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Amazon Riverboat Adventure with Carefree Birding

Birding, photography, fun and relaxation… all from our 150 foot deluxe riverboat!

Birding, photography, fun and relaxation… all from our 150 foot deluxe riverboat! Your leaders for your trip will include Kevin Loughlin, bird photographer and owner of Wildside and Edison Buenaño, South America’s top birding guide… your Carefree Birding hosts, Linda and Ken… plus two local naturalist guides.

Our cruise will include a couple afternoon lectures on birds, wildlife or photography. We enjoy multiple excursions by motorized skiff each day, designed to reveal the incredible wildlife that calls the rainforest home and with any luck we’ll spot sloths, monkeys, toucans, macaws, pink dolphins and so much more!

The cuisine onboard is regional and provides a unique and delicious window into local culture. Gain a rare glimpse of how life on the river is lived and experience the magic of the Amazon on this once-in-a-lifetime riverboat adventure.

Focus and Highlights
The Peruvian Amazon offers fantastic birds, monkeys, sloths, frogs and other great wildlife. We will explore rivers, creeks and forest trails in search of all we can find! On board the ship we will offer daily lectures on birds, wildlife, photography, art and the local culture.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY…

Kevin, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this trip and your expertise in photography, birds, and the tropics in general. You would be on my short list for a companion if I had to drive to California in a car that only went 40 mph. Truly, I don’t know how you had the time in your life to acquire your depth of knowledge; didn’t you ever sleep? In any event, keep doing what you are doing—–I think you were born to lead eco-trips.

Anyway, muchas gracias for a great trip! —Tom N (from PA)


Thanks for a wonderful trip. It was a great group of people – participants, guides, boat crew, logistics folks etc.

Edison [Wildside’s South American birding guide], as you know, is simply amazing. Wonderful guy. Wonderful birder. Wonderful guide. Fun.

Victor [local naturalist] and the crew are very capable and fun, special people.

Neil [local naturalist] was also a great guide and birder.

One fun story was that when we saw the White-plumed Antbird, we were all having trouble seeing it. I was looking and also helping others as it darted back-and-forth. But it was hard to get a great look. Greg [Greg Miller was a guest leader] was also excited to see it. There seemed to be a ‘best place,’ so I told Greg to go first. He said, no, you are a paying participant. I was taken aback. I had forgotten that we were a group of leaders and paying participants as it felt like we were just a bunch of birders! —Peter T (from CA)


Thanks! I just want to say what a magnificent ride it was…and we are really missing our group, the daily adventures, the laughs and the bond we enjoyed!!

So much that we shared together. Cannot wait to see everyone’s pictures and I look forward to keeping in touch. I agree~this was a VERY special group of birders, travelers, and HUMANS…all united by a love of the birds, the photography, the discovery… —Linda P (from NJ)


Echoing what Linda said… everything about the trip — not just the birds and the wildlife, but all the other birders and guides and crew and everyone — made this one of the very most memorable of my life. And to have celebrated (just a bit early) my birthday on the Amazon — beyond priceless!

Kevin, thank you and thank everyone for this amazing time of awe and discovery and joy. And I can’t wait for our next Wildside trip! —Michael P (from NJ)


  • Tour Cost
  • 2020 COST

    Cost from $5650 per person, double occupancy, from Lima, Peru
    - Standard Cabin per person $5650, double occupancy (1 Std cabin available)
    - Main Deck Suite per person $5950, double occupancy (SOLD)
    - Upper Deck Suite with Balcony per person $5950, double occupancy (SOLD)
    - Top Deck Suite per person $5950, double occupancy (SOLD)

     

    Price based on double occupancy. If a single standard cabin is preferred, we have two single cabins on board:
    - Small single cabin with twin bed: $6500 (SOLD)
    - Medium single cabin with double bed and small balcony: $7000 (SOLD)

     

    Cost Includes

    All lodging, meals, guide fees, ground transportation, local flights (LIMA-IQUITOS-LIMA) airport transfers and even laundry on riverboat!

     

    Cost does not include

    International airfare, passport fees, visa fees, airport taxes, phone calls, alcoholic or bottled beverages, or anything of a personal nature or not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary.

  • Itinerary
  • BASIC ITINERARY

    Day 1 Arrive in Lima

    Day 2 Lima City Tour

    Day 3 Flight to Iquitos/Amazon Riverboat

    Day 4 Marañon River / Amazon River / Ucayali River

    Day 5 Marañon River / Pacaya Samiria National Reserve / Shaman Visit

    Day 6 Marañon River / Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

    Day 7 Marañon River / Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

    Day 8 Nauta / Sapisapi River

    Day 9 Flight to Lima

    Day 10 Coastal birding trip before late night departures from Lima

     

    DETAILED ITINERARY - Actually itinerary may vary with water levels and weather

     

    DAY 1 ARRIVE LIMA (due to late arrivals, dinner is not included)

    Upon arrival, you will be taken to our hotel at the airport. Look for a sign with your name or the Wildside logo on it.

     

    DAY 2 LIMA CITY TOUR

    Today we will take a leisurely trip through the city of Lima to enjoy many historic and cultural destinations. Lunch at a local restaurant and dinner back at our hotel.

     

    DAY 3 IQUITOS/NAUTA/AMAZON RIVERBOAT

    A mid-morning flight will get us to Iquitos before lunch, with time to visit the Manatee Rescue Center. The Amazonian Manatee is a very rare and endangered mammal unique to the Amazon Jungle. This center focuses on rescuing orphaned manatees who have been victims of poaching. They rehabilitate and reintroduce these wonderful creatures back into the Amazon Basin. There are great birds here, too! 

     

    Before boarding we’ll stop to purchase school supplies (optional) as we get acquainted with this jungle port of Nauta. Once on board ship, you can just relax or step out on deck to watch the riverbanks go by—but keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as gray and pink dolphins as our ship wends its way to the confluence of the Marañon and Ucayali Rivers. Here, it is generally considered, that the Amazon River begins.

     

    DAYS 4 THROUGH 8

    Water levels and other conditions will determine our daily activities that will include most of the following:

     

    SKIFF EXCURSIONS ON TRIBUTARIES OF THE MARAÑON RIVER, AMAZON RIVER AND/OR UCAYALI RIVER

    Before breakfast on most days (coffee and snacks available) we’ll have an excursions on the river and some of its tributaries to see the wonders of the rain forest. This is the most active time of day for wildlife and we'll have chances to see monkeys, sloths, and a huge variety of birds! Each day after breakfast we will head out again to add to our lists. After lunch and a bit of a siesta, we will go exploring again.

     

    BIRD AND WILDLIFE WALKS

    We will take several opportunities to go ashore and be enveloped by the lush forest. Terra Firma Forest, above the flood plain, will offer different, fantastic birds, poison dart frogs, lizards, monkeys and many other great surprises! 

     

    LECTURES AND WORKSHOPS

    While onboard, we’ll gather for a couple presentations on Nature Photography (for beginners as well as more advanced), Life on the Amazon—The people and Their Traditions, Shamans and Healers and other subjects.

     

    PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAl RESERVE

    Peru’s largest national park will cause you to keep your eyes wide open and your binoculars at the ready. Squirrel and Woolly Monkeys, caimans, sloths and many birds will keep us busy! Current counts have recorded more than 300 bird species and 10 primate species within the park’s boundaries.

     

    VICTORIA LILLIES

    We will hike to at least one location to enjoy Victoria Regia, the gigantic aquatic plant with platters up to 6 feet wide and blossoms as big as volleyballs that smell like Bazooka Joe bubble gum and are pollinated at night by large, black beetles.

     

    NIGHT EXCURSIONS

    We will enjoy one or two excursions to discover who comes out at night in the jungle! During a boat ride with spot lights, be on the lookout for owls, potoos, bats and other mammals and other creatures such as caiman and frogs. If conditions allow, we may also hike through the forest for a more intimate night experience.

     

    OXBOW LAKE VISIT

    As the river changes course quite regularly, oxbow lakes are left behind. These lakes offer some of the best habitat for species like the odd Hoátzan. Rufescent Tiger Herons and many passerines will also be found in this micro-habitat. If water levels are high enough we may explore by canoe, if low, we will hike around the lake.

     

    SHAMAN VISIT

    We’ll touch upon the spirit realm, paying a visit to a local shaman. Mystic ... minister ... healer—one might consider a shaman to be “all of the above.” But to understand shamanism requires something of a leap of faith, a leap into the spirit world that is the shaman’s domain.

     

    VILLAGE AND SCHOOL VISIT

    During our trip we will try to visit one of the local schools. Before boarding our ship on the first day we will stop in town to purchase some supplies to deliver tot he kids. Soccer balls are a favorite, but pencils, notebookes and art supplies are all desired and needed!

    We’ll also meet a local Indian family who will welcome us into their home to share conversation over the midday meal, introducing you to their culture, and way of life. This is a rare and unforgettable opportunity to gain new insight into a world truly apart from our own.

     

    PIRANHA FISHING

    If time and conditions allow (low water is needed), we’ll look for a quiet spot to enjoy a little fishing expedition. What’s biting? Piranhas, of course! Reputedly “the most ferocious fish in the world” (to quote Teddy Roosevelt), piranha are a dietary staple for many of the Amazon rain forest’s indigenous people.

     

    AMAZON SWIM

    If time and conditions allow (low water is needed), we'll plunge into the river for a swim, perhaps sharing the water with some Gray or Pink River Dolphins. Don’t worry about the Piranhas, we’ll have caught them all anyway!

     

    MUSIC AND DANCE

    On a couple evenings our ship’s band, “The Chunky Monkeys,” will play music using local instruments, from the Andes and Amazon, while other crew members teach some dance moves.

     

    FOOD AND DRINK

    Most meals will be served buffet style while a couple will be picnic meals. Sodas and alcholic drinks may be purchased from the bar.

     

    DAY 9 IQUITOS / LIMA

    We will disembark at Iquitos and take a short tour of this historic city. Iquitos is Peru’s main river port, established in 1864 in the heart of rubber country on the Amazon’s deep waters. Like any port, it has a hustle-bustle feel. Much of the architecture is a 19th-century vestige of the era when European commercial barons held sway over life and culture. 

     

    Early afternoon we will transfer to the Iquitos airport for our flight back to Lima.

     

    We will enjoy our evening meal in the hotel’s restaurant as we share our favorite experiences from the trip!

     

    DAY 10 PUCUSANA COASTAL DAY TRIP / RETURN HOME LATE NIGHT

    Departures after 10:00pm required (most flights to the USA are late night).

     

    PLEASE NOTE

    The itinerary may vary depending on the weather and water levels which affect our ability to enter certain rivers, creeks and lakes. It may also be run in reverse to minimize the number of people from different boats visiting areas at one time.

  • Accommodations
  • The Dazzler

    Our luxury hotel is in Miraflores, the cultural and historic region of Lima. It is about 45 minutes from the airport, but offers a great location from which to do our city tour and coastal birding trip. Along with very comfortable rooms, The Dazzler has an excellent restaurant and bar.

     

    La Perla Riverboat Cabins

    ALL Cabins have AC, a large river-facing window and private bath...

     

    Main Deck

    2 suites on the lower deck with queen bed (or two twins), AC, large river-facing window and private bath.

     

    Upper Deck

    1 medium sized suite with small balcony, one queen bed, AC, large river-facing window and private bath.

    6 standard cabins on the second deck with side-by-side twin beds or 1 queen bed, river-facing window with private facilities and AC

    1 medium single cabin with small balcony, AC, large river-facing window and private bath.

    1 small single cabin with twin bed, AC, large river-facing window and private bath.

     

    Top Deck

    1 spacious suite on the third deck with queen size beds, river-facing window with private bath and AC.

    1 standard cabin on third deck with one queen bed, AC, large river-facing window and private bath.

     

    LA PERLA RIVERBOAT

     

    CONSTRUCTION

    Built: 2012 in Nauta, Peru

    Length: 135ft / 50m

    Beam: 29ft / 8.8m

    Draft: 7ft / 2.1m

    Capacity: 28 passengers (including leaders)

    Generator: 2 X Perkins 90 kW

    Engine: 2 X Volvo Penta 235 HP

    Cruising Speed: 8 - 10 knots

    Water: 2 x 820 Gallon fresh water tanks

    Water Treatment: 2 Aerobic Biofilter Plants

    Crew: 10 + 1 Naturalist Guide

     

    Launch Boats (skiffs)

    2 motorized open skiffs to explore smaller tributaries featuring ecologically-friendly four-stroke engines and safety equipment holding up to 24 passengers each

     

  • Additional Info
  • Additional Costs

    TIPS
    Always a sticking point and ALWAYS optional (though recommended if you have received exceptional service)! Here are the general guidelines, PER PARTICIPANT, for tips on board the boat:
    - Crew ~$100 per participant (shared by crew)
    - Local Guides ~$50 per participant (split between the two local guides who will be with us full time)
    - Edison (Wildside top birding guide in South America) ~$25-$50 per participant
     
     
    --- For a total estimated tip contribution per participant of $175-$200. Remember this is only a guideline. YOU may choose what to give, if at all, after your time with each of these team members.
     
     
    Giving of the Tips
    Edison: Please give Edison your tips directly
     
     
    Crew and Local Guides: These tips must be given as a group! We will collect the tips and give an envelope to our local guides and another to the boat captain as a group so it is shared properly. Giving individual tips to any crew member is discouraged as it creates animosity amongst the crew — there are those who work equally hard (like the chief engineer), but may never be seen by participants.