I selected this river cruise solely by reviews. It met all expectations. I took the 8 day / 7 night itinerary and would suggest the same to anyone who chooses this venue. The 4 day / 3 night itinerary misses some of the most excellent sites. The days begin early and every day is filled with a morning and afternoon/evening excursion on different parts of the Nap River, a major tributary of the Amazon. The events and meals go like clockwork. I was impressed given the variables of weather and river conditions in this region. The region is an especially biodiverse area unrivaled in the entire Amazon basin. Be prepared to get wet and have some fun. I saw both species of river dolphin, several species of monkey, sloths, a multitude of birds, caimans, amphibians, reptiles, and, of course, insects. DEET 50% is not a recommendation; it is a necessity, as is sunscreen. Laundry can be done very inexpensively on board the ship, so I suggest packing modestly since the rooms are compact, especially if you are sharing. A waterproof pack is another necessity. The Manatee suppies rain ponchos and rubber boots, and you will use them. The food on board was excellent. It was European style fare with Ecuadorian highlights. Service was prompt and courteous. Guides were excellent. I was impressed both with the depth and breadth of their knowledge. They pointed out wildlife that only a lot of experience could have seen. Safety was always first, and no age or "courage level" should have any concern. There was a stop at a children's elementary school and the Napo Wildlife Center where indigenous people produce an adequate but, as always, somewhat contrived experience of local life. I would like to have had more anthropological interaction in the region personally, but I was satisfied with my experience. Birdwatchers, of which I am not one, will be enthralled. I highly recommend this experience and the value is excellent.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Although expedition cruising by its very nature is characterized as adventurous, the safety of our staff and passengers is of paramount importance to us. The Manatee Amazon Explorer is fully equipped and maintained in order to handle the most challenging conditions and circumstances, and is manned by experienced and conscientious expedition staff and crew. The canoes used for daily shore landings are rugged and versatile and are operated responsibly by experienced personnel. Onboard you will be fully briefed on all pertinent safety issues and concerns, as well as our environmental policy; passengers also receive appropriate and detailed briefings before each landing. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Manatee Amazon Explorer Hotel Yasuni National Park
- Manatee Amazon Explorer Ecuador/Yasuni National Park