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Amazon Riverboat Adventure with NJ Audubon

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

Scarlet-crowned Barbet

Scarlet-crowned Barbet

Birding, photography, fun and relaxation… all from our 150 foot deluxe riverboat! A host of leaders for your trip will include Kevin Loughlin, bird photographer and owner of Wildside; Edison Buenaño, South America’s top birding guide; Dale Rosselet, New Jersey Audubon’s VP of Education and author/photographer/birder, Kevin Karlson… 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.


FEBRUARY 15-16: OPTIONAL DAY TRIP TO LOMAS DE LACHAY AVAILABLE (Arrival on February 15 with day trip on February 16) :: $400 per person, includes meals and added hotel night (shared cost — single room add $100).


MACHU PICCHU BIRDING AND RUINS TOUR, February 24 – March 2, 2019.


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
  • 2019 COST

    Cost from $5500 per person, double occupancy, from Lima, Peru
    - Standard Cabin per person $5500, double occupancy (5 Std cabins available)
    - Main Deck Suite per person $5750, double occupancy (SOLD)
    - Main Deck Suite per person $5750, double occupancy (SOLD)
    - Upper Deck Suite with Balcony per person $5750, double occupancy (SOLD)
    - Top Deck Suite per person $5750, 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: $7000 (SOLD)
    - Medium single cabin with double bed and small balcony: $7500 (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


    Day 1 Arrive Lima

    Day 2 Iquitos/Amazon Riverboat

    Day 3 Marañon River / Amazon River / Ucayali River

    Day 4 Marañon River / Pacaya Samiria National Reserve / Shaman Visit

    Day 5 Marañon River / Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

    Day 6 Marañon River / Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

    Day 7 Nauta / Sapisapi River

    Day 8 Iquitos / Lima

    Day 9 Coastal birding trip before late night departures from Lima


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



    Upon arrival from your international flight, you will be transferred to your hotel and overnight in Lima, the nation's capital and largest city.



    Today will begin very early, to give us time to eat breakfast and catch our flight to Iquitos, where we’ll transfer to our Amazon River ship, our home for the next seven days.


    But before boarding, we get acquainted with this jungle port city an orientation tour. This is the country’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, yet it is not without its places of quiet and shaded retreats. Much of the architecture we see is a 19th-century vestige of the era when European commercial barons held sway over life and culture here. And while Iquitos has seen many fortunes rise and fall, its isolation has remained constant: access to the city is by air or river only.


    We will also make a brief stop at the Amazonian Manatee Rescue Centre. The Amazonian Manatee is very rare and endangered mammal unique to the Amazon Jungle. This centre focuses on rescuing orphaned manatees who have been victims of poaching. The centre helps rehabilitate and reintroduce these wonderful creatures back into the Amazon Basin. Here you will have a see the efforts of the rescue centre as well as have the opportunity to feed these amazing and loveable animals.


    Once on board ship, you can just relax and let the wild rainforest surround you. Step out on deck to watch the riverbanks go by—but keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as gray and pink dolphins.


    Our ship casts off and wends its way to the confluence of the Marañon and Ucayali Rivers. Here, it is generally (but not universally!) considered that the Amazon River begins, at least in name.


    After breakfast, we have an excursion on the Amazon and some of its tributaries to see the wonders of the rain forest. This is our chance to see monkeys, sloths, and a variety of birds.


    Back onboard , we’ll gather for lunch, followed by a presentation on the Amazon River. Afterwards, we’ll walk along the shores of the Ucayali River, located in the Yucuruchi region of the Amazon. Here we’ll have an opportunity to see the Victoria Regia water lily—a gigantic aquatic plant



    Today we rise early to visit the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve for a full day of discovery in Peru's largest national park.


    Then, keep your eyes wide open and your binoculars at the ready to catch sight of cocoi heron and striated herons, colorful macaws, squirrel and woolly monkeys, caimans, sloths and many more primate, bird and mammal species. Current counts record more than 200 bird species and 10 primate species within its boundaries. Our route takes us over the tributary waters of the Marañon. Along the way, our guides will point out the interesting wildlife species that inhabit the riverbanks—not to mention unusual fish and vegetation in the river.


    Back onboard, we'll gather for breakfast followed by a presentation on the life, history, and culture of the Amazon's main tribes.


    After lunch, we have an introductory discussion about shamanism that will help us understand the traditions of the rain forest people. Our ship then arrives in the Amazon Natural Park where we'll take a short walk to the Enchanted Lake. Here a catamaran waits to sail us along the lake's tranquil waters, where we'll listen to the local birdsong and keep our eyes peeled for sighting the different animal species found in this area.


    Before dinner, 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.


    Shamanism is practiced around the globe, and is universally distinguished by a trance state called shamanic ecstasy. In these "out of body" travels, the shaman enlists denizens of the spirit world to help him with a variety of duties, from healing the sick to assisting a deceased person's soul into the afterworld—and all the while, the shaman remains conscious. Before you leave the Amazon jungle, you'll gain rare insight into the complexities of this phenomenon when you meet an actual practicing shaman in a river village. He'll introduce us to his spiritual healing craft and tell us about rain forest plants that indigenous peoples have for untold centuries held to possess curative properties. Your experience may not be "out of body," but it's sure to be out of the ordinary.



    The early morning offers another opportunity to watch the world awakening in the rain forest. Perhaps you'll spy iguanas, river turtles, cormorants, or wattled jacana during this excursion.


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


    Be sure to be well rested, so that you won't miss our late-night excursion to discover who comes out at night in the jungle! As we join our Trip Leader for a nighttime boat ride in the wild, be on the lookout for mammals, bats, and reptiles such as capybara, black caiman, poison frogs, and a vast number of other species.



    Today we rise early and set out to explore the impressive biodiversity of this unusual ecosystem. We’ll look for a quiet spot to enjoy our picnic breakfast, followed by a trip to explore Choroyacu. We’ll also ride up the Nahuapa River for 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. While fearsome, they’re also esteemed as some of the best eating fish in South America. They have a light, nutty-tasting flesh that lends itself wonderfully to any number of cooking methods, which we’ll discover when we cast our lines today. Piranha aren’t terribly selective about what they eat, making piranha fishing fairly easy. No hand-tied flies or special casting technique required. It’s often enough just to drop a line—usually baited with raw meat or chicken—where they’re swimming.


    We will also visit Choroyacu Creek where we’ll have the opportunity to climb in a dugout canoe and explore this scenic area with the locals.

    After lunch, you’re invited to plunge into the river for a swim, perhaps sharing the water with some pink or grey river dolphins.


    We’ll have another chance to witness the nocturnal life of the rain forest after dinner this evening, as we venture out in small boats onto the Marañon River. Perhaps our flashlights will reflect the red eye shine of the black caiman—or even the glowing yellow eyes of a jaguar!



    It’s back to civilization today, as our ship returns to its home port of Iquitos. But before we dock, we have a few more unique experiences to look forward to.


    This morning, we’ll call on the town of Nauta, where the Ucayali and the Marañon—the major headstreams of the Amazon—join together. On our included tour, we’ll ride the local motorcars and browse the local market. You’re welcome to try your hand at bargaining!


    Continuing on our way, we visit the Sapisapi River to look for charapas and turtles. The river has given up its secrets—or at least some of them.

    Tonight, we’ll celebrate our discoveries at our Farewell Dinner and Party, complete with live music, aboard our ship.



    Disembark at Iquitos. We will transfer to the Iquitos airport for our flight back to Lima and transported to your hotel.


    Spend a final night in the City of Kings and enjoy a Pisco Sour or try some Peruvian ceviche!


    DAY 9 LIMA

    Early morning departure to Pucusana for a coastal birding trip, including a short boat trip to see Humboldt Penguins. Easy walks will include Peruvian Thick-knee, Many-colored Rush-tyrant, Gray Gull, Gray-hooded Gull and more!

    Late-night departures for home.



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

  • Accommodations
  • 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.

    7 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.


    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