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Best Amazon River cruise lines

Set sail to the River Sea and experience a place like no other.

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As the second-longest river in the world, the Amazon flows for nearly 4,000 miles and passes through six different countries, making it the perfect route for exploring the lush, northern landscapes of South America.

If you’re looking for a cruise that focuses on the people of the Amazon, consider starting off in Manaus, Brazil. If quiet tributaries teeming with nature are more your thing, book your cruise from Peru — or better still, the quieter ports of Ecuador.

Best cruises on the Amazon River

Wildlife-spotting, jungle-hiking and culture-seeking are all in the cards with these top Amazon River cruise lines.

Best for couples: Avalon

With just enough room for 44 guests onboard the Delfin III, this luxury boat gives couples the space they need for a romantic getaway, as well as river views to greet every single morning. With a discount of $500 for every couple on a 2020 cruise to the Peruvian Amazon, now is the time to treat your special someone.
  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
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Price ($-$$$):
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G Adventures Logo

Best for off-the-beaten-track exploring: G Adventures

Local guides and native communities combine to give you the real deal when you travel with G Adventures. Where possible, you’ll swap your cruise ship with a small wooden boat to explore hidden tributaries and villages deep in the jungle. And the guides know these waters like the backs of their hands so there are no worries about getting lost.

Travelmarvel Logo

Best for a combined trip to Galapagos Islands: Travelmarvel

If you’re hankering for even more time on the South American waters, follow up your cruise on the Amazon with an all-inclusive five days exploring the wildlife haven that is the Galapagos Islands. Travelmarvel organizes all of the transfers between cruises so all you need to do is show up on time.

Evergreen Cruises Logo

Best for land-and-cruise tours: Evergreen Cruises

Evergreen’s tours may be pricey, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find another company that provides such a full and varied itinerary as this one. Most of its tours through South America last thirty days or more, are mainly land-based and include at least three nights on the Amazon River, as well as a visit to Macchu Picchu, Iguazu Falls and Rio de Janeiro.

How we picked the best cruises

We understand that every traveler is different, which is why we’ve curated this list of the top cruises to the Amazon, and defined them by what they can offer you.

We made sure all of the cruises on this shortlist offer well-paced itineraries that stop off at key-ports and perhaps some unexpected ones too. We also made sure each cruise ship offers a variety of shore excursions and has a knowledgeable and experienced guide onboard, so you can make the most of your time in the jungle.

When it comes to cabin amenities, most boats cruising along the Amazon are small, so finding super luxurious suites is out of the question. Don’t worry though, all of these ships make the best of the space they have, offering comfortable and well-designed double rooms with river views.

When is the best time to go to the Amazon River?

You’ll be able to book a cruise to Amazon River at any time of the year, with each season offering its own perks and pitfalls. It rains an average of 200 days a year so pack for at least one downpour during your cruise.

  • December to April. Rain showers and floods are what typically defines these months, but don’t let this put you off. Higher water levels mean you’ll be able to access some of the Amazon’s smaller tributaries where you’ll get a closer glimpse at monkeys, iguanas and countless tropical birds.
  • May to November. Technically this is considered the dry season, though some days are anything but dry. The advantage of cruising at this time is fewer downpours and more accessible hiking paths through the jungle.

What are the must-do cruise excursions on the Amazon River?

Amazon River shore excursions focus on native wildlife, local communities and age-old traditions with plenty of opportunities to learn about them all.

  • Manaus, Brazil. Manaus is the largest city in the Amazon and almost as deep as you can get into this tropical rainforest. Take a day to visit the grande Teatro Amazonas opera house, Municipal Market and explore streets of colonial architecture.
  • Iquitos, Peru. Kayak next to the endangered pink river dolphins, also known as Boto dolphins, in their natural habitat.
  • Boca da Valeria, Brazil. This small community is located in the heart of the rainforest and is one of the few places left where visitors can witness the authentic lifestyle of Indigenous communities.
  • Anavilhanas Islands, Brazil. Known to some as the Flooded Forest, this is one of the largest freshwater archipelagos in the world, and one of the best places to see pumas and tapirs foraging in the wild.

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Bottom line

Immerse yourself in the heart of the Amazon, keeping a sharp eye out for monkeys, sloths and river dolphins as you cruise. As exotic as it sounds, a cruise down the Amazon doesn’t have to break the bank, especially when you use one of these deal coupons.

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