Amazon Vacation Spotlight
Here at VIP Journeys, we’re all about inspiring you to get out there and chase your passion!
Whether you’ve always dreamed of hiking Machu Picchu, sailing the Galapagos Islands, climbing Tikal Mayan ruins or cruising down the mighty Amazon River, we’re here to help make your vacation dreams an easy breezy reality. What’s more, we do it all in 5-Star style with private cars, private drivers and private tours.
We view this blog as an outlet to share some of our favorite places, activities and culture throughout the many Central and South America destinations for which we book travel. Think of it as a dream board for amazing Latin America vacations!
In keeping with our mission to ignite your wanderlust, we’re launching a new series of destination spotlight posts featuring our very favorite things in each of the countries and regions we serve. This is the first in the series, and we’re focusing on our Top 5 favorites in the Amazon.
The Amazon Basin covers much of northwest Brazil and spreads into parts of Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and more. It’s a highly biodiverse ecosystem that attracts visitors from around the globe who want to spend time in the world’s largest tropical rainforest, see its most famous river, meet unique indigenous tribes and be immersed in the singular sites and sounds of the largest collection of wildlife known to man.
There are two pronounced seasons in the Amazon— the full and the dry seasons— and each one has its merits. No matter what season you decide to take your dream Amazon vacation, here are our Amazon vacation spotlight selections:
Aqua Expeditions is a small, high touch luxury outfitter that’s been cruising Peru’s Amazon since 2007. They’ve taken the standard river cruise and kicked it up a notch with their immersive tours, 5-Star service and exclusive departures. The Aria Amazon is the company’s award-winning flagship boat featuring 16 Design Suites with sweeping floor-to-ceiling windows, expansive dining and upper deck lounge areas, professional naturalist guides, a relaxing spa and so much more. Not only is this boat absolutely breathtaking, but the Aqua Expeditions team has concocted some truly wonderful (and very exclusive) departures hosted by the company’s founder, local indigenous shamans or acclaimed Peruvian chefs. This year, they’re adding select itineraries hosted by world-renowned conservationist Jean-Michel Cousteau to the list and, trust us, these will sell out fast! No matter which departure you choose, heading down the Amazon on the Aria Amazon is an experience you’ll never forget.
Located in a 5,000-acre private rainforest preserve, Sacha Lodge is Ecuador’s essential Amazon experience. Its owner, Arnold “Benny” Ammeter, is Swiss by birth but truly South American by spirit. He set off for Chile in 1967 and, after kicking around areas of Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador for several years, finally landed deep in the heart of the Amazonian jungle in 1989. A serendipitous meeting with a local brought him into the wilds and to the shores of Pilchicocha lagoon where Sacha Lodge is situated today. The property is a true labor of love and its owner’s passion for the region is apparent in every immersive tour, comfortable room and loads of little details. All the cabins are built using traditional materials with private shaded terraces and high thatched roofs, but it’s the way they’re dotted around this awe-inspiring property while being almost entirely concealed by the surroundings that makes Sacha Lodge genuinely special.
La Selva Amazon Eco Lodge
Just off Ecuador’s Napo River lies the La Selva Amazon Eco Lodge. Inaccessible by road, the trip to La Selva via locally-crafted motorized canoe is half the fun. On the way, keep your eyes peeled for literally millions of species of insect, birds, plants and mammals native to the Amazon basin. Once there, you’ll be mesmerized by the 19 spacious suites, including three with truly stunning views of Lake Garzacocha. Some suites boast private balconies and rainforest showers, while others have massive bathrooms, private porches with tubs and hammocks perfect for lounging. No matter which accommodation you choose, you’ll revel in the property’s recent re-imagining and renovation designed to ensure another successful 28 years pleasing guests. Many of the staff were born and raised nearby, so you’re sure to get an eco-friendly and personalized Amazon experience at La Selva— whether you’re there on your honeymoon, with family or on a friends’ getaway.
Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica
Named one of the world’s 25 best eco-lodges by National Geographic Traveler magazine, the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is an eco-luxury Amazon lodge seemingly tailor made for the royal treatment. The property, which is home to at least 540 catalogued species of bird (among other things), is dotted with 35 inspired wooden cabanas where guests will experience Inkaterra’s commitment to sustainable, holistic travel and unmatched customer service. They’ve been operating in the Peruvian Amazon since 1975 and are eco-tourism innovators in the truest sense of the word. Although all the rooms will have you wishing you could stay forever, the 840-square-foot Tambopata Suite, with its private covered terrace and plunge pool, is the quintessential Amazonian respite after an action-packed day exploring the larger than life rainforest just outside. The Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica includes its own on-property canopy walk and tree house, as well as full service dining room, bar and spa.
Swimming with Pink Dolphins
No matter where you stay in the Amazon Basin, you won’t want to miss swimming with the rare and threatened pink dolphins! They’re one of only a handful of fresh water river dolphins around the world and said to have 40 percent greater brain capacity than humans, which makes them hyper curious and very playful. You may be cynical about jumping into the infamous Amazon River, but have no fear because when pink dolphins are around the gators and caiman are not thanks to the dolphin’s amazing sonar. Local folklore says these chubby cheeked, long-snouted pranksters are actually shape shifters, called encantados, who transform into attractive young men and come ashore to seduce women by night, but we think they’re right where they belong in the river. You can swim with the pink dolphins in parts of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia along the Amazon, Orinoco and Araguaia Rivers.
If you’re inspired to begin planning your dream Amazon vacation, contact us today and our expert trip designers will help you create your Amazon itinerary.