Hear the word cruise and frequent travelers automatically picture an ocean-going vessel ready to carry thousands of passengers along the most scenic waters of the world. But those accustomed to luxury travel are well aware that some of the best cruises in the world are taken on mighty rivers like the Nile, the Danube, the Mississippi and, of course, the Amazon. The Amazon is the second longest river in the world and empties into the Atlantic Ocean along the coast of Brazil. While other rivers feature cruises on smaller vessels, the Amazon is massive enough in width and depth to support some of today’s luxury cruise ships. A number of cruise lines with five-star reputations, like Crystal, Holland America, and Silversea to name a few, provide regular itineraries that include the Amazon River.
For travelers who are looking for eco-friendly ways to visit remote areas of the planet, what better way to leave a negligible footprint than to visit pristine rainforest areas by ship? Cruise passengers experience the jungle environment with minimal disruption to native habitat, while they enjoy all the first-class accommodations and amenities that the best cruise ships have to offer.
The major cruise lines that sail the Amazon River provide unique shore activities at several local stops. Travelers can enjoy a wide variety of jungle and wildlife tours either on foot or via motorized vehicles. These stops occur at remote native villages where the ambience of the spot is truly authentic, not just an artificial place recreated for tourist entertainment. The Amazon rainforest is one of the few remaining places in the world to experience nature in its original form. Add this destination to your travel itinerary if you wish to experience unspoiled rainforest before civilization creeps in.
For an even closer view of the Amazon River and its environs, consider taking a luxury class riverboat cruise where the Amazon is the only destination. Adventurous travelers can spend nearly two weeks aboard a luxury craft exploring the remote reaches of the exotic Amazon River amongst some 600 species of native birds plus all kinds of other wildlife. For those seeking eco-travel, these cruises offer unparalleled opportunities to visit the Patanal wetlands, the largest wetland in the world and home to the Caiman Ecological Refuge.
For the most remote Amazon adventure, consider a luxury riverboat cruise that originates in Peru and sails the upper Amazon. Visualize a small ship that pampers just 12 passengers with a crew of 14 to see to their every need. This cruise includes the services of naturalists who are available to locate and interpret the unique ecosystem of the upper Amazon. Naturalists guide travelers on personal tours in small boats into the remote Amazon estuaries and the Pacaya Samiria Reserve, a protected rainforest area established by the Peruvian government in 1982 with over 5 million acres.
It is important to remember that cruising on the Amazon River takes travelers to a remote and undeveloped area of the world. What are considered luxury standards on the Amazon do not necessarily compare to luxury standards of major cruise lines or five-star resorts. It’s important to use the services of a qualified and experienced travel consultant to insure that you do business with a reputable travel company in the area. Five-star luxury travel is readily available in Brazil for those who know where to find it. Of course, Rio de Janeiro, the departure point for some river cruises, is one of the top luxury travel destinations in the world, renowned for first-class shopping, dining, accommodations, culture and nightlife.