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“Experience the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve with Rainforest Cruises” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
Calle Nauta 262 | Nauta, Iquitos, Peru
0051 65 233 553
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Ranked #3 of 20 attractions in Iquitos
Type: National Parks
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Owner description: With 2 million hectares, it is the biggest National Reserve of Peru, also it is the largest protected flooded forest of the world and one of the richest places in biological wealth on the planet. Between its biological diversity we find 449 of tropical bird species, 102 of mammals, 256 known species of freshwater fish, 69 of reptiles and more than 1000 varieties of plants, as well as species in danger of extinction like the giant otter, the black lizard, the manatee and the pink dolphin of the Amazon. The place's beauty, as well as its biological wealth makes the reserve a particularly important destination for scientific investigators, nature lovers and bird watchers.The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve stands out among Peru's natural protected areas. Located in the Department of Loreto, in the provinces of Loreto, Requena, Ucayali and Alto Amazonas, with an extension of more than 8000 square miles, it is considered one of the largest of South America, holding an spectacular diversity of flora and fauna including endangered species as the black spider monkey (Ateles paniscus), the wooly monkey (Lagothrix lagoticha) and the giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis).
Austin, Texas
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Experience the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve with Rainforest Cruises”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

Departed Nov. 23rd, returned to US Dec. 3rd
I thoroughly researched several companies before deciding to book with Rainforest Cruises (RC). From the initial contact to the trip's end I was impressed. Traveling alone, the only American in our small group, I felt comfortable and safe at all times.
RC booked us into La Casa Morey our first night, which was smart. Then no one misses the boat due to missed connections! The Morey, which has many great reviews on TA, is a lovely old rubber baron mansion refurbished by Dr. Richard Bodmer, who also owns the historic riverboat, Ayapua, which was our designated boat.
Dr. Bodmer hosted our dinner that evening and provided additional trip details including time of departure for our charter mini-bus the next morning. We drove the approximately two hours up river to Nauta where the Ayapua is moored. That drive was fascinating due to the scenery and the challenge of a narrow, two-lane highway.
We boarded the Ayapua, were given cabin assignments and settled in. The cabins are clean, but simple, each with a private bath. This isn't the QE2, this is an experience on an historic vessel. Dr. Bodmer, renowned Amazon biologist, later gave a short lecture on the origin of the Amazon, the animals and people. We were really thrilled to have our very own expert on board! He was always available to answer our questions and an all-around genial fellow.
All week long we went on morning, afternoon and evening excursions, often using a small skiff. Bird watching, monkey, sloth, pink and grey river dolphin sightings, pirana fishing, caiman spotting, and the thrill of a jungle hike were all on the itin. Everything is optional. You get to choose, but who wouldn't want to do it all!!
Every evening there was a cocktail hour on the upper deck, stern, of the Ayapua. Dr. Bodmer's house rules are simple. It's the honor system. You keep track of what you consume and pay up at the end of the voyage.
Special mention must be made of the food on board. Excellent and plentiful! Ruth, the chef, and her two assistants made three meals a day, kept fruit and drinks available all the time and often served up a surprise dessert.
Laundry service is available on board, too. You bag up your dirty, sweaty clothes, drop them by the kitchen and the next day, voila!, they appear folded in a basket.
The sunrises and sunsets on the river were beautiful beyond description. Bring a good camera and your own pair of binoculars. RC wasn't kidding when the emphasized how important it would be to bring your binoculars!
Our native guides, Roberto in particular, were outstanding. With their innate knowledge of the Amazon our time there was enhanced. By the end of the week, we could identify dolphins just by the sound of the exhale.
At the end of the cruise, all of my shipmates departed Iquitos, but I stayed two extra days, again booked into La Casa Morey. I'm glad I did. Through TA I found a local guide named Lilia who spent several hours with me one day, showing me the real Iquitos and its people. We went up the Nanay River to the Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm and Animal Orphanage, as well as going through local neighborhoods and markets. She made sure I was safe and that I didn't get ripped off when purchasing trinkets or paying for mototaxis. If you need her contact info, send me a message through TA. She's a real gem in the Amazon!
I'll close by saying that my experience with Rainforest Cruises was stellar. I would sail with them again, in a heartbeat!

Visited November 2012
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Ashby de la Zouch, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Amazing adventure aboard the Ayapua with Rainforest Cruises to Pacaya-Samiria”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

I didn’t really know much about the reserve before I went, other than that several of my friends who live in Peru told me I was in for a treat as this is the best reserve to visit in Peru in terms of wildlife. They weren’t wrong. I’ve never seen so much wildlife before and some of the sights I saw will stay with me forever. Pacaya-Samiria is teeming with wildlife, you can see the fish jumping out of the water there are so many, dolphins both pink and grey playing and fishing, colourful kingfishers, macaws, herons, monkeys, sloths, caiman, piranha, I could go on and on. I saw all of these on an incredible cruise to this reserve on board a beautifully restored Rubber-era boat called the Ayapua. I felt every bit the Victorian explorer!

As part of the package the Casa Morey stay in Iquitos was wonderful. Try to ask for a room with views of the river which are stunning as the hotel is right on the malecon. Take your trunks too so you can take a dip in the refreshing pool. The staff were very friendly and helpful and the owner Richard is clearly passionate about the restoration of this building steeped in history. As a doctor in Biology he’s also a walking encyclopedia on all things Amazon, especially around Iquitos, and has played a huge part in the research and conservation of the reserve and its wildlife. I was thrilled to find out he was going to be on board our cruise.

Some fascinating and informative talks about the evolution of the Amazon, the reserve and its wildlife are given on board and having conducted lots of research themselves they have a wealth of information I imagine many others don’t have. If you’re an active conservationist, eco-minded or just plain interested in wildlife then I recommend this cruise. If you are excited by tales of early Amazon exploration, the search for El Dorado or the Rubber boom era then look no further either as you can’t choose a more apt boat or team to take you there.
The boat is gorgeous, it’s been used in period dramas and has lots of antique nautical equipment and vintage Victorian décor. The cabins are clean and comfortable and good views either side of the boat, but I wouldn’t say they are 5*. A nice feature are the writing desks which, if you are not out caiman or frog spotting at night, is ideal for writing your diary from – I recommend doing this or at least making a note of which animals you have seen as you will see so many it’s hard to remember them all!

The food aboard was delicious and plentiful, with bowls of fresh fruit every day, buffet style meals of Peruvian and European cuisine and (my favourite) a daily baked-cake to have with your afternoon tea or coffee, all served in a grand dining hall that stretches almost the length of the boat.

A nice feature was an onboard nurse who I kept busy with my mosquito bites – a good piece of advice is to make sure you spray or treat your clothes with repellent as the mosquitos quite happily bite through them. It was great to see she was also helping some of the local Cocama people who have little access to medical advice or treatment. It was fascinating to hear some of the different conservation approaches that have been used over the years at the reserve and how a lot of collaborative work is now done with the local indigenous people. An afternoon visit to one of the local villages was both insightful and heart-wrenching. No nonsense head-dresses or cheesy dances, just how they truly live on a daily basis. We even got to learn some of the local dialect!

I’d like to mention and recommend the library on board. If there wasn’t so much to see on deck I could have spent all day in there. It was a wealth of information, with factual books, magazines with interesting Amazon articles and several fiction books with tales of Amazon exploration which really enrich the experience in my opinion.

A highlight was a jungle hike into the rainforest. Equipped with our provided rubber boots we set off, some in the hope of finding tarantulas and the like, others in the hope of not seeing them! This is real unspoilt flooded forest rainforest at its best. Vines, swamps, giant trees, the calls of Howler Monkeys ringing in your ears and adrenaline pumping through your body. Time almost stood still when I saw a hummingbird feeding right by my head!

Another highlight were the evening and night skiff (little boat) rides where we saw so many birds, monkeys, sloths and caiman. How our guides could spot these animals from so far away or recognize (and replicate!) their calls was incredible. And I can’t not mention the dolphins. Wow! Such inquisitive creatures. They almost seemed to be additional guides, following our skiff everywhere we went. To see them playing, jumping out of the water, or fishing was breath-taking.

Don’t miss the chance to watch the amazing Amazon sunsets or the cormorants gathering in the trees whilst sipping relaxing cocktails at the upper deck bar. I could feel all the stresses of modern day life just drain away.

I’d recommend taking a good camera as my photos (I've attached some) don’t really do the views and wildlife justice. A good pair of binoculars is also recommended. Our guides were very helpful and lent us theirs but I’d recommend taking your own pair – to see some of the birds and their magnificent colours up close the zoom of binoculars is a must.

Going to Pacaya-Samiria and seeing some of the best preserved Amazon rainforest in South America is a great privilege, but to do so on a magnificently restored Rubber-era boat just added to the magic and romance of it all. A big thanks to those who showed me such great hospitality at the Casa Morey, the Ayapua team for such an incredible experience and Rainforest Cruises for organizing it all for me. I can’t recommend a trip to Pacaya-Samiria with them highly enough.

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“amazing experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2012

the nature in pacaya is simply great! giving you feeling of calm and joy. the only one real eco lodge of pacaya; ivy mara ey, and its great hosts are taking you to fantastic spots and making sure you will enjoy your stay! there is only one small problem, or rather there are millions of them... mosquitos... get ready for real jungle!!!!

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bethel, Connecticut
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“If you are looking for a relatively unspoiled jungle / Amazon experience...this is it!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2012

I have travelled there on three seperate occasions but entered the reserve in differing areas. Each were spectacular and offered many sightings of the local flora and fauna. Pretty well unspoiled with a ":land that time forgot" feeling. Highly recommended for the adventuresome!

Visited November 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vergennes, Vermont
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Pristine Amazonian Environment”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2012

Many mammals, birds, fish. An important place to visit if you want to see the wild Amazonian jungle.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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