Exploring the Amazon with International Expeditions

Shelby Feemster

Shelby Feemster

Advisor Stories / Shelby Feemster / Exploring the Amazon with International Expeditions

For anyone interested in wildlife, exotic culture, food and wine, unique shopping, history or archaeology, Peru and the surrounding Amazon will not disappoint. Hear about this once-in-a-lifetime adventure from Shelby Feemster - one of our best, most adventurous travel advisors as she experienced this diverse region along with International Expeditions.

What did you enjoy most about this river cruise experience with International Expeditions? I was surprised by the nice accommodations and excellent food. I enjoyed the amazing wildlife and well thought out excursion (champagne at sunset, an evening cruise in the jungle to see the night creatures and listen to the sounds both done on the skiff). Using skiffs to get around everyday allowed us to go many places and sometimes deep in to the thick of the jungle. The guides are incredible at spotting animals and birds which are plentiful. Some colorful or poisonous, many are both!

Tell us about the ports/cities you visited with this itinerary.

  • Lima – often overcast but doesn’t get a lot of rain, a bustling city full of tuk tuks that the locals use to get around (cheaper than the minibuses and taxis). The colorful handmade textiles are beautiful and well made but not cheap, even when you barter with the street vendors.
  • Iquitos – accessible by air and boat only, where Peruvian Amazon cruises begin/end.

What shore excursions did you go on? Daily excursions are taken on skiffs since the ‘roads’ are really tributaries. Each day is spent doing a morning and an afternoon skiff ride. These outings take you to see various birds and wildlife. Some of the highlights:

  • We went fishing for piranha
  • Visited a village and school
  • Did a jungle trek
  • Macheted our way in to the depths of the jungle and swam in the black water.

Did you do any pre/post activities? With late arrivals in to Lima a pre-night is often necessary. There are two hotels located at the airport and these will be best for early departures to Iquitos. But if you have more time Miraflores (about a 45 minute drive) is a safer, clean, touristy area with a lot of shopping, dining and nightlife options.

What are your top 3 pieces of advice for someone going on a similar trip?

  1. Take loose, lightweight clothing! Bugs will bite through tight fitting clothes. DO NOT bring jeans! They’ll be hot and heavy when you get wet – and you will! Do bring some short sleeve shirts and shorts, sandals even. There are days when you can get away without the long clothing coverage and you’ll be happy for the chance to wear less. Just use the bug spray and bring hats! You’ll wear them daily. An old, leather pair of sneakers will come in very handy (easy to clean the mud off and are closed shoes to keep out bugs)
  2. Carry a small or collapsible hand fan. For any land touring it can be incredibly hot AND muggy; any movement of air will help. Drink water often, carry it always.
  3. Cell use and internet/Wi-Fi access will be spotty at best. Don’t pay for a service you’ll have little use for unless you absolutely must. When in Lima, Iquitos, Cusco or other cities you’ll be fine but on the river – unplug! You can get intermittent cellular but usually only as you pass a few larger villages and for a limited amount of time.

What did you like most about the International Expeditions cruise line?

  • The staff was attentive and truly caring. They even had musical talent and played music for us each night – and they were really good!
  • The food was delicious (be adventurous and try the local cuisine!)
  • The guides are just amazing at spotting birds and animals (by site or by sound) and their knowledge of the region and the animals is impressive.

What are 3 things one can expect from this cruise line?

  1. All inclusive (excursion, beer/wine and local Pisco drinks with lunch and dinner)
  2. Kayaks are on board and there will be several opportunities to use them.
  3. The Zafiro accommodations are adequate but storage is limited. Collapsible luggage or smaller suitcases are wise. Balcony use can be limited with all the heat and bugs so the sliding glass door cannot be left open at any time.

Contact Shelby about this vacation

Pictures from this trip