Your Amazon River Boat, Selva Viva

by Captain Bill

Your Amazon River Boat, Selva Viva

The Selva Viva, docked in Iquitos Peru

The Selva Viva, docked in Iquitos Peru

The Selva Viva is the best Amazon River boat with private cabins for the price in the upper Amazon region.

The Selva Viva is an attractive 22 meters long, 5.90 meters wide, wooden Amazon riverboat with a shallow draft of around one and a half meters. She is powered by a 125 hp caterpillar engine, and has plenty of fuel capacity to “get there and back, twice.” The five person crew keeps everything shipshape. It is owned by a French NGO and has a tourist business to help pay for its rainforest work.  A bonus is that you will not just be tourists, but will also help fund the NGO.

The Selva Viva has three features unusual in the upper Amazon that provide you with valuable benefits.

1. Eight solar panels store power in a bank of batteries. When the sun shines all day, there is enough stored energy to last all night, depending on use. There is an electrical generator for back up power when necessary.

The benefit to you is when the crew ties up the boat for the night, and shuts off the motor, you get to listen to the sounds of the jungle, instead of the rumble of the generator. You can appreciate this more if you have spent time on a boat where the generator runs 24 hours per day.

2. The GPS-Sonar unit makes navigation safer.

3. A combination filtering system and osmosis provides unlimited potable water.

The 8 solar panels provide power all night when the sun shines all day.

The 8 solar panels provide power all night when the sun shines all day.

The Selva Viva fills the family adventure vacation niche, and is great for small groups of friends and family. With four cabins, two to a cabin, 6 to 8 guests make the perfect size group. For larger groups of family and friends the large cabins with doors, windows and storage on both sides divide with a privacy curtain and we set up bunk beds on both sides to sleep up to 16.

When we have at least 6 guests, the perfect price is $318 per person per day for a cabin on a comfortable Amazon River Boat. Two is the minimum number of passengers we can cruise with. The price for two will be $398 per person per day.

One of the best features of the Selva Viva is the shaded observation deck with hammocks. That is where you will spend most of your time. It is pleasant up there. The observation deck can also double as the outdoor dining room when conditions make it practical.

The observation deck is where you will spend most of your time

The observation deck is where you will spend most of your time

We offer several interesting, fun, itineraries including 8 days up the Rio Tigre, 7 days to Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, 5, 6, or 7 days into Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve, 4 days to the Yarapa River, 3 days to Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve, and 2 days to Monkey Island and up the Yana-Yacu River. Or you tell me where you want to go and for how long, and if I determine it is safe and practical in terms of distance and time, I will customize a special amazon adventure for you.

When you are planning your Amazon cruise I hope you will consider the Selva Viva. You won’t find a better boat with a private cabin for less money.

There are two shared bathrooms on board

There are two shared bathrooms on board

You can book your Amazon Cruise on the Selva Viva today by emailing me at;

Unless I am on the river or in the rainforest I will respond within 48 hours. I look forward to receiving your email. You probably have questions. Part of my job is to provide good answers. I know these photos do not do show the the Selva Viva at it’s best. A few young scientific researchers were living on board when we were there to photograph. I will get better photos in the near future with the kitchen stocked, the cabins empty, and the boat prepared to travel. I think you can see it has potential to be a good affordable Amazon riverboat for you.

The Selva Viva galley

The Selva Viva galley

Your Amazon River Boat, Selva Viva

Bill Grimes is the Captain of Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nathalie April 28, 2009 at 4:54 pm

A wonderful boat, we travel 4 days dawn the Amazon and it was magic.
Really good choise, Mister Grimes!!

2 Ron Dodge July 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Please quote a price for a 4-5- and 6 day cruise on the Seva for 6 people in Marchor April 2013.

We would like to do the canopy walk and the Mac Caw licks, however we have never been on the amazon before so anything would probably delight us.

Does Seva has bathrooms in the rooms?

3 Captain Bill July 7, 2012 at 11:51 am

Hello Ron,

Thanks for getting in touch with me. I sent you a detailed email which I hope you received. Just in case here are our 5 and 7 day itinerary for your consideration;

We run 5 and 7 day cruises to the Amazon’s largest and greatest protected area, Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, one of the richest zones of biodiversity in the world.

I recommend arriving in our charming port city of Iquitos at least the day before your cruise when possible. We will help you make your hotel reservations. If your schedule will not permit, please arrive on the earliest morning flight on the day of your cruise.

5 day itinerary

Day 1; Reception at the Iquitos airport or at your hotel and transfer to Nauta in a taxi or private minibus. Welcome on board the Selva Viva and settle into your cabin. Lunch during navigation and first contact with the amazon rainforest’s flora and fuana from the shaded observation deck. Late afternoon you will arrive in the indigenous community of Solterito. Take a night hike near the village looking for tarantulas and other creatures of the night. Dinner and night on board, near the village.

Day 2; Breakfast on board followed by a visit of the village especially of it’s gardens. Excursion in canoe in the village’s lake to see giant Victoria Regia water lilies, or a jungle hike if you prefer. This could also be your chance to go fishing. Return to the boat for lunch and to continue cruising upstream on the Marañon River to the village of 20 de Enero, inside Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. You will visit the community and learn about their production of Buriti oil, extracted from the aguaje palm fruit, and their handicrafts. You will continue the cruise in the direction of Fondo Casual and will tie the boat to shore in a wild and isolated site for dinner and to spend the night

Day 3; Can be hiking or a small boat excursion early in the morning in order to enjoy the awakening and of the primary forest. Return for breakfast on board and navigation up to Ucayali River and the village of San Jose, famous for it’s black water lagoons. Lunch on board followed by a small boat excursion on the lagoon birdwatching. Dinner and night on board in the lagoon near the village.

Day 4; Your second day in the reserve will consist of breakfast on board, and navigating up to the village of Jaldar, on the Yarapa River. Jungle hiking with a local guide who will explain the management of their natural resources by the inhabitants, particularly medicinal plants. You will appreciate the nearly unbelievable biodiversity of the area. You will look for wildlife, particularly monkeys. Return to the boat for lunch and to continue navigating to the village of Tapira where you can possibly take a night excursion, either hiking or in the smaller auxiliary boat. Dinner and night on board.

Day 5; Breakfast on board and continue the cruise back to Iquitos downstream on the Amazon River, stopping by the village of Tamshiyacu where you will visit a typical Amazon market and then stop to visit a family that builds traditional wooden amazon river boats. You will arrive in Iquitos around 3pm, in time to transfer to the airport or your hotel.

The 7 day itinerary is similar but with more opportunity for bird watching, wildlife observation, hiking or fishing.

This program might be adapted to the season and the navigational conditions and might be made the other direction reversing the program.

If this sounds good to you, let me know and we will make your arrangements for you,

Best regards,

4 Karen Anderson June 25, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Hi Bill,

I am traveling with one other person and we are interested in an Amazon Cruise leaving Iquitos on Sept 17th 2013. We would like a private cabin and are interested in the shorter cruises of ~ 4-5 days. We have never been to the Amazon but the Pacaya-samiria reserve looks like something we would like to see. Do you have anything that fits this description for this time frame? What type of pricing do you offer and what does this include? Thank you for your help.

-Karen Anderson

5 Captain Bill June 28, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Hello Karen, Thanks for getting in touch with me. I would like to help. Our cabin boats are not available for a 4 or 5 day cruise starting September 17. Sorry. I can offer you our Dawn on the Amazon expedition style boat, which is our most popular boat, and more comfortable than you might think. I will send you an email with my proposal.
My best,

6 John November 30, 2013 at 6:35 pm

We sailed with the Selva Viva for 8 nights, up river from Iquitos, last month. In short, we had a great time. It is a budget boat- no air, no fans- and it takes getting used to before you can sleep; the shared bathrooms are basic but functional; the food is excellent, the crew professional and friendly; the Observation Deck with its hammocks is great to relax in a cool breeze while the amazon jungle slowly slides by.

We saw plenty of wildlife and birds, fished, hiked, visited villages. We were well cared for by the crew and the staff from Latitude Sur, the French & Peruvian NGO that owns the Selva. English is the third language onboard, though, after Spanish and French.

We visited many villages, even enjoying an inter-village soccer game and party, learning much about Amazon village life, and NGO activities.

I would recommend a cruise on the Selva Viva for those who don’t mind roughing it a little, have a sense of adventure and fun, and want to get well beyond the typical tourist experience in the Amazon. We got to places that had only seen two other tourists this year!

7 Birgit & Frank Toussaint October 15, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Hi Bill: Next July/August my wife and me will have three weeks in the Iquitos area. We would like to have a cruise into Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, 2/3 days in Samiria EcoLodge (or similar), and a trip to the border (ship & return flight?) before we return to Germany. Is that possible? Does it make sense to stop the criuse in Samiria and append some days to relax in the lodge?
Best… frank

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