Aboard the AmazonWords by Laura Grier
Photos courtesy of Beautiful Day Photography
When I think of the Amazon, it has always been this mythical, exotic place with rare species of plants and animals that can only be found there with magical healing properties. With all of its beauty, power and wonder, the Amazon also has a dark side. No one has escaped the tales of what lives within its murky waters. Not to mention the hidden tribes of people who have used poisonous dart frogs and Shamans for centuries while living in the jungle.
All of this sounds surreal and has given the Amazon it’s fairy tale reputation that makes it seem like an impossible destination not only to reach, but to survive in. It doesn’t seem like your first choice to go for a vacation or honeymoon – but after visiting I have changed my perception of this mysterious place. You have to be able to throw out all of the rules and preconceptions of this place and adapt to life in the Amazon. The only way to truly experience the Amazon is to do what the locals do – live on the water or escape high into the trees.
The most typical way to view and experience the Peruvian Amazon is by boat, and the only luxurious options are through Rainforest Cruises. The Delphin I and II riverboats (the same boats National Geographic uses to charter trips in the Amazon) are floating hotels that gives you the opportunity to see the eco-systems of the rainforest up close but enjoy many five-star amenities and comforts that you are used to. The Delfin boats boast fine dining prepared by some of the top Peruvian chefs, massages, private rooms and bathrooms, hot showers and air conditioning (something you don’t realize is a luxury until you’re down there), and numerous activities the crew offers.
From the second we stepped aboard what would be our floating home for the next four days, we were treated like royalty. They took off our shoes and cleaned them while greeting us with welcome cocktails and showing us to our suites. Our suite was aptly named, The Anaconda Suite, since I was determined to find one during our adventures down there. As we settled into our cabin which had a private wrap around balcony and windows, I laid on the bed to relax and read and had front row seats to watching the famous Pink Dolphins jumping and frolicking in the Amazon river around us. It was such a magical sight.
What is so cool about living aboard the Delphin I is that you are constantly moving from one location to another, reaching remote destinations in the Amazon that you otherwise couldn’t get to. One evening we would sail to have the best sunset, or find the best spot to fish for piranhas and by morning we would be further downstream at a reserve where we could canoe in to a hidden spot for breakfast where a table of local fruits, pastries, and coffee would already be laid out for us.
Although living on a boat was magical and romantic, some of the highlights of the trip were when we were able to take a small skiff boat down some of the narrow tributaries to see the river teeming with wildlife and birds, or getting to go hiking through the rainforest to some of the nearby villages. Everyone we encountered was kind, welcoming and eager to tell us all about their lives and explain the mysteries of the jungle. The evenings would literally sail by with the bartender serving cocktails under the stars while we traded survival stories with the other guests. Every day’s stories would outdo the day before. It was the perfect blend of adventure, exploration, and comfort.
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