Aqua Expeditions review: Cambodia, Vietnam and the Mekong River
People often think of river cruising as quite a staid pastime, but there is really nothing quite as busy as... Read more
Launched in 2007, Aqua Expeditions began with a custom-built vessel designed by acclaimed architect Jordi Puig operating on the Peruvian Upper Amazon, one of the last great unexplored regions, and now operates ships on the Mekong and the Indonesian coast.
Aqua Expeditions offer the most luxurious river safari available on the Amazon. Explore the narrow waterways of the remote Pacaya Samiria Reserve; this is the Amazon of your imagination. Discover the unique wildlife spotting pink dolphins and piranhas in the waters, capuchin monkeys and three toed sloths hiding in the rainforest canopy, and hoatzin, toucans and macaws gliding effortlessly across the sky, all accompanied by professional naturalist guides.
Itineraries operate from the city of Iquitos, reached by a 2 hour flight from Lima, and are either 3, 4 or 7 nights long. Days are spent exploring in small groups by skiff and accommodation is on board the 32-guest Aria Amazon, soon to be joined by sister ship the Aqua Nera. The ships offer a sophisticated and luxurious home from home with a host of comforts including a stylish air-conditioned lounge and dining areas, suites with huge windows giving expansive views, and an indulgent outdoor Jaccuzi.
The success Aqua Expeditions have enjoyed on the Amazon led to expansion, and in 2014 the 40-guest Aqua Mekong was introduced, operating between Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City. The ship was designed by Saigon-based architects Noor Design to embody the aesthetic of a sophisticated luxury hotel, using sustainable materials and artisanal touches influenced by the Mekong's rich mix of cultures. The floor-to-ceiling picture windows aboard Aqua Mekong allow you to enjoy captivating panoramas of emerald flooded forests, colonial churches and stilt villages from the privacy of your suite. Guided shore excursions include enlightening visits to remote Buddhist temples and Cambodia's vast Tonle Sap Lake, before continuing on to Angkor Wat.
And there's more to come in Asia, with Aqua's first ocean ship, the 30-guest Aqua Blu, launching in late 2019, designed to explore the fascinating islands of the Indonesian archipelago.