilderness of Rio Negro.
Amazon Birding Cruises
With over 1500 recorded bird species, Amazon is a virtual haven for bird lovers. On a right trip the average birder can easily add hundred lifers to their list.The guides on the ship and lodges have excellent knowledge about the birds in their area, even more than an expert ornithologist. Travelers interested in bird cruises should add extra days in the rainforest to maximize chances of seeing a particular bird. The high water season, in general, is said to be the best for birding.
What Animals to Expect
Explore the varied biodiversity with knowledgeable nature guides watching for mammals, reptiles and birds and learn a bit about the land and its people. Encounter rare howler monkeys, three -toed sloths, caimans and the rare prized Jaguar.
Amazon Cruise Guides
The experience and knowledge of your guide will have a profound effect on the success of your trip. That said, every guide onboard the ships are excellent while those attached to the lodges vary with respect to experience and skill. Travelers wishing for an educational experience can hire guides from National Geographic at a premium as they are all high quality and based in the areas they guide.
A journey across a waterway which covers 40% of a continent and flows through nine countries has to be awe-inspiring to say the least. Those looking to take a river cruise into an area that even till today lies largely unexplored and untamed will return with an extremely rewarding experience.