This fascinating journey takes you into the heart of one of the most biodiverse destinations on the planet: the heart of Ecuador’s Amazon Basin. After a couple of days in Ecuador’s capital Quito you’ll explore the region by unique means of transportation navigating the Napo River on board a fabulous and luxurious vessel designed to explore this truly unique environment.
Enjoy world-class gourmet cuisine throughout your journey and treat yourself to a variety of spa services for the ultimate in relaxation as the majesty of the rainforest slips gently by. Be inspired by many unexpected and astonishing encounters and discover Yasuní, the largest of Ecuador’s mainland national parks. Explore this wild and untamed world in the heart of the rainforest.
From high atop observation towers offering unique perspectives of the forest to the jungle’s black water rivers escorted by giant otters and turtles to hiking trails showcasing fascinating flora and fauna, Ecuadorian Amazonia offers the adventure of a lifetime.
Day 1: Quito
Arrival into Quito and transfer to your hotel.
Our carefully selected Quito hotels are chosen for their quality of service and ideal locations from which to explore the city – the first to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.
Day 2: Quito
A day designed to give you a taste of your new environment. No trip to Ecuador is complete without a visit to the equator and so first visit Mitad del Mundo for a great photo opportunity with one foot simultaneously in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon head back to Quito’s superb historic centre – the best-preserved colonial centre in Latin America — to properly spend time exploring the cobbled streets, squares and churches of this fascinating area with your English-speaking guide.
Day 3: Quito to Coca to Napo River
Departure from Quito. Take a short, 30-minute flight to the jungle town of Coca (Francisco de Orellana) where your guide will be waiting to transfer you to the dock to board a motorized canoe for an approximate 1-hour navigation down the Napo River to board the M/V Anakonda. Along the way you have a chance to admire the rainforest landscape and life along banks of the Napo, the largest tributary to the mighty Amazon River.
Upon boarding the M/V Anakonda, the downstream navigation continues. Later, an evening walk is organised to give you the opportunity to discover the forest’s nocturnal activity and a world that comes alive after dark.
Day 4: Peru Border
After breakfast, disembark on land for your first daylight interaction with the tropical rainforest and a chance to learn about the relationship between plants and animals while closely observing the Amazon´s fascinating biodiversity present at every turn.
After lunch, the M/V Anakonda navigates to one of the most pristine and least explored areas of the Ecuadorian Amazon, a place that is home to the legendary pink river dolphin, black caiman and anaconda. Here it is also common to 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 visit this flooded ecosystem is by canoe, a ride that will reveal the true beauty of this lush jungle.
Day 5: Napo River
After breakfast on board, visit a school located on the banks of the Napo River where you will have the opportunity to interact with some of the children of the local community and learn about its education system in this remote part of the jungle.
Return to the M/V Anakonda for lunch and a moment to relax during the navigation upstream. A lecture or documentary screening will be offered and, if time permits, learn how to make typical handicrafts from the region. In the afternoon there will be a chance to explore one of the Napo River’s largest river islands.
Day 6: Limoncocha Biological Reserve
In the morning after breakfast, visit a 100-foot high observation tower, built against a giant kapok tree. From the top of the tower, appreciate a unique perspective of the forest while looming over the treetops and observing the vastness of the great Amazon Basin.
In the afternoon, visit the Limoncocha Biological Reserve, a fascinating protected area where more than 478 bird species and several species of monkey have been documented. This activity will extend into the evening, affording a chance to spot black caiman with the help of flashlights. Return to the M/V Anakonda for dinner.
In the morning, disembark the M/V Anakonda and transfer by motorised canoe to Coca (1-hour ride) for the flight to Quito.
Optional Andes Add On
Transfer to Sacha Jí, an Andean wellness retreat.
The owner of Sacha Jí is both a fully qualified architect and a professional photographer and their skill and passion are evident everywhere in this comfortable, contemporary and ecologically designed hotel.
From the feng shui inspired curved forms of the hotel’s elegant structures to the impressive collection of original photographs that adorn the walls throughout, it is clear that the hotel is in the hands of someone to whom attention to detail is everything.
Sacha Jí’s 11 spacious guestrooms are set into the hillside in small curved groups to take full advantage of the stunning views of Imbabura Volcano and Lake San Pablo. Each room has a well-appointed private bathroom and most come equipped with a cosy wood-burning stove. Individual decorative touches include locally made Andean rugs, 18th century Spanish wooden doors and fabulous contemporary photographs. The eco-friendly green roofs of the room complexes all sport hammocks in which you can relax and take in the views of the surrounding countryside.
Your day includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Optional Add On: Otavalo, Peguche and Cuicocha Lagoon
Otavalo is the biggest and most important indigenous market in all of Latin America. The colourful main handicraft and textile market spills into the streets from the central Plaza de Ponchos whilst the cacophony of the animal market is kept to the outskirts of town. The produce market impresses with the sheer number and colour of the locally cultivated fruits and vegetables. The friendly Otavaleños are more than happy to talk about their crafts and traditions and will expect you to haggle a bit on the price.
From the busy market, head to a restaurant of the area to taste the local flavours in a variety of typical regional dishes. After lunch continue to the town of Peguche to visit a textile and handicraft workshops and learn, from the hand of the owners, the ancient techniques and secrets used in the making of this wonderful pieces. A good example of this is the use of an insect for dyeing the wool.
In this town we also stop by an Andean musical instrument workshop where the musicians, who also build the instruments, will do a short performance. Before heading back to Sacha Jí, visit the active volcanic crater lake of Cuicocha and if time permits, stop for some last-minute shopping in the town of Cotacachi, a town famous for its leather products.
Your day includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Private transfer to Quito’s airport for international departure.