As a long time traveler, my journey has been filled with new and exciting experiences. One day, I found myself in the middle of a colorful market in Oaxaca (Mexico) trying chapulines – salted dried grasshoppers. Next, I was paragliding over the spectacular Chicamocha canyon in Colombia. Other moments were spent simply in a family house in the peaceful countryside of Maine (USA) playing cards.
When I heard about the luxury Delfin III Amazon Cruise, I did not hesitate when deciding to go on this adventure. My motto over the past seven months has been to take part in every opportunity that I faced to experience as much as possible. I had never been on a cruise, nor in the deep Amazon Rainforest. This journey met all of the criteria to be the perfect first time experience that one cannot miss! I was very excited for this journey, yet I did not expect the lasting impact it would leave on me.
After a two hour flight to Iquitos, the biggest Amazonian city, we were warmly welcomed by two cruise members. I immediately felt that our immersion into the rainforest will take place within an exceptional setting with great company. The moment I set foot off the airplane the very warm, humid air hit me! Luckily, the Delfin Crew welcomed us with refreshing towels. This set the theme of the cruise we were about to embark on: relaxing while experiencing the beauty and magic of the remote Amazon.
It was at check in where we got our first glimpse of the ship- I stood, astonished by the triple-deck ship housing 22 suites and more, that we would call ‘home’ during the next five days while exploring the protected Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. I entered my room and immediately admired the views of the Marañón river offered by the panoramic window of my personal suite. Not only was the room spacious and cozy, the bed was large and inviting- I slept like a queen rocked to sleep by the smooth sailing of the Delfin as it passed over the river. Each suite onboard is thoughtfully decorated; the rooms are adorned with local wood and hand-picked art works from local villages along the river.
The luxuries and incredible customer service offered kept us well prepared to explore some of the world’s most hidden natural wonders and experience Peru’s largest protected area.
Each day was organized with two or three excursions, generous meals, and a little bit of down time to rest. The days began early, yet our wakeup call was welcomed by the sunlight streaming in, an opulent breakfast in the dining room and a skiff expedition, led by one of the professional naturalist guides. Following our excursion, we returned to the ship where we had the opportunity to taste local goods, sip on pisco sours, to relax in the bar area or unwind in the jacuzzi. I would have never thought to find such a perfect balance between luxury and adventure. The experience on the Delfin III did just that- we simultaneously enjoyed the posh amenities of the boat while experiencing the raw and vibrant vegetation, and culture the Peruvian Amazon region has to offer.
From this voyage I would never forget the striking richness of the fauna and flora as well as the incredible culinary discoveries I made. I need to be honest and confess- before embarking on the cruise, my knowledge of the Amazon rainforest was more or less indistinguishable. My understanding of this area was formed by the Franco-Belgian comic books I read that depict Marsupilami. You may have never seen a marsupilami before- a black-spotted, yellow monkey-like creature with a long and strong tail. Well, neither have I, as this animal remains a creature of imagination for the Franco Belgian author, you, and me! Nevertheless the countless amount of beautiful animals we saw far exceeded my imagination.
Within the time of our first skiff expedition, I was already amazed by the quantity, calls, and colors of the birds roaming about freely. I was impressed by the majestic black-collared hawk that called out in high-pitched screams followed by low groans. To my surprise, the Amazon river expedition tapped into a new side of me- I realized how exciting, and fascinating birdwatching could be.
Over the next few days, we ventured out at night to search for caimans- small alligator-like reptiles, as well as piranhas. I proudly caught two piranhas during what was the first fishing experience of my life, beginners luck! As luck would have it, we were able to spot the elusive pink dolphins. Maybe you can imagine- here we are, all standing up in the small skiff, dancing from one side to the other, in an attempt to not miss it’s quick show. I was most excited to see the endangered three-toed sloth. This mammal is the world’s slowest animal and it is asleep between 15 to 18 hours a day! Be prepared, not all animals in the rainforest are as adorable as sloths! During our jungle hike along, we came across terrifying animals too: a poisonous dart frog, a massive tarantula with pink feet, and a baby anaconda. Nevertheless, the animal that posed the most threat to me were the merciless mosquitoes!
The experiences of nature never fell short- Pachamama (“Mother nature” in Quechua) demonstrated her power during a skiff excursion when the sky ‘fell on our heads’ as sheets of heavy rain soaked us from the sky. Thankfully the Delfin crew provided us with the essentials – a sturdy rain poncho. Despite the heavy rain, and moments of misery, I had no choice but to take a funny selfie with my new friend Victoria as we rocked our Amazonian chic outfits.
Last but not least, I was impressed by the culinary discoveries I made on the boat. As the French believe they know a lot, if not all, about food, I did not expect to be so pleasantly surprised by the Amazonian cuisine! Jorge, one of the guides, threw me in for a loop. I was shocked when I could recognize just one of the dozen jungle fruits during a presentation where we had the option to sample nature’s bounty. You could find the other passengers and me marveling in the beauty and explosion of flavors as we devoured these sweet treats. Our meals were prepared with local ingredients as well, offering another understanding of the cultural dynamics of the Amazon. I became addicted to the yuca chips from the bar… it was love at the first bite!
The experience on the Delfin was nothing short of memorable moments, yet I fully grasped the extraordinary beauty and power of mother nature when we went to the origin of the Amazon river. The confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón river join together to create the expansive and nurturing Amazon river. I felt so small sitting in the center of this vast body of water, with nothing but the splendid rainforest on the shoreline, the birds flying overhead and the sky turning a shade of orange. Jairo, our guide, passed around glasses of sparkling wine- the cherry on top of the cake – we all toasted to the Amazon, one another, and being a part of Delfin’s journey.
As the cycle of history shows, good things always come to an end. I felt a small pinch in my heart when I had to say goodbye to my fellow passengers. Our group was a friendly and eclectic mix of families, couples and friends, young and old, hailing from America, Europe, Peru, and Mexico. All together we explored for five days the unimaginable natural beauty of the Peruvian Amazon. I am then leaving the jungle with unforgettable memories, and new friends with whom I hope our adventures will be continued.
Written by our guest, Anne Le Corre.
For more information about booking a cruise with Delfin Amazon Cruises, please contact us.