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Trip Report 7 Days in the Amazon on the Delfin I

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We recently returned from a fantastic trip to Northern Peru and the Amazon, organized by Nina Fogelman at Ancient Summit (www.ancientsummit.com). We had travelled with Ancient Summit to the usual highlights (Lima, Cusco, Puerto Maldonado, Lake Titicaca) two years ago and enjoyed it so much that we decided to go back to Peru and visit the less developed sites in the North – and combine that with an Amazon cruise out of Iquitos.

After our visit to Northern Peru (reviewed in the post “Northern Peru with Ancient Summit”) we flew from Lima to Iquitos to spend 7 days cruising the Amazon and Pacaya Samiria National Reserve on the Delfin 1.

The Amazon portion of the trip was from May 20 to May 27, an excellent time to visit since the floodwaters are still high and most areas in the Pacaya Samiria reserve are accessible by water, but after the rainy season. Travelling on the small (or large) creeks and lagoons give an excellent vantage point for observing wildlife and the abundance of colorful birds. We had decided to combine a 3day and 4day cruise on the Delfin 1 to give us the maximum time in the area and see the most. The 3day cruise typically is on the Maranon and Amazon rivers, the 4 day is on the Ucuyali and Amazon rivers.

The flight from Lima to Iquitos is about a 2 hr flight, and upon arriving in Iquitos we were met at the airport by the representatives of the Delfin Cruise lines. Cruises don’t actually start in Iquitos but rather in Nauta which is about 2hrs away by road on the Maranon river, one of two rivers (the other being the Ucuyali that join to form the Amazon) since the most interesting areas to travel are in the Pacaya Samiria Reserve and it’s about 12hrs from Iquitos to Nauta by boat.

Our cruise vessel was the Delfin 1 – one of two vessels run by the Delfin Cruise lines. The Delfin 1 has only 4 cabins – splendid cabins – spacious air conditioned rooms, each with lots of windows and a private deck. Two actually have whirlpools (not heated) And of course with so few passengers, personal attention is a given. The food was exceptionally good – using local produce that you might not find elsewhere, and attention given to flavor combinations and presentation. We had given the crew a challenge, Nancy is vegetarian AND diabetic. They did an amazing job of coming up with dishes that met her needs perfectly, and from a presentation perspective look almost identical to the other meals. Even the dining room was handled in a special manner – changing the décor (even the curtains) from one meal to another.

The daily agenda consisted of a 6am outing on skiffs to some creek to observe wildlife, back to the boat for breakfast, followed by another outing til 10:30 or 11. Then a magnificent lunch, followed by some downtime (avoiding the midday heat), and then out again at 3:30pm or so for more adventures. What one actually does on outings varies from day to day – there's always lots of observation of birds and animals, but we also had some outings with kayaking (the Delfin 1 has kayaks that they carry for this), some visits to local communities, and even some swimming in the creeks. (no, there’s no danger of being eaten by pirhanas or anacondas). And on a few days the afternoon trip lasted until after sundown, so we could search for caiman and other nocturnal creatures
.
By then end of the first morning we had already seen an abundance of birds (including
the Horned Screamer), Sloths, monkeys, and the famous Pink Dolphin. The great thing is that there are ten different types of monkeys in the area including squirrel monkeys, owl monkeys, saddle backed tamarins, pygmy marmosets, and howler monkeys. We saw all of those except the howler – but we certain did hear them. What you see in the jungle is very dependent on your guide, most things you’d never see without the guide – and our guide, Juan Luis, was particularly good at spotting the smallest and best hidden of birds and animals, even in low light. He was even able to spot a Great Potoo – a bird that looks just like a tree branch. Even when he pointed it out to us (it was about 6 feet away) we had trouble seeing it.

You may wonder about the insects… actually we didn’t see that many spiders – a few while on jungle hikes, and the mosquitos were no problem at all. We did use good insect repellent just to be sure, and on evening outings wore long sleeved shirts and pants, but were free from bites.

And the heat? Yes, its humid. Normal temperature is about 30 Celcius and the humidity is about 90% so it can definitely be warm in the middle of the day. But because you’re on the water, and often moving, it really isn’t a problem.

We were even treated to a delightful breakfast on the Amazon, eating local fruits, breads and quiche as we drifted down the mighty river.

It was an outstanding experience, full of wonderful scenery, amazing sounds, colorful birds, and interesting animals.

For a visual and audio dialog, we've posted some of the vast number of photographs we took, and added an appropriate sound track....

Amazon video : http://youtu.be/Y_z2oJSu1lU
Northern Peru: http://youtu.be/7taqjTtRDlw

They’re particularly good in 720p (HD) mode and full screen….

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