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A sunset from the decks of the Manatee

Amazon Quest: Exploring the Napo River

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard Manatee
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The Manatee on an Amazon voyageLearn more about the Amazon from your naturalist guidesGolden Tamarins are one of many types of animals you will see on your Amazon cruiseOn the way to further Amazon discoveriesDiscover the abundant wildlife of the Amazon during your daily excursionsA caiman seen from the ManateeA parakeet peers warily from his perch in Amazon foliageMarvel at the lush growth of the Amazon rainforest on your daily excursionsConverse with your fellow Amazon explorers in the open-air dining room of the ManateeA sunset from the decks of the Manatee
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Quito – Coca – Yasuní National Park

Depart from Quito in the morning (8:30 am), flight to Francisco de Orellana (Coca), arriving Coca at around 09:00. Transfer to the Napo River port, then the motorized canoe ride downstream will take approximately two hours, during the trip we will provide of 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).

Day 2: 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 N.P. to look for large rodents like Capybaras and nocturnal reptiles like Caimans (South American alligators). We may stay camping overnight to enjoy the jungle at night.

Day 3: Peruvian Border & Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve

After a morning excursion to observe plants, birds and more wildlife in the Yasuní N.P. 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.

Day 4: Cuyabeno W. R. – The Forest Dwellers

A full day visit to the Indian Community will give us 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 use 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.

Day 5: 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 home to 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 unique aquatic region. An overnight in the forest could be arranged for this day.

Day 6: 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.

Day 7: Navigation along the Napo River – Pañacocha

We will continue our navigation upstream to arrive at the mouth of the Pañayacu (Piranha River). Upon 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. At night, there will be an optional trip to explore the forest and Napo river banks.

Day 8: Exploring the Pañacocha Protected Forest

This will be a full day inside Pañacocha area to observe the local flora and fauna. There will be excursions whether by paddle canoe or hikes to give you an entire feel of the area. 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.

Day 9: Yasuní National Park and Limoncocha Biological Reserve

Early in the morning, we will stop at another area of the Yasuní N. P., 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. In the afternoon, our objective is to explore the Limoncocha B.R. This small conservation area was delimited in the eighties to protect Limoncocha or Lemon Lake where the population of Black Caimans is relatively well. Enjoy a nocturnal canoe ride to look for these beautiful and fascinating animals.

Day 10: Limoncocha B.R. / CICAME Museum / Return Home

The Manatee Amazon Explorer will arrive to the point where we started our adventure. Early in the morning, visit Limoncocha to watch birds and the surrounding shore vegetation. After that stop by the CICAME Archaeological Museum that preserves pottery of the Omagua Culture, one of the first pre-Columbian residents of the Napo River basin. This is a good place to shop for local handicrafts made from rainforest materials. In the afternoon continue to the city of Coca to take the flight back to Quito.



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