Depart to Quito. After passing through immigration and customs, proceed to the reception area, where our representative will be holding a sign with your name on it. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Quito.
Quito and 8 Day Manatee Amazon Explorer Cruise
Explore Ecuador’s Amazon Basin while cruising aboard the Manatee Amazon Explorer on this amazing tour. Starting in Quito, enjoy a city tour and visit to the Middle of the World Monument. Then fly to Coca to meet up with the ship, and navigate along the Napo River through Yasuni National Park, a 2.45 million acre biosphere reserve in the northeast of the country. Highlights of the cruise include jungle hikes, canoe expeditions, a parrot clay lick, and interaction with indigenous peoples.
Lodging, Meals, and Airfare: This tour includes accommodations for 10 nights (3 nights in Quito and 7 nights aboard the Manatee Amazon Explorer), 24 meals (10 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 7 dinners), and domestic airfare in Ecuador.
Best Time to Go: June-November.
Note: The detailed cruise itinerary below is a standard model of the ship’s operation. The operator of the ship intends to offer everything as planned, but it is important to note depending on technical or operational difficulties beyond their control, the operator of the ship reserves the right to modify the cruise itinerary without notice.
In the morning, you will have a city tour of Quito. You will explore the bustling streets and squares of the largest historical centre in the Americas, and visit some of its most important churches such as the majestic La Compania and iconic San Francisco, guardians of a stunning multi-ethnic artistic and cultural heritage. You will drive through the traditional neighborhood of San Juan and finish the morning at the Panecillo hillside, with its breathtaking views of the old and modern parts of the city.
Following the city tour, you will be driven to the “Middle of the World City” complex, which is located 11 miles north of Quito. Here, you will see the monument of the equatorial line, a 98 ft high stone trapezoidal monument with a brass globe on top. The monument forms the focal point of a park and leisure area with gift shops and restaurants. Overnight in Quito. (B)
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 ship, 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. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,D)
Early in the morning, we will visit Yasuni National Park. This is 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”.
Later in the afternoon, we will go canoeing in a blackwater lake, home to giant otters and the magnificent, albeit elusive manatee. We will also enjoy a pleasant hike in the Riparian/Gallery Forest, where we have the chance to spot a flock of birds and marvel at the intricate organization of a colony of leaf-cutter ants by the “Giant Fig Tree”, a truly majestic tree that is home to an abundance of wildlife, much like the “Giant Kapok Tree”. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
We will start the day off by visiting an authentic Quechua family located on the banks of the Napo River, where we will receive cultural immersion and the opportunity to learn directly from members of the local community.
We will then board the M/V Anakonda Amazon Cruises for lunch and some leisure time as we continue our journey upstream. At this time, our guests are invited to participate in a cooking class with our chef who will share recipes and techniques for preparing exquisite traditional Ecuadorian food that you can replicate at home.
Guests are also invited to try their hands at making traditional handicrafts. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Breakfast on board. In the morning after breakfast, visit an observation tower 100-feet high, built against a giant kapok tree. From the top of the tower, we will be blessed with this unique perspective of the forest, looming over the treetops and the greatness of the Amazon Basin.
In the afternoon, we visit Limoncocha Biological Reserve, a fascinating protected area where more than 478 bird species and several monkey species have been recorded. This activity will extend into the evening, when we will have a chance to spot black caiman with the help of our flashlights. Return to the ship for dinner. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
We will begin the day kayaking along the Indillama River, one of the Napo River’s tributaries, which leads us into Yasuni 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 passengers may choose to unwind with a night walk through the jungle to observe nocturnal creatures. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
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 nine 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. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
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. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
This is where our adventure ends! Enjoy the last part of our return journey onboard and then disembark the ship to take the motorized canoe back to Coca (a one-and-a-half-hour ride) and then Quito. Upon arrival, you Will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Quito. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
- The above prices are valid until December 31, 2018.
Saturday departures throughout the year.
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Airport/hotel transfers including baggage handling.
- Hotel accommodations including taxes and service charges.
- Accommodations on board the M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer.
- All meals scheduled on board and others as indicated on the itinerary.
- Unlimited water, coffee, and tea during the cruise.
- Excursions as indicated on the itinerary including all applicable entrance fees.
- Optional Glamping in Pañacocha Protected Forest Reserve on Day 5.
- Local, English-speaking tour guides.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Quito-Coca-Quito airfare ($230).
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Admission to local communities and natural reserves ($80).
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Gratuities to ship crew and guides (suggested $10-$15/day for ship crew, $10-$15/day for naturalist guides).
- Wi-fi Internet.
- Gifts and personal items.
- Travel insurance.
We will be happy to quote the cost of international airfare and travel insurance and to make these arrangements for you.
Group/Private: The transfers in Quito are private. All other services are operated on a group basis.
Elevations: Quito is 9,350 feet above sea level.
Passport/Visa: U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Ecuadorian embassy in their country before traveling.
Travel Insurance: In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Global Assistance’s Classic Comprehensive and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan.
To Book This Trip: Call or email us to confirm the availability of this ship and the domestic airfare for your desired dates of travel. Once we have confirmed availability, you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of $1,400 for single passengers, $1,100 per person for doubles, and $1,000 per person for triples, plus the cost of the international airfare (if we arrange it for you).