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 8 Days
EXPLORE THE AMAZON
The Amazon Basin is a magnificent place full of treasures waiting to be discovered by the passengers of the Manatee Amazon Explorer. With this navigation experience, we literally dive into the Rainforest, where we will be marveled by its beauty and biodiversity.
The number of wildlife, flora and fauna species that inhabit this environment is mesmerizing. Everything from our newly renovated, state-of-the-art vessel, to our passionate and experienced travel guides make this an unforgettable experience. As detailed below our journey begins and ends at El Coca. From dolphins to manatees, every kilometer that we navigate through the Napo River reminds us why thousands of guests come to visit us each year.
Don’t wait? Join us aboard the New M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer!
DAY 1 - FRIDAY : QUITO – COCA - THE ADVENTURE BEGINS Our adventure begins in El Coca, at the Province of Francisco de Orellana, where we will begin our navigation along the Napo River. First, we will embark on a motorized canoe and navigate down the Napo River in order to board the New M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer.
Throughout this expedition we have a chance to admire the enchanting rainforest landscapeof the great Napo River.
Since safety aboard of our cruise ship is of upmost importance, youwill receive a safety an evacuation drill. Aboard the New M/V Manatee, passengers will be able to enjoy the new and exciting features it has to offer, spacious social areas, comfortable suites, and an observation deck that offers spectacular views.
Once you board The New M/V Manatee you will be joined by a local tour/naturalist guide, who will give you a complete and condensed introduction to the Ecuadorian Amazon at the welcome briefing. Following this Amazon induction, we will enjoy a dinner onboard. This will be the perfect opportunity to get to know other guests and familiarize yourself with the cruise ship.
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 - THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
Our adventure begins in El Coca, at the Province of Francisco de Orellana, where we will begin our navigation along the Napo River. First, we will embark on a motorized canoe and navigate down the Napo River in order to board the New M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer.
DAY 2. THE SMALLEST MONKEY IN THE WORLD - PYGMY MARMOSET
At sunrise, the New M/V Manatee will begin navigating downstream while through the Napo River, you will be able to admire the different animals and plants that make up the fascinating Amazonia.
After navigating for a couple of hours, we will have a special and intimate encounter with the Pygmy Marmoset. This is perhaps the smallest primate in the Amazon and even in the world, weighting just over 100 grams. After you have taken pictures that will last a lifetime, we will visit Nuevo Rocafuerte. Here you will learn about first mestizo who settled in theEcuadorian Amazon, their culture, and the interesting objects found here such as: rubber, gold, and leather.
We will then enjoy a lunch onboard, with distinct and delicious flavors only found in the Amazon. We will continue navigating on the Napo River to later change to the Aguarico River (which empties into the Napo River and runs along the Ecuadorian-Peruvian Border) In the late afternoon, we will visit Cocaya, where we will again be able to have an on-hands encounter with the Amazon wildlife, only this time, with dolphins.
In Cocaya we will also explore some creeks, around sunset we will return to the New M/V Manatee and will spend the night on the Aguarico River.
DAY 3. EXPLORE THE AGUARICO RIVER
When birds begin chirping and the sun rises, the New M/V Manatee will row upstream the Aguarico River until reaching Lagartococha or River of Caimans by the late afternoon. This is a river and lake system surrounded by pristine rainforest.
At sunrise breakfast, will be served and enjoyed on board. This is the perfect opportunity to spend time at the top the observation deck to enjoy the wonderful sensory experience offered by the cruise navigation.
A morning walk will be offered after breakfast. This walk will be filled with adventure and knowledge provided by the rich history of the Amazon.
The New M/V Manatee continues rowing upstream to the final destination of the night, River of Caimans.
DAY 4. COFAN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY ENCOUNTER
After breakfast, we visit the Cofan indigenous community. We will have a guided walk where we will be able to step on the very lands in which this culture was formed.
In the morning we will have the opportunity to engage in a wonderful kayaking adventure along the river shores and encounter unique species within a few meters of our kayaks
There will be a tasting of Casabe, a thousand-year-old recipe that has endured the test of time. Casabe is a flat tortilla made of the native cassava.
Lunch will be enjoyed as we return to Rocafuerte aboard the New M/V Manatee. As we navigate through the enchanting river, we will serve a BBQ style dinner aboard.
After dinner, you can rest for the exciting day ahead, or enjoy some of the amenities the cruise ship has to offer.
DAY 5 - YASUNÍ - THE MOST BIODIVERSE NATIONAL PARK
Our adventure begins bright and early in order to explore the notorious Yasuni National Park.
We will try to cover a significant extension of the national park that holds, “The Most diverse biosphere on Earth.” After spending the entire morning in the Yasuni National Park, lunch awaits on board the New M/V Manatee.
After lunch we will visit the Oraco Family which is a Quechua house where you can learn about their traditions and lifestyle. In the evening, we offer various optional activities including: a cooking class inspired by the rich cultures of the Amazonia.
In the afternoon we will offer our guests the option to enjoy kayaking activities and discover incredible species at the river shores. The optional activities are definitely ones you do not want to miss!
DAY 6 - DISCOVER WARMI YUTURI - PAÑAYACU RIVER
After an early morning breakfast, we will watch the sun rise as we have a walk to Warmi Yuturi. In this destination, we explore an enchanted lake where there are good chances to sight the magnificent manatees.
Lunch on board the new M/V Manatee. We will continue our navigation upstream to the Pañayacu River delta; take a canoe trip up the river to experience the sights of this fascinating reserve.
Passengers will be given the option of kayaking in the river and/or camp in Pañacocha. In the afternoon, we will head out on exploration trails, and return onboard for a delicious Amazon-style BBQ meal.
DAY 7. WOMEN COMUNITY SANI WARMI KICHWA
Breakfast on board.
Visit to the Sani Warmi Kichwa Interpretation Center, where a group of Kichwa women will speak of their customs, cuisine and everyday life. They have created the center in order to showcase their culture, and it is a unique opportunity to learn about Amazonian lifestyles along the Napo River. You will also have the opportunity to buy crafts, local products and souvenirs.
Early morning visit to watch the most amazing spectacles this side of western Amazon is known fpor, the parrot clay licks. These unique pools of mud become rich in minerals and attract hundreds of parrots, parakeets and amazons every day. If weather permits, we will have a chance to marvel at this astonishing natural phenomenon.
Breakfast upon return to the new M/V Manatee.
Afternoon we will visit a canopy Tower. We are gifted with the spectacular view at the top the
tower of the Rainforest. Dinner on board.
DAY 8 - THE ADVENTURE ENDS
We know that after a week of adventure aboard the New M/V Manatee you won’t want to leave, and we don’t want you to either; but on the eighth and final day of this adventure, we will be transported to Coca, where the tour ends.
In the morning, we will navigate towards Coca, disembark the New M/V Manatee and transfer by motorized canoe to Coca (1-hour ride).
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.