Introducing a boutique Amazon cruise line that operates small to moderate size, high-end Amazon riverboats based in Peru. They sail from one of two Peruvian ports and into a vast national reserve that is best reached and toured by boat, additionally with sections also seen on foot in the dry season.
Delfin Amazon Cruises began operating in 2006 and expanded from one to three riverboats under the guidance of a husband and wife team with a background in international banking (him) and art, interior design and international travel (her).
Ship, Year Delivered & Passengers
DELFIN I (refurbished 2010, 12 passengers); DELFIN II (built 2009, 30p); DELFIN III (b. 2015 as Amazon Discovery, refitted, upgraded & renamed in 2017, 43p)
DELFIN I, II & III (three decks, no elevator)
Couples and families during school holidays. Languages: English and Spanish. It pays to be reasonably active to get in and out of skiffs, kayaks and take hikes. Children accepted from age 7.
$$ TO $$$ — DELFIN I is the most expensive while DELFIN II & DELFIN III have the same rates for two categories, and DELFIN III has two categories with lower rates. Singles pay a 50% supplement. Ages 7-11 receive a 20% discount.
Cruises are 3 or 4 nights for all vessels. Most cruises leave from Nauta, a port about 1.5 hours from Iquitos airport, giving good access to the Pacaya Samira National Reserve. Some departures leave from Iquitos. See Activities for the daily details.
Excursions, panchos and rubber boots, coffee, tea, water, beer on all boats; aboard DELFIN I, most alcoholic drinks and wine with meals. Transfers between Iquitos and the riverboat landing for those who take the designated domestic flights. Recommended gratuities $120 pp.
The Amazon Basin in Peru is home to a very wide variety of animals, birds, and fish and complex rainforest vegetation and dramatic scenery. Most of the river expedition time is spent in the vast Pacaya Samira National Reserve with various means of seeing the wildlife in skiffs and kayaks and on foot. Cultural history is also worked into the program.
When to Go?
Wet and dry seasons are much less pronounced in total rainfall figures than one would expect, given the river level’s enormous 23-foot rise and fall, making certain means of travel easier, harder or impossible depending on the conditions. The annual rainfall is 12 feet! November to May is the so-called flooded season with daytime high temperatures averaging 86F. June to October is the drier season with daytime highs averaging 98F. High water levels allow for more rainforest penetration using narrow creeks that would otherwise be inaccessible in the dry season. The latter allows for more terra firma walks and hikes, and fishing for piranhas will be much more likely to produce a catch.
DELFIN I – 4 suites with 2 having a whirlpool, an extra berth, floor-to-ceiling openings to the outside. Wooden floor and decking. DELFIN II – 14 suites with 4 that interconnect for families. DELFIN III – 8 suites, 2 corner suites, 10 upper suites, owner’s suite.
DELFIN I – Top deck enclosed lounge and an adjacent outdoor open bar and lounge, DVDs, Xbox (video games), rainforest reading materials. DELFIN II – Lounge that turns into a presentation room, media equipment, game tables, reading materials; open-air covered observation lounge, exercise room and spa.
DELFIN III – Top deck enclosed lounge and open lounge and bar, plunge pool, gym and spa. All three riverboats are decorated with Peruvian artwork and furnishings, and some items are available for purchase.
Food is a treat combining foreign imports with Amazonian fruits, vegetables and freshwater fish. Seating is open and mealtimes are set. The days often start early as it is cooler and the wildlife is stirring.
Activities & Entertainment
Excursions will take place in 8-person skiffs, each with a naturalist guide aboard to follow Amazon tributaries and small creeks, and perhaps into a lagoon. Serious fishing is another popular activity with the catch including Amazon catfish, peacock bass and arapaima, and if successful, then released. Two-person kayaks (DELFIN I & DELFIN II), paddle boarding (DELFIN I only), and swimming with gentle pink river dolphins are additional water activities. Hiking is another way to see frogs, snakes, and birds, and if rain is forecast, rubber boots and ponchos are provided. Occasionally night safaris on foot are offered to spot frogs, bats and black caiman. For those who can deal with heights and mild vertigo, a 1,580 foot (500 meter) wooden walkway can take you along at a level of 85 feet above ground to commune with what lives in the trees and even atop trees. Near Iquitos, a rescue and rehabilitation center takes care of endangered river otters, baby manatees and monkeys, some of whom were not well treated as pets.
On board after dark, the night stars are especially brilliant on the Peruvian Amazon.
While according to the line, malaria and yellow fever are not present, check with your country’s requirements if traveling to Peru’s Amazonia.
Along the Same Lines
There are many Amazon river operators and lots of price ranges, and this one is up there.
Delfin Amazon Cruises, Av. Abelardo Quinones, KM5, San Juan Bautista, Iquitos, Peru; 1-844-4 DELFIN, delfinamazoncruises.com.
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