By Land and Sea: The Galapagos Islands and Amazon Rainforest


Amazon Monkey

One of the many joys of visiting Ecuador is the variety of experiences you can have while you’re visiting the country. From the awe-inspiring Amazon rainforest to the uniquely untouched Galapagos Islands, Ecuador is truly a special place to visit.
When you’re planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands or the Ecuadorian Amazon, the big question is always, “should I stay in a lodge or take a cruise?” Lodges are wonderful because they let you get to know an area deeply and intimately. By settling into one spot, you’ll feel connected to the wilderness. You’ll uncover the secrets of the land, spotting elusive wildlife and relaxing in the stillness. Cruises, on the other hand, allow you to see more of a region, making them ideal for adventurous visitors. You can travel up (or down) extensive stretches of remote river in the Amazon or island hop in the gorgeous Galapagos Islands. Luckily, booking one type of stay doesn’t mean that you have to exclude the other. If you’re someone who likes to have a reliable “home base” but who also doesn’t want to miss out on all of the amazing attractions that Ecuador has to offer, then you can always pair a lodge with a cruise! It is easy to enjoy the best of both worlds with a clever combination of lodge and cruise accommodations.
There are many ways to pair lodges with cruises, but we’ve narrowed the field for you. Here are two of our favorite pairings to book on your next trip to Ecuador.

Canopy walkway at Sacha Lodge

If you’re visiting the Ecuadorian Amazon…

We recommend pairing Sacha Lodge with the Anakonda River Cruise.
Sacha Lodge is a rare gem of a stay. Located within the largest tropical rainforest, this lodge will grant you access to a wide range of activities that you can’t access anywhere else in the world. From here, you can plan visits to one of the country’s largest butterfly farms, canoe to the Yasuni Clay Lick to watch parrots, or fish for piranha along the river.
The food at Sacha Lodge is healthy and delicious. The scenery is unforgettable, and the accommodations are crafted with comfort in mind. Each of the 26 rooms feature private bathrooms with flushing toilets and hot showers, and they are each screened against insects. As a bonus, this lodge is air conditioned!
An Anakonda River Cruise is a natural addition to a stay at Sacha Lodge. The luxury M/V Anakonda is a 40-passenger vessel that is equipped with a massive observation deck, outdoor jacuzzi, solarium, and al fresco lounge, along with other amenities. You’ll have the opportunity to visit with indigenous Amazonians, see parrots up close, and savor scrumptious Ecuadorian food with fun, tropical flair. The on-board suites offer panoramic windows, comfortable beds, and Wi-Fi.
Common to both Sacha Lodge and Anakonda River Cruise is the availability of dedicated guides that can aid you on your trip. Sacha Lodge offers one of the top jungle experiences in the world. Both a naturalist and native guide will lead groups of six travelers on hikes through the Amazon, educating you on biology and ecology. You’ll see exotic wildlife and plants throughout the journey. Similarly, Anakonda River Cruise has naturalist tour leaders and a travel concierge on staff, allowing you to customize your immersive experience.
EcoGalaxy cruise ship with kayakers in front

If you’re visiting the Galapagos Islands…

We recommend pairing Galapagos Safari Camp with EcoGalaxy.
Galapagos Safari Camp is a natural paradise with lots to offer. This eco-luxury tented camp is inspired by traditional African safaris, where guests stay comfortable and cool under canvas. It is a luxury camping experience, so it is packed with amenities, but you still get to experience the Galapagos in their purest form. Spend the day watching wildlife, snorkeling, sea kayaking, or mountain biking and then come home to this sensational safari camp.
This camp is situated on a 55-hectare family run property with fabulous ocean views. It is within the Santa Cruz Highlands, right on the border of the national park. In the central lodge, you’ll get access to breathtaking panoramic views, a cozy lounge, and fantastic food. The individual tents on the property are comfortable and roomy, with en suite bathrooms, a heater, and a balcony with a hammock and chairs.
EcoGalaxy is the perfect partner for Galapagos Safari Camp. This 16-passenger catamaran is spacious and exclusive. The eight comfy cabins on the catamaran each feature lower beds, private bathrooms with hot showers, air conditioning, and picture windows. Community amenities include a dining room, bar, lounge, and large deck. Designed specifically for Galapagos tours, with an onboard expert naturalist guide, you will spend your days exploring the beauty of the islands through day hikes, snorkeling, and sea kayaking. Stretch out and relax as you cruise the Galapagos or stake out a great viewing spot and spy on wildlife like sea lions and maybe even the adorable Galapagos penguin.
You can have the vacation of your dreams in Ecuador! Pair a lodge with a cruise and discover both the breadth and depth of the Ecuadorian Amazon or the Galapagos Islands.

Contact Southern Explorations to start planning your trip.