Manatee Amazon River Cruise in Ecuador

Itinerary 4 Days / 3 Nights

(Friday to Monday)

 

 

 

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DAY 1 - FRIDAY : QUITO – COCA – NAPO RIVER – YASUNÍ NATIONAL PARKDAY 1 - FRIDAY: QUITO – COCA – NAPO RIVER

Our adventure begins in the city of Quito, Capital of Ecuador. After taking a short 30- minute flight from Quito to the Amazon city of Coca, located in the Province of San Francisco de Orellana, we will transfer to the dock and board our motorized canoe to begin our journey down the river for approximately an hour and a half, taking in the first sights and sounds of the Amazon. Soon, we will reach the M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer and receive our welcome aboard.

 Once we have settled into the M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer, we will be joined by expert local naturalist guides who will provide us with a brief and informative introduction to the Ecuadorian Amazon, after which passengers will have their first opportunity to discover the exciting features of our cruise ship: spacious social areas, comfortable suites, and the observation deck that allows us to admire the changing rainforest landscape as we glide down the Napo River.

 After dinner, we will plunge straight into the Amazon by going for a nighttime forest walk to observe the forest’s nocturnal activity and experience the thrill of the vivid noises and aromas that come from so much biodiversity.

 

 

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DAY 2 - SATURDAY: SANI WARMI - OBSERVATION TOWER

DAY 2.  SATURDAY: PAÑACOCHA BIOLOGICAL CORRIDOR

We continue to travel downstream to the Pañayacu River delta, where we will take a canoe trip to experience the sights of this fascinating water reserve. Pañacocha Lake is an ecosystem flooded by blackwaters. Pañacocha means “Piranha Lake” in the native Quechua language. The surrounding protected Rainforest is home to 9 species of primates, 500 species of birds and more than 100 fish species. This is the perfect habitat for Piranhas, the Water Monkey Fish (Arawana) and the White Caiman.

 In this little piece of paradise, we will participate in nature walks led by our local naturalist guides, and relax at a nearby campsite where we will enjoy a delicious Amazon-style BBQ and refreshing beverages.

 After lunch, we will do some kayaking, and the bravest among us will enjoy a nice refreshing swim in the Piranha Lake! We promise it’s not as dangerous as it sounds!

 Back on board the M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer, our guests will have the opportunity to attend a lecture given by our concierge and watch an educational documentary about the region.

 

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DAY 3 - SUNDAY: YASUNI NATIONAL PARK - YAKUKAWSAY

DAY 3.  SUNDAY: PARROT CLAY LICKS – AMAZONIAN COMMUNITIES & OBSERVATION TOWER

This morning, we will set out on canoes to observe one of the most incredible sights on this side of the Western Amazon – the Parrot Clay Licks. This unique place is rich in minerals and attracts hundreds of colorful parrots, parakeets and amazon birds, every day.

 

Later, we will visit a Quechua Cultural Center, where we will learn about Amazon communities and their ancestral culture, traditions, and cuisine. Members of the local community will teach us about indigenous lifestyles along the Napo River and we will have the opportunity to support the local community by purchasing handicrafts, local products, and souvenirs.

 Before sunset, we will visit an observation tower in the rainforest canopy, which offers an astonishing 360-degree view of the Amazon basin and is the perfect photo opportunity! Birdwatchers and bird-lovers alike will especially enjoy this outing.

 

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DAY 4 - MONDAY: RETURNDAY 4 - MONDAY: RETURN

This is where our adventure ends! Enjoy the last part of our return journey onboard and then disembark the M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer to take the motorized canoe back to Coca (a one-and-a-half-hour ride).

 *For our passengers with a more adventurous inclination, we are pleased to offer a camping program, which is an alternative manner to explore this enchanting destination. Contact us for more details! (Optional activity for the 4&7-nights Itinerary)

NOTE: The foregoing itinerary is our standard operating model. We intend to offer everything as planned, and will make every effort to do so, however depending on technical, weather or operational difficulties beyond our control, the M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer reserves the right to modify the itinerary without notice.

 

 

 

 

OUR PROGRAMS INCLUDE:

  • Transportation to and from Coca airport and M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer.
  • Onboard Accommodation
  • Scheduled visits according to the itinerary with a certified nature guide.
  • Unlimited supply of hot water, coffee and tea.
  • All meals on board.

OUR PROGRAMS DO NOT INCLUDE:

  • Transportation to and from Quito airport.
  • Air Ticket Quito - Coca - Quito ($200 per person). (The rates include private & personalized assistance for Quito – Coca - Quito flights at both airports. Transfers to/ from the vessels when arriving on our flights. Exclusive access to our VIP Lounge (before and after the cruise), with modern and well-equipped facilities, where we will provide our guests with complementary coffee, tea, water and light snacks)

    *Subject to change without notice.

  • Admission to local communities, natural reserves and observation towers ($70 per person for 4&5-day cruises / $80 per person for 8-day cruises)

    *Subject to change without notice.

  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Gratuities
  • Wi-Fi Internet (Due to the remote area of navigation, satellite internet is only available in certain zones and during certain times.  Should our guests require this, we are able to offer it for the price of $15 for the entire duration of the cruise).
  • Personal Expenses
  • Other services not specified in the program

NOTE: Please note the detailed itinerary specified above is an example of our operation, due to technical and operational factors; Manatee Amazon Explorer reserves the right to change it without previous notice.

 

Birdwatching

There is no need to embellish the marvelous reality of Amazonia in terms of birds. With over 580 recorded species, including raucous parrots, glorious eagles, patterned herons, blindingly bright tanagers and cotingas, peculiarly unique hoatzins and umbrellabirds —and everything in between —birds are always a highlight of neotropical rainforests. Ecuadorian Amazonia, as we’ve mentioned before, is quite attractive because of its accessibility… whereas other parts of Amazonian South America may take a day or more to actually reach, here, the wait to find yourself birding in some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth is much shorter! But one of the great things about birding with us at Manatee, is the fact that we can travel across the gamut of Amazonian ecosystems during a single trip, from the flooded forests of the Peruvian Border, the lake habitats of Limoncocha and Pañacocha, and extremely remote areas near the Peruvian border, to the record-breaking ever-diverse Yasuní, giving you the most complete version possible of bird life in the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin. We walk forests, climb observation towers, hide behind blinds, or silently canoe inside black water streams and out in open blackwater lakes, seeking out as many birds as possible: you’ll be amazed at the variety, beauty and fascinating singularities of hundreds of different species.

 

Jungle HikesJungle Hikes

A lot goes on on the ground in the rainforest. So much, we couldn’t write enough books about it to describe it all. This realm, the easiest realm to actually explore inside jungle habitats, is so teeming in life not even the most expert scientists could wish to identify it all. Some creatures are perfectly camouflaged, like walking sticks, sphinx moths, dried-leaf katydids, and glass frogs, others are quite the opposite, bright and perky like rainbow katydids, orchid bees, Morpho butterflies or poison-arrow frogs… antbirds closely following army ants, leafcutter ants creating enormous highways from one point of the forest to another, sculptural buttress roots towering above the tallest humans, the most unbelievable colors and shapes of fungi growing on fallen tree trunks… We walk and hike the rainforests under towering trees —as towering as a city full of skyscrapers—, the light trickling down in layers, smelling the aromas of a million different plants, feeling the presence of innumerable creatures filling every corner of the forest. The understory is a world within itself… Every plant holds a universe. Imagine every tree… imagine the entire forest… We program different walks for both inside forest exploration or lounging riverbanks and lakes, on longer, shorter, harder or easier trails, depending on interest or difficulty level, together with guides that enlighten us with their knowledge on life in the forest, the faunal communities that inhabit them, the medicinal plants that grow inside them, and much more…

Observation TowerObservation Tower

Observation towers are spectacular vantage points that give us a sense of the forest’s overall scale. We climb several hundred steps (over 50 meters) up one of the enormous emergent trees traveling through the vertical stratification created by the forest’s spectacular height and diversity. We move towards the light, reaching the subcanopy and later the canopy, noticing the different biological realities of each level, and then higher still, above the tree tops to a most spectacular view from where one can spot nesting birds, undulating mountain ridges, or monkeys swinging from trees. There is amazing activity up in this “neck of the woods”. Scientists have explored little of these upper areas of the forest, mainly because of the difficulty of getting to them: which means thousands upon thousands of hectares of undiscovered territory.

Canoe ExcursionsCanoe Excursions

Perhaps the closest sensation to penetrating paradise when visiting the Amazon Basin takes place on canoe, inching down a black-water stream with the forest gyrating above you in a million sounds… These waters are full of vitamins and minerals, and like tea, they obtain their color from the vegetation that falls in them. You may suddenly surprise a pair of macaws preening each other, monkeys cackling while they feed or find enormous 2-meter long Giant Otters swimming up a creek with the entire family. The ancient inhabitants of these lands mastered the region’s waterways, surely the most efficient way to transport themselves and their necessities to and from their homes and communes, and you will be able to experience, with them, the inspiring, ageless practice of paddling in the midst of forest life. At night you can seek out caiman and in the day the spectacular Pink River Dolphins or our very emblem, the elusive Manatee… For special, remote exploration, we use motorized canoes to get to and back from the site in time to unwind and dine onboard.

 

 

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