International Espeditions Amazon Cruises

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Zafiro by International Expeditions

Amazon Voyage

Over the 38 years that International Expeditions has been leading Amazon River cruises, our guests have enjoyed unrivaled access to the Peruvian rainforest’s most pristine areas and the company of the river’s most knowledgeable guides. 

Your exciting daily excursions include birding at dawn, school visits in local villages and even piranha fishing! Join IE and be transported to the Amazon of your imagination to discover a rainforest that pulsates with an unrivaled diversity of wildlife.

Authentic Amazon River Experience

Aboard this Amazon River cruise, you'll create a lifetime of memories: the joy in the eyes of a village child when you visit their school; the enveloping darkness of the jungle; or the awe of floating along narrow streams accompanied by pink dolphins. Drawing on insight from our native Amazon travel guides, International Expeditions intentionally varies the villages and tributaries we visit, ensuring you get the most authentic rainforest tour experience possible.

Explore with Pioneers in Amazon Travel

International Expeditions pioneered travel to the Peruvian Amazon, and our nature-focused, small-group expedition travel remains the standard for Amazon Voyage expedition cruises. IE not only pioneered travel to this region, we still work with many of the naturalist guides that we helped to train. Ensuring a worry-free and educational journey, these expert local naturalist guides — along with an expedition leader — accompany our Amazon Voyage cruises. Each day, these knowledgeable Amazon River travel guides use their decades of learning and guiding experience to serve as lecturers, field guides and friends as you explore the rainforest.

Go Deeper Into the Rainforest

International Expeditions’ exclusive Amazon River tour covers more than 600 miles on the Amazon and its tributaries. You travel deep into the protected Pacaya-Samiria Reserve and explore three different habitats so you have the best chance of spotting rare wildlife! On our Amazon River cruises, we look for monkeys, birds, sloths and other mammals, pink and gray dolphins and so much more.


Amazon River Cruise Daily Itinerary, an 8 day cruise.

  • Day 0 - Friday

    Arrive Lima

    Fly independently to Lima, Peru, the nation’s capital and largest city. Evening arrival. Greeting at the airport and transfer to the Swissôtel for overnight. (D aloft)

  • Day 1 - Saturday

    Lima / Iquitos / Embark on the Amazon River

    Fly over the Andes to Iquitos. Visit the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that conservation authorities have rescued. Learn about efforts to help these endearing mammals. See how the manatees are cared for and prepared for reintroduction into their natural habitat. Prior to boarding the elegant riverboat, Zafiro, survey the history of local tribes at a small museum. Enjoy stargazing and storytelling with our local guides while cruising slowly on the Amazon River toward the confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali Rivers. (B,L,D)

  • Day 2 - Sunday

    Confluence of the Amazon River / Río Ucayali

    We awake this morning on the Amazon River, seeing some of the ever-changing panorama of jungle life as the Amazon River cruise ship continues upriver. Small villages dot the shoreline, and channels weaving through island mazes provide close-up views of a variety of birds. The confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón Rivers is famous as the beginning of the Amazon River in Peru. Amazingly, we are about 2,400 miles from where the river flows into the Atlantic. The river drops only about 350 feet the entire way! On our Amazon Voyage adventure, travel waterways aboard sturdy excursion boats to areas where we may find marsh birds such as oriole blackbirds, green ibis, yellow-headed caracaras, black-capped donacobis and white-headed marsh-tyrant. We turn into the Río Ucayali, where we’re apt to find gray river dolphins and Amazon pink dolphins cavorting near the boat and along the shoreline. Later we take an excursion into the surrounding rainforest in search of giant water lilies and elusive wildlife such as monkeys and sloths. As dusk approaches, fishing bats begin their night’s foraging. (B,L,D)

  • Day 3 - Monday

    Río Ucayali / Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

    After a peaceful breakfast along the black-water Sapote Creek, we explore a small tributary of the Ucayali aboard excursion boats. Look for animals including primates, sloths and an enormous variety of birds. Our Amazon Voyage adventure continues upriver to the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. Although scientific studies are far from exhausted, the Pacaya-Samiria is the known home to 450 bird species, 102 species of mammals, over 130 species of reptiles and amphibians, and countless plants. This afternoon, an excursion into this largest wetland reserve in the world provides the opportunity to see 13 species of primates, including monk sakis, red howler, saddle-backed tamarin and squirrel monkeys. Explore Caro Lake, connected to the river by way of a very small stream, where we may find flocks of greater ani, often seen following monkeys in search of insects disturbed by the monkeys’ foraging. We enjoy a nighttime boat excursion for a chance to find caimans, capybaras, common potoos, frogs and other nocturnal wildlife. (B,L,D)

  • Day 4 - Tuesday

    Rio Pacaya / Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

    Spend the day exploring this flooded realm, seeing wading birds such as herons, wattled jacanas and horned screamers. Venturing deep into the rainforest, tour an igapo (seasonally flooded forest), where plant life is very different from what we see along the main course of our Amazon cruise, and walk through the forest. Lucky guests may release turtle hatchlings. A delicious lunch energizes us for afternoon excursions with our expert naturalists, where we may find scarlet macaws, hoatzins, black-collared hawks and red howler monkeys. (B,L,D)

  • Day 5 - Wednesday

    Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

    After an early breakfast, we board excursion boats for access even further into the heart of these vast wetlands. As our Amazon Voyage adventure cruises the narrow waterways, we’ll find birds such as canary-winged parakeets and spectacular blue-and-gold and scarlet macaws. Primates also are fairly common, including noisy squirrel monkeys.  Once we arrive at a remote ranger station, enjoy a refreshing swim, maybe with Pink Dolphins in the area. Gradually make our way back to the riverboat through the maze of waterways. Enjoy an al fresco lunch and time to relax before our afternoon excursion. (B,L,D)

  • Day 6 - Thursday

    Río Ucayali

    Head back downriver, with a morning wildlife or other activity. Visit a village along the river, with the chance to learn about the lives of the “Ribereño” people who live there. Accompanied by guides who grew up along the river, this is a fantastic opportunity to stroll through gardens learning about medicinal plants and folklore, visit a school, or join in a game of soccer. The children are especially excited to see their faces on digital cameras and to show off their school and sing Peruvian songs. Depending on the villages visited during your Amazon River tour, you may also have the opportunity to see an IE-funded water treatment plant. The clean drinking water provided by these plants is having an enormous positive health impact in remote river villages. Learn about medicinal plants and enjoy a blessing ceremony by a respected village shaman. Aboard the ship, learn to make traditional Peruvian dishes or enjoying an enriching lecture. After dark, go out in excursion boats to listen to the sounds of the rainforest and look for nocturnal wildlife. (B,L,D)

  • Day 7 - Friday

    Amazon River

    Wake up early for a morning birdwatching excursion along the Yarapa River. After breakfast, try your hand at piranha fishing in Ubos Lake. Piranha are very common in the slower-moving water. With luck, we may catch red-breasted, white or black piranha, and feast on our catch this evening at dinner. Once back aboard your luxury Amazon River cruise ship, we enjoy a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

  • Day 8 - Saturday

    Iquitos / Lima / Depart

    After one last morning excursion, we disembark and board our transport to the Iquitos airport. Upon arrival back in Lima late this afternoon, dayrooms are provided until time to connect with independent flights home which departs close to midnight. B,L


“Every aspect of the voyage was well-planned and stress-free for us. All of the hassles of traveling were gone. We were able to experience the Amazon rainforest - something most people only dream about.”
                                                               - Monica M. DeGrauwe of Clinton, Illinois

Dates & Rates

January 5 May 4, 11, 18, 25 September
February June 15, 22, 29 October 26
March 16, 23, 30 July 6, 13 November 16
April 27 August 17, 31 December 21

Dates shown are Friday departure from your home to Lima, Peru.
Saturday fly from Lima to Iquitos, departure of the Zafiro from Iquitos.
Saturday return to Iquitos and fly to Lima. Evening flight home.
Sunday arrive to your home.

2018 International Expedition Cruise
8 Day Cruise
Lower Deck Suite $5,348 $7,648
Upper Deck Suite $5,748 $8,048
Master Suite $6,148 $12,296
Zafiro Suite  $6,648 $13,296
Includes Lima Hotel DAY 0
and hotel day room in Lima on DAY 8.

Limited TRIPLES available.
Please request a price for your travel dates.

Please add $399 (2018) or $409 (2019) for in-country air.
(You may purchase your in-country flights separately.)

January 4, 11 May 3, 24 September 6, 27
February June 14, 28 October 18
March 22, 29 July 5, 12, 19, 26 November 1, 8
April 5, 12 August 16, 30 December 13

Dates shown are Friday departure from your home to Lima, Peru.
Saturday fly from Lima to Iquitos, departure of the Zafiro from Iquitos.
Saturday return to Iquitos and fly to Lima. Evening flight home.
Sunday arrive to your home.

2019 International Expedition Cruise
8 Day Cruise
Lower Deck Suite $5,649 $7,949
Upper Deck Suite $6,049 $8,349
Master Suite $6,449 $12,949
Zafiro Suite  $6,949 $13,949
Includes Lima Hotel DAY 0
and hotel day room in Lima on DAY 8.

Limited TRIPLES available.
Please request a price for your travel dates.

Please add $399 (2018) or $409 (2019) for in-country air.
(You may purchase your in-country flights separately.)

Amazon luxury riverboat, Zafiro

The Zafiro

Travel aboard the Zafiro, a luxurious vessel we have chartered for your adventure, which blends stylish design and modern comforts. Classic touches include magnificent floor-to-ceiling windows and — for those on the Upper Deck — private balconies. A ship staff and crew of 25, including a cruise director and local naturalist guides, are joined by an IE Expedition Leader to ensure an unprecedented level of service. All 19 spacious suites are air-conditioned and feature en-suite bathrooms, a desk and ample closet space.

Zafiro Jacuzzi


  • Zafiro Lower Deck Suite

Lower Deck Suite

Suite with convertible twin or California king-sized bed and panoramic floor-to-ceiling window. Suites have a sitting area, desk, private bath, safety deposit box and mini-fridge. Four adjoining suites are ideal for families. Approximately 226 sq. ft.

  • Zafiro Upper Deck Suite

Upper Deck Suite

Suite with convertible twin or California king-sized bed, panoramic floor-to-ceiling window and balcony. Suites have a sitting area, desk, private bath, safety deposit box and mini-fridge. Four adjoining suites are ideal for families. Approximately 226 sq. ft.

  • Zafiro Master Suite

Master Suite

Suite with convertible twin or California king-sized bed, panoramic floor-to-ceiling window with a 90-degree view. Suites have a sitting area, desk, private bath, safety deposit box and mini-fridge. Approximately 248 sq. ft.

  • Zafiro Suite

Zafiro Suite

Suite with convertible twin or California king-sized bed, panoramic floor-to-ceiling window with a 180-degree view, and balcony. Suite has a sitting area with convertible sofa bed, desk, private bath with Jacuzzi-style bathtub, safety deposit box and mini-fridge. Approximately 480 sq. ft.

Public Spaces on the Zafiro

Dining Room. Savor regional specialties and contemporary cuisine infused with flavors from the surrounding rainforest. The atmosphere is casual yet elegant as you sample Amazon fusion cuisine while enjoying spectacular views from the panoramic windows.

Indoor Lounge. Connect with fellow travelers, chat with your local guides or enjoy snacks and a drink in the large indoor lounge. The comfortable furnishings make a perfect spot for relaxing with a book or enjoying the passing scenery.

Observation Deck. Glide past the Amazon rainforest and clusters of wooden houses on stilts with children playing soccer as you sip morning coffee and take in the fresh air from the river’s most luxurious Observation Deck. Siesta on a cushioned lounger beneath a soaring canopy — ideal for avoiding the sun’s glare. Plus, ease into the Zafiro’s outdoor Jacuzzi to relax after a shore excursion.

Spa. Indulge in aromatherapy or a massage in the spa, which is staffed by a wellness specialist. 


Guides & Tour Leaders

Dennis Osorio

Dennis Osorio

Amazon Cruise Expedition Leader

An avid birder, Dennis Osorio holds a master degree in hotel and tourism management with a concentration in Sustainable Tourism. After completing guide training in South Africa, his passion for travel and wildlife led him back home to Peru to seek a position in the Amazon, and in IE he found the perfect match to his commitment to conservation and the environment. Dennis is a guarantee of success to any expedition in the Amazon.

amazon voyage guides angel cardenas

Angel Cardenas

Amazon Cruise Expedition Leader

Cusco native Angel Cardenas has spent the past 11 years leading small-group expeditions in Peru after earning his degree in tourism. Although Angel is adept at spotting birdlife, his true passion is for teaching IE guests about Peru’s extraordinary culture and history. Adding to his depth of natural history knowledge is a true dedication to guests, which is why Angel is earning rave reviews!

amazon voyage guides usiel vasquez

Usiel Vasquez

Amazon Cruise Naturalist

Before migrating to Iquitos with his family in search of a better education, Usiel had already began his life-long love affair with the rainforest, fishing in lakes, gathering wild fruits and learning about the surrounding jungle. While attending high school in Iquitos, he would venture to the main square on weekends, determined to practice his English while mingling with tourists. For more than two decades, Usiel has worked as a rainforest guide, and has assisted researchers and scientists while deepening his knowledge of biology and botany.

amazon voyage guides freddy avalos

Freddy Avalos

Expedition Leader

Cusco-native Freddy Avalos first began working with International Expeditions’ groups in 1998, when he was an assistant guide on our Machu Picchu journeys. Prior to guiding in Machu Picchu, a love of the outdoors led him to guide treks on the famed Inka Trail in the mid-1990s. Freddy earned a degree in Tourism Studies, but his work with IE groups sparked an additional interest in wildlife. After graduation, he volunteered as a ranger in Peru’s Manu National Park, learning about both wildlife and the importance of preserving his country’s natural heritage. Freddy now has more than 18 years of experience in tourism. Freddy’s interests include spending time with his family and taking his bike, backpack, binoculars and camera into the mountains to both photograph and observe wildlife. 

International Expeditions Amazon Guide Juan Tejada

Juan Tejada

Amazon Cruise Naturalist

When Juan Tejada was growing up in a small Amazon River village, he never dreamed that his future teachers would be some of the world’s top rainforest researchers!  He had the opportunity to work with the best botanists, ornithologists, herpetologists and ichthyologists during many International Expeditions Rainforest Workshops.  Juan says this hands-on education taught him "more than I could ever have learned in a classroom with walls." Since then he's been able to share his knowledge with visitors from all over the world, and learned to speak both English and German.  One of Juan’s fondest memories is from a trip to the US, where he toured elementary schools, regaling the children with stories of the rainforest. Children of all ages were enthralled by his tales of piranhas, blowguns, pink dolphins and Amazonian myths.  Even after almost three decades as a nature tour guide, Juan is able to find enthusiasm and a new adventure every time he steps into the rainforest.

Amazon Voyage guide Segundo Mesia

Segundo Mesia

Amazon Cruise Naturalist

Segundo Mesia Coral grew up along the Momón River in a tiny village of just 20 families. After finishing elementary school at the age of 11, Segundo was “adopted” by a family of Belgian anthropologists who had come to do research in his village. The Belgian family supported Segundo’s education and he made the difficult decision to leave his family and pursue higher education in Iquitos. After earning his degree, Segundo began working in the tourism industry at a hotel in Iquitos and working in the rainforest with biologists doing research. Segundo later studied to become a naturalist and has spent more than 20 years working as a naturalist guide.

Keaton Sandeman

Keaton Sandeman

The Nature Conservancy, Freshwater Protection Expert
Amazon Voyage:  May 4, 2018

Keaton Sandeman is a Program Associate with The Nature Conservancy’s North America Water Program which aims to improve the management and protection of freshwater sources for cities, communities, businesses and nature around the world. In this role, Keaton is responsible for providing program management for regional and chapter-led projects. His work has included project management, fundraising and financial stability, and water fund development. His current work involves sustainable financing for source water protection, and exploring strategies for scaling up public investment to secure healthy lands and waters. He serves as a Science coordinator for the Mississippi River Whole System, and conservation coordinator for The Conservancy’s work with several multinational companies. Keaton will help you make the connection between freshwater protection and global conservation efforts.


Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

The Nature Conservancy, Director of Conservation, Brazil Operating Unit

Amazon Voyage:  May 11, 2018

For more than a decade, Ian Thompson has served as director of The Nature Conservancy’s Amazon programs, working in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. Since 2014, he has led their conservation team in Brazil. Under Ian’s leadership, the Conservancy implements solutions to balance economic growth with the conservation of nature and respect for human rights. Key projects include focusing on freshwater conservation and forest restoration.

Hilda Hasselbach

Hilda Hesselbach

The Nature Conservancy, Chief Scientist for Water Security Program

Amazon Voyage June 29, 2018

Biologist Hilda has spent more than 30 years specializing in terrestrial ecology, and has worked in temperate forests, deserts, rainforest, grasslands, mangroves and other ecosystems. In her different positions within the public sector and academia, she has sought the link between science-based decisions and public policies by making sure research is translated into actions that allow for the better management of natural resources and social development. As Chief Scientist for the Water Security Program in Mexico and Northern Central America, Hilda has been involved with outlining strategies for the design and creation of Water Funds, which are TNC’s main strategy to achieve water security and to adapt to climate change. The successful replication of the Water Fund concept has huge potential for contributing to a systemic change in water management across several countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Katie Owens

Kathleen Owens

The Nature Conservancy, Upper Coosa River Program Director

Amazon Voyage: July 6, 2018

How can global rivers and watersheds be protected to limit the impact of pollution and urban development on biodiversity? Biologist and freshwater scientist Katie Owens oversees all of the aquatic and terrestrial restoration projects for The Nature Conservancy in Northwest Georgia, where the Conservancy has two historic river projects: the Conasauga Watershed and the Etowah Watershed. The Conasauga Watershed is a rural watershed impacted primarily by agricultural runoff. Katie’s work in the Conasauga focuses on developing working relationships with the farming community and local counties to effectively filter non-point source pollution runoff in order to limit effects on biodiversity. The Etowah Watershed skirts metro Atlanta and unsustainable development remains a major threat to the biodiversity. Katie’s work in the Etowah focuses primarily on removing fish passage barriers, restoring watersheds and protecting key tracts of land. In addition to overseeing these two major aquatic projects, Katie oversees a national forest stewardship project and a montane longleaf restoration project.


Doug Blodgett The Nature Conservancy

Doug Blodgett

Director of River Conservation, The Nature Conservancy

Amazon Voyage: August 31

Biologist K. Douglas Blodgett has a life-long interest in large rivers, having grown up along the Illinois River. He has fond memories of youthful days hiking, biking, boating, fishing, hunting, swimming, and camping in, on, and along the river and its backwaters.  Doug joined the staff of The Nature Conservancy in 1998 and currently is Director of River Conservation for the Illinois Chapter. One of his major responsibilities is overseeing implementation of the Conservancy’s Conservation Action Plan for the Illinois River and its associated strategies for conserving the biological diversity of this large-floodplain river ecosystem. He also is involved in Conservancy conservation efforts on the Cache and Mississippi Rivers and has assisted other Conservancy river projects around the world. Doug has authored and/or coauthored 55 scientific publications and reports and delivered more than 140 presentations at local, state, regional, national and international conferences and workshops on four continents.


Lisa Wojnarowski Downes The Nature Conservancy

Lisa Downes

Associate Director of Securing Water, The Nature Conservancy

Amazon Voyage: November 18 2018

Lisa Wojnarowski Downes is the Associate Director of Securing Water for The Nature Conservancy in North America, where she provides expertise towards the development of water funds and public funding for water across the region.  Previously, she worked with the Alliance for Water Stewardship on the development of a global standard for water stewardship via the Alliance for Water Stewardship. 

A Note About Field Staff

This is just a selection of the Expedition Leaders and Naturalists who may lead your ecotour.  A particular departure may be escorted by any one of them.  If you would like to find out which leaders are scheduled to lead each departure, please contact our office.