Arrive in Lima and spend the night at the Costa del Sol Ramada.
Fly to Iquitos today and drive 1 1/2 hours by bus to the riverside town of Nauta, where you can embark Delfin II. Once on board, you are welcomed by hardwood floors, rattan sofas, wooden-slat hammocks and a graceful, modern design. The enthusiastic naturalists and expedition leader set an informal tone for your expedition. And your chef introduces you to Peru’s haute cuisine and local delicacies, all prepared with an Amazonian flair.
Never does nature seem more bountiful than here in the tropics. The wildlife and the biodiversity are tremendous, and with experienced naturalists at your side, understanding comes more easily. The Pucate River is one of the three main rivers in the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. Aboard the skiffs and kayaks, explore this black water stream, looking for parrots, macaws and perhaps monkeys, such as the monk saki with its gray and black body, naked face and long shaggy tail. You might also see the saddle-back tamarin whose high chirping notes can easily be confused with those of a flock of birds.
Experience one of the principal ecosystems within the Amazon basin: terra firma. Disembark and hike to see the vegetation and wildlife, distinctly different from the seasonally flooded forests. For those not interested in hiking, it is well worth traveling up-river by skiff. Reach an important junction of the Amazon headwaters, where the Ucayali & Marañon rivers merge to form the mighty Amazon River. Visit the Sapuena Village to learn about the life of the ribereños. or those who live on the riverbanks.
Venture to find the giant Amazonian water lily Victoria regia. This beautiful aquatic plant grows in small lagoons known as cochas. Hike a trail with excellent bird watching, and learn about caciques and oropendolas. At the junction of the El Dorado River, look for dolphins and see abundant birdlife. Sharp eyes may find an iguana lazing in the sun and sloths hanging in the upper canopy. A watch is also kept for squirrel monkeys. Return to Delfin II after sunset in order to see nocturnal life along the river.
Sail further into the heart of the Pacaya-Samiria Nature Reserve. From December through May explore Atun Poza by skiff. Look for lagoon birds such as egrets, herons, jacamars, ringed kingfishers and various raptors. If the river levels are sufficiently low, a short walk to a local community is offered. From June through November, hike through a rich ecosystem, passing through a classical tropical rain forest. Biologically, this kind of forest is probably one of the richest habitats on earth, supporting the most species of plants and animals per unit area. The goal is to reach the giant “ceiba” or kapok tree with its immense trunk diameter.
By skiff, depart for your furthest point in the journey, up the Pacaya River to Yanayacu lagoon. The waters of this lake originate in the very heart of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. This rainforest wilderness is home to red howler and capuchin monkeys, three-toed sloths and numerous species of parrots. Today, with luck, you may swim in the vicinity of Amazonian pink river dolphins!
Continue exploring by kayak and skiff. From January through July, rivers flood and lowland forests have more than three feet of standing water at the base of trees. Flowering and fruiting coincides with this flooding and many fish, including piranhas, swim around the trees to feed on the fallen fruit (so the super-carnivore reputation of piranhas as a bloody-thirsty fish is quite exaggerated!). From July through December, search for the shorebirds that appear only at this time of year. When the river is very low, huge white sandy beaches emerge and young, sometimes temporary river islands form, creating special ecosystems favorable to sand pipers, terns and kingfishers. By skiff stop at Puerto Miguel Village to learn about their culture, traditions and folklore. Back on board, your talented staff on Delfin II delights you with some live music.
After lunch disembark and return to Iquitos by bus. There is time to visit the manatee rehabilitation center before flying to Lima. In Lima, proceed to the Costa del Sol Ramada for the night.
Following breakfast, transfer to airport for independent onward flights.
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