The Amazon River begins as trickles in the Andes and forms with the merging of the Maranon, Ucayali and Napo rivers in roughly the same location as Iquitos city in northern Peru. Iquitos sits in the Amazon Rainforest and is the largest city in the world unreachable by road. This western area of Amazonia is regarded as the most diverse section of rainforest full of different animals, such as colorful birds, jaguar, and pink dolphins swimming the waterways.
Other species you’re likely to see while cruising the waters on some of the top Iquitos Amazon River tours include squirrel monkeys, capuchins, howler monkeys, black caiman, tamandua anteaters, blue and yellow macaws, aracari toucans and many more. The abundant nature makes the Iquitos Amazon River a fantastic place to explore the Amazon Rainforest, not just because of the incredible wildlife and scenery, but also because of the Amazon River cruise options from Iquitos.
You can enjoy various Amazon Rainforest tours from Iquitos led by highly experienced and professional guides. Your guides will point out the animals of the rainforest and lead you safely through the wilderness. Here we will provide a bit of an introduction to the Iquitos Amazon then mention some top tours for the rainforest, including different cruises and a highly rated Amazon Rainforest lodge.
The highest level of animals and plants is around 100 km from Iquitos city itself within some highly diverse reserves of the Iquitos Amazon Rainforest. The main protected area to enjoy seeing the fantastic wildlife is called the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, a beautiful protected section of flooded rainforest. The Pacaya is one of the largest reserves in Peru and protects an incredible amount of wildlife.
The Rio Marañón and Rio Ucayali merge about 60 km west of Iquitos and create a natural spectacle known as the meeting of the waters. Because the different rivers contain different concentrations of sediment the lighter color of the Ucayali River runs next to the darker Rio Marañón for approximately 9 km.
The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
Both the Rio Marañón and Rio Ucayali merge where the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve begins. Because of its flooded nature, this vast reserve is best explored on an Amazon River cruise to get deep into the rainforest. The wildlife of this reserve is nothing short of incredible. See macaw parrots flying overhead, toucans perched on the tree tops, kingfishers darting across the water, and troops of monkeys making their way through the forest. It really feels as if you have wandered into a nature documentary when glimpsing the wild world untouched by human hands.
To match the incredible scenery and wildlife, one of the most incredible ways to experience the Amazon is aboard a luxury Amazon River cruise, such as the highly rated Delfin I or Delfin II luxury riverboards. Both the Delfin I and Delfin II riverboats are luxury cruises from Iquitos, but other river cruises options are available (send us a message for more info).
The Delfin II offers 14 suites with 4 master suites at the front of the vessel with 180° panoramic windows. Four of the suites can then be interconnected to cater for families. All suites are fitted with large picture windows to give excellent views of the passing rainforest as we travel deep within the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. The Delfin II prides itself on offering world class lodging and fine touches to provide a casual yet refined elegance.
In addition to the very comfortable suites, you will enjoy gourmet cuisine in the dining room and a selection of fine wines and cocktails from the bar. The Delfin’s top chefs prepare a selection of both regionally inspired dishes and traditional favorites. The third deck is where you will find the observation area with very comfortable seating areas to relax as we travel through the rainforest to our next area of exploration.
With your professional naturalist guide, you will head out into the rainforest on motorised skiffs to find a range of fantastic wildlife, such as howler monkeys, capuchins, sloths, tamandua anteaters and many different colorful birds. In addition the wildlife, enjoy fantastic scenery and the changing colors of the Amazon as night claims the forest. This is a fantastic time to sit with a drink at the Delfin II’s bar and enjoy the constellations.
If you’re after a little more space and privacy on the Amazon River, you can choose the Delfin I vessel. With only four oversized suites, space about this excellent riverboat is at a premium. You will then experience the same high standard of service, cuisine, and guided tours as the Delfin II but in more exclusivity.
The Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve
As the Amazon River travels towards Iquitos, the river passes the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve reached by traveling down a tributary of the Amazon called the Rio Tahuayo. Nestled on the side of this tributary is the most highly acclaimed lodge of the Iquitos Amazon Rainforest known as the Tahuayo Lodge.
The Tahuayo Lodge is the only lodge in the Amazon with access to the incredible biodiverse Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve. From the lodge, you will head out into the rainforest with your private guide on a customizable itinerary to see incredible wildlife.
On tours of 6 days or more, you will visit both the Tahuayo Lodge and the Tahuayo’s Amazon Research Center located in more pristine Amazon Rainforest. Here you can enjoy many different monkeys as the reserve contains one of the rainforest’s highest levels of primate species.
Because this section of rainforest is located in higher ground, you have the option of different rainforest walks to find fascinating wildlife and can experience the longest canopy zipline system in Amazonia. Choose from hiking, canoeing, and boat trips to explore this fantastic forest both of a day and head out on night hikes. The more adventurous can even choose to camp in the Amazon and spend a night under the stars. This is one of the best places on Earth for seeing the Milky Way in astonishing detail.