I had the opportunity to join a team from Lindblad Expeditions on an amazing four day and three nights Amazon Cruise onboard the Delfin II. My journey began with a six and a half hour flight from the U.S. (depending on departure city, mine was Pittsburgh) arriving into Lima, Peru late evening with a recommended overnight at the Costa del Sol airport hotel, adjacent to the airport.
To get to the Delfin II requires an approximate two hour flight from Lima to Iquitos, with an ongoing 90-minute overland transfer to Nauta, the port city and gateway to the jungles. Upon arrival to the pier, we were excitedly greeted by Delfin II staff and crew members eager to get us onboard.
The Delfin II is a 28-passenger luxury vessel, comprised of 10 suites and four master suites that are well-appointed and fresh. Each of the cabins have floor to ceiling windows so you can capture all the views of the Amazon. My master suite #8 and the three others had 180 degree panoramic views! Each cabin has a king size comfortable bed (which can convert to two beds), safe, an air conditioning unit, small desk, comfortable sitting chair, and a bathroom with a walk in shower equipped with an electric water heater. It only takes a minute for the water to heat up and there was plenty for showers. One drawback was the lack of water pressure, though not at all unrealistic for a vessel on the Amazon.
Lunch, was served buffet style with a range of pork, beef and seafood, cheeses, breads, and of course ceviche served in the dining room. I was eager to embark on our first excursion, a visit to a local village. During our visit we were engaged by the community members leading us through their schools, soccer field and thatched roof homes. The children really enjoyed following us, sometimes holding our hands and always ready for a photo opportunity. Bringing school supplies (paper, pencils, crayons, etc.) to hand out or even soccer balls, to give to the children is greatly appreciated. During our visit to the village, we also had the opportunity to visit a local market where you can purchase their Peruvian handmade items. The woven placements, beaded necklaces and bracelets we saw at the market had an array of eye catching colors.
Over the course of the next three days, we participated in twice daily excursions, traveling either by skiff boats or kayaks. All of the excursions were well-managed and provided opportunities to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. My personal favorite was the woolly monkeys, energetic and playful, swinging tree-to-tree following our group while kayaking. It was completely amazing how the guides had an incredible eye for spotting wildlife, especially the Macaws and parrots that could be hard to see. Even when pointed out, it was sometimes hard to see, but never the less, it was heart stopping. I was always anxious to find an animal during our excursions. You even have the opportunity to swim with the pink dolphins should they decide to make an appearance, which they briefly did during our swim.
To ensure the best experience on your excursions, you must protect yourself when exposed to mosquitoes. It is strongly recommended to take 100% Deet repellent spray, or wipes or permethrin clothing treated with insecticide. I found that the only time mosquitoes were the most prevalent was during the land excursions, and not as much while out on the boats, kayaking or swimming. That being said, I would still encourage carrying repellent spray or wipes at all times.
All of the meals exceeded my expectations, from the abundant selection at the buffet breakfast and lunch to the three-course chef’s choice menu at dinner, set before you in different Amazon themed table settings and decorations. The entire experience was a superlative first class adventure in every aspect from the attention to detail to the service and entertainment provided.
The Amazon is a breathtaking place, where you should expect to fall in love with your surroundings, and it truly must be experienced to believe. The smooth sailing on one of the largest rivers in the world, allows you to appreciate your time aboard on the Delfin II’s open air observation deck. I found the deck to be the perfect place to enjoy an evening nightcap and listen to Amazon before returning to my cabin.
Some photos provided by Lindblad Expeditions.