Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cruise the Amazon--save on June trips of a lifetime

La Amatista at sunset on the Amazon
You may have heard about our trip to Peru last September, which included travel into the Highlands (mountainous regions) of southern Peru followed by a small-boat cruise on the headwaters of the Amazon River. This was truly an amazing journey with spectacular scenery, wonderful accommodations and food, and the friendliest people anywhere.

International Expeditions (IE) helped Larry and me organize our first week traveling on our own (with a guide and driver) and the second week with a group of 15 on the Amazon. I highly recommend IE, not only because of their excellent service but also because a portion of fees is used to improve environmental and cultural conditions in the regions where tours take place.
Lounging on a ficus tree in the jungle
I’m including information from IE regarding specials on June excursions. If you haven’t planned your summer travel, here’s a wonderful opportunity to take an Amazon River cruise at a greatly reduced rate. (We spent a week on the Amazon on La Amatista, a different boat, but we traveled through the same territory and had the same adventures as described below).

International Expeditions, the world leader in engaging and authentic nature travel, is offering travelers a special $1,000 per person savings on its June 1 and 22, 2012 Amazon River cruises. While reaping a rare savings of more than 25 percent off regular fares, budget savvy travelers enjoy an in-depth look at the legendary nature and vibrant culture of the Peruvian Amazon.

Guests on the 10-day Amazon Voyage travel more than 600 miles into the narrow tributaries of the Amazon aboard the 24-passenger riverboat Aquamarina, enjoying chances for rare wildlife sightings. Daily outings on this small-ship adventure take travelers deep into the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve to spot diverse wildlife, hike into the rainforest, and even fish for piranha. During excursions into the narrow river tributaries, guests may spot more than 100 kinds of birds, pink and gray river dolphins, sloths, giant otters and nocturnal animals such as caimans and capybaras (We saw all of these!).
River children learn early how to use
a machete
Amazon cruise passengers also spend time with the ribereƱos, native people of the Amazon’s remote villages, handing out school supplies to children and meeting with a local shaman. Guests enjoy a glimpse into daily life while also learning about local agriculture and crafts. Ensuring a high level of authenticity, IE varies the villages guests visit during their Amazon expedition (A highlight of the trip!).

When not discussing the rainforest or village life with the local guides, guests can stargaze on the open-air top deck or sip cocktails while enjoying the evening entertainment, courtesy of the ship’s local crew of 16. A high staff-to-guest ratio — better than 2:1 — ensures that guests are well looked after during their days aboard the 24-guest Aquamarina.
Daily excursions on the Amazon in skiffs revealed
scenes like this.
Prices for the June 1 and 22, 2012 Amazon River expedition cruise start at $2,898 per person (with discount), and include accommodations, excursions, complimentary laundry aboard Aquamarina, most meals, guides, transfers, and tips to porters and waiters for included meals.

A pioneer of environmentally responsible travel, IE is committed to preserving natural habitats and improving the welfare of the people and communities it visits. International Expeditions has been named seven times to Travel + Leisure’s list of “World’s Best” tour operators & safari outfitters and to National Geographic ADVENTURE magazine’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”
For more information, call International Expeditions at 1-800-234-9620 or visit

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier
Read more travel stories at Striped Pot and Austin Adventure Travel

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