M/V Rio Amazonas, Amazon Riverboat Charter

* See below for two special group cruises you can join this October 2016!

_Rio Amazonas Nauta
The well-known ship, the M/V Rio Amazonas has once again been reborn! After years of use for tourism in Iquitos, Peru, and a few years of neglect, the grand old ship has been not just remodeled, but restored to much its historical glory. Improvements throughout, the ship even includes a new helm built similar to it original design - see below for before and after photos.

The M/V Rio Amazonas was built in the late 1800's in Scotland. After a long career as a cargo / passenger ship on the Amazon river it was completely rebuilt in 1981 to enable international travelers to experience the Amazon in comfort. After decades of use for tourism (including hundreds of Explorations’ clients), with recent a change of ownership, the restoration efforts on the ship have been impressive and the ship once again proudly sails on the rivers of the Peruvian Amazon.

The ship is now available to groups, organizations, and institutions for private explorations, filming, scientific research and field schools. Interact with local villagers and learn the intricacies of Amazon wildlife while exploring and/or researching in the largest national park in Peru, the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. A group size of 18 to 22 people is optimal. (Contact us about ship charter options for 6 to 14 people.)

Led by an expert naturalist guides, your cruise charter’s daily excursions includes use motorized skiffs to reveal the flora and fauna of the Amazon rainforest and waters. You’ll have the chance to experience the jungle up close with an itinerary designed for the interests of your private group. The delicious cuisine onboard is regional and provides a unique and window into the local culture. Gain a rare glimpse of how life ‘on the river‘ is lived and experience the magic of the Amazon!

* Email us for the interests and goals for your group.

Historic steamship photo
Braga Sobrinho

Previous tourism remodel

Current rebirth
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Wildlife, Cultures, History

The Historic Boat Museum in collaboration with the Indigenous Cultures Museum in Iquitos, Peru offer 5 day riverboat cruises on the historic ‘Rio Amazonas’ at affordable prices, starting at just $899 per person in family cabins.

Only two dates are available for this special offer in 2016:
October 1 - 5, 2016
October 28 – 1 November 1, 2016

Experience the Amazon, its rivers, forests, wildlife, cultures and history on a journey that navigates up the Marañon River along the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. The ‘Rio Amazonas’ has been restored back to her Victorian charm, creating a wonderful combination of historic atmosphere and comfortable facilities. She is part of the Historic Boat Museum fleet in Iquitos, Peru.



All cabins have river-view windows and are fitted with air-conditioning, a desk, wardrobe and private bathrooms with hot showers. The public areas include a dining hall used for meals, lectures and films, an upper-deck bar and a comfortable library with a selection of classic books on Amazonia and its history.

This five-day river cruise will give you a unique Amazon experience that combines relaxed travel on historic boats, wildlife and wilderness experience in rain forests and rivers, and indigenous Amazon village visits where local cultures live intertwined with the rainforest. Staff form the Museum will accompany the trip. The Museum has projects on rainforest conservation, wildlife ecology, sustainable resource use, indigenous cultures, rubber era history and archeology.

Boarding the Rio Amazonas in the town of Nauta, situated near the confluence of the Amazon River, the focus of the journey will be the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, a great place to experience the scenery, waterways, forests, wildlife and people in the company of naturalist guides and Museum staff.

A variety of excursions are done each day from the ‘Rio Amazonas’ including:
  •  Morning and evening bird-watching, enjoying magnificent sunrises and sunsets
  •  Trek through the rain forest in search of monkeys and other wildlife
  •  Fish along streams, channels and oxbow lakes
  •  Observe the majestic pink and grey river dolphins
  •  Search for caimans and fishing bats under starlit nights
  •  Visit a local Cocama Indian community involved with rainforest conservation work
  •  Tap rubber and visit a reconstructed rubber tapper’s house
    Once back on board, take your tea with cake as the forests slip past, or sip your Pisco sour in the Sunset Bar, before enjoying a buffet meal of international and Peruvian cuisine in the large dining room.


All prices are per person in US dollars for a 5 day cruise, and include ground transfers, meals, excursions and accommodation services. Not included are air travel, hotel layovers, bar drinks, gratuities and other costs.

  • $899 per person in shared cabin of 3-4 family or friends, great for a family cruise
  • $1,160 per person in a shared double cabin, perfect for couples
  • $1,500 in a private single cabin

  • Payment
    Deposit of 10% to reserve a cabin
    Full payment 60 days prior to departure

    Cancelation policy: 60 –30 days 50%; less than 30 days, amount of refund will depend on circumstances.
    All boats are fully insured and have an onboard nurse. 
Itinerary: October 2016

Arrive in Iquitos and Casa Morey Hotel, Visit Iquitos and Museums Transfer to Nauta by AC charted bus. Two hours. Welcome talk Board Historic boat, Depart, Cruise up the Marañon River. Introduction to boat and the Amazon Buffet Lunch Afternoon Tea, Meeting other passengers and crew Sunset observations. Relax Buffet dinner
Cruise up the Marañon River, bird watching and sightseeing with naturalist guide Buffet Breakfast View wildlife and river life along the Marañon. Talk on Pacaya Samiria by experienced naturalist Buffet lunch Arrive at the mouth of the Samiria River in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve Buffet dinner Searching for caimans and nocturnal wildlife from auxiliary boat with wildlife specialist

Morning bird and dolphin watching from auxiliary boat, enjoy the tropical sunrise Buffet Breakfast Visit to the rubber grove, tap rubber and visit nearby forests Buffet lunch Fishing excursions with local fishermen Buffet dinner Searching for caimans and nocturnal wildlife from auxiliary boat with wildlife specialist Buffet Breakfast
Treks in the forest with wildlife biologists Buffet lunch Visit local Cocama indigenous village, meet the people, learn their culture and dances Depart Samiria River
Morning bird watching from deck with our team Buffet Lunch and farewells to our crew Arrive at Nauta and depart on AC charted bus for Iquitos Arrive Iquitos Airport or Arrive at Casa Morey Hotel, Iquitos Hotel Casa Morey, Visit Iquitos and Museums

Pre or Post Casa Morey Hotel extensions are $40 per person per night (double occupancy), includes airport transfers and free entrance to museums.
Note: The itinerary may change at times due to weather and navigational conditions. Rooms at the Casa Morey Hotel depend on availability.
We always try and accommodate the wishes of our guests and will do our best to include any special requests to the itinerary. 

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Sample natural history itinerary for ship charters from Iquitos (shortest suggested for general interests - see below for research)

Day 1: Sunday: Iquitos - Nauta - Nauta Cano (Lunch, Dinner)

Depart around 9am for a roughly two-hour drive by private bus to Nauta where the M/V Rio Amazonas awaits. Once onboard, while having snacks and drinks, we have a safety briefing, introductions to staff, and general introduction to the ship.

After a buffet lunch and siesta, we will have a boating excursion on the Nauta Caño, a tributary of the Marañon River, where we will have our first opportunities to spot wildlife.

In the evening, we can enjoy a sunset cocktail, while the ship sails.

After dinner is a showing of the movie Fizcarraldo, directed by Werner Herzog.

Day 2: Monday: Mara–on River - Samiria River (All meals)

Birdwatching and sightseeing as the ship travels up the Marañon River.

After breakfast, is a presentation by our naturalist guide followed by bird watching and wildlife observations.

In the afternoon, we will arrive at the mouth of the Samiria River, where we will enter Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.

After dinner is a night excursion in search of nocturnal wildlife such as caiman, amphibians, and birds of prey.

Day 3: Tuesday: Samiria River - Pacaya Samiria National Reserve (All meals)

A day of explorations according to interests such as, nature walks in the rainforest, wildlife-watching and/or fishing from the skiffs. You will be overwhelmed by the sheer size and magnitude of the national reserve as you enjoy the raw beauty of this untouched wildnerness.

Day 4: Wednesday: Pacaya Samiria National Reserve (All meals)
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Another day of custom excursions, such as observing Pink River Dophins and leaning about the intricacies of the rivers and rainforest.

Day 5: Thurday: Pacaya Samiria National Reserve (All meals)

Depending on the water levels, we will enjoy a hike in the forest (during dry season), or enjoy navigation up ributaries in search of wildlife. In Pacaya Samiria, water levels can fluctuate drastically between seasons, leaving vast swaths of the forest inundated in high-water periods; or large beaches exposed in low-water season.

Day 6: Friday: Pacaya Samiria - Mara–on River - Amazon River Junction (All meals)

amazon cruise village girl
Today is our last day in Pacaya Samiria Reserve. In the morning the ship sails back to civilization. On the return to Nauta, we will visit a local Cocama indigenous village. There we can learn how the local people have adapted to their rainforest environment. This will also be a good opportunity to support the local economy by purchasing handicrafts produced by the villagers.

During the evening we will learn about common myths and legends of the Amazon.

Day 7: Saturday: Nauta - Iquitos (Breakfast)

Morning arrival in Nauta followed by your transfer to Iquitos airport for your return flight or to a hotel/lodge for overnight.

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The 146 feet long M/V Rio Amazonas has been designed as an informal cruise ship allowing exploration of the Amazon in comfort. The ship's design provides plenty of space on its three decks and has 14 passenger cabins, all on the upper decks. The are 10 double and 4 triple cabins. All cabins are air conditioned with private bath and heated water showers. Windows in each cabin provide for a view of the river. Water for baths is treated and bottled water for drinking is provided at all times. The dining room, where delicious buffet style meals are served, is air conditioned as well. The ship's bar is well stocked with cold drinks and there is ample deck area, covered and uncovered, with comfortable deck chairs and hammocks, for a leisurely look at life on the river. The ship is connected by radio with Iquitos. The ship sails with a nurse, electrician/mechanic, and of course a chef in additional to the experienced natural guides.

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Amazon wildlife that you are likely to see include during your explorations include: pink dolphins, the smaller grey river dolphin, pre-historic looking hoatzin birds, sloths, monkeys, colorful tree frogs and toads, iguanas, toucans, parrots, macaws, kingfishers, horned screamers, herons, terns, hummingbirds, caiman, leaf cutter and army ants, piranhas, primeval looking catfish, strange looking insects and of course, a myriad of beautiful butterflies such as the iridescent blue Morpho. More rarely encountered are river otter, manatees, capybaras, anteaters, electric eels, the large tapir, and jungle cats. You can also experience perhaps the strangest wildlife of all; the nightlife on a ship in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest!

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rio amazonas riverboat scenes

Amazon research cruises and study tours

The M/V Rio Amazonas provides great opportunities for mobile field schools in the Amazon Rainforest for a wide range of study; biology, zoology, mammalogy, botany, geography, ornithology, ecology, entomology, ichthyology, potamology and limnology, tropical agriculture, anthropology and more! The ship’s team of researchers and conservationists can assist and lead in a wide variety of disciplines and we can customize the number of days and itinerary to best suit your needs.

Sailing out of Iquitos or Nauta there are wonderful biodiverse areas for various field schools.
With special research permits from the Peruvian government, the M/V Rio Amazonas can take research teams and school groups to the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. You can participate in ongoing research programs in the remote wilderness of the Rio Samiria. It is an area rich in wildlife, even including spottings of Harpy Eagles. Basing the ship out of Nauta, we can reach the research area within a couple days.
You may read more about the Pacaya Samiria Reserve below. In the Reserve, you would help with ongoing research programs coordinated by FundAmazonia and divided into teams for a variety of fieldwork experiences, often conducting wildlife surveys. FundAmazonia's mission is research into issues related to conservation, ecology, use natural resources, sustainable development, protected areas, forest management, historic and cultural integrity, management of hunting and fishing, community-based conservation, training through undergraduate and postgraduate programs, field courses, workshops and the environmental education of a wide audience in general. Since 2005, FundAmazonia has been operating in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve within the framework of an institutional agreement between FundAmazonia and the headquaters of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. The purpose of its collaboration is to create logistical teams to promote training, investigation, wildife monitoring, as well as to provide technical support for local communities and management groups in the elaboration, implementation and monitoring of wildlife management plans. Research expeditions are usually 1 to 2 weeks long, but depending on interests, we may be flexible. Typical ongoing research in animals and plants in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve include such projects as: bird counts, mammal surveys, aquatic research on fish and dolphins, habitat vegetation plots, and night-time wildlife surveys. You do not have to be a student or scientist to join.

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Photos below courtesy of FundAmazonia 

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IMG_4385A [] Blue and yellow macaw []

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Amazon king fisher [] IMG_3726.A []

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P1150918A [] 2. Mono coto. Red howler monkey (Aloutta seniculus) []

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IMG_3792A [] Brown capuchin monkey []
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Family group of pink dolphin [] IMG_6058A []

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IMG_4488 [] The fresh water giant fish (paiche or pirarucu fish) []

IMG_2112A [] Black caiman []

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This National Park is the largest Protected Natural Area in Peru (2´080,000 ha), located at 300 km / 190 miles from Iquitos and is accessible only by waterways. 

Pacaya Smairia reserve amazon cruise

The wealth of the low lying Virgin Rainforest gives this area an enormous bio-diversity. The National Reserve has many lakes and lagoons and vast swamp areas. Practically unexplored and uninhabited except for protected species in the interior, it offers an astonishing potential for research studies and observation of wild life, particularly of certain species in danger of extinction in other areas. 

This area has more than 85 lakes and exuberant vegetation with a great variety of flora species such as the Lupuna Tree, measuring up to 160 feet tall with a diameter of 10 feet in four forest types. It also has 130 species of mammals such as the Jaguar, Ocelots, Giant River Otters and Capybara (the world's biggest rodent), and several species of monkeys in danger of extinction, like the black Maquisapa or Spider Monkey, the Yellow breast and the Common Woolly Monkey. 

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There are 350 bird species like Toucans and Blue, Yellow and Red Macaws. All this, plus the 150 reptiles of 20 families, makes our forest one with the largest number of species seen on any tourist trip in the world. The most important source in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is the aquatic fauna, with 250 species of fish, such as the Paiche, one of the world's largest fresh water fish, weighing over to 250 lbs. and measuring up to 9 feet long, plus species of Turtles, Pink and Grey River Dolphins, and the Manatee. 

A cruise to the Reserve offers the opportunity to know new cultures and to explore the mysterious and magic world of the Amazon forest. It offers a variety of activities, as diverse as the forest itself. Along with excellent bird and wildife viewing, you can witness a countless variety of flora and fauna, go fishing, save memories with photographs, admire the Pink River Dolphins, learn about Shamanism and medicinal plants, all while observing life on the Amazon River.

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