Sunday, December 15th, 2019

Cruise the Amazon in a floating hotel

Published on November 27, 2012 by   ·   No Comments

Blasting music and boring buffet meals are oft-heard complaints when it comes to Amazon River cruises, but tour operator Aqua Expeditions promises nothing but five star luxury when you board one of their exquisite vessels to explore the steamy rainforests of the Peruvian stretch of the Amazon River basin.

Custom built in 2007 by Peruvian superstar architect Jordi Puig, 130ft M/V Aqua was the first true luxury cruise ship designed specifically for the Amazon and specifically for an extraordinary level of creature comfort.   Accommodating 24 guests plus crew, the experience is intimate, refined and, thanks to modern navigation technologies, supremely safe.

5 Star luxury

Each of the 12 air-conditioned suites onboard Aqua, including four master suites, has en-suite sitting rooms and are handsomely decorated with Brazilian slate walls, stunning local wood flooring and king-size beds.  Vast eight foot long walls of glass bring the best of Peru to you – even whilst lying in bed.  Lima native Pedro Miguel Schiaffino is Aqua’s executive chef on board.  Also known as the “jungle chef”, he likes to mould the menu with a fusion of jungle flavours and classic dishes, all accompanied by South American wines, and not a buffet in sight.

Meeting demand, Aqua Expeditions set Jordi Puig to work once more and in April 2011 launched their second ship, M/V Aria.  Slightly longer than her big sister at 147ft, this lookalike accommodates up to 32 guests plus crew and has a bar lounge, dining room, an arts and crafts boutique, exercise room, reference library and observation sundeck with Jacuzzi for their delectation.  The 16 suites echo those of Aqua with en-suite sitting rooms and those phenomenal picture windows to give you the impression of sleeping on the water itself.  Built at the shipyard in Iquitos, Peru, Aria cost in excess of four million dollars and promises to take you to parts of Peru only a few have ever visited.

Dominating South America

It may only be the second longest river in the world, but the Amazon has by far the largest water flow and the largest drainage basin on the planet accounting for almost a fifth of the world’s total river flow.  Aqua Expeditions lets you into the secrets of some of Peru’s most preserved and remote havens for wildlife and flora – much of it only accessible by boat.  Super knowledgeable local guides teach you about the source of the Amazon, take you to fiercely traditional indigenous communities, introduce you to monkeys and help you fish for local delicacies.

The tour operator cruises you into nature reserves teeming with neon-coloured birds, mighty hawks, delicate herons and kaleidoscopes of butterflies.  Explorers will also be advised to keep their eyes open for pink (yes, they’re endangered) dolphins, three-toed sloths, iguanas, alligators and the beautiful but rare black jaguar.  The boa constrictor, anaconda and bird-eating spiders are perhaps best observed from afar.

With three, four and seven night itineraries on offer, Aqua Expeditions – especially Aqua and Aria – are well worth considering.  But exploring this fragile and beautiful Peruvian paradise doesn’t necessarily come cheap – a three night (all inclusive) discovery cruise on Aria starts at $2,835 USD per person.  But it may just be the price you pay for a memory to last a lifetime.


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