Join Vantage Deluxe World Travel and journey into the heart of South America, a region that’s unparalleled when it comes to wildlife and biodiversity. On Deep into the Amazon: Brazil, Colombia & Peru, you’ll explore the world’s largest rainforest from the perspective of three countries, not just Iquitos or Manaus like the trips offered by other companies.
This Amazon expedition cruise will show you both Amazonian cities aboard the 5-star Ocean Explorer, built for expedition travel with ULSTEIN X-BOW® technology. Please note that the nature of these journeys requires a certain level of physical fitness, and guests should be able to walk three miles unassisted over potentially-uneven terrain, be prepared to anchor at ports requiring the use of a tender, and possess the physical agility to embark and disembark small crafts in unpredictable waters.
With 14 included features and Cultural Discoveries, this journey is bound to enchant and inspire you. Beginning in the rainforest city of Manaus, you’ll get to know the gateway to the Amazon — once highly prosperous due to rubber production — as you stroll through its famous Mercado Municipal Adolpho Lisboa. Then, embark the luxurious Ocean Explorer for a comprehensive, 8-night discovery of the Amazon. Get ready for pink dolphin sightings, piranha fishing, and a Peruvian cooking demonstration in the UNESCO city of Lima. Throughout your adventure, you’ll ride Zodiac boats to get even closer to indigenous communities, thousands of wildlife species, black rivers, floating villages, and more, with the guidance of your professional 5- to 13-person Expedition Team of naturalists, ornithologists, wildlife experts, and equipment masters.
There’s more: This expedition also features Colombia, where you’ll get to savor local delicacies and learn about the cultures and communities of this region. Between your experiences, enjoy an intimate cruising experience on board the Ocean Explorer, designed with just 77 cabins — including a landmark 15 solo cabins for independent adventurers. Watch the river roll by on the observation deck, learn more about the Amazon during one of many onboard lectures, or get a reinvigorating massage in the spa. You may even choose to extend your adventure to Rio de Janeiro or the Sacred Valley of Peru, where more wonders await.
Cap off your Amazonian adventure with a deep dive into Peru’s Sacred Valley, where you’ll discover South America’s richest heritage at Machu Picchu and in the citified Inca capital of Cusco. Under the shadow of the Andes, you’ll explore ancient, indigenous, and contemporary culture in the towns and archaeological sites of Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuamán, Machu Picchu, and Cusco. You’ll also join a local family in their home for an unforgettable dining experience, explore a centuries-long weaving tradition in Chinchero, catch a mototaxi to a chichería, and ride the Vistadome train up to Machu Picchu for extraordinary views and a true bucket-list experience.
Fly to Manaus, Brazil
You’ll board an overnight flight from the U.S. to Manaus, via Sao Paolo. Or, depart earlier for a thrilling pre-trip extension to Rio de Janeiro.
Arrive in Manaus
If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, upon arrival in Manaus, a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your centrally located hotel. Settle in and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in this balmy city.
Discover Manaus, gateway to the Amazon
Manaus has a fascinating contradictory feel; it is a city in the middle of a jungle, and despite its size, it is only accessible in a practical sense by boat or plane. And though seafaring vessels dock here, the ocean is 900 miles away. It’s all part of the intrigue of the Amazon!
After a free morning and lunch on your own, get acquainted with the largest city in the Amazon basin during a tour that features the Teatro Amazonas, or Amazon Theatre. This stunning vision in pink opened in 1896 at the height of the rubber barons’ prosperity and was built with European bricks, French glass, and Italian marble. Conclude your tour with a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.
Browse the Municipal Market in Manaus and board the Ocean Explorer
If you’re in the market for exotic fruits, Amazon herbal medicines, and local handicrafts, you’ll love rubbing elbows with the people of Manaus during a visit to Mercado Municipal Adolpho Lisboa. Fashioned after the Les Halles market of Paris in 1882, it is the city’s oldest market and a scintillating way to immerse yourself in the culture. Produce from the surrounding countryside and fish from the river are delivered every morning. Cross the street to see how all these goods arrived — aboard the armada of fishing and cargo boats bobbing on the Amazon’s waters.
After time to absorb it all, and an included lunch, you’ll continue to the Ocean Explorer for embarkation. There’ll be time to settle in and perhaps have a drink on deck and give Manaus one final glimpse before your Amazon expedition goes on. In the dining room tonight, savor a special Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
Journey deep into the Amazon
Enjoy a wonderful next few days as your expedition into the Amazon begins. Your captain and experienced Expedition Team will coordinate closely and choose from a bevy of fascinating sites along this particular stretch of the Amazon River to plot itineraries for Zodiac rides, treks, and visits with locals. While sailing the river, head to the deck and observation lounge to hear the Expedition Team pointing out wildlife and offering insight on the passing terrain. While other companies offer trips from Manaus or Iquitos, Vantage is the first to do both. We will also stop into remote villages for unforgettable interactions with Amazonian locals. Most importantly, our daily itinerary will be based on weather conditions. Where conditions allow, we’ll explore key Amazonian sites. These destinations may include
Situated on the Badajós River, this floating village is scarcely populated and seldom visited. Known for its stilted houses, most of its residents sustain themselves by fishing. This is one of the Amazon’s optimal locations for viewing pink dolphins. You may also spot howler monkeys, anaconda, and several different bird species here.
Located in the northwestern region of Brazil’s Amazon, Cuxiu Muni is a small village, home to approximately 40 families. Explore its narrow creeks, observe village life, and learn how its inhabitants grow crops, tap rubber trees, and more. This rustic locale is also an excellent spot to see caimans, three-toed sloths, snakes, and frogs.
Known for its Brazilian Nut Forest, Uara is an immense body of black water just off the Amazon River. This is a very large black water lake accessed by a short half mile channel from the main river. While here, you’ll have the chance to take a trek into the jungle with locals, swim in the black lake, and bird-watch on your Zodiac.
Home to about 15,000 people, Jutaí is a small town recognized for its floating shops and handcrafted hammocks. While we will only be visiting the entrance of Rio Jutaí, you’ll be able to spot the white water streaming in amidst the black river water, as well as inundated treetops.
Discover Colombia’s Amazonian Center
Amidst the borders of Brazil and Peru, Leticia is Colombia’s official gateway to the Amazon. This riverside village is the country’s southernmost city — not to mention a melting pot of nearby cultures. Upon arrival, we’ll meet with locals who will show us along the riverfront to the indigenous market. Here, you can savor Colombia’s renowned sancocho soup as well as Brazilian churrasco and Peruvian ceviche. Purchase medicinal herbs, sample exotic fruits, and admire a variety of recently caught fish from the Amazon River.
Your walking tour through this rural port will also include Santander Park, where you’re likely to witness a myriad of parakeets and parrots. You’ll learn about Leticia’s geography and ethnic tapestry with a visit to the Museo Etnográfico. Explore the city’s wealth of indigenous communities, as well as inseparable ties to its neighboring countries. We’ll end our walking tour with a visit to the vibrant boardwalk. Keep an eye out for mischievous monkeys!
Enter Peru’s Oldest Amazonian Pueblo: Pevas
Today we will disembark in Pevas, a palm-lined Amazonian village in Peru. In the 1930s, displaced indigenous groups from Colombia settled here. Largely composed of the Bora and Witoto tribes, they are known for practicing ages-old medicine of the rainforest, as well as traditional dancing and singing.
You will get the chance to interact with members of these tribes as we enter into their villages. Hear their folk legends, learn about their riverside way of life, and — if you wish — purchase some of their unique artesanías, or handicrafts. After a possible Zodiac outing to see endemic wildlife, celebrate your discoveries with a Farewell Dinner on board as we make our way to Iquitos.
Disembark the Ocean Explorer, explore Iquitos, and fly to Lima
This morning, we’ll arrive in Iquitos and disembark the Ocean Explorer. Nestled deep in the Peruvian rainforest, this mystical town is known as the adventurous “Capital of the Amazon.” A 20th-century rubber boom launched Iquitos into jungle-shrouded modernity, and today the city is a fascinating study in contrasts — a place where handcrafted canoes sail alongside cruise ships, and open-air restaurants and glistening mansions share the streets with bustling markets and mud huts. In the afternoon, we’ll transfer to the airport for a short flight to Lima, Peru’s magnificent capital.
Embark on a half-day walking tour of UNESCO-listed Lima
A half-day walking tour of Lima’s historic center — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — introduces the Plaza Mayor and the lively Miraflores district. Here, we’ll participate in a Peruvian cuisine cooking demonstration and sample a regional specialty: lucuma ice cream. Often likened to sweet potato or butterscotch, the lucuma fruit is indigenous to Peru and used in a variety of desserts. We'll have lunch at a local restaurant, then spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Tonight, bid adieu to your fellow travelers with a Farewell Dinner at Huaca Pucllana restaurant, famous for its location inside ancient archaeological ruins.
Explore Lima on your own and return home
Flights from Lima typically depart late in the evening, so you’ve got another day to take in the wonders of the city.
Later, you’ll transfer to the airport for your overnight flight home. Or, extend your trip by connecting to Cusco to see Peru’s Sacred Valley.
Over the course of three days, get to know the spectacular city of Rio de Janeiro. Take an afternoon tour of Sugarloaf Mountain, then savor a unique local dinner, trying various kinds of churrascaria. Visit Corcovado to witness one of the wonders of the world: Christ the Redeemer. Experience the local dance of samba behind the scenes, then head to downtown Rio for lunch at the iconic Confeitaria Colombo. This compact extension is just the ticket for a comprehensive exploration of Rio, at the best value and in true Vantage style!
Please Note: Ocean cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew. Day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert.