Quito and 8 Day Manatee Amazon Explorer Cruise
11 Days/10 Nights
From $4,689 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
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.
Day 1 (Sat): Quito.
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.
Day 2 (Sun): City Tour of Quito-Middle of the World.
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)
Day 3 (Mon): 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 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 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, 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. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,D)
Day 4 (Tue): The Heart of Yasuni National Park (Home of the Legendary Pink River Dolphin)-Secoya Community.
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 ship 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. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Wed): Kichwa Family-Life on Board.
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 ship 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! Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Note: For our adventurous guests, this day, we are pleased to offer a camping program as an alternative manner to explore this enchanting destination.
Day 6 (Thu): Observation Canopy Tower-Forest Adventure.
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. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (Fri): Indillama and Napo River-The Northern Side of Yasuni National Park.
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. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 8 (Sat): 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 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 ship, 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)
Day 9 (Sun): Parrot Clay Licks-Amazonian Communities.
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.
Back on board the ship, we will be delighted with an exquisite farewell dinner. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 10 (Mon): Return.
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 (approximately 90 minutes) and the flight to Quito. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 11 (Tue): Quito.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to your final destination. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
- The above prices are valid until December 31, 2022.
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 ($250).
- 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 $1,800 for single passengers, $1,400 per person for doubles, and $1,200 per person for triples, plus the cost of the international airfare (if we arrange it for you).
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