Aqua Expeditions, Amazon River Cruise

Aqua Expeditions: Amazon River Day Three

Day 3 on our Aqua Expeditions cruise also marked our final day on the river. The Amazon trip comes in three forms: 3 nights, 4 nights or 7 nights (a combination of the 3 & 4 night guests). We had opted for the shorter stint along with many other guests that were making the cruise part of a bigger Peruvian escape. There were two couples that were staying on for the 7 day journey.

Our third day brought a different experience: a journey into a small town where we would be able to visit with a local family and venture into a local classroom to interact with the kids. For many passengers, this was a highlight. Unfortunately, Scott got a bit sick the night before we were set to disembark — possibly a bad reaction to Maleron (our malaria pills), possibly swallowing some Amazonian River water while journeying on the skiff. Either way, getting out of bed and trekking for the morning wasn’t in the cards for him so I set off on this piece of the journey solo.

Excursion #5 {Journey to an Amazonian village}

Aqua Expeditions Amazon River CruiseAqua Expeditions Amazon River Cruise

We departed at 8:30AM on our last cruising day. We headed off to enjoy our last hour or so on the water before we disembarked at a local village. The village we entered, San Francisco, was home to a small population with a local primary school that helps educate the town’s youth.

Our first mission was to visit a local family with our small group. We found a woman who graciously invited us into her home to chat and allow us a chance to see how locals within this small community live.

Aqua Expeditions Amazon River Cruise

The picture above was taken in this woman’s kitchen, the only room in the house that we actually had seen up close. The room was composed of four, simply erected walls, and included some shelving  for books and for cooking supplies. In the middle of the room was one table with long benches where the family could eat. The town clearly had no electricity, but she explained that generators exist to help with power for a couple of hours per day. (I couldn’t help but think that this seemed like a great place for a solar solution.)

She had five children living with her in an adjacent room. We had the opportunity to ask her some questions about their lifestyle, their perspective, their resources, etc.

We asked about how many families live in the area, to which she explained roughly 400 people, including children, live in the village of San Francisco. The school was visible right down the way; a school that caters to primary school-aged children. Our guide, Neycer, explained that he, too, was a product of a village much like this — similar in size, in composition and in community. When he finished primary school, he had to go to Iquitos with a small group of peers to continue his education and complete secondary school and learn English to fluency.

Looking around, my biggest question was medical assistance. Are there doctors in town? Where do you take a child if they’re injured or sick? The nearest big town in the Loreto Province is Nauta which is home to 15,000 residents. It’s also the nearest city for villagers to access hospital services. She explained that if there was an emergency, they would head to Nauta to receive the necessary attention. Villagers benefit from a government program that provides medical assistance for marginalized and underserved populations, including communities on the banks of the Amazon.

Aqua Expeditions Amazon River CruiseAqua Expeditions Amazon River Cruise

After our visit, we headed down to the primary school where we were able to spend some time with a classroom full of students. They sang us a song (to which we responded with a song of our own that I sadly did not capture on video) and then we introduced ourselves to the group. Many of the passengers on board brought shirts, pens, notebooks, coloring books, etc. to give to the local community so this was the time at which we compiled everything for the students.

Aqua Expeditions Amazon River CruiseAqua Expeditions Amazon River Cruise

When we left the school, we passed by a local market to pick up a few knick-knacks for our trips back home. Sadly, our luggage was filled to the brim when we arrived, leaving us scant room for souvenirs — luckily jewelry fits even in the smallest crevices!

We loaded up, enjoyed our last meal aboard the ship and then disembarked in Nauta where we drove on the only road that leads back to Iquitos (about 100km/60mi). We made a bit stop at the Manatee Rescue Center and then got dropped off at the Iquitos airport to begin our journey back home.

The journey home was bittersweet. Our honeymoon was over and we were headed back to reality. On the flip side, we had been gone for two weeks and I left feeling that I had a very well-rounded experience in Peru. From city life in Lima to the unique vistas in Machu Picchu, from the Sacred Valley to the rainforest… we saw a lot and experienced a lot. Where most trips feel all too short, I left Peru feeling fulfilled. It felt like a solid two weeks away, exploring and sightseeing.

When we arrived back in Anguilla after a bus ride, three flights and a boat ride, it felt good to be home. After all, when your home is a honeymoon destination in and of itself, life’s not too shabby.

xoxo from Anguilla,

Shannon Kircher, The Wanderlust Effect

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect, formerly The Traveling Scholar. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. She is a former resident of London and San Francisco and now calls the island of Anguilla home. In addition to The Wanderlust Effect, Shannon is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort and is on the Board of Directors of the Omololu International School in Anguilla.