On behalf of all of us at Manatee Amazon Explorer, I want to thank you for your interest in navigating Ecuador’s Amazon Basin. Welcome aboard!
Raúl Garcia - Company CEO
Manatee Amazon River Cruise in Ecuador
Itinerary 4 Days / 3 Nights
(Friday to Monday)
EXPLORING THE AMAZON
This is a journey that takes us into the endless heart of biodiversity, the Amazon Basin. Given the remote and pristine nature of this jungle, the very best way to explore it is by navigating down the Napo River on a carefully - designed vessel set to explore the Amazon in style.
The M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer allows our guests to experience unparalleled adventures in total comfort. Journey with us down freshwater rivers, both whitewater and blackwater, and encounter different Amazonian ecosystems, including the possibility to observe fascinating animals such as pink river dolphins, manatees, alligators and piranhas, as well as hundreds of native bird and primate species.
These thrilling adventures are possible on board our exclusive vessel featuring: 10 Standard Cabins, which offer air conditioning, balconies and ceiling-to-floor windows, and private bathrooms with hot water, and our 4 Deluxe Cabins which come complete with all of the above, plus private balconies and private whirlpool bathtubs with a scenic view! Make yourself at home with our complete range of onboard amenities! We have a comfortable bar and lounge, a cozy reading room, a scenic-view spa, an al fresco lounge and dining room providing exceptional culinary offerings to our guests, and even an outdoor hot tub on the observation deck! We want to ensure that you enjoy the perfect rainforest journey in full comfort, navigating deep into the heart of one of the new seven wonders of the natural world – the Amazon.
DAY 1 - FRIDAY: QUITO – COCA – NAPO RIVER Departure from Quito. A short 30-minute flight takes us to the frontier town of El Coca (Francisco de Orellana) – and transfer to the dock, where we will embark on a motorized canoe and navigate down river about 1 hour, to board The New M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer.
Since safety on board is of upmost importance, our navigation will not begin until a safety evacuation drill has been completed. Throughout the journey we have a chance to admire the rainforest landscape and sand banks of the great Napo River.
Immediately after boarding The New M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer, we continue navigating downstream. This will be the first of many opportunities passengers will have to enjoy the exciting features of our cruise ship: the spacious social areas, comfortable suites, and an observation deck that offers spectacular views.
Once you have comfortably settled into The New M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer, we will be joined by local tour/nature guides who will give us a complete and condensed introduction to the Ecuadorian Amazon. Following this Amazonian induction, we will enjoy dinner under the mesmerizing sunset. An evening walk is organized after sunset; giving us the opportunity to discover the forest’s nocturnal activity while listening to the incessant sounds of nature.
DAY 1 - FRIDAY: QUITO – COCA – NAPO RIVER
Departure from Quito. A short 30-minute flight takes us to the frontier town of El Coca (Francisco de Orellana) – and transfer to the dock, where we will embark on a motorized canoe and navigate down river about 1 hour, to board The New M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer.
DAY 2. SATURDAY: VISITING PAÑACOCHA’S BIOLOGICAL CORRIDOR
We will continue our navigation downstream to the Pañayacu River delta; you take a canoe trip up the river to experience the sights of this fascinating reserve.
Upon reaching the Pañacocha Lake (Piranha Lake, in native language Quechua) we will be marveled by the unique creatures that inhabit the area: squirrel monkeys, and of course the infamous Piranhas. Pañacocha’s Lake ecosystem make it the perfect habitat for the Piranha, as well as water monkey fish, known locally as Arawana and the White Caiman.
After a refreshing swim (for the courageous!), we will enjoy a delicious Amazon-style BBQ meal and refreshing beverages at a nearby camping site. In the afternoon, we will head out on exploration trails, and return onboard for dinner.
Undoubtedly, after an entire day in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon, there will be plenty of questions. Luckily for our passengers, we will have the chance to speak to local guides, who will be happy to answer all of our questions. The local guides will also be given the time to discuss other subjects related to the Ecuadorian Amazon during our evening briefing.
DAY 3. SUNDAY: PARROTS’ CLAY LICKS – SANI WARMI & YASUNI NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast on board, weather permitting, we will have a chance to marvel at an astonishing natural phenomenon as we set out to visit one of the most amazing spectacles located on this side of the western Amazonia, known as Parrot Clay Licks. These unique pools of mud are rich in minerals and attract hundreds of parrots, parakeets and amazon birds every day.
Later we will visit the Sani Warmi Kichwa Interpretation Center, where a group of Kichwa women will speak and share about their customs, cuisine and daily life. These women created the center in order to showcase their culture. The visit to the Sani Warmi community is a unique opportunity to learn about Amazonian lifestyle along the Napo River. You will also have the opportunity to buy handmade crafts, local products and souvenirs.
Afterwards. we will enjoy lunch on board, as we navigate to Puerto Pedro. Weather permitting and as an optional excursion, we could make a short stop at the Yakukawsay Kichwa Interpretation Centre.
Before sunset, we will visit the Añangu Tower, which offers great photograph opportunities after climbing a ceibo tree and enjoy an astonishing view of the Amazon from its wooden tower. This is a great chance for birdwatching activities.
Our trip into Ecuadorian Amazon, ends here, as we will begin our trip back to Itaya. Our last night in the Ecuadorian Amazon, will enjoy a farewell cocktail with all our staff.
DAY 4 - MONDAY: RETURN
Before sunrise, we will navigate towards Itaya, it is from here that we will disembark The New M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer, in order to be transferred by a motorized canoe to El Coca (1-hour ride). From Coca, you will fly to Quito.
NOTE The detailed itinerary above is a standard model of our operation. We intend to offer everything as planned, but it is important to note depending on technical or operational difficulties beyond our control, The New M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer reserves the right to modify the itinerary without notice.
OUR PROGRAMS INCLUDE:
- Transfer In and Out from Coca’s airport to and from the M/V Manatee
- On board Accommodation
- Programmed visits according to itinerary with a certified naturalistic guide
- Unlimited water, coffee and tea
- All meals while on board
OUR PROGRAMS DO NOT INCLUDE:
- Air ticket Quito – Coca – Quito
- Transfers to and from Quito’s airport
- Communities entrances fees
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Tips and gratuities
- Internet Wi-Fi
- Personal Expenses
- Any other service not mentioned herein
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
EXPLORING THE AMAZON