Ecuador & Luxury Amazon

Explore Ecuador's Amazon, one of the world's most celebrated and vital ecosystems during a 4-night cruise aboard a five-star, boutique-style river expedition vessel. Visit a local Kichwa indigenous community to learn how they live and work in this incredible environment.

Country Information

Ecuador & The Galapagos Islands

Ecuador & Luxury Amazon Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

Ecuador & The Galapagos Islands

(Interest Type(s))

Sustainable Travel


Adventure Travel

(Tour Length)

8 Days

Tour Highlights

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  • Enjoy a wonderful evening tour of Quito, founded in the 16th century,  in a vintage Mercedes Benz
  • Explore a section of the celebrated Amazon River, the second longest river in the world on a 4-night cruise
  • Cruise in five-star, boutique-style river expedition vessel, M/V Anakonda
  • Enjoy a range of guided activities such as a canoe excursion in Yasuní National Park, an important UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the largest tract of tropical rain forest in Ecuador
  • Visit a local Kichwa indigenous community to learn something about how they live and work in this incredible ecosystem
  • Learn about Ecuadorian cuisine during a cooking class led by the onboard chef; discover how to make fiber-knit handicrafts with native crafters; attend onboard lectures about the geology, history and sustainability of the Amazon

Day 1, Mon: Arrive Quito, Ecuador
Welcome to Ecuador.  After claiming your luggage, you are welcomed by your Big Five Ecuador representative and transferred to your hotel situated in a newly restored historic mansion overlooking Plaza San Francisco.  The three-story boutique hotel includes 31 rooms of contemporary design accented by antiques, fine furnishings and modern technology.  The hotel also has a dining room, glassed-in patio, lush garden, wood-paneled library and a third-floor terrace with panoramic views.  The guest rooms are arrayed across all three of its floors, and, due to the property’s heritage character, vary in size. All benefit from the mansion’s elegant, tall ceilings, drawing the bright Andean sunlight into their interiors. Their decoration plays off rich carpets, towering window frames, flowing curtains and Art Deco-style furniture such as desks, armoires, tables and armchairs.  All the rooms are air-conditioned, carpeted, non-smoking and sound proof, with en-suite bathrooms (nearly all with separate bathtubs and showers), and with telephones, intelligent keycards, wireless internet and flat-screen TVs with international cable channels.   Casa Gangotena 

Day 2, Tues: Quito - Antisana - Quito
This morning, you will meet your guide and drive south to the Antisana Ecological Reserve, where you will enjoy a hike to see the famous Andean condors. Enjoy a picnic in the reserve. For centuries the magnificent landscapes around Antisana Volcano were only within reach of scientists, geographers and intrepid explorers. Now, a good paved road takes you into this pristine moorland (paramo), full of wildlife and breathtaking scenery. The Antisana is a Condor Sanctuary, providing refuge for one of the largest concentrations of Andean Condors left in Ecuador, as well as many other rare and endangered highland bird species such as black-faced ibis, cinereous conebills, Andean gulls, brown speckled teal, Andean lapwings, many carunculated caracaras, Andean doves and the rare siskin. The Antisana Ecological Reserve's 296,400 acres include the snow-covered Antisana Volcano, rising to 5758m/18,886 ft. This is one of the most rigorously protected natural areas in Ecuador. The Antisana’s massive glaciers feed water to the lakes and rivers of the reserve, which sustain the abundant wildlife of the region, and also provide much of Quito’s drinking water. Although condors can be found throughout the Andes cordillera from Tierra del Fuego to southern Colombia, their habitat is shrinking. The bird is the national symbol of Ecuador. Conservation efforts in Ecuador are now underway to save one of the last populations of the world's largest flying bird. What began as a minor movement in local communities is now supported by national non-governmental organizations with international technical and financial assistance. The magnificent condor boasts a wingspan of over 3 meters/10 feet, and has a bare grayish red head with a white ring on its neck. Its feathers are shiny black with white tips.  They can easily be seen on a huge wall of cliffs across a narrow canyon on the way up to Antisana or soaring up near the highest peaks. Andean dwellers believed that the condor was a messenger to the gods, which flew into the upper world to carry prayers to the gods. Wear warm clothing and don’t forget your binoculars!  Casa Gangotena (B,L)

Day 3, Wed: Quito / Coca / Amazon Expeditions - Yasuni National Park
This morning, you are transferred to the airport to board your flight from Quito to Coca, a short 30-minute flight.  Upon arrival, you are welcomed by Anakonda staff and transferred to the Río Napo port for a two-hour journey by speedboat downstream to your expedition ship M/V Anakonda.  Keep an eye out as you cruise past riverbanks of the typically brown headwaters of the Amazon.  Board your new cruise vessel, built in 2013, which accommodates only 40 passengers in 20 spacious cabins.   All suites have large floor to ceiling windows, air-conditioning, en-suite and sitting areas.  Four deluxe suites come with the addition of private balconies.  Four interconnecting suites are well suited to family groups.   Amenities include an outdoor Jacuzzi.  Once onboard, you head to the Tiputini River base.  You explore the Yasuní National Park on a canoe excursion.  At dusk, you can experience night in the Ecuadorian Amazon during a night walk or canoe ride to visit to a native dwelling, which will depend on the river level, climate conditions, wildlife behavior and/or accessibility to the location.  Anakonda (B,L,D)

Day 4, Thu: Amazon Expedition - Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve & Yasuní National Park
Early this morning, we will explore one of the Ecuadorian Amazonia’s purest waterways, the Cocaya River.  A haven of exotic plants, colorful birds and unique wildlife within the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, this black water system is home to legendary pink river dolphins, black caiman and the enigmatic Amazonian anaconda.  You may also spot river turtles and monkey species that include the black tamarin, red howler or squirrel monkeys, as well as three-toed sloths and the most-primitive Hoatzin, locally called the stinky turkey (Pavo Hediondo).  Experience the overwhelming beauty of this aquatic jungle world as you head upstream by canoe.  In the afternoon, travel into the heart of the Yasuní National Park to the black water lake of Jatun Cocha.  Here, you enjoy opportunities to walk and paddle, watching out for giant otters, an amazing and endangered species.  Learn about the forest’s exotic flowers and plants   Anakonda (B,L,D)

Day 5, Fri: Amazon Expedition - Kichwa Culture & Swamp Forest
This morning, you have the chance to visit a local Kichwa indigenous community center and school.  During the visit, you have the chance to spend time with some of the traditional people who have thrived in Amazonia for generations.  Learn about their culture, talents and ways of life as you meet them and visit their homes.  You will gain an understanding of how they live, and how they utilize and protect their natural resources.  In the afternoon, relax as your expedition vessel navigates further down river.  You learn about Ecuadorian cuisine during a cooking classes directed by the onboard chef, or discover how to make fiber-knit handicrafts with native crafters.  Naturalists will offer you another view with onboard lectures pertaining to a variety of Amazon-related topics such as the ecosystem’s diversity, geology, history, resources such as petroleum and sustainability.  On a walk through a Moorish palm swamp, scout for an opportunity to see colorful frogs and parrots.  Anakonda (B,L,D)

Day 6, Sat: Amazon Expedition - Parrot Clay Lickor Water Museum - Limoncocha National Biological Reserve
After breakfast on board, you have the option to either go to the Parrot Clay licks, a great place to witness one of the most exciting wildlife shows in Amazonia; or you can take in the Yaku Kawsay, a live underwater museum inside Yasuní National Park.  This is a fascinating project created by one of the many Kichwa river communities, which shows you what it is like inside the rivers and lakes of the Amazon.  Back on board, enjoy lunch before an afternoon visit to Limoncocha National Biological Reserve, an incredible area with over 400 bird species and a wide assortment of other creatures including black caiman, which you may see after dusk.  This evening return to the cruise ship.  Anakonda (B,L,D)

Day 7, Sun: Amazon Expedition / Quito
Return to the city in a 2 hours canoe ride. Upon your arrival to Coca, you will board your flight to Quito, where you will be transferred to your hotel.  One of the most beautiful capitals in the world, the city was founded as San Francisco de Quito on December 6th, 1534 by the Spanish conquistador and sanctioned through the auspices of UNESCO in 1978 to be a World Cultural Heritage Site. The historic center of Quito, known as the "OldCity" is replete with narrow and winding cobblestone streets, magnificent churches and wide-open squares. The buildings that line the streets reflect Spanish colonial influence with their balconies, tile roofs, thick columns and central patios. This evening, you will enjoy an evening tour of Quito in a vintage Mercedes Benz.  Casa Gangotena (B)

Day 8: Quito / Depart
Transfer to the airport to board your flight home. (B)

Land price, per person, double occupancy:  Call for Rates

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