From the Apennines to the Andes. This was, roughly, the journey that the young Francesco Galli undertook more than a decade ago, from his native Italy to Andean America.
After a few years in Ecuador working for a small boutique cruise company in the Galapagos, his restless spirit and entrepreneurial nature led him to create what is probably the best luxury cruise company in the Amazon: Aqua Expeditions.
The Aria Amazon, as they christened their Amazon cruise (the company has another on the Mekong River) is a floating jewel. Designed by the renowned Peruvian architect Jordi Puig (I guess with Catalan ancestors), its 16 spacious cabins have nothing to envy to the rooms of the most sophisticated boutique hotel on land. With the added advantage that its huge floor-to-ceiling window allows you to fully enjoy the experience of being in the middle of the Amazon while preserving your privacy, as long as you don’t blush to be watched from the shore by an otter.
Living the Amazon
The Aria Amazon offers activities for all tastes, in which travelers discover what is the main differential value of this great little ship: its crew. The excursions during the day to see the local fauna and flora are led by 4 expert river guides, i.e., born on the banks of the Ucayali River, which is how the Amazon is called at this altitude. Their friendliness and innate ability to spot animals, together with the skill of the skiff pilots, turn each outing into a vibrant adventure.
Kayak or native canoe rides, sightings of pink dolphins or visits to local villages to learn firsthand the reality of these people, will create an indelible memory of our time in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
For lovers of strong experiences and those born in the center of Bilbao, I recommend diving into the river after seeing how easy it is to catch dozens of huge piranhas in a matter of seconds using some meat as bait…
And in the evening, we can relax in its cozy lounge exquisitely decorated and enjoy a delicious pisco punch while chatting with travelers from all corners of the world.
Finally, as the title of this post says, and being a gastronomic power like Peru, the cuisine at the Aria occupies a preferential place. Under the leadership of Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, a renowned Lima chef famous for his innovative cuisine with Amazonian influences, an expert team will delight passengers with imaginative dishes prepared with the best raw materials from these latitudes, such as paiche cebiche or pickled Amazonian shrimp causa. What Francisco de Orellana would have given to sail the Amazon in this way…