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 Orellana Province, we will transfer to the dock and board our motorized canoe to begin our 90-minute journey down the river, taking in the first sights and sounds of the Amazon. Soon, we will reach the Manatee Amazon Explorer and receive our welcome aboard.
Once we have settled into the 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, guests 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 rainforest by going for a nighttime forest walk (optional excursion) to observe the forest’s nocturnal activity and experience the thrill of the vivid noises and aromas that come from so much biodiversity.
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 black-waters. Pañacocha means “Piranha Lake” in the native Kichwa 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, paiches (one of the largest freshwater fiches in the word) 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 with refreshing beverages.
After lunch, we will do some kayaking, and the bravest among us can enjoy a nice refreshing swim in the Piranha Lake! We promise it’s not as dangerous as it sounds!
Back on board the 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.
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 in the afternoon, we will visit a Kichwa 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. Guest will have the opportunity to support the local community by purchasing handicrafts, local products, and souvenirs.
We will begin the day kayaking along the Indillama River, one of the Napo River’s tributaries, which leads us into Yasuní National Park. Kayaks are smooth and silent, providing the very best opportunity to observe wildlife. Canoes can also be used to travel in search of more wildlife. The choice is yours! In these waters, you will find yourself surrounded by lush greenery.
After an adventure-filled day, you may choose to take advantage of our observation deck where you can relax and experience a magical view under the stars.
Our more energetic guests may choose to unwind with a night walk through the jungle to observe nocturnal creatures.
After a delicious breakfast, we will go on a motorized canoe to spend some time exploring one of the large islands where we could see eagles, oropendolas, woodpeckers, and many other birds.
We will then board the Manatee Amazon Explorer for lunch and enjoy of the onboard experiences such us a spectacular ever-changing scenery view from the Amazon hut tub, a delicious cocktail at the bar and lounge, or admire the breathtaking landscapes from the observation deck.
Later in the afternoon, we will visit Yasuní National Park, a pristine and relatively undisturbed region of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Our guests will be pleased to learn that this is the home of the legendary pink river dolphin! In this area, we can also find anacondas, river turtles and various primate species, as well as the colorful hoatzin, a unique bird that is known locally as the stinky turkey.
Near Yasuní live the Secoyas, a minority community that our guests will have the opportunity to visit and share their traditions and lifestyle.
We will start the day off by visiting an authentic Kichwa family located on the banks of the Napo River, where we will have the opportunity to learn directly from members of the local community.
We will then board the Manatee Amazon Explorer for some leisure time as we continue our navigation upstream. At this time, our guests will be delighted with our life onboard activities and participate in a cooking lesson with our expert chef who will share recipes and techniques using fresh and organic ingredients to prepare exquisite traditional Ecuadorian food that you can replicate at home. After lunch, guests are also invited to try their hand at making traditional handicrafts and attend an ancestral cultures lecture with one of our local guides. For our more active guests, a kayaking activity is the best choice to explore the surrounding nature. There is an option for everyone!
Our guests can relax and enjoy the Manatee Amazon Explorer during the morning. After, they will disembark to visit an observation tower in the rainforest canopy, which offers astonishing 360-degree vistas. The perspective at the top of this observation tower is truly glorious, looming above the lush treetops and providing a view of the sheer vastness of the Amazon Basin. This is the perfect photo opportunity! Birdwatchers and bird-lovers alike will especially enjoy this outing.
In the afternoon, we will explore the nearby forest for a walk to discover a myriad of different animals and plant species that can only be found in the Amazon basin. A kayak activity is also available to explore this area.
Back on board the Manatee Amazon Explorer, we will be delighted with an exquisite farewell dinner.
This is where our adventure ends! Enjoy the last part of our return journey onboard and then disembark the Manatee Amazon Explorer to take the motorized canoe back to Coca (90 minutes ride approximately).
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 inclement weather, technical or operational difficulties beyond our control, the Manatee Amazon Explorer reserves the right to modify the itinerary without notice.
- Passport (and a color copy kept in a separate bag)
- Comfortable walking shoes or tennis shoes
- Walking stick (optional)
- Several lightweight pants (more than two)
- DON’T BRING JEANS!
- 3 or more long and short-sleeved shirts or blouses
- Vests with pockets are useful for carrying camera equipment and other accessories
- A windbreaker or sweater for breezy afternoons
- Waterproof socks (one pair per day)
- Small, sturdy umbrella (one)
- Shorts (at least one pair)
- T-shirts (at least three)
- Bathing suit/swimwear
- Cotton underwear
- Hat or cap
- Water bottle
- Sunscreen lotion
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- Binoculars (available on board as a rental item)
- Small waterproof backpack (available for purchase on board)
- Insect repellant
- Camera and extra batteries, enough memory cards
- Personal first-aid kit
- Plastic bags for storing wet clothing
- Your own medications, if applicable. Don’t forget them!
- Cash – we also accept credit cards on board.
DO´S & DON’T’S
Opt for neutral clothing colors and avoid conspicuous clothing in bright colors or white, so as not to distract or frighten certain animals. The more you can blend into your surroundings, the better!
Make sure your electronic equipment is at least somewhat waterproof or packed in a waterproof bag or pouch, especially if you plan to use it during excursions.
Speak softly when on forest trails or canoe trips – loud voices can scare away the wildlife that everyone wants to see.
Watch your step and follow the group. Don’t try to get ahead of the guide or tour leader, and avoid lagging behind.
Always tell your guide if you see something and don’t hesitate to ask questions. That’s what your guide is there for!
Don’t Litter! Respect the forest and its wildlife. Bring a backpack or plastic bag in which you can discard plastic, wrappers, paper, and other waste.
You are in good hands with our guides and staff. You can trust us! We have decades of experience showing guests the wonders of the Amazon. We are not only here to guide you and show you around, but also to take care of you and make you feel at home.
Take advantage of as many outings as possible… The adventure lies “out there”. We guarantee that, given the right conditions, every outing we have selected for our itinerary has been customized to offer unique and extraordinary experiences.
If you have physical limitations or concerns, do not hesitate to ask our guides if particular trails or activities are right for you. Most activities don’t require excessive physical effort, but please let us know if you are feeling any discomfort during an outing, and feel free to ask us for more information about what you may encounter during an outing once we have explained what it entails.
Don’t hesitate to share your interests and preferences with our staff! It is important to us that you make this adventure your own. We have the ability to offer a certain degree of flexibility in terms of alternatives to our daily activities. Although it is not always possible, we will do what we can to personalize your Amazon cruise experience.