Amazon River Cruise: Feb 08—18, 2018

Birding and Natural History Odyssey Aboard Zafiro

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Price: To Be Announced.
Departs: Lima
Tour Limit: 31
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Previous Itinerary (2017): PDF (634.9 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


David Ascanio

David Ascanio, a Venezuelan birder and naturalist, has spent 32 years guiding birding tours ...


Andrew Whittaker

Andrew Whittaker was born in England but considers himself to be Brazilian, having moved to ...

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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Plum-throated Cotinga

Plum-throated Cotinga— Photo: Steve Hilty


An exploration of the Amazon region in comfort and style. An outstanding array of relatively easy-to-see birds and mammals on this exciting excursion into the heart of upper Amazonia.

The Amazon region conjures many images, but it is, above all, a realm of superlatives. The centerpiece of this vast region is the Amazon River itself, the largest river in the world. In fact, many of its tributaries rival or exceed the size of other great rivers of the world. The Amazonian region also boasts the highest diversity of both birds and plants anywhere in the world. The very word “Amazon” brings to mind images of broad, sinuous rivers, tree-lined banks, strange animals, bright butterflies, torrential rains, and glorious sunsets. Along the rivers one may see macaws, parrots, and oropendolas flying overhead, ponderous Horned Screamers rising from stream banks, and exotic wildlife that includes Hoatzins, Umbrellabirds, sloths, fresh-water dolphins, and monkeys coexisting in this untamed area.

VIDEO: Victor Emanuel speaks about VENT’s Amazon River Cruises:


VIDEO/SLIDESHOW by David Ascanio, from our January 21-31, 2016 cruise:

In collaboration with International Expeditions, we offer this excursion to the Amazon for those who want a full Amazonian river experience without sacrificing comfort. The Zafiro offers visitors the utmost in comfort, security, and safety while still permitting us to visit remote and relatively unspoiled regions in Amazonia. The ship’s spacious cabins are individually climate-controlled, air-conditioned, and include private tiled bathrooms and hot-water showers. Visitors can also be assured of having waterproof ponchos, walking sticks, and extra thick boat cushions as needed for small boat excursions. The ship features excellent food and an open-air upper deck for great wildlife viewing by day and stargazing by night. The list of amenities offered by the ship and its attendant crew is impressive. Additionally, stable, flat-bottomed skiffs powered by exceptionally quiet engines permit intimate exploration of small streams and lakes with ease and comfort, and a minimum of noise intrusion.

The mobility of our ship and its excursion boats will allow us to explore different habitats and streams each morning and afternoon, and provide exceptional opportunities to see birds and wildlife. Some birds will be common, widespread Amazonian species such as the Black-collared Hawk, Black-fronted Nunbird, Oriole Blackbird, Yellow-rumped Cacique, and Russet-backed Oropendola. Others will be more local species such as Hoatzin, Short-tailed Parrot and, perhaps, river island and river edge specialties such as Red-and-white Spinetail and Black-and-white Antbird. During the course of our trip we will explore small wooded streams, lakes, seasonally flooded forest (várzea), and flooded river islands. Toward the latter part of the trip, we’ll have an opportunity to visit a native Amerindian village. Here we also may have a chance to see a few species not easily seen from our skiffs, or perhaps even enjoy colorful groups of tanagers and honeycreepers at a fruiting tree.

A brilliant blue Plum-throated Cotinga perched in a treetop, a pair of Blue-and-yellow Macaws winging overhead, a swirling group of White-winged Parakeets along the river, or a White-eared Jacamar in the morning sun—it is hard to predict which of these or many other experiences will delight you the most. We’ll also fill some spare shipboard time with discussions and explanations of Amazonian natural history, as well as recaps of daily excursions in the evenings.

Most visitors are pleasantly surprised at how comfortable travel can be here in the heart of Amazonia. The airy, breezy ship and air-conditioned cabins mitigate the effects of even the hottest days, and visitors soon discover that insects and mosquitoes, far from being the torment they are imagined, are little or no problem at all.

Excellent food and abundant creature comforts; excellent birding, mostly from small, quiet boats; one or two mornings on forest trails; mostly dry conditions with some rain possible.