Rewarding Amazon cruise

This item appears on page 36 of the January 2012 issue.
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My partner and I had a truly stress-free, happy 10 days on the trip “Amazon River” with National Geographic Expeditions (Washington, DC; 888/966-8687), May 14-23, 2011.

Aboard the river ship Delfin II, we explored Peru’s Pacaya-Samiria Reserve and the Upper Amazon River region. The trip was run in conjunction with Lindblad Expeditions (New York, NY; 800/397-3348).

At $5,590 per person, not including any airfare (although we did have Lindblad book our San Francisco/Lima flights), this trip was pricey, but I appreciated being so well taken care of. Our tour guide was excellent and the crew seemed genuinely glad to see us. With smiling faces and a sense of humor, from the first moment, they treated us with the utmost care and respect.

From Lima, our group of 27 flew north to Iquitos ($330) and met the Lindblad rep and one of the trip’s naturalists. We were taken by bus south to Nauta, where we boarded the Delfin II, a refurbished, flat-bottom vessel with local wood on the outside and a thatch roof.

The upper deck of the boat was open, welcoming and relaxing. You could have a massage there or in your room. Our suite was spacious, with a huge window. The sight of the stars and full moon at night took my breath away.

We did morning and late-afternoon explorations in comfortable, 10-person skiffs. Days started early as we set out in the skiffs to see birds, monkeys and whatever we could find. This trip would be a winner for bird-watchers.

We would return to the boat for breakfast, which was served as a buffet; lunch and dinner were sit-down meals. The food was beautiful and delicious — local fish, fruit from the jungle and nothing that was too sweet. The local naturalists aboard had formed a band, and most nights after dinner we were happily entertained.

We were given the chance to swim twice, once where the Marañón and Vucalali rivers join to form the Amazon and another time in a lagoon with pink dolphins.

One of the ship’s owners, Lissy Urteaga, accompanied us for half the trip and shared her ideas about helping communities along the river. She formed a women’s cooperative to better market their hand work and is concentrating on creating a program that would enable the local women to get calcium supplements, as they tend to have osteoporosis by age 30. (They have an average of eight children each but little calcium in their diet.)

The weather in May was hot but not unbearably so. It rained only once when we were out in the skiffs, but large ponchos were provided.

I feel good about recommending this trip.

BRANDY CARSON
Ashland, OR

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

My partner and I had a truly stress-free, happy 10 days on the trip “Amazon River” with National Geographic Expeditions (Washington, DC; 888/966-8687), May 14-23, 2011.

Aboard the river ship Delfin II, we explored Peru’s Pacaya-Samiria Reserve and the Upper Amazon River region. The trip was run in conjunction with Lindblad Expeditions (New York, NY; 800/397-3348).

At $5,590 per person, not including any airfare (although we did have Lindblad book our San Francisco/Lima flights), this trip was pricey, but I appreciated being so well taken care of. Our tour guide was excellent and the crew seemed genuinely glad to see us. With smiling faces and a sense of humor, from the first moment, they treated us with the utmost care and respect.

From Lima, our group of 27 flew north to Iquitos ($330) and met the Lindblad rep and one of the trip’s naturalists. We were taken by bus south to Nauta, where we boarded the Delfin II, a refurbished, flat-bottom vessel with local wood on the outside and a thatch roof.

The upper deck of the boat was open, welcoming and relaxing. You could have a massage there or in your room. Our suite was spacious, with a huge window. The sight of the stars and full moon at night took my breath away.

We did morning and late-afternoon explorations in comfortable, 10-person skiffs. Days started early as we set out in the skiffs to see birds, monkeys and whatever we could find. This trip would be a winner for bird-watchers.

We would return to the boat for breakfast, which was served as a buffet; lunch and dinner were sit-down meals. The food was beautiful and delicious — local fish, fruit from the jungle and nothing that was too sweet. The local naturalists aboard had formed a band, and most nights after dinner we were happily entertained.

We were given the chance to swim twice, once where the Marañón and Vucalali rivers join to form the Amazon and another time in a lagoon with pink dolphins.

One of the ship’s owners, Lissy Urteaga, accompanied us for half the trip and shared her ideas about helping communities along the river. She formed a women’s cooperative to better market their hand work and is concentrating on creating a program that would enable the local women to get calcium supplements, as they tend to have osteoporosis by age 30. (They have an average of eight children each but little calcium in their diet.)

The weather in May was hot but not unbearably so. It rained only once when we were out in the skiffs, but large ponchos were provided.

I feel good about recommending this trip.

BRANDY CARSON
Ashland, OR