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Your voyage to the Amazon begins in the historic city of Quito. Set in the Andean valley, surrounded by magnificent peaks, Quito makes for a picturesque start to your journey. Its historic colonial town center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has received a massive renovation drive in 2006 and restored to its former glory. The city is constantly buzzing with activity and you'll be tempted to start your exploration straightaway! Follow your gut and head out on your own, or spend a relaxing evening at your hotel as you have a city tour scheduled for tomorrow.
Our local representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the Hilton Colon. The hotel is ideally located, in the heart of the city, making it convenient for tourists. Your room will provide you with modern amenities and panoramic views of Quito and the Andes. Your dining options include a sushi bar, a fine dining restaurant, and a local cuisine cafe amongst other options.
Go on a city tour of Quito today. Start by heading down to Quito’s historical district. During your time here, you will have the chance to observe several beautiful churches, the presidential and archbishop palaces, the cathedral, the Jesuit church Compañia de Jesus (considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in the world), and the San Francisco church.
Then visit an art gallery and the Panecillo Hill (winged virgin) lookout point for spectacular views. Later in the afternoon, head to the middle of the world monument and the solar museum. Walk the equator line that runs across Quito and visit the Intiñan museum as well. End the tour by having a scrumptious lunch at El Crater restaurant.
Take a short 30 minute flight to Coca. Transfer to the Napo River port, where a motorized canoe will take you downstream (approx. one and a half hours) to the Manatee Amazon Explorer. During the trip you will be given important information about the region.
Once on board the Manatee Amazon Explorer, you will start navigating down the Napo River.The Explorer is a comfortable vehicle that complies with international navigational norms. Cabins are located on the upper deck and bridge deck. It also hosts a relaxing dining area, lounge, and bar. A small fleet of motorized canoes is also stowed on board for navigation across narrow waterways.
After a nice lunch on board and some relaxation, head out for an exciting night walk. Return to the boat for dinner and rest.
Every activity will depend on the river´s water level, weather conditions, wildlife behavior, and accessibility to the location.
Wake up to the breathtaking sight of the Amazon around you. Early in the morning, explore one of the most pristine rivers in the Ecuadorian Amazon, the Cocaya River. Observe exotic plants, colorful birds, and the unique wildlife that lives in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.
This black water system is home to the legendary pink river dolphins, river turtles, black caymans, and the enigmatic Amazon manatee. Watch the shore to sight red howler monkeys, black tamarins, squirrel monkeys, and three-toed sloths. Also look out for the leaf-eating bird, locally known as "stinky turkey (hoatzin)". The canoe trip upstream will reveal the overwhelming beauty of this aquatic region.
In the afternoon, in the heart of the Yasuni, visit one of the major black water lakes of the upper Amazon basin, the Jatun Cocha. Here there will be opportunities for walking and paddling and watching giant otters.
Visit one of the local indigenous community's centers, specifically, one of the schools of the Kichwa Culture. Meet the local people and learn about their culture. Understand how these people live, use the resources of this unique world, and how they have learned to manage the fragility of this ecosystem.
In the afternoon, learn how to make Ecuadorian food by taking cooking lessons directed by the chef on board. Locals will teach you to make handicrafts, and you can also listen to lectures on board by the naturalist about the different aspects of Amazonian culture, biodiversity, history, oil, and sustainability. You also have the chance to go on a hike, or walk over a wooden pass through a swamp to see interesting frogs and parrots.
Go on an excursion to the Parrot Clay licks, a great place to see a lot of bird species. Alternatively, you can opt for an excursion to the Yaku Kawsay - an underwater museum inside Yasuní National Park. This is a very interesting project from one of the Kichwa Communities that shows the fauna that lives underwater in the Amazon Rivers and lakes.
Visit the Limoncocha Biological Reserve in the afternoon. This is an incredible area to see lots of birds, some monkeys, and at night, you can search for the black cayman. Return to the Manatee at night.
After saying good-bye to the crew of the Manatee Amazon Explorer, fly from Coca back to Quito and transfer to the Hilton Colon.
A farewell dinner awaits you at the Theathrum restaurant (or similar) where you can reminisce with your fellow travellers.
This brings your Amazon Wildlife Tour to an end. After your exciting adventure in the Amazon, transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Requires a spirit of adventure and some degree of fitness, as the trip might consist of many activities or long journeys. These adventures involve walking, trekking, hiking, cycling, rafting, sea kayaking, or driving for long hours, at times for up to six to eight hours a day at a steady pace. The maximum altitude is 3000m, so it requires you to be reasonably physically fit because you may be travelling in extreme weather conditions. The trips are usually 6 to 12 days in duration.
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