Amazon River Cruise

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Priced from $1,595   Days: 6 to 10

Cruise the Amazon river through the Ecuadorian rainforest.  On this all-inclusive cruise you have a superb opportunity for wildlife watching and for an introduction to the culture of some of the indigenous people of the Amazon.  This massive river flows through the world's largest primeval forest, and the richness of flora and fauna is astounding.  Over 10% of the world's trees form the foundation of this complex ecosystem that provides habitat to 2500 species of butterflies, 500 species of birds, as well as dozens of species of monkeys, caimans, tapirs, jaguars, river otters, sloths, freshwater dolphins, and the world's largest rodent, the capybara.

You will cruise the Amazon river on the Manatee Amazon Explorer, a small, comfortable riverboat built in 2002 that holds up to 30 guests and a crew of 12 in air-conditioned comfort. Her fleet of small, motorized canoes allow for exploration of the many tributaries and lakes of the region. 

Highlights of this Amazon river cruise include visits to the Cuyabeno Natural Reserve, Yasuni National Park, and the Limoncocha Biological Reserve.  You will also have opportunities for non-motorized canoeing, walks in the rainforest both during daylight hours and at night, visits to local communities, and introductions to local cooking and crafts.

  • Itinerary
  • Date & Rates
  • Vessel

Sample Itinerary (order changes depending on starting day)

10 day/9 night itinerary year round with weekly departures. Shorter programs are available and can be added to Galapagos programs.

Thursday to Saturday or Sunday to Tuesday

Day 1, Thursday:  arrive Quito any time. 

Transfer to your hotel for an overnight.

Day 2, Friday: Quito – Coca – Yasuní National Park

Have breakfast, then transfer to the Quito airport for your flight that departs at 8:30 am and arrives in Francisco de Orellana (Coca) around 9:00. From there, we transfer to the Napo River port for a two hour motorized canoe ride downstream.  As we travel down the river on this first day, you'll learn important information about the region as you enjoy a box lunch.  Embarkation on to the Manatee Amazon Explorer as it begins navigating down the Napo River during the afternoon. This evening, you'll have your first opportunity to experience the jungle at night, as we plan a night walk or canoe ride, depending on the river conditions and weather. B,L,D

Day 3, Saturday: Parrot Clay Lick - Observation Tower

This day starts with breakfast on the boat as we get ready for an excursion to the parrot clay licks which attract a large number of bird species. Back to the boat for lunch after which we explore the Chauliaccocha black water system either by walking the edges or by canoe, depending on the water levels. We continue on to explore the lake shores looking for wildlife in the vast eco system.  Later in the afternoon, we will get the chance to climb the 300 steps up the canopy tower for the bird's eye view of the forest. B,L,D

 Day 4, Sunday: Panacocha Biological Corridor

We continue our navigation downstream to arrive at the mouth of the Pañayacu (Piranha River). Here, we will enjoy a canoe trip through the Piranha River where we will see more wildlife in this protected forest. We may see pink river dolphins as well monkeys and other wildlife. The Piranha Lake area is an ecosystem flooded by white waters, perfect habitat for the infamous Piranha as well as white caimans and water monkey fish (Arawana).  B,L,D

Day 5, Monday:  Visiting the Yasuní National Park

After an early morning walk on one of the Napo River Islands for bird watching we return to the boat and navigate down the Napo River. A canoe excursion is planned to explore the Tiputini River inside Yasuni National park. A night walk is planned if the conditions are favorable. B,L,D

Day 6, Tuesday: Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve and Yasuni National Park

Today will start with exploring, the Cocaya River which is the most pristine river in the in Ecuadorian Amazon. The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve is home to an abundance of exotic plants, pink dolphins, colorful birds, black caimans, three-toed sloth, red howler monkeys, just to name a few species. The afternoon canoe trip will take us into the heart of Yasuni to a black water lake of the upper Amazon basin. B,L,D

 Day 7, Wednesday: Local Indigenous Kichwa Culture

This morning we will visit one of the local indigenous community centers and schools to learn about the local culture. We will also have a chance to go to the children's native huts to see how they live day to day in this fragile ecosystem.  The people are friendly and eager to share their knowledge of a simpler life style. In the afternoon, you will learn to cook local Ecuadorian foods or make fiber handicrafts followed by a late afternoon walk over a wooden walkway through the Morete swamp area. B,L,D

Day 8, Thursday: Parrots Clay Lick or Underwater Museum.

Breakfast on board, then off to the Parrot Clay licks which is a great place to spot a large variety of bird species.  We may go the underwater museum inside Yasuni National park. This area will give a great insight to the fauna that grows under the water in the Amazon. Late afternoon, we visit the Limoncocha Biological Reserve.  B,L,D

Day 9, Friday: Return back to Quito

After an early breakfast on board, a canoe ride upstream to Coca and fly to Quito. On return to Quito, transfer to you hotel for an overnight. B

Day 10, Saturday: Return home

Transfer to airport for flight home. B

This day you could remain in Quito and go to the Otavalo Indian Market, overnight and depart on Sunday. Add hotel and market for $295 per person.

Description of activities:

Forest hikes and walks. We will take a close look at the rainforest floor as we hike on terra firma among flowers, vines, and epiphytes, observing the flowers and fruits that nourish the forest animals and birds. One of our walks will be led by a native guide, who will introduce you to the local medicinal plants and their uses.

Swimming.  There are plenty of opportunities to swim in the Amazon basin's rivers and lakes, whether for an invigorating swim or just to cool off.

Night excursions. The rainforest at night is an unforgettable place, and we will have numerous opportunities to experience it by paddle canoe or a short forest walk.

Canoe trips. Canoe trips along the rivers are an excellent way to quietly explore, looking for herons, parrots, macaws, and other wildlife, as well as occasional Quichua settlements on the river banks.  There will also be opportunities for paddling native canoes on the black water rivers and lakes, either alone or in small groups.

We will also use a motor canoe for exploration, and if we are lucky, we may spot the rare pink dolphin, as well as hundreds of birds.

Bird watching. The Amazon river is a bird watcher's dream, and we will offer many early morning outings to spot birds at their most active time.

Lectures. Every evening, our naturalist guides will discuss different topics related to the Amazon rainforest, including its flora, fauna, bird life, and indigenous people and their communities.

Observation tower: The oberservation tower over looks the forest canopy for a birds eye view of monkeys jumping through the forest and a large variety of birds that nest on top of the trees. It is a bit of a climb to the top but well worth the 300 steps up.

Can add Otavalo Market/hotel in Quito at LaRabida (or similar) for $295 per person.

Important Notes:

For your safety, life vests are required during all boat and canoe trips.

There is an entrance fee to Yasuni National Park of USD 60 per person (subject to change) and must be paid by passengers directly. 

  • The programs described are subject to change without notice, and can be operated in different sequences depending on climatic and operational conditions. All decisions are oriented in terms of passenger's interest and safety. 

  • For your comfort, bottled water is supplied during your stay, free of charge.

  • All meals are included in the cost of the program as listed above. Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks are available at extra cost. 

  • Electricity is 110 volts



Date & Rates:

2015 Date information:

Weekly departures, year round.

Rates per person:


 9N/10D Packages 

 6N/7D Packages   5N/6D Packages 
Double Cabin $2,595 $1,895 $1,695
Triple Cabin $2,295 $1,695 $1,595
Single Cabin $3,795 $2,795 $2,495
Children under 12 sharing with parent $1,095 $995 $795

Rates on double occupancy.

Does not include round trip air from Quito to Coca.  RT is $195 per person--subject to change.

Community fee for indigenous communities is $60 paid directly and is subject to change. 

Tour Details

Registration: To confirm your space on this tour, please send a deposit of 30% to our office. Balance is due 120 days prior to departure. 

Cancellation Policy: In the event you must cancel your reservation, refunds will be made according to the following schedule: Deposit 30% non-refundable. 90 to 61 days prior to departure, 50% of total is non-refundable; less than 60 days prior to departure, 100% non-refundable.

Insurance: Because many advance logistical arrangements have been made prior to the running of this trip, we must adhere to the above policy. In addition, please be aware that many insurance policies do not cover illness and accident expenses outside of the U.S., and Medicare does NOT cover any such expenses at all. In light of this, we strongly recommend trip cancellation and supplemental insurance.

A travel insurance quote will be sent to you upon registration, or you can purchase it from our site by clicking on the "Purchase Travel Insurance" in the left-hand column. Our insurance carrier is Travelex.






Manatee Amazon Explorer is a 90 foot riverboat built specifically for exploring the Amazon.  Her 14 cabins accomodate up to 30 guests and a full service crew.  Every cabin has private baths with hot water and individual air conditioning.  The common areas of the ship include a large dining room as well as an inviting bar and lounge area where passengers gather for drinks and naturalist lectures.


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