Ecuador

Ecuador – Manatee Amazon Explorer

ManateeAmazonExplorer2

Information

Our Amazon riverboat accommodates 26 lucky guests in 13 double cabins with individual air conditioning, running hot water, large dining room and inviting bar and lounge area. However, 4 of the cabins can be comfortably used as triples if needed, for a total guest occupancy of 30. Our 3-decker vessel has an experienced crew of 11 including expert English speaking naturalist guides. Laundry service available on board.

The Manatee operates from Orellana Province. We start our operation from Coca, to where you can arrive either by bus, 8 hours drive from Quito, or by plane, 30 minutes flight from Quito. A canoe will be taken at the dock for an hour navigation until arriving where the Manatee is awaiting for you.

The following activities can be done during the program:

Canoe rides
Birdwatching
Walks in the jungle
Ecofishing (catch and release)
Shamanic experience
River exploration
Swimming
Lake and lagoon exploration
Visit to native communities
Night camping in the jungle

What to bring:

Passport
Comfortable walking shoes or tennis
Rubber boots and rain ponchos (provided on board as a courtesy)
Long pants, 3 or 4 lightweight (not Jeans)
Long and short sleeved cotton shirts or blouses, 3 or 4
Windbreaker or sweater
Cotton socks, a pair per day
Shorts, 2 or 3
T-shirts, 3 or 4
Bathing suit
Cotton underwear
Hat or cap
Plastic water bottle
Suntan lotion
Sunglasses
Flashing with extra batteries
Binoculars (available for rent)
Waterproof small backpack
Insect repellent
Cameras with high speed film
Personal first aid kit
Plastic bags for wet clothes

Sample Itinerary: 4 Days / 3 Nights
Quito – Coca – Yasuní National Park

Departure from Quito in the morning, flight to Francisco de Orellana (Coca), arrives to Coca after a short 30 minutes trip, transfer to the Napo River port. Then the motorized canoe ride downstream will be approximately one and a half hours; during the trip we will provide important information about the region. Once on board the MANATEE AMAZON EXPLORER will start navigating down the Napo River during the whole afternoon. At dusk, our first live experience with the Ecuadorian Amazon basin will begin (night walk, visit to a native house or canoe ride will depend on the river level, climatic conditions, wildlife behavior and accessibility to the location).

Visiting the Pañacocha Biological Corridor

We will continue our navigation downstream to arrive close to the mouth of the Pañayacu (Piranha River). After arrival, there will be a canoe trip through the Piranha River to see the sights of this interesting protected forest. There is a possibility to observe pink river dolphins, the agile common squirrel monkeys and much more. The Piranha Lake area is an ecosystem flooded by white waters. The rivers and lakes of that place are perfect habitat for the infamous piranha, the water monkey fish (Arawana) and white caimans. At night, there will be an optional excursion to explore the forest and riverbanks.

Visiting a native house and CICAME Museum – Limoncocha Biological Reserve

In the morning we will visit a native house from the Kichwa, people who lives inside of the Yasuni National Park, including an interesting walk in a mature forest, if the time permits. After this, a short visit to the CICAME Archeological Museum, this interesting museum preserves the pottery from the Omagua Culture, one of the first forest pre-Columbian residents of the Napo River basin. This is also a good place to shop local handicrafts made from rainforest materials.

In the afternoon, there will be a visit to the Limoncocha Biological Reserve, an incredible area to find lots of birds, some monkeys and at night looking for the black caiman. Return to the MANATEE at night.

Returning home

Return to the city of Coca to take the morning flight back to Quito. The canoe ride upstream will take around two hours.

Please note:
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described above, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. On daily basis of your tour you will be advised of any amendments.

The Expedition leaders will always be offering information about the region, tours, weather conditions, navigation, native cultures and probabilities to encounter wildlife through lectures, briefings, recaps and videos.

Sample Itinerary: 5 Days / 4 Nights
Quito - Coca - Yasuní National Park

Departure from Quito in the morning, flight to Francisco de Orellana (Coca), arrives to Coca after a short 30 minutes trip, transfer to the Napo River port. Then the motorized canoe ride downstream will be approximately one and a half hours; during the trip we will provide important information about the region. Once on board the MANATEE AMAZON EXPLORER will start navigating down the Napo River during the whole afternoon. At dusk, our first live experience with the Ecuadorian Amazon basin will begin (night walk, visit to a native house or canoe ride will depend on the river level, climatic conditions, wildlife behavior and accessibility to the location).

Visiting the Pañacocha Biological Corridor

We will continue our navigation downstream to arrive close to the mouth of the Pañayacu (Piranha River). After arrival, there will be a canoe trip through the Piranha River to see the sights of this interesting protected forest. There is a possibility to observe pink river dolphins, the agile common squirrel monkeys and much more. The Piranha Lake area is an ecosystem flooded by white waters. The rivers and lakes of that place are perfect habitat for the infamous piranha, the water monkey fish (Arawana) and white caimans.

At night, there will be an optional excursion to explore the forest and riverbanks, as well as optional overnight at our camp for an extra cost of USD30,00 per person (includes tents, sleeping bags, food an a naturalist biologist English speaking guide)

Visiting the Observation Tower – Native House

On the third day of our cruise, we will explore the “observation tower” built around a tree to observe the different ecosystems of the forest and a wide variety of birds. After lunch at the MANATEE, you will stop at a native house of the Kichwas where a native guide will bring into the light their way of life and traditions.

Visiting the Kapok Tree – Limoncocha Biological Reserve

In the morning we will continue to visit one of the tallest trees of the Rainforest, the Kapok. A native guide will also explain to us the use of medicinal plants; if time permits we will have a visit to the CICAME Archeological Museum which preserves pottery from the Omagua Culture, one of the first forest pre-Columbian residents of the Napo River basin. This is also a good place to shop local handicrafts made from rainforest materials. In the afternoon, there will be a visit to the Limoncocha Biological Reserve, an incredible area to find lots of birds, some monkeys and at night looking for the black caiman. Return to the MANATEE at night.

Returning home

Return to the city of Coca to take the morning flight back to Quito. The canoe ride upstream will take around two hours.

Please note:
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described above, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. On daily basis of your tour you will be advised of any amendments.

The Expedition leaders will always be offering information about the region, tours, weather conditions, navigation, native cultures and probabilities to encounter wildlife through lectures, briefings, recaps and videos.

Sample Itinerary: 8 Days / 7 Nights
Quito - Coca - Yasuní National Park

Departure from Quito in the morning (08:30h), flight to Francisco de Orellana (Coca), arriving to Coca around 09:00h, transfer to the Napo River port. Then the motorized canoe ride downstream will be approximately two hours, during the trip we will provide a box lunch and important information about the region. Once on board the MANATEE AMAZON EXPLORER will start navigating down the Napo River for the whole afternoon. At night our first live experience with the Ecuadorian Amazon basin will begin (night walk or canoe ride will depend on the river level, climatic conditions, wildlife behavior and accessibility to a location).

Visiting the Yasuní National Park

On the second day of our cruise, we will explore one of the fantastic tributaries of the Napo River that comes from the core of the Yasuní National Park. At this river, we will navigate upstream in search of the evasive giant river otter, the mysterious jaguar and the timid spider monkey. After our return from the excursion, the MANATEE will continue its navigation to arrive near the international boundary with Peru. At night, there will be an excursion into the Yasuní National Park to look for large rodents like capybaras and reptiles of the night, such us caimans (south american alligators). We may stay camping overnight to enjoy the jungle at night.

Peruvian Border & Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve

After a morning excursion to observe plants, birds and more wildlife in the Yasuní National Park, the MANATEE will navigate into the Aguarico River, the largest tributary of the Napo River to get through the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, one of the highlights of our exploration. On our way to Cuyabeno, we will visit a Peruvian town and meet local people.

Cuyabeno W. R. – The Forest Dwellers

A full day visit to an Indian Community will give as an idea of how indigenous people live in the forest. At the community, a local guide accompanied by our expedition leaders will enlighten you with the use of plants for medicinal and other purposes. After a walk, you will stop at a local house where these true forest dwellers will bring into the light their way of life and traditions. This will be an opportunity to buy handicrafts made by the local people. There will be plenty of traditional food and hospitality.

Cuyabeno W. R. – Lagartococha

This remote area is accessible to you only through the Lagarto (Alligator) River, a black water river surrounded by freshwater mangroves (Coussapoa trinervia), Macrolobium trees, and palm trees adapted to flooding conditions. Lagartococha (Alligator Lake) is not one but a system of lakes situated along the Ecuadorian-Peruvian boundary. This black water system is the home of the legendary pink river dolphins, river turtles, black caimans and the enigmatic amazon manatee. Moreover, if we look at the vegetation on the shores, we may well see red howler monkeys, three-toed sloth, the leaf-eating bird locally known as stinky turkey (Hoatzin) and other wildlife. The canoe trip upstream will reveal the overwhelming beauty of this aquatic region. An overnight in the forest could be arranged for this day.

Navigation and exploration along the Napo River

From this day, we will start our return to the point where we boarded the MANATEE AMAZON EXPLORER for the first time. There will be navigation throughout the entire day to relax and observe the Napo River banks, the forest and perhaps some wildlife. Late in the afternoon, after a relaxed morning, we will explore the Napo River banks and tropical river islands in quest of birds like the ornamented umbrella bird, the colorful blue-gray tanagers, kingbirds, social flycatchers and many more.

Navigation along the Napo River – Pañacocha (Piranha Lake) Protected Forest

We will continue our navigation upstream to arrive at the mouth of the Pañayacu (Piranha River). After arrival, there will be a canoe trip through the Piranha River to see the sights of this interesting protected forest. There is a possibility to observe pink river dolphins, the agile common squirrel monkeys and much more. The Piranha Lake area, contrary to Lagartococha, is an ecosystem flooded by white waters. The rivers and lakes of that place are perfect habitat for the infamous piranha, the water monkey fish (Arawana) and white caimans.

At night, there will be an optional excursion to explore the forest and river banks.

Yasuni N.P. – Cicame museum and return home

The MANATEE AMAZON EXPLORER will arrive to the point were we started our adventure. Early morning, we will visit the most accessible parrot and parakeet clay licks in Ecuador. There are blinds or hides to watch and enjoy this nature show so close! It is difficult to imagine hundreds, sometimes thousands of parrots and parakeets coming all together at once into the clay licks. This area is also located inside of the Yasuní National Park.

Early afternoon visit the CICAME Archeological Museum that preserves pottery from the Omagua Culture, one of the first forest pre-Columbian residents of the Napo River basin. After the visit continue to the city of Coca to take the flight back to Quito.

Please note:
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described above, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. On daily basis of your tour you will be advised of any amendments.

The Expedition leaders will always be offering information about the region, tours, weather conditions, navigation, native cultures and probabilities to encounter wildlife through lectures, briefings, recaps and videos.

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