Travel Theory Sails the Amazon

by | February 26, 2023


A very special thank you to Aqua Expeditions for hosting us on an incredible Amazon River sailing in November 2022.

Luxury adventure travelers rejoice! Cruising the remote waterways of the Amazon in style is your next great journey. Known as the “lungs of the planet,” the Amazon River is a hotspot for biodiversity, wildlife and culture. While beautiful, the environment can be a bit harsh with hot and humid temperatures, bold wildlife and poisonous flora. Being able to explore the river and jungles is an experience unlike any other, and being able to return to a luxurious river boat is the cherry on top.

We had the incredible opportunity to spend 5 days on the Aqua Nera, Aqua Expeditions’ newest vessel on the Amazon. Sleek and modern design, knowledgeable and friendly staff, 5-star dining and most importantly, air-conditioning, create comfort and luxury in the middle of the jungle.

When first arriving on the boat, there are many “wow” moments based on the design and amenities themselves. Dark finishes with soft lighting accented by local art makes for an intriguing environment that fills you with wonder. The cabins stun with floor-to-ceiling windows that create a true water’s edge effect. A gorgeous lounge and bar, screening room, billiards, spa and infinity pool make for an epic stay.

Life on the boat also includes lectures given by the naturalist guides, cooking and cocktail demonstrations, and lounging in the refreshing infinity pool on the main floor deck. We also of course watched the movie Anaconda in the screening room. Champagne and fresh Andean popcorn made for an amazing movie night!

And let’s talk about the food. Incredible! A menu designed by Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, the meals are highly anticipated throughout the day. We love how the cuisine incorporates local ingredients with familiar dishes, like Eggs Benedict with Huancaina sauce, and Ceviche with local caught Paiche (aka the biggest fish in the Amazon!). And the dishes! The attention to detail on this boat was incredible and everywhere you look are special touches, even at the dining table.

Everyday you will go on a variety of excursions. Board a skiff and you’re off to look for wildlife, including pink dolphins. They are everywhere! This is also a haven for birdwatchers. Our favorite encounters were with a juvenile anaconda and holding a baby caiman! We also had the unique opportunity to release baby turtles into the river as a part of an eco-project the Aqua Nera team spent months nurturing and hatching. Amazing!

Going on jungle hikes are a must. Though admittedly we walked with our hands tucked into our sides out of caution for touching a poisonous tree spike or bullet ant! When you look around you can see the jungle is alive and moving. Our guide shared with us the local solution for bug spray by sticking his hand into a termite hive and smashing the small insects together. His hands smelled exactly like bug spray!

The naturalist guides on Aqua Nera are incomparable. They are a wealth of knowledge and extremely kind, courteous, and helpful. They go above and beyond to ensure comfort of guests and love to share in the fun! Back on board, many of the staff are also talented musicians and singers. In the evenings we enjoyed cocktails while listening to live Peruvian music, and of course dancing!

We also had the opportunity to visit local villages and homesteads. We met the local residents, learned about their shifting culture into modernization, and were able to donate medical supplies as a part of the Pack for a Purpose program. The highlight was listening to a special song prepared by the school children, and singing a song in return! We chose Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, though the Humpty Dance was a closed second.

When you go on a trip like this, be prepared for fun surprises, pushing your boundaries and learning a ton. One of the transformative moments of the trip was taking a skiff down a remote tributary near dusk, turning off the engine, asking everyone to remain silent for 5 minutes. The sounds of the jungle slowly grow until you are surrounded by bird calls and monkey chirps. There’s nothing else like it, just like your journey through the Amazon. It’s a bucket list experience for anyone who wants to learn and have a life-changing adventure.


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