The Amazon Basin, covering two-and-a-half million square miles, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, is replete with lush jungle vegetation and countless species of indigenous wildlife. This combined with a warm, tropical climate, make for a fun and scenic river cruise. The Upper Basin specifically is comprised of a series of major river systems like the Tigre and Ucayali that snake through Peru and Ecuador, eventually flowing into the Amazon and Marañon rivers. On a reasonable budget, adventurous travelers can participate in a one-of-a-kind river cruise through the planet's most fascinating jungle environment.
Travcoa - Peruvian Amazon Independent Journey
Launched by Travcoa in March of 2009, the M/F Delfin II is a spacious and stylish riverboat that starts its journey in Iquitos, Peru, and travels through the Pacaya Samiria Reserve, one of the world's last unspoiled rainforest habitats. For five days and four nights you can enjoy the striking, picturesque scenery of a place few have ever experienced while indulging in first-class amenities on a reasonable budget. Experienced guides can answer questions and travelers can interact with local village tribes while on shore excursions. Bird watching, night safaris, and fishing excursions is also popular. The boat's 14 guest suites all include 180-degree panoramic window views, plus soft Peruvian cotton sheets, towels and bath robes, while the four master suites feature king-size beds. Savor local delicacies in the second floor dining room or enjoy a drink at the bar. Guests are also encouraged to enjoy the boat's observation deck, entertainment center, library and special hammock sun deck.
Gap Adventures - Amazon Explorer
Gap Adventures provide a fair-priced, nine-night trip to Peru, which includes a five-night riverboat cruise through the Upper Amazon that allows guests to see firsthand some of the amazing wildlife in the region, such as pink dolphins, sloths and toucans. Guests begin their trip by flying into Lima, Peru, and then on to the town of Iquitos. All boats leave from Iquitos on the third day of the trip and travel west down the Amazon, Marañon, Pucate and Ucayali rivers. Guests can canoe through a black water lake in the Amazon National Park, hike to a local campsite on shore for one night and participate in a tree-planting ceremony. The maximum boat capacity is 30, creating a more intimate environment with knowledgeable group leaders and guides. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided on board as well as a full-service bar. Modestly decorated rooms are spacious and comfortable.
Abercrombie & Kent - Amazon River Cruise Extension
This economically priced, five-day river cruise is perfect if you're looking to experience the region's exotic habitat as explained by a first-rate naturalist. You depart from Iquitos, Peru where the MV Aqua riverboat launches for the first leg of the trip, traveling down the Ucayali River and through the Pacaya Samiria Reserve. Travelers are likely to spot any number of endangered species in the area, from howler monkeys to giant river otters to jaguars, as well as rare plant life such as giant 6-foot wide lily pads. The casual dining room serves a host of different cuisines, and a boutique gift shop aboard offers trinkets and souvenirs. All state rooms are modest but functional, with comfortable beds, ample space for luggage and bathroom amenities such as electric hair dryers. Staff will furnish guests with hooded, waterproof ponchos and rubber boots for trekking through the wetlands. Visits to local villages are also part of the shore excursions, and it is a custom that guests bring small gifts to the tribes.