Manatee Amazon River Cruise

  • Overview
  • Itineraries
  • Dates/Pricing
  • Activities
  • Photos & Video
  • Extensions
  • Cabins
  • Boat Details
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!
About this Location
There are countless natural wonders and cultural environments in Ecuador. Nowhere else in South America will find you such a diversity of landscapes, climates, and cultures in such a compact nation, which is small enough that it is possible to view much of the country in one trip. Choose to travel to the Andes Mountains, the Amazon rainforest, the coastal beaches or the mangrove forests.

Slightly smaller than Nevada, Ecuador gets its name from its position along the Equator. The country is bordered by Peru to the south, Colombia to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The Galápagos Islands, 600 miles west of the mainland, are also Ecuadorian territory. This volcanic archipelago is home to many species found nowhere else on earth and remains much as it was millions of years ago. Together, the islands make up just one of Ecuador's four regions that also include the 1,390 mile-long Pacific coastal region; the Andean mountains that run north to south and includes the capital city of Quito; and the lush Amazon jungle. The second smallest of South America's countries, Ecuador is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. English is spoken in all major cities.

OFFICIAL NAME
Republic of Ecuador

GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE
Democracy

PRESIDENT
Rafael Correa (2009)
Alianza PAIS Party (Proud and Sovereign Fatherland Alliance)
Second term; former minister of economy and finance; PhD in economics, University of Illinois.

POPULATION
13.5 million

CAPITAL
Quito
Population 1.4 million
OTHER IMPORTANT CITIES (ranked by population)
Guayaquil
Cuenca
Machala
Portoviejo

ETHNICITY
Mestizo 65%
Amerindian 25%
European descent 7%
African descent 3%

LANGUAGES
Spanish
Quechua
Quichua
Other Amerindian languages are also spoken

LITERACY
91.0%

LIFE EXPECTANCY
Men 65
Women 69

RELIGION
Roman Catholic 95%
Other including other Christian denominations 5%

AREA
110,000 square miles

PROTECTED AREAS
National parks 10
National reserves 14
National recreational area 1
National forests 1

NATIONAL BIRD
Andean Condor

NATIONAL FLOWER
Rose

MAJOR INDUSTRIES
Petroleum
Textiles
Tourism
Shrimp
Fish

MAJOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Bananas
Coffee
Cocoa
Rice
Roses

HOLIDAYS
January 1 New Year's Day
March-April Good Friday
May 1 Labor Day
May 24 Battle of Pichincha
August 10 Ecuador's Independence Day
October 9 Guayaquil's Independence Day
November 2 Day of the Dead
November 3 Cuenca's Independence Day
December 6 Founding of Quito
December 24 Christmas

CUISINE
Ecuador is known for the variety of its native cuisine, its seafood including white sea bass and trout as well as its ceviche and seafood dishes cooked in coconut milk. Soups are very popular, especially its caldo de gallina of chicken and chupe de pescado, a fish and vegetable soup. Other specialties include llapingacho, a pancake of mashed potatoes and cheese, and seco, a stew served with rice. Roasted meats commonly seen in the markets are cuy or roasted guinea pig and lechon or sucking pig. Among its fruits are several different plantains and bananas. International cuisine is also served at restaurants throughout the country.

CURRENCY
US dollar (USD) and Ecuadorian Sucre coins

TIME ZONE
Same as US Eastern Standard Time, no daylight savings; Galapagos is one hour behind mainland Ecuador.

INTERNATIONAL DIALING CODE
593

ELECTRICITY
110V, 60 Hz
Traveling to this Location
Passport and visa requirements
A valid passport is required to enter and leave Ecuador. At this time, a visa is not required for US, Canadian and most European citizens if visiting for less than 90 days. Visas are required for citizens of some Asian, Central American and Eastern European countries. It is the passenger's responsibility to check with local immigration offices or the Ecuadorian consulate prior to departure to determine if a visa is necessary. For more information see www.americanpassport.com or www.ecuador.org

Immunizations
At this time, no vaccinations are required for visitors to the Galapagos Islands and most other parts of Ecuador.
A Yellow Fever immunization is required if arriving from an infected area and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) if traveling to certain jungle areas east of the Andes.
A prescription anti-malaria medication is recommended if traveling to elevations under 4,921 feet excluding Quito, Guayaquil and the Galapagos.
Depending on your itinerary, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Typhoid may also be recommended.
The Centers for Disease Control provides immunization information for travel in Latin America. www.cdc.gov

Customs
Entry During the flight to Ecuador, a flight attendant distributes an Ecuador entrance form to all passengers. At Customs, travelers are asked to show the completed form along with their passport and are asked how many days they plan to be in Ecuador. Normally, the passport will be stamped, indicating a permissible stay of 60 or 90 days. A copy of the Customs form will be returned to the traveler.
Exit There is an airport departure tax of $32US from Quito or Guayaquil for passengers departing on international flights (credit cards accepted).

Exchanging currency
The US dollar is now the official currency of Ecuador. Visa, MasterCard and Diners Club are the most recognized credit cards in Ecuador. American Express is not widely accepted. ATM machines (Visa/MasterCard/Cirrus/Plus), with directions in English, are widely available in all major cities and large towns including the Galapagos Islands and the only reliable method of obtaining money on Sundays but not at all locations. Hotels exchange money, and most offer safe-keeping for valuables. On trips of two weeks or less, we recommend carrying only US cash in denominations of $20s to exchange as needed. Before departure, we send booked passengers a packet of trip information that contains operating hours for money exchange offices (Casas de Cambio) and more money tips.

Using electricity
All of Ecuador uses 110-volt electrical outlets standard to the U.S. For video cameras, we suggest packing an extra set of charged batteries. Some Ecuador hotels and Galapagos boats have hair dryers for guest use, but most do not.
Weather
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 JAN  FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Max. Air Temp 66 66 66 66 66 67 67 67 68 67 67 66
Min. Air Temp 50 50 50 51 51 49 49 49 49 49 49 50
Avg. Rainfall 4.5 5.1 6.0 6.9 4.9 1.9 0.8 1.0 3.1 5.0 4.3 4.1
*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Max. Air Temp 84 86 88 86 82 78 76 75 75 77 78 80
Min. Air Temp 70 74 73 72 72 66 67 64 62 64 66 68
Avg. Rainfall 1.0 1.0 2.0 1.5 0.8 0.3 0.5 0.3 0.5 0.3 0.5 0.5
*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

When to Visit
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  • nov
  • dec
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
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
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
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

4 Day Itinerary (Fri - Mon)

Pricing
Per Person
$1,215
Standard Cabin: $1,215

Amazon Community Fee: $50

A single supplement applies to single travelers in a private cabin.
Trip Dates
Weekly departures. Please contact us for availability.
Thursday, January 1, 2015 to Saturday, December 31, 2016
Included in tour cost
  • 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
  • Naturalist guide while on cruise
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
$1,445
Standard Cabin: $1,445

Amazon Community Fee: $50

A single supplement applies to single travelers in a private cabin.
Trip Dates
Weekly departures. Please contact us for availability.
Thursday, January 1, 2015 to Saturday, December 31, 2016
Included in tour cost
  • 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
  • Naturalist guide while on cruise
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
$2,165
Standard Cabin: $2,165

Amazon Community Fee: $60

A single supplement applies to single travelers in a private cabin.
Trip Dates
Weekly departures. Please contact us for availability.
Thursday, January 1, 2015 to Saturday, December 31, 2016
Included in tour cost
  • 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
  • Naturalist guide while on cruise
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
$2,165
Standard Cabin: $2,165

Amazon Community Fee: $60

A single supplement applies to single travelers in a private cabin.
Trip Dates
Weekly departures. Please contact us for availability.
Thursday, January 1, 2015 to Saturday, December 31, 2016
Included in tour cost
  • 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
  • Naturalist guide while on cruise
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
Amazon Cruises

A RIVER OF MANY RIVERS

Amazon travel of yesterday bears no resemblance to the range of vessels and itineraries that travel this mightiest of rivers today. The Amazon travels through seven countries before its 50-mile wide mouth empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Some of the Amazon’s tributaries are among the largest rivers in the world though narrower than the Amazon itself, the better to view wildlife at close range.

CHOOSE YOUR COUNTRY

Our Amazon cruises in Ecuador, Peru and Brazil travel on small capacity motorized yachts, accommodating from 8 to 32 passengers. Guest cabins are air-conditioned making them ideal for the leisurely afternoons. Accompanied by knowledgeable naturalist guides, passengers go ashore most days for hikes through the rainforest and to journey by canoe or small motorized launch into areas where wildlife comes to feed, and when temperatures are the coolest of the day. Side trips to visit indigenous settlements give visitors a glimpse of the timeless Amazon lifestyle and show how its residents use the flora and fauna of the rainforest for medicinal, cultural and economic purposes.

CACAPHONOUS TRANQUILITY

Nature is serene. Nature is loud. In the Amazon you’ll experience both, especially after nightfall when some species bed down and others are just getting started. Though some of what you may observe you won’t be able to capture in your photos, the anaconda slithering by, a pink dolphin jumping out of the water, the roar of a jaguar at night, they are memories that will stay with you always.

THE HAMMOCK, THE ARMCHAIR AND THE THERMOSTAT

In the Amazon, the temperatures range between hot and hotter. Since much Amazon wildlife feels the same way about the heat as humans, excursions are timed in the morning and late afternoon when temperatures are as low as they are going to be. That makes after lunch the perfect time to return to the Amazon armchair traveler you were when you decided you wanted to experience the Amazon. So many great books have been written, including some spine-tingling memoirs like Joe Kane’s 1985 best-selling account of his 4,200-mile journey down the Amazon from beginning to end. The recently published River of Doubt, Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey describes his 1913 trip down the Amazon after becoming a widower and defeated presidential candidate. And it’s just the right time to read Love in the Time of Cholera by Colombian Nobel Prize winning novelist, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Packing light is overrated when it comes to books.

EXOTIC DAYS AND NIGHTS

Although one travels to the Amazon to see wildlife, the dining experience and other shipboard activities are something to write about too. Amazon mornings with coffee on the observation deck will begin some of your days here, or you may want to start with an early morning expedition to a macaw clay lick or a lagoon shoreline. Depending on your choice of vessel, you may enjoy a massage in the privacy of your own outdoor deck. Delectable forest to table meals accompanied by fine wines and cocktails are served at sunset. Guides sometimes give evening lectures and or lead nighttime walks to look for nocturnal species. Our Amazon tours are designed to maximize wildlife viewing opportunities. Excursions happen day and night, from rainforest hikes and treetop canopy lookouts to canoe trips through secluded oxbow lakes and flooded forests.
Cruises
Though many of our trips spend time on boats, we offer ocean cruise itineraries at only two destinations, the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica. In many ways, these are very different experiences. Yet because close-up views of astonishing wildlife is the star attraction at both, travelers who have taken a Galapagos Islands tour owe it to themselves to experience Antarctica and vice versa. It goes without saying that those who have experienced neither don’t know how much they are missing. On-board accommodations to both destinations range from basic to 5-star vessels, accommodating just a few travelers to over a hundred passengers. Both are trips of a lifetime, journeys like no other. Take a look at the bucket list of the traveler who has made it to one of these destinations and you’ll probably see the other.

ANTARCTICA FOR GALAPAGOS TRAVELERS

From traveling to the Galapagos, you know that only one penguin species inhabits the archipelago. This may or may not have satisfied your desire to observe penguins. Seven different penguin species await you on your Antarctica tours in certain locations and in groups numbering into the thousands. Whales too aren’t generally what one writes home about during a Galapagos tour. But travel to Antarctica and you are sure to see many. It depends on location and time of year but several whale species spend time around Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands including blue whales and humpbacks. In Antarctica, such exotic formations as icebergs and glaciers are as common a feature of the landscape as the volcanic structures that comprise the Galapagos. And there is the silence, that isn’t just a matter of being in a place where only a few fellow-humans are allowed. Here it is silence at the ends of the Earth. A typical day in Antarctica involves two excursions going ashore or along the shore in small rubberized crafts called Zodiaks, to get as respectfully close to wildlife as possible. Some vessels have an open bridge policy that allows passengers to see as the captain sees. Most evenings include a wildlife lecture by naturalist guides. Itineraries are all ice and weather-dependent, a consideration that some travelers aren’t expecting. For penguin lovers, one unforgettable experience is the days spent at an Emperor rookery, ice conditions permitting.

THE GALAPAGOS FOR ANTARCTICA AFFICIONADOS

Travelers may spend a great deal of time observing wildlife from Zodiacs in Antarctica but one, place they don’t go is into the water for some snorkeling. With air temperatures hovering around 32 degrees during Antarctic summer, neither will you find Antarctic passengers taking a daily ocean swim or enjoying dinner and cocktails on an open air deck. Antarctic alums are sure to enjoy that difference, along with all the snorkeling opportunities without a wetsuit. And there are all those exotic-sounding species one will encounter for the first time in the Galapagos, sally light foot crab, blue and red footed boobies, and of course all those species whose names start with “Galapagos” that you’ll find nowhere else. A typical day on a Galapagos cruise includes visiting two different visitor sites, getting from their ship to shore via small panga crafts. Passengers are given plenty of time to linger with the wildlife, take photos, and if they wish, swim and/or snorkel, depending on the destination. Meals are typically enjoyed onboard. Many vessels have libraries to give passengers opportunities to learn more about Galapagos wildlife and naturalist guides are a wealth of information on all topics related to the islands.

Take your pick or schedule both. They are equally divine.
Cultural
The countries of South and Central America are filled with art, crafts and historical artifacts. Here are a few examples to whet your appetite, some of which are included in our itineraries. We also build in free time so our passengers can explore on their own according to their interests.

HISTORY

Gold In colonial times, gold mostly left the New World for the old, but that which remained and is today housed in South America’s gold museums reflects the craftsmanship of the continent’s indigenous populations. The two most famous are located in Bogota and Lima. The Cuzco School Visitors on Peru tours will be able to view representative works of the Cuzco School, paintings from the 300-year colonial period that incorporated Roman Catholic themes, European painting styles and an indigenous slant, with bright colors and gold leaf plus native flora and fauna. The largest collections are housed in Cusco and Lima museums.

QUIRKY

Chile Chileans call Pablo Neruda “the people’s poet” because they understood what he had to say about love and life. The Nobel Prize winner filled his three charming homes between Santiago and the coast with items he collected in his travels as writer, diplomat and rebel-on-the-run that today are popular museums. Uruguay Begun before paved roads, built over decades and today a prominent landmark on the Uruguayan Riviera, Casapueblo is the studio, gallery and guest lodgings of abstract painter, Paez Vilaro. It is also a divine spot for cocktails at sunset.

MODERN

Brazil After a decade of prominence in the contemporary international art scene, Brazil’s distinctive grafite has begun to flourish at home, since the decriminalization of street art on buildings with the consent of the owner. To see the city’s largest street art collection, visit Rio de Janeiro’s upscale Botanical Garden (Jardim Botanico) north of Ipanema Beach. Street art walls may also be seen in the Santa Teresa neighborhood. Another arresting street mural that has made international headlines is by French street artist, JR, and consists of realistic-looking eyes painted on many hillside buildings in the Providencia favela, a Rio slum. Another favela, Santa Marta, contains Tudo de cor para voce, a brilliant block-long recoloring of facades, painted by neighborhood residents with donated paint. Colombia: Travel to Colombia and you are bound to see renowned Colombian artist, Fernando Botero’s mammoth rounded human and animal sculptures. The best place is Medellin, Botero’s home town, where his works are everywhere. One spot is Botero Plaza in front of the Museum Antioquia where 23 of his bronze pieces are located. Uruguay: Dramatic 15-ft tall concrete Los Dedos, by Chilean sculptor, Mario Irarrazabal, resembles a partially buried human hand, fingers extended in the sand. It is located on the La Brava beach peninsula that divides Punta del Este’s calm waters on the Rio de la Plata side from the rough Atlantic waters.

CRAFTSMEN WORKING CRAFTSMEN SELLING

Crafts are a way of life in some villages. To name a few, in some places, whole villages make their livelihood from crafts. From the Andes, you’ll find camelid fleece apparel, shigra totes and plenty of exquisite silver and gold jewelry; from the Amazon, carved tagua nut jewelry; from Panama’s Kuna Yala, one-of a kind molas; and from Ecuador, Panama hats for as much as you want to spend. In addition to stopping at craft markets in Ecuador, Peru and elsewhere, our tours also get you into studios where crafts are being made, continuing centuries-old traditions of indigenous cultures. The challenge will be how much you can pack into that suitcase.
Trekking and Hiking
Some hiking routes are famous because of what you see along the way, like the famed Patagonia treks in Chile’s Torres del Paine Park, the many orchid species in Ecuador’s misty cloud forests, the monkeys swinging through the trees of Costa Rica and Panama’s rainforests. Others are famous for what you see when you arrive, like Machu Picchu. Of the seven South American countries that share the Andes, we arrange hiking trips to five, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. South America’s landscapes are so varied that you can hike in both the Andes and the Amazon in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Although we arrange for passengers to hike famous trails, many itineraries include ones you’ve never heard of but will be telling everyone about when you get home. Los Nevados National Park in Colombia, for instance, is located in an area of eight volcanoes and Andean forests with 100-ft trees. Our two trips to Argentina’s northern canyon country hike among red variegated cliffs where geology is the star attraction and in an exotic landscape comprised of thousands of huge Cardon cacti. Two of our new Ecuador trips hike into Pululahua, a dormant volcano so large people live and farm there, though active volcanoes such as Costa Rica’s Arenal as well as Ecuador’s Cotopaxi are also among our destinations.

SERIOUS HIKING

Our itineraries that require stamina and conditioning all contain the word “hike” in the trip name. Five of our Patagonia tours, ranging from 11 to 15 days are hiking adventures. The most famous of the Patagonia routes, Torres del Paine’s W hike takes four days and the Paine Circuit six days, both with refugio camping along the way. Age restrictions also apply on some of our glacier hiking excursions. The same is true for those who choose to travel the longest segment of the Inca Trail. Machu Picchu isn’t the only place to hike in the Peruvian Andes. Huascaran National Park in the Cordillera Blanca attracts trekkers from throughout the world where we offer a 10-day hiking trip. Some Antarctica trips provide an optional 3 to 4-day tour (depending on the weather) for those who wish to trek across South Georgia Island as British explorer, Ernest Shackleton did.

DAY HIKES

South America’s most famous hiking regions aren’t just for the intrepid. Some of the most memorable Patagonia hikes are day-hikes such as those in the northerly Mt. Fitz Roy sector of Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park or are divided into day-long segments, with stays in scenic estancias. Several of our Patagonia tours are lodge-based. We tuck day-hikes of various lengths into many of our itineraries as one of several activities. Though we don’t call it a hiking or multisport tour, our 13-day Bahia Rhythms, Canyon and Beaches Brazil tour hikes virtually every day to one destination or another, including Salvador’s Pelourinho neighborhood where South America’s largest complex of colonial architecture is located, deserted white sand beaches surrounded by coconut plantations along the Coconut Coast and waterfalls in Chapada Diamantina National Park. On some routes in Florianopolis, Brazil, a delicious seafood lunch on a pier is the destination. All Rio de Janeiro itineraries include an option to hike in the Tijuca rainforest, a national park within the city limits and climb instead of travel by conveyance to the city’s two famous monuments, Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain. We even offer day-hike excursions on the Western Hemisphere’s highest peak, Mt. Aconcagua in the central Andes of Argentina.
Wildlife
Virtually every trip Southern Exploration arranges includes wildlife sure to awe travelers from the most experienced birder to ten-year olds seeing their first monkey outside of a zoo. These are some of the species and destinations that our passengers have in store.

THE MAJOR WILDLIFE MECCAS

Southern Explorations goes where the wildlife goes. To be awed by the most exotic of wildlife, the jaguars, the ocelots, the primates, the tapirs and all those other rainforest species one sees in books, most everyone wants to travel to the Amazon. We offer many Amazon tours to get them there. South America’s other top wildlife destination is the extraordinary Galapagos Islands, and we offer countless options for making that dream come true too. And then there is Antarctica, home to a multitude of species, including a preponderance of penguins. One place we don’t send many people but would if they knew what they were missing is the little-visited Pantanal, an area of Brazil’s interior the size of France where wildlife is just as diverse, profuse and unafraid of humans as in the Galapagos. Our 13-day Brazil Water Paradises trip goes there.

AND OTHER POPULAR SPECIES

We get asked about several animals more than others. Turtles Southern Explorations travels to several locations where turtles nest. Three top locations to have the once in a lifetime experience of watching this nighttime phenomenon are Panama, Costa Rica and Brazil’s Praia do Forte. In all of these places, poaching has been replaced by eco-tourism in local projects that are helping to bring back these mostly endangered species. Whales From Costa Rica to Antarctica, whales are in our itineraries. The baleens and many toothed species inhabit these waters at certain times of year.

BIRDS OF MANY PARADISES

Birds together Seeing large groups of birds all in one place is an unforgettable experience. There are clay licks in the Amazon that attract hundreds of macaws, with hidden nearby places for humans to watch. Visitors who travel with Southern Explorations will probably see more penguins together than any other bird species where in places they number into the millions. Big birds South America is home to many large species. You’ll find three different species of flamingos in some places such as the National Flamingo Reserve Chile’s Atacama Desert and elsewhere in the Atacama Desert where vicunas, the tiny, soft wild camelids congregate too. If flamingoes are on your bird bucket list, the Atacama is the place to go. We offer several short trips to this region of Chile that may be added on to Patagonia tours. Fortunate is the traveler to South America who gets to see the largest of the vultures, the Andean condor. Two most likely spots are Colca Canyon where parents teach their wee ones to fly, and Colombia’s Los Nevados National Park where the government is working with the San Diego Zoo to reintroduce the species. To see the world’s largest population of black-necked swans, the Uruguayan coast, east of Punta del Este is the place. The signature bird of Brazil’s Pantanal is the jabiru. The ibis may be seen in many parts of Argentina. Pretty birds The world’s most beautiful bird, the Resplendent Quetzal, resides almost exclusively in Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Panama’s Volcan Baru National Park.

We go all these places. You just tell us what wildlife you want to see and we’ll tell you where to go.

One Day

Multi-Day

Cabins
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
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 including crew cabins. The SUN DECK houses the bridge, 4 cabins, the bar and lounge, and an outdoor dining area.

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