Peru is in the spotlight, and for very important reasons. There’s a big chance you have seen its latest campaign in which it speaks about the power of today, the value of experiencing, living and learning while discovering the beauties it has to offer. The Amazon rainforest is a key component to that concept. In a world of fast decisions and instant connectivity, to be able to disconnect from the world and immerse yourself in a secluded haven that will likely bring personal growth is just priceless. And what a better destination to do it at than the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
This area is one of the world’s most important biodiversity reserves, the largest reserve in Peru, about the size of Slovenia – 2,079,954 hectares to be exact – and lies 32 metres above sea level. The reserve is meant to house and protect species native to the low-lying jungle. Some of these species are on the verge of extinction, including the spider monkey, giant otter, manatee, and the harpy eagle. Now that we have the perfect setting, here we present the perfect vehicles: the Delfin I and Delfin II, both Luxury Expedition Cruising vessels owned and managed by Delfin Amazon Cruises (DAC).
DAC has taken personalised boutique travel one step beyond the ordinary. Their first-class service allows guests to explore the beauty the area has to offer, and relax in the comfort and style guests deserve. At DAC, they have a long-term commitment to the Amazon and to all their guests. They believe that from the minute guests set foot on Iquitos until they depart back home, guests deserve top quality services, delivered with grace and authenticity.
Bringing together an encounter from the best of both worlds, guests enjoy the Amazon rainforest as a magical place. Its sounds, aromas, and atmosphere will capture guests with awe. While staying true to the natural architecture and design of the local environment, the vessels manage to bring the comfort and style of a 5-star hotel.
The Delfin I is their smallest vessel, with four extraordinary cabins, it offers the most private experience and the opportunity to share with family and friends an expedition like no other. Each spacious cabin comes with a lounge area, a private terrace, and two of them include a whirlpool for guests to enjoy the stunning 180 degree views of the greenest sun-filled jungle.
The Delfin II has 14 cabins, four located in the front with panoramic views, and 10 located on the sides with picture perfect wall-to-wall windows for guests to observe the passing by and ever-changing scenery.
After a day of fun-filled activities, guests enjoy the opportunity to connect with nature, to relax on soft and large sofas while seeing the breathtaking sights of the Amazon and brilliant stargazing at night. This is one of the main benefits of cruising the Amazon, to have the opportunity to see different landscapes from the comfort of the ship.
Gourmet Peruvian eateries are booming around the world, capturing savvy palates with flavourful dishes. There are several regional cuisines that vary directly based on the resources available to their areas. The executive chef Isaac Saavedra – probably the best chef on the Amazon River – will surprise guests with the wonders of Amazon Creole Cuisine. He spoils guests with a unique culinary experience utilising fresh local ingredients such as Doncella (an exquisite type of Catfish), heart of palm, avocado, cocona and sachaculantro.
A wellness specialist offers relaxing massage sessions at a minimal fee, and for those wanting to really unwind they have a superb mixologist aboard each vessel ready to take guests on a tour of tasteful cocktails. Some mixes are distinctly native to Peru and the Amazon region, which makes the Open Bar on the Delfin I only more attractive.
The personalised and warm service from their crew makes a strong impact on passengers as well; and their knowledgeable naturalist will guide guests into learning and discovering. With an average ratio of one crewmember per every guest, the intimate cruising experience guarantees maximum attention to detail.
The Delfin I & Delfin II are both expedition cruises; hence, two to three activities are conducted throughout the day to keep passengers in contact with the environment. They offer five days/four nights and four days/three nights programmes aboard both of their vessels, private charters may also be arranged. Night safaris, piranha fishing, bird watching, swimming around dolphins, and flora and fauna spotting are all part of the experience.
Both vessels have recently added Kayaking as an additional activity, ideal for fishing or paddling through quiet waters. It allows close encounter with nature, wildlife and also sporadic encounters with friendly villagers.
Canopy Walking in a private reserve is also offered in selected programmes, enhancing guests’ experience by placing them right in the middle of the action in the attic of the Amazon. Exceptional views of unspoiled forests will enchant visitors while crossing over 400 metres of hanging bridges. Charming three-toed sloths, energetic troops of monkeys, dinosaur-looking iguanas, passive crocodiles, graceful hoatzins, and mystical pink dolphins are just a few of the many creatures that inhabit this area. The flora enchants visitors as well, with its stunningly tall ceiba trees (some species surpassing 60 metres of height), giant water lilies, and flirty bromeliads and orchids, amongst others.
During the rainy season in the Andes (December-May), water level rises in the Amazon, flooding 85 percent of the reserve, making it only accessible by speedboat, allowing travellers even deeper into the jungle. Hidden lagoons, breathtaking landscapes, and closer encounters to wildlife are just some of the benefits of travelling during this time of the year. For active travellers who like to venture into the jungle, the low water level season (June-November) is the ideal season to travel. Visitors will be able to hike through this pristine and unique ecosystem, passing through a classic tropical rainforest with emergent trees and canopy trees reaching up to 55 metres in height.
DAC is committed to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate sustainable economy for the river people or “ribereños”, as they are known. They work very closely with the women of Puerto Miguel, a small river community with whom they have built a fantastic arts and crafts market with a variety of palm fibre, natural seeds and wood products. Currently there are about 45 women working together to provide for their families. By empowering them they are not only helping their families, but are also helping to protect the wildlife in the area, since men don’t have to hunt creatures illegally to bring bread to the table anymore.
The masterminds behind this vertically integrated well-oiled machine are Aldo Macchiavello and his wife and partner Lissy Urteaga. Aldo is a former senior banker with 30 years of experience in the Finance world, and Lissy is the creative soul of the company that gives the magic touch to evxtery corner of their properties. Together, with their taste for casual yet refined travel, they are dedicated to entertain and enlighten guests who visit this paradise in style. They conduct their operation hoping to conscientiously introduce the world through experiential education.