• Overview
  • Photos & Video
  • Pricing
  • Dates
  • Extensions
  • Cabins
  • Boat Details
  • Trip Reviews
  • FAQ

The Manatee Amazon Explorer was built in Coca, Ecuador and was designed specifically to cruise the Amazonian waters of Ecuador.  The ship consists of three decks including a sun deck that provides a 360-degree view of the surrounding jungle.  With space for 30 passengers and 12 exceptional crew members, each cabin is complete with private bathrooms with 24-hour access to hot and cold water, air conditioning, and large windows.  Ample public space includes a large dining rooms serving international cuisine, a bar-saloon area for lectures and presentations, an additional park, and a boutique.  Activities offered onboard this Amazon River cruise include jungle hikes, canoe and kayak excursions, swimming, night excursions, community visits, an observation tower, as well as endless flora and fauna observations.  For those seeking an Amazon experience that allows visits to more than one area or for those looking for a little more comfort in Amazonia, the Manatee Explorer is the perfect Amazon cruise!

Itinerary (4 Day Itinerary (Fri - Mon))
Day 1: Quito - Coca - Napo River
Day 2: Sani Warmi Kichwa Culture & Observation Tower
Day 3: Yasuni National Park - Yakukawsay Kichwa Culture
Day 4: Return to Quito
Itinerary (5 Day Itinerary (Mon - Fri))
Day 1: Quito - Coca - Napo River
Day 2: Border with Peru - Heart of Yasuni
Day 3: Kichwa Culture & Island Explorations
Day 4: Parrot Clay Lick & Limoncocha Biological Reserve
Day 5: Return to Quito
Itinerary (8 Day Itinerary (Fri - Fri))
Day 1: Quito - Coca - Napo River
Day 2: Panacocha Biological Corridor
Day 3: Parrot Clay Lick - Sani Warmi & Yasuni National Park
Day 4: Indillama - Napo River - Yasuni
Day 5: Border with Peru (The Heart of Yasuni)
Day 6: Kichwa Culture & Island Explorations
Day 7: Observation Tower & Limoncocha Biological Reserve
Day 8: Coca - Quito
Itinerary (8 Day Itinerary (Mon - Mon))
Day 1: Quito - Coca - Napo River
Day 2: Border with Peru (The Heart of the Yasuni)
Day 3: Kichwa Culture and Island Exploration
Day 4: Observation Tower & Limoncocha Biological Reserve
Day 5:Indillama - Napo River - Yasuni
Day 6: Panacocha Biological Corridor
Day 7: Parrot Clay LIcks - Sani Warmi & Yasuni National Park
Day 8: Napo - Coca - Quito

Weather

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

Due to fairly stable seasonal weather conditions in Ecuador, travelers can enjoy year-round travel to the country. Some areas have better weather at certain times of the year, but it is always a good time to travel to Ecuador. Ecuador has a surprising variety of climates. The weather can be very localized and tends to change quickly because of the country’s unique geography. Located on the Equator, Ecuador is divided into four main regions: the Andes, the Amazon, the Coast, and the Galapagos Islands. Within these four regions of this small country, roughly the size of Colorado, elements of all four seasons can occur in a single day.

The Andes (Highlands)
Visitors can experience the Andean Highlands year-round, though June to September and late November to mid-January tend to be the drier months. February to May and October to mid-November are considered the rainier season. During the rainier months, one will find warm sunny weather in the morning followed by almost daily showers in the afternoon. Temperatures show little variance throughout the year with averages in the 60s during the day and 50s at night, though sunny days may get into the 70s and cooler nights may drop into the 40s. Despite these averages, it is common to have rainy streaks in the dry season and nice sunny weather in the wet season. It is best to come prepared for both rain and sun, as visitors will likely run into both during any month of the year. Warm days and cool nights are normal so packing layers is essential.

The Amazon
The Amazon basin is what you would expect of a tropical rainforest: wet, hot and humid. January marks the beginning of the less rainy period, which extends through March. Calling this the dry season would be a misnomer as it still rains quite frequently. March through July tends to be rainier than the first two months of the year, with July tending to be the rainiest. August through December is known as the fluctuation season. During this time, it is nearly impossible to predict weather patterns. One minute could be hot and sunny with clear blue skies and then the next minute a heavy downpour could begin. Temperatures year-round range in the 80s (27-33°C) and rain, sometimes even cool rainstorms, can be expected most days in the afternoon, as the Amazon basin is truly a rainforest. Any time of year is great to visit the Ecuadorian Amazon despite the level of rain. Contrary to what one may think, the months with higher averages of rainfall are great times to visit. Higher levels of rain increase fruit production, which results in more activity from monkeys and other fruit eating species. The Amazon is an unpredictable environment from both a weather and wildlife standpoint. The best approach for visitors to have an excellent Amazonian experience is to come prepared for the unexpected and to have an open mind!

The Coast
On coast, the dry season runs from about June to December with a temperature drop to the high 70s. The garua, a damp mist, has a tendency to cast itself over the coastline and the sun. The sun can disappear for three months at a time. Then in January to June, temperatures go up and despite the occasional heavy rain, the days will be bright and sunny.

The Galapagos
The great weather of the Galapagos Islands makes them a fantastic destination for travel year-round. Every month of the year is a good time to enjoy a tour of the region. The Galapagos Islands have a subtropical climate that is almost completely determined by sea currents. Although most believe the Galapagos to be a very hot destination, the cool water currents in the area keep the climate fairly temperate year-round. The mild variations in weather from month to month result in an overall climate of warm days, cool nights and low humidity. Anytime is a great time to travel to the Galapagos; while visiting one can expect to see plenty of sunshine, blue skies and a possible chance of light rain.
 

QUITO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN50-664.5
FEB50-665.1
MAR50-666.0
APR51-666.9
MAY51-664.9
JUN49-670.8
JUL49-671.0
AUG49-671.0
SEP49-683.1
OCT49-675.0
NOV49-674.3
DEC50-664.1

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN70-841.0
FEB74-861.0
MAR73-882.0
APR72-861.5
MAY72-820.8
JUN66-780.3
JUL67-760.5
AUG64-750.3
SEP62-750.5
OCT64-770.3
NOV66-780.5
DEC68-800.5

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

4 Day Itinerary (Fri - Mon)

Pricing
Per Person
$1,340

Standard Cabin: $1,340

Amazon Community Fee: $60

A single supplement applies to single travelers in a private cabin.

Included in tour cost
  • Naturalist guide while on cruise
  • Round Trip Airfare Quito/Coca
  • Round trip transfers from Quito
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Airport taxes, international and local
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Sea kayak rental
  • Bar tab on cruise
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear

5 Day Itinerary (Mon - Fri)

Pricing
Per Person
$1,600

Standard Cabin: $1,600

Amazon Community Fee: $60

A single supplement applies to single travelers in a private cabin.

Included in tour cost
  • Naturalist guide while on cruise
  • Round Trip Airfare Quito/Coca
  • Round trip transfers from Quito
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Airport taxes, international and local
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Sea kayak rental
  • Bar tab on cruise
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear

8 Day Itinerary (Fri - Fri)

Pricing
Per Person
$2,395

Standard Cabin: $2,395

Amazon Community Fee: $70

A single supplement applies to single travelers in a private cabin.

Included in tour cost
  • Naturalist guide while on cruise
  • Round Trip Airfare Quito/Coca
  • Round trip transfers from Quito
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Airport taxes, international and local
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Sea kayak rental
  • Bar tab on cruise
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear

8 Day Itinerary (Mon - Mon)

Pricing
Per Person
$2,395

Standard Cabin: $2,395

Amazon Community Fee: $70

A single supplement applies to single travelers in a private cabin.

Included in tour cost
  • Naturalist guide while on cruise
  • Round Trip Airfare Quito/Coca
  • Round trip transfers from Quito
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Airport taxes, international and local
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Sea kayak rental
  • Bar tab on cruise
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear

4 Day Itinerary (Fri - Mon)

Trip Dates
Weekly departures. Please contact us for availability.
Friday, January 1, 2016 to Saturday, December 31, 2016
Available
Monday, January 2, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
Available

5 Day Itinerary (Mon - Fri)

Trip Dates
Weekly departures. Please contact us for availability.
Friday, January 1, 2016 to Saturday, December 31, 2016
Available
Sunday, January 1, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
Available

8 Day Itinerary (Fri - Fri)

Trip Dates
Weekly departures. Please contact us for availability.
Friday, January 1, 2016 to Saturday, December 31, 2016
Available
Sunday, January 1, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
Available

8 Day Itinerary (Mon - Mon)

Trip Dates
Weekly departures. Please contact us for availability.
Friday, January 1, 2016 to Saturday, December 31, 2016
Available
Sunday, January 1, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
Available

One Day

Multi-Day

Cabins

Upper Deck:
Twin cabin (6) with lower berth, Matrimonial cabin (2), Triple cabin (2) with one twin bed and bunk beds. All with large picture windows. Average size: 94 sq ft.
Sun Deck:
Twin cabin (4) with lower berth, all with large picture windows. Average size: 94 sq ft.

Boat Details

Registry: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Built: 2002 Coca, Ecuador
Length: 26.30 m
Breadth: 7.0 m
Gross Tonnage: 214.04 grt
Max Speed: 15.0 knots downstream
Downstream Cruising Speed: up to 15 knots
Upstream Cruising Speed: up to 5.0 to 8.0 knots
Capacity: 30 passengers
Crew & Staff: 15 (officers, crew and expedition staff)
Communication: Telephone, HF and VHF radio
Satellite internet

DECK PLAN (click for enlargement)
The vessel features three decks: The MAIN DECK features a dining area, kitchen, the crew’s cabins, and the engine room. The UPPER DECK has 10 cabins and crew cabins. The SUN DECK houses the bridge, 4 cabins, the bar and lounge, and an outdoor dining area.
Our trip was rather complex with three different sections (Amazon, Galapagos, and Machu Picchu (Peru)).  There were a number of internal flights as well as trains, boats, and more.  We also had coordination of people joining us part way through, special guides, and special activities for some people.  I was very impressed that all of the transfers, activities, and connections occurred without a hitch.  There were ample opportunities for things to go wrong, but the whole trip went exceptionally smoothly.  All of the guides were outstanding - knowledgeable, personable, with good communication skills, and a good sense of humor.  I appreciated the very small groups, which afforded just the right balance.  We were able to see more than expected. It couldn’t have been better. - Linda Tredupp, Wisconsin (Amazon, Galapagos Island Cruise & Peru)
 

I was very impressed with the organization of our trip.  Everything Southern Explorations was responsible for went smoothly and everything was on schedule.  The Manatee on the Amazon had some initial trouble but it could not have been known or anticipated by SE.  Once again I would like to compliment Jorge on his work.  He made our comings and goings to and from Quito very easy.  If I go to South America again my first call will be to Southern Explorations.  Thank you. - Peter Tuck, CA (Corals & Manatee)

I have traveled many places in the world but the trip put together by Southern Explorations may well be the best. The amazing biology we saw on the Galapagos and in the Amazon, wonderful guides both on the Eclipse and at Sacha lodge, excellent food, and great coordination of the different parts of the trip made for an incredible journey.   -Marilyn Parsons, USA (Galapagos Island Cruise & Amazon)


Please consider strongly using Southern Explorations to book your trip to South America. These folks are well organized and provided excellent preparation materials. The two tours that I took (Galapagos Islands and the Amazon) were outstanding, in part due to the people working with Southern Explorations. There was excellent communication between Southern Explorations staff and myself which helped markedly in planning the trip, the exact locations to be visited, and the accommodations. Do not miss this opportunity to work with this wonderful group! - Renée Leboeuf (Galapagos Island Cruise & Amazon)

Thank-you for the trip of a life time and I have already recommended you to everyone who asks! - Wendy Williams, Canada (Amazon, Machu Picchu & Galapagos Island Cruise)

Southern Explorations did a superb job creating an individual guided trip for us to the Amazon, Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. The guides were terrific - well-informed, friendly and flexible. The accommodations were excellent. The trip was a thrilling experience for us - exceeded our expectations at all of the locations. Thank you!! - David Bergen & Rhea Feldman, USA (Amazon & Peru)

We had an outstanding time on our Galapagos Adventure + stay at the Sacha Lodge. Everything ran seamlessly and our guides were fun and knowledgeable. It was the perfect mix of activity, education, and relaxation! We also highly recommend the Sacha Lodge. - Eric & Leah Monson, USA (Galapagos Island Land & Amazon) 

Ecuador - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We offer both active and cultural tours that visit different regions including the Andes, Amazon and the Ecuadorian coast. These tours vary in length and level of accommodation. Our Adventure Travel Coordinators would be happy to chat with you to help you find the itinerary that best meets your needs and interests.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! We are happy to put together a custom Ecuador itinerary for you if our existing itineraries are not exactly what you are looking for. You can also check out our extensions in mainland Ecuador to make additions to our existing trips. Contact a trip specialist for recommendations.
Q: When is the best time to go to Ecuador?
A: Peak tourism season in Ecuador corresponds with North American and European vacation periods over the summer and the winter holidays, rather than the weather, which is fairly consistent with warm and sunny days throughout the year. All of our trips run year-round, but a few trekking or wildlife-specific itineraries are better during some months than others. Please check with your Adventure Travel Coordinator for more details.
Q: What is the weather like?
A: The weather in Ecuador is pleasant year-round. There is a wet season and a dry season, but this varies depending on which region of the country you are in. Even in the wet season, you will experience plenty of clear, sunny days. The Andean Highlands are a great place to visit year-round with temperatures in the 60s during the day. Occasional light showers can happen anytime, but heavy afternoon rains are common here from January to May. You have the best odds for clear views of Ecuador’s many volcanoes in the months of June, July, August and September, but you will often have views in the morning throughout the year. The Amazon region is hot, humid and wet throughout the year, with the wettest months being from April to June. Please consult the weather tab on your trip itinerary for more details.
Q: What is a typical day like on an Ecuador trip? 
A: A typical day in Ecuador will vary from tour to tour, but generally, you can expect to start your excursions right after breakfast with a full day of scheduled activities or sightseeing. A lunch break is included and you’ll retire to your hotel in the late afternoon with evenings free.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip to Ecuador? 
A: Our Ecuador trips vary in level of activity, so the requirements differ based on itinerary. Please check our physical ratings for each itinerary to see what may be required of you when assessing your ability to enjoy a trip. If you have any specific questions, please contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator. We have personal experience with these activities and can help you decide whether a trip is right for you.
Q: How much time do I need to visit Ecuador?
A: Most of our mainland Ecuador itineraries are at least nine days in length, but we do offer some lodge-based trips and cruises that can be done in a week or less.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: For the best guide availability and selection in hotels, we recommend booking three to six months in advance. Spring and summer holidays book up more quickly, so more advance planning is ideal. For the holiday season, we recommend booking a year in advance.
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: Our guides have been carefully selected for their knowledge, professionalism, experience and ability to effectively manage groups with finesse. We only hire guides who are native to the destination and are licensed or certified in accordance with the government regulations of their country. All are fluent in Spanish and English. Most have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, native culture or other related field. All guides are experienced in the outdoors and trained in basic first aid.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: In major cities we offer a variety of hotels including several boutique, Ecuadorian-style properties. Throughout the rest of mainland Ecuador we work with a combination of historic haciendas, small Ecuadorian-style hotels and remote lodges. The majority of the properties are family-run or locally owned. All of our accommodations are clean and comfortable, with private bathrooms and hot water. We offer basic or luxury options in many locations, depending on taste and budget.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: Travelers are responsible for their own international airfare. Internal flights are quoted separately from our base trip costs. We will include any necessary internal flight pricing in your quote.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: Most of our Ecuador tours are private, with a guide and vehicle just for your family or group. Visits to haciendas or lodges may include tours with small groups, but do not exceed eight people.
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary.  This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.

Most Popular Amazon Trips & Tours

Trip Price Days Highlights
Amazon & Inca Trail $3,490 12 Days Inca Trail Trek , Machu Picchu , Sacred Valley, Amazon Jungle Lodge
Amazon & Machu Picchu $2,795 9 Days Amazon Rainforest & Jungle, Amazon Wildlife, Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu
Peru Highlights $3,260 11 Days Amazon Jungle, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca