Eco Adventure: Rainforest Rapture on the Amazon River
Today’s Amazonia is more than a land of spiritual mysticism, existential epiphanies and extreme nature. It’s also the destination for your next five-star honeymoon.
The Peruvian Amazon is the home of the greatest biodiversity in the world, so it’s no surprise a new species of alternative luxury was recently classified there—Aqua Expeditions. Each week, Aqua transports 24 or 32 inquisitive adventurers along the Amazon River via the M/V Aqua and the newer M/V Aria, respectively. Similar to the concept of a luxury African safari, each intimate five-star vessel focuses on providing once-in-a-lifetime, interactive wildlife experiences. And, as with the world’s most exclusive small cruises, Aqua offers top-of-the-line creature comforts, immaculate accommodations, stellar service and phenomenal cuisine.
The contemporary ships are true manmade marvels. Each floating design opus appears fit for a future World Expo, with fierce glass and steel exteriors and hardwood accents. Floor-to-ceiling glass frames each expansive room, fostering an endless front-row seat to BBC’s Planet Earth and Discovery Channel’s Life in real time and real life.
Each day, the love affair with the Aqua Expedition begins in the early morning, immersed in raw nature. The towering Cecropia trees, the dense tiers of green, the call of macaws overhead, the ubiquitous splash of Pink River dolphins—wildlife is everywhere. Exploration via the ship’s small skiffs permits intimate interaction with the rainforests’ most elusive creatures, venturing down tributaries and small passageways.
Onboard, you’ll accomplish far more than wildlife checklists. With the help of indigenous guides, you will meet and interact with local villagers in remote settings. You will indulge in Champagne toasts at sunset amidst lily pads and wild magnolias, synthesizing the beauty of your surroundings. You will visit fledgling grassroots projects like those established to protect dwindling numbers of South American manatees. You will down several Pisco Sours from the ship’s open bar, mesmerized by the rhythm of native music, and then gorge on authentic jungle cuisine with recipes crafted by world-renowned Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino.
Though one-dimensional skeptics may still consider “luxury” and “Amazon” diametrically opposed forces, Aqua’s Extreme Amazon Makeover has opened a brave new world for the first harbingers of Amazonia romance. (aquaexpeditions.com)