EXPLORING THE AMAZON
This is a journey that takes us into the endless heart of biodiversity, which extends its fabulous prism of life throughout the Amazon Basin.
As detailed below, the very nature of this jungle realm teaches us that the best way to explore it is through a unique means of transportation: by navigating down the river on a fabulous, state-of-the-art vessel set to explore this truly unique environment.
The inspiring adventure will provide many unexpected, astonishing encounters. We will discover the Yasuní (the largest of Ecuador’s continental National Parks), a wild and untamed realm in the heart of the Ecuadorian Rainforest. We will climb observation towers to enjoy unique perspectives of the forest and explore black water rivers escorted by otters and turtles. We will hike trails learning about the wonderful flora that makes up the eternal green of Ecuadorian Amazonia.
DAY 1. SUNDAY: QUITO – COCA – NAPO RIVER
Departure from Quito. A short 30-minute flight takes us to the frontier town of 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 M/V ANAKONDA AMAZON CRUISE. Throughout the journey we have a chance to admire the rainforest landscape and banks of the great Napo River.
Immediately after boarding the M/V Anakonda, we continue navigating downstream. Passengers will have their first opportunities to enjoy the exciting features of our cruise ship: the spacious social areas, comfortable suites, and an observation deck that offers spectacular views. An evening walk is organized after sunset; it gives us the opportunity to discover the forest’s nocturnal activity and listen to the incessant sounds of nature.
DAY 2. MONDAY: VISITING THE PAÑACOCHA BIOLOGICAL CORRIDOR
We will continue our navigation downstream to the Pañayacu River delta; take a canoe trip up the river to experience the sights of this fascinating reserve. We will seek out Pink River Dolphins, Common Squirrel Monkeys and much more. Pañacocha (Piranha Lake, in Quechua) is an ecosystem flooded by white waters. The rivers and lakes here are the perfect habitat for the infamous Piranha, as well as the Water Monkey Fish (Arawana) and 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.
DAY 3. TUESDAY: PARROTS’ CLAY LICKS – SANI WARMI & YASUNÍ NATIONAL PARK
Breakfast on board. We set out to visit one of the most amazing spectacles this side of western Amazonia known as parrot 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.
Later we will visit 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.
After lunch, we will make a stop at the Yakukawsay Kichwa Interpretation Centre, and end with an interesting evening walk through the forest (depending on accessibility, river water levels and weather conditions).
DAY 4. WEDNESDAY: INDILLAMA & NAPO RIVER – YASUNÍ NATIONAL PARK
Today you have the option to kayak trough one of the Napo River’s effluents that goes into the Yasuni National Park, the Indillama River. Great excursions for wildlife observation, kayaks are great silent vehicles to flow down river.
Or you can choose to go in a canoe ride in search of more wildlife through the Napo River. It’s up to you!
DAY 5. THURSDAY: BORDER WITH PERU (THE HEART OF YASUNÍ)
After a delicious breakfast, we disembark on land for our first daylight close-and-personal tropical rainforest experience, where we will learn about the relationship between plants and animals while closely watching out for samples of Amazonia’s fascinating biodiversity at every turn.
After lunch, the M/V Anakonda navigates to one of the most pristine and little explored sections of Ecuadorian Amazonia, home to the legendary pink river dolphin, black caiman and anaconda. We may also find river turtles and various species of monkeys, as well as the primitive Hoatzin, a one-of-a-kind bird locally known as “the Stinky Turkey”. The only way to actually visit this flooded ecosystem is by canoe, a ride that will reveal the beauty of a lush jungle world.
For our more adventurous passengers, please inquire about our glamping program.
DAY 6. FRIDAY: MEETING THE COMMUNITY – ACTIVITIES ON BOARD – ISLAND EXPLORATION
Breakfast on board. We visit a school located on the banks of the Napo River, where we will have the opportunity to interact with children of the area and learn about the educational system of a remote jungle community in Ecuador.
We return on board the M/V Anakonda for lunch and a moment to relax while we navigate upstream. We will offer a lecture and documentary screening, and if time permits, learn about (and make) typical handicrafts of the area. In the afternoon, we explore one of the largest river islands of the Napo River.
DAY 7. SATURDAY: OBSERVATION TOWER – LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE
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 M/V Anakonda for dinner.
DAY 8. SUNDAY: RETURN
In the morning, disembark the M/V Anakonda and transfer by motorized canoe to Coca (1-hour ride); flight to Quit
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 M/V Anakonda Amazon Cruise reserves the right to modify the itinerary without notice.
Our program includes:
- Transportation to and from Coca airport and M/V Anakonda
- Accommodation on board
- Scheduled visits according to the itinerary with a certified naturalist guide.
- Unlimited supply of hot water, coffee and tea.
- All meals on board.
Our program does not include:
- Transportation to and from Quito airport
- Air Ticket Quito – Coca – Quito ($170 per person – subject to change)
- Admission to communities and parks ($60 per person – subject to change)
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Wi-Fi Internet
- Personal expenses
- Other services not specified in the program
PREPARING FOR THE AMAZON
The Ecuadorian Amazon Basin is a special place, unlike most visitor sites in the world, filled with teeming nature and adventure at every turn. There is no telling what you will see or experience. The unexpected is certainly one of its treasures.
Of course, there are constants as well. The Amazon is located in the lowland equatorial tropics. This is a humid environment. Excursions on land usually take place in the mornings and afternoons, as the temperature rises at midday when we will usually be taking R&R aboard the M/V Anakonda Amazon Cruise. Weather is relatively constant throughout the year (we’re on the Equator, so there are no strongly demarcated seasons). It can certainly be hotter in New York or Paris in summer than it ever is in Ecuador’s corner of the Amazon Basin.
This is a rainforest, so rain is a normal occurrence. That’s what makes it so lush and wonderful. Often, showers are short-lived and they actually serve to cool the air, which is always welcome and refreshing.
The insects here are marvelous, colorful, bizarre and unique, just like everything else is… Like most everywhere in the world, you’ll find mosquitoes, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised that for the most part they are manageable with a little repellent from time to time. Remember, this is a very intact ecosystem and birds and other animals take care of maintaining a balanced environment, unlike other more developed parts of the world.
Forest trails can be uneven (a walking stick is helpful if you do not feel that you are sturdy on your feet), and in certain segments, can be muddy or flooded. Good traction state-of-the-art mountain hiking boots might be helpful, but are not the best answer. Usually you are better off with rubber boots (which we provide onboard, as well as waterproof plastic ponchos). By the way, clothes should be lightweight and quick-dry (check out our packing list).
When we say that things are unexpected in the Amazon, we really mean it. You can’t really know just what you’ll come across. ..there is always something. The environment is, in general, so different from anything most people have witnessed, that living it for the first time can be a deep life-changing experience. Sound is unbelievable. When paddling along one of the winding black-water streams, we invite you to close your eyes and try to take in the plethora of fascinating sounds that fill the air. The sheer mass and diversity of trees, their amazing height, the ground (we also invite you to take a moment and just look under the leaves… it is here where an important part of the secret of what makes the Amazon such a rich and successful ecosystem lies), just enjoy it, let go, feel the spirits of the Amazon envelope you at every turn…
- Passport (and a color copy)
- Comfortable walking or tennis shoes
- Walking stick (optional)
- Several lightweight pants (more than two)
- DON’T BRING JEANS!
- 3 or so 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 on deck
- Waterproof cotton socks, one pair per day
- Small, sturdy umbrella – 1
- Shorts – 1 or 2
- T-shirts – 3 or 4
- Bathing suit
- Cotton underwear
- Hat or cap
- Plastic bottle for water
- Sunscreen lotion
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- Binoculars (available on board as a rental item)
- Small waterproof backpack (available on board for purchasing)
- Insect repellant
- Camera and extra batteries, enough film and memory cards
- Personal first-aid kit
- Plastic bags for storing wet clothing
- Cash – we also accept credit cards on board
DO’S & DON’T’S
- Try avoiding bright colored or white wear, so as not to distract (or frighten) certain animals. The more camouflaged you dress 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 in the field during excursions.
- Try and refrain from speaking loudly when on forest trails or canoe trips.
- Try and be as quiet and cautious as possible.
- Watch your step and follow the group. Don’t try to get ahead of the guide or tour leader, and don’t lag too far behind.
- Always tell your guide if you see something and don’t hesitate to ask questions. That’s what we are here for!
- Don’t litter! Bring a backpack or plastic bag in which you can discard plastic, wrappers, paper, or other synthetic waste.
- Don’t believe how others have depicted the Amazon Basin in the past! Trust us, we have decades of experience showing people of every walk of life the wonders of the Amazon. We are here with you to not only show you around, but 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 chosen on our itinerary is fit to offer unique, astounding experiences… but many factors may influence just how spectacular each outing will be. Don’t be discouraged… we guarantee that our itineraries are designed to bring our guests unforgettable, life-changing experiences.
- If you have physical limitations or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask our guides if trails and activities are right for you. Most activities don’t require excessive effort, but please let us know when you are feeling uncomfortable during an outing, or would like to know more about difficulties you may encounter on an outing once you have been explained what it entails.
- Don’t hesitate to express your interests to our staff! It is important to us that you make this adventure, your adventure. We have the ability to offer a certain level of flexibility in terms of the alternatives to our daily activities. Although it is not always possible, we will do what we can to personalize your Amazon cruise experience.
OPERATIONAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS
MEDICAL AND HEALTH:
Good physical health is required to best enjoy an Amazon River Cruise. Visitor sites are accessible by small, motorized boats, and will possibly require wet landings. Irregular terrain may be present during hikes and daily nature excursions, and embarking and disembarking occasionally requires a degree of physical effort. Hikes may last up to one hour. Travelers do not require malaria and/or yellow fever vaccinations, although they are recommended.
We advise travelers to purchase trip cancellation insurance, in order to reimburse the cost of air tickets and other non-refundable fees incurred during trip reservations in the case of unexpected cancellations. International medical, baggage loss, and airline delay insurance are also recommended. Unfortunately, reimbursements do not apply if you miss your cruise’s departure due to weather-related flight cancellation. Flight cancellation is beyond our control and to maintain proper operation standards we must adhere to our schedules.
M/V Anakonda Amazon Cruise reserves the right to replace the cruise vessel when required (i.e., force majeure or mechanical failure). Should travelers not agree to the adjustment, M/V Anakonda Amazon Cruise reserves the right to cancel the trip, offering a pro-rata refund per cruise night not used or, alternatively, offer credit toward a future cruise onboard M/V Anakonda Amazon Cruise.
VISIT TO AMAZONIAN COMMUNITIES AND PARKS:
A portion of excursions take place within protected areas, and visitors are required to comply with these area’s rules and regulations. Naturalist guides will inform passengers of these rules. M/V Anakonda Amazon River Cruise, represented by its onboard guides, reserves the right to deny disembarkation to any passenger that ignores or violates these regulations.
M/V Anakonda Amazon Cruise requires written notification 30 days prior to departures from travelers requesting specific dietary needs. Every effort will be made to cater to these dietary needs, as long as the products are available in Ecuador