There’s no better way to visit the Amazon than aboard a luxurious floating hotel. You’ll eat, sleep and relax in ultimate elegance and immerse yourself in the jungle on exhilarating and educational excursions. Not sure which boat to choose? These are our three favorite vessels operating out of Iquitos, Peru.
All of the cruises we offer have a lot in common. Whichever boat you choose, you can bank on living, sleeping and eating in the lap of air-conditioned luxury. Daily excursions on smaller skiffs will allow you to witness incredible wildlife (including evocative pink river dolphins) and you’ll also get to go piranha fishing, interact with local communities and visit a manatee rehab center. This comprehensive blog comparing Peruvian Amazon lodges and cruises goes into far more detail. Now for the boats…
The 16-suite Aria Amazon, launched in 2011 and completely refurbished in 2015, was designed by the award-winning Peruvian architect Jordi Puig. It’s the most modern vessel in Iquitos, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows in all suites (which are a whopping 250-square feet across the board), imported fixtures and the kind of aesthetic you’d expect in a luxe boutique hotel.
The menu, designed by internationally acclaimed chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino (of Malabar fame), is also exceptional. Scallops with wild almonds and umari fruit not to your liking? How about some yucca gnocchi?
If intimate exclusivity is your thang, then the Delfin I is most definitely the boat for you. With only four super-spacious suites, and a maximum capacity of 12 guests, there really is nothing else like it. Located on the upper deck, the two 340 square feet Master Suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows, en suite bathrooms and vast private balconies. The Deluxe Suites, located on the main deck with the added bonus of their own, private cool-water whirlpools. (There are no other swimming options on this boat – apart from the river, that is.)
The Delfin I’s smaller size means there is no spa, swimming pool or fitness center, but this is more than compensated for by the personalized service, exceptional food and drink and uniquely intimate atmosphere. It’s possible to book out the entire boat – especially appealing for families with kids younger than seven who would not be allowed to cruise on any of the other vessels.
In a slightly lower price bracket, but still undeniably luxurious, the Delfin III is one of our most popular boats. With 22 suites (sleeping a total of 43 guests) and communal areas including indoor and outdoor lounge areas, a sundeck with a plunge pool, a spa and a gym, it strikes an ideal balance between amenities and intimacy. With four different suite types – including the impressive Owner’s Suite – there is something for everyone.
The food and drink are decidedly gourmet (expect plenty of local touches and ‘safer’ options for kids/unadventurous eaters), and the knowledgeable, friendly and attentive staff earn rave reviews from all of our guests. The lounge area is big enough for everyone and there are plenty of musical instruments and games to keep youngsters busy. Excursions are limited to 15 people per skiff, so you’ll get plenty of attention from the expert guides.
Words of wisdom
Mosquitoes can be an issue on jungle hikes and when getting on/off skiffs, so dress appropriately and bring repellent. Mosquitoes aren’t an issue on moving skiffs or inside the main vessel.
Be prepared for early morning activities as that’s when the animals are most active. The early bird catches the worm and all that…
We recommend bringing school supplies for the local kids to distribute during the community visit. The smiles on their faces never grow old.
Cruises are offered all year round, but during the rainy season – November thru May – high water levels can affect the number of land excursions.
Two other boats
The 14-suite Delfin II sits between its sister ships, both in terms of size and price. It can easily be booked upon request.
The Amazon Star is currently only available for charter (not sold by cabin).
5 Iconic animals of the Peruvian Amazon
10 amazing facts about the Amazon Rainforest
Planning and packing for the Amazon
Make it happen
Got your heart set on caimans and capybaras? Amazon sunsets and pisco sours? Check out our carefully-crafted Amazon itineraries or contact one of our Destination Experts about curating a bespoke itinerary to suit your exact requirements.
All photos used in this blog are courtesy images.