The Peruvian Amazon with an expert

Serena Winn-Darley chats to the Peruvian Amazon Cruise ship Delfin III guide, Ericson Pinedo, about his love for this sensational region and the abundant diversity on offer.

What drew you to this profession and what do you love about it? 

My father is a guide in the Brazilian Amazon, so I have spent my whole life out in the jungle with him, climbing trees in the forest to pick fruit, fishing in small streams and chasing iguanas along the shore. Most of us were born and raised in the rainforest and now we call it our office! We have all completed rigorous training and participated in projects with Peruvian and North American professors, researchers and scientists. 

When is the best time to visit? 

There is no right or wrong time to visit the Amazon, it all depends on what you want to see. In the high-water season, between December and June, you will normally see more birds, monkeys and sloths because they are forced higher into the canopy due to the rising water levels. But from November to May, in the dry season, you are more likely to see caiman, anaconda and maybe even a jaguar if you are lucky. You’ll see pink river dolphins all year round. 

Peruvian Amazon parrot
Peruvian Amazon sloths
Peruvian Amazon monkey

When is your favourite time in the Amazon? 

Personally, I prefer the high-water season because we can take the skiffs further up the tributaries and get deeper into the canopy. But, of course, life here is unpredictable, you never know what you are going to see, which is what makes it exciting. That’s why I love my job. 

Peruvian Amazon cruise on high waters

If you could be any animal in the Amazon, what would you be?

My nickname is Eric Eagle Eyed so, of course I’d be an eagle. You can fly high and see everything below. I am also a specialist in ornithology, so I can spot the smallest and most camouflaged birds. I also eat a lot of carrots to help me see in the dark! 

How much of the produce is locally sourced? 

We try to eat locally as much as we can, and curate menus based on what produce is in season – I would say 90% of the food we serve on board is locally sourced, which keeps our food exciting and fresh. Anything we cannot source ourselves has to be flown in, which is expensive, and we would much rather support the local communities. 

Peru Amazon tours: local cuisine
Peruvian cuisine

What’s the most astonishing sight you’ve encountered while working in the Amazon? 

I’ve seen two jaguars eating a person...! The poor guy was drinking sugar cane alcohol and passed out, which is when the jaguars found him. To see two cats is unusual, but I’ve seen three jaguars at once, during the breeding season. 

What is your top tip before arriving in the Peruvian Amazon? 

Bring your binoculars! Without them, it is hard to see all the wildlife clearly, particularly when they are in the top of the canopy. Or perhaps you could stay in the owner’s suite and then you will have binoculars provided for you as well as a complimentary spa treatment!

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