This epic 8-day adventure cruise takes its passengers deep into both the untamed realms of the Yasuní National Park and the diverse Limoncocha Biological Reserve.
Witness the amazing spectacle of a parrot's clay lick, climb an observation tower to enjoy unique perspectives and encounter the wonderful indigenous people of the Oriente.
The itinerary below is Friday-Friday, but an 8-day itinerary can also be done Monday-Monday. Please note that the itinerary is dependent on the river water level, weather conditions, wildlife behavior, and accessibility to locations, so may vary. All times indicated are approximate, and are also subject to change.
DAY 1: FRIDAY
Quito - Coca - Napo River
Departure from Quito in the morning, to board the flight to Francisco de Orellana (Coca), which arrives in Coca after 40 minutes.
From here, transfer to the Napo River port, where a motorized canoe will take you downstream for approximately one and a half hours; during the trip we will provide important information about the region.
Once on board the Manatee, we will start navigating down the Napo River.
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 mysteries of this unique environment and see how life emerges in the dark, right before your eyes.
DAY 2: SATURDAY
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.
Undoubtedly, after an entire day in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon, there will be plenty of questions. Luckily for our passengers, we will have the chance to speak to local guides, who will be happy to answer all of our questions. The local guides will also be given the time to discuss other subjects related to the Ecuadorian Amazon during our evening briefing.
DAY 3: SUNDAY
Clay Licks – Sani Warmi & Yasuni National Park
After breakfast on board, weather permitting, we will have a chance to marvel at an astonishing natural phenomenon as we set out to visit one of the most amazing spectacles located on this side of western Amazonia - Parrot Clay Licks. These unique pools of mud are rich in minerals and attract hundreds of parrots, parakeets and Amazon birds every day.
Later we will visit the Sani Warmi Kichwa Interpretation Center, where a group of Kichwa women will speak and share knowledge about their customs, cuisine and daily life. These women created the center in order to showcase their culture. The visit to the Sani Warmi community is a unique opportunity to learn about Amazonian lifestyle along the Napo River. You will also have the opportunity to buy handmade crafts, local products and souvenirs.
Afterwards we will enjoy lunch on board as we navigate to Puerto Pedro. Weather permitting and as an optional excursion, we could make a short stop at the Yakukawsay Kichwa Interpretation Centre.
Before sunset, we will visit the Añangu Tower, which offers great photograph opportunities after climbing a ceibo tree and enjoy an astonishing view of the Amazon. This is a great chance for birdwatching activities.
DAY 4: MONDAY
Indillama & Napo Rivers – Yasuní National Park
Today you have the option of kayaking through one of the tributaries of the Napo River that goes into the Yasuni National Park, the Indillama River. As one of the quietest forms of transport, kayak excursions are great for wildlife observation, as you float with the current near the river banks. Alternatively you can choose to explore in the comfort of a canoe ride in search of wildlife. It’s up to you!
An evening walk is organized after sunset; it gives us the opportunity to discover the mysteries of this unique environment and see how life emerges in the dark right before your eyes.
DAY 5: TUESDAY
Border of Peru (The Heart of Yasuní National Park)
Before disembarking, we will enjoy breakfast atop the cruise ship’s upper deck, accompanied by the bird’s melody. After this unique gastronomic experience, we disembark on land for an up-close-and-personal tropical rainforest experience. It is on this morning adventure 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 this extraordinary encounter with the Ecuadorian Amazon, we will enjoy lunch aboard whilst the M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer 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.
Throughout the day the Manatee Amazon Explorer will continue navigating alongside the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border. After such an incredible day in the Amazon, we will end the night accompanied by a delicious dinner with local guides, ready to answer any and all questions pertaining to the Ecuadorian Amazon. For our more adventurous passengers, please inquire about our glamping program.
DAY 6: WEDNESDAY
Meeting The Community - Activities On Board - Monkey Island
The M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer will continue upstream, en route to the Pañacocha Lake (Piranha Lake, in the native language Quechua). Here we will be marveled by the unique creatures that inhabit the area: Common Squirrel Monkeys, and of course the infamous Piranhas. The ecosystem of the Pañacocha Lake and its surrounding areas make it the perfect habitat for the Piranha, as well as the Water Monkey Fish, known locally as Arawana, and the White Caiman.
Later, we will be given the once in a lifetime opportunity to visit an authentic Indigenous home, belonging to the Oraco family. We'll also 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.
Afterwards, we'll return on board the cruise for lunch and take a moment to relax while navigating upstream. After lunch we will offer various cultural lectures, documentary screenings, and hands on experiences regarding topics about: local handcrafts and cuisine. In the afternoon, we explore one of the largest river islands of the Napo River, home to hundreds of Amazonian monkeys.
DAY 7: THURSDAY
Observation Tower - Limoncocha Biological Reserve
Breakfast on board. We set out to visit one of the most amazing spectacles located on this side of western Amazonia - Parrot Clay Licks, these unique pools of mud are rich in minerals and attract hundreds of parrots, parakeets and Amazon birds every day.
Weather permitting, we will have a chance to visit this astonishing natural phenomenon. Later we will visit the Sani Warmi Kichwa Interpretation Center, where a group of Kichwa women will speak and share thoughts about their customs, cuisine and daily life. They have created the center in order to showcase their culture. The visit to the Sani Warmi community is a unique opportunity to learn about Amazonian lifestyles along the Napo River. You will also have the opportunity to buy handmade crafts, local products and souvenirs. We will enjoy lunch on board as we navigate to Puerto Pedro.
Before sunset, we will visit the Añangu Tower, which offers great photograph opportunities after climbing a ceibo tree and enjoy an astonishing view of the Amazon from its wooden tower. This is a great opportunity to do birdwatching activities. Optionally, depending on accessibility, river water levels and weather conditions, you may choose to visit the Yakukawsay Kichwa Interpretation Centre and enjoy an interesting evening walk through the forest.
Our trip into Ecuadorian Amazon ends here as we will begin our trip back to Itaya.
On our last night in the Ecuadorian Amazon we will enjoy a farewell cocktail with all the staff.
DAY 8: FRIDAY
Amazon - Coca - Quito
In the morning we may visit a site of the Charapa Project, a release program for Amazonian turtles, before disembarking the M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer and being transfered by motorized canoe to Coca (1-hour ride) ready for our flight back to Quito.
- Please note that all cruise itineraries are subject to change due to seasonal weather conditions (and resultant variations in river and tributary water levels) affecting accessibility to locations. Thus navigation routes, times and excursions may need to be modified at the cruise captain’s discretion.
- Passengers should also be aware that animal sightings cannot be guaranteed due to the unpredictability of wildlife behavior.