Cruising the Amazon & Galapagos,
an unforgettable journey
14 days – 13 nights
In Galapagos, the animals have a close contact with the visitors; they won’t attack as they have enough food to eat. You can swim close to sharks, or see sea lions crossing the street. The best way to explore the islands is by cruise ship, we offer you our best alternatives Sea Star Journey and Seaman Catamaran. You can choose the itinerary you prefer depending on the day you will arrive. After Galapagos, you will enjoy a cruise on board of one amazon riverboat. You will discover the jungle deeply, and then, enjoy of your comfortable cabin.
Day 1: Arrival to Quito
Upon arrival at Quito airport, you will be met by your guide, he will transfer to your hotel.
Situated in a circle of Andean peaks, Quito is the world’s second highest capital, with arguably one of the finest settings in the world. Originally settled by the Quitu tribe in the first millennium, Quito was an important part of the Inca Empire, before being destroyed and re-founded by Spanish conquistador Sebastián de Benalcázar in 1534.
The colonial center – declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978 – is one of the largest and best preserved in Latin America. It is home to excellent museums, churches and art galleries.
Day 2: Manatee Amazon Cruise
Departure from Quito. A short 30-minute flight takes us to the frontier town of Coca (Francisco de Orellana) – and transfer to the dock, where we will embark on a motorized canoe and navigate down river about 1 ½ hour, to board the M/V MANATEE AMAZON EXPLORER. Throughout the journey we have a chance to admire the rainforest landscape and banks of the great Napo River.
Immediately after boarding the M/V MANATEE, we continue navigating downstream. Passengers will have their first opportunities to enjoy the exciting features of our cruise ship: the spacious social areas, comfortable suites, and an observation deck that offers spectacular views. An evening walk is organized after sunset; it gives us the opportunity to discover the forest’s nocturnal activity and listen to the incessant sounds of nature.D
Day 3: Manatee Amazon Cruise
After a delicious breakfast, we disembark on land for our first daylight close-and-personal tropical rainforest experience, where we will learn about the relationship between plants and animals while closely watching out for samples of Amazonia’s fascinating biodiversity at every turn.
After lunch, the M/V Manatee navigates to one of the most pristine and little explored sections of Ecuadorian Amazonia, home to the legendary pink river dolphin, black caiman and anaconda. We may also find river turtles and various species of monkeys, as well as the primitive Hoatzin, a one-of-a-kind bird locally known as “the Stinky Turkey”. The only way to actually visit this flooded ecosystem is by canoe, a ride that will reveal the beauty of a lush jungle world.
For our more adventurous passengers, please inquire about our glamping program.
Day 4: Manatee Amazon Cruise
Breakfast on board. We visit a school located on the banks of the Napo River, where we will have the opportunity to interact with children of the area and learn about the educational system of a remote jungle community in Ecuador.
We return on board the M/V Manatee for lunch and a moment to relax while we navigate upstream. We will offer a lecture and documentary screening, and if time permits, learn about (and make) typical handicrafts of the area. In the afternoon, we explore one of the largest river islands of the Napo River.
Day 5: Manatee Amazon Cruise
In the morning after breakfast, visit an observation tower 100-feet high, built against a giant kapok tree. From the top of the tower, we will be blessed with this unique perspective of the forest, looming over the treetops and the greatness of the Amazon Basin.
In the afternoon, we visit Limoncocha Biological Reserve, a fascinating protected area where more than 478 bird species and several monkey species have been recorded. This activity will extend into the evening, when we will have a chance to spot black caiman with the help of our flashlights. Return to the M/V Manatee for dinner.
Day 6: Back in Quito
In the morning, disembark the M/V Manatee and transfer by motorized canoe to Coca (1 ½ hour ride); flight to Quito.
NOTE: The detailed itinerary above is a standard model of our operation. We intend to offer everything as planned, but it is important to note depending on technical or operational difficulties beyond our control, the M/V MANATEE AMAZON EXPLORER reserves the right to modify the itinerary without notice.
Day 7: Colonial Old Town + Equator
Explore the bustling streets and squares of the largest historical centre in the Americas, visiting some its most important churches such as the impressive Cathedral, majestic Compañía and iconic San Francisco, guardians of a stunning multi-ethnic artistic and cultural heritage. We begin the tour the quirky Guapulo quarter; take in the Congress building, before heading to the Old Town. We finish the day at the “Panecillo” hillside with its breathtaking views of the old and modern city surrounded by the rolling Andes Mountains.
As an addition to the Quito Colonial City Tour, we travel to “Equatorial line” complex. Its monument is located at the latitude 0º 0´0″ and provides once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to straddle both hemispheres, or hop between the two in the blink of an eye. The monument forms the focal point of a park and leisure area with gift shops and restaurants. The site occupies an important place in the solar-based Andean cosmo vision, since ancient Andean people were aware of its significance many thousands of years ago. The Ethnographic Museum at the complex provides a fine overview of Ecuador’s varied cultures and geography.
Day 8: Otavalo Market
This morning you will leave Quito with your tour guide, heading to Otavalo, the town famous for its artisans market. On route on the Panamerican Highway we will stop at Calderon, a town where the masapan figures are made, continuing through Guayllabamba town where you can try its typical fruit: chirimoya. We will also stop on the highway to admire the beautiful landscape and snow-capped mountains in the area. We continue on, making a short stop at San Pablo Lake before arriving in Otavalo.
Here we will visit the textile market located at the “Plaza of Ponchos”; this is one of the most famous markets in South America. You will find all kinds of handcrafts including tapestries made on the Spanish weaving loom as well as the indigenous backstrap loom. After which you will enjoy some free time for bargaining and buying with the friendly Otavaleños.
After a full day spent in Otavalo we will return to Quito late afternoon/ early evening and you will be taken to your hotel.
Day 9: Seaman Galapagos Cruise
AM: Flight Quito or Guayaquil to Galapagos
Before taking the flight you must pay 20 USD at the Galapagos Government Council counter that is the value for the migration control card.
Afterwards you will be able to take a flight that takes 2 1/2 hours from Quito to and 1 1/2 hours from
Once in San Cristobal passengers must go through an inspection point at the airport to make sure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the archipelago. Also, this inspection point is where passengers have to pay for the entrance to the Galapagos National Park under the following parameters:
Adult $100, children (under 12 years old): $50
PM: Interpretation center
It is an interpretation center with exuberant gardens and stunning ocean views in contrast with the 1960´s buildings in Charles Darwin Center. Visitor to the interpretation center can learn a lot ovenr the geological and human history of the islands, conservation facts and natural history. This is the oldest museum of the Natural History of the Galapagos Islands that is trying to preserve the nature of the islands.
Day 10: Seaman Galapagos Cruise
A short visit to the Galapaguera that is a good place to observe Galapagos tortoises in its natural habitat. San Cristobal island has endemic species such as: the Mockingbird Nesomimus melanotis, lava lizard (Microlophus bivittatus), Chatham Leaf-toed Gecko (Phyllodactylus leei) and the tortoises. All of these species can be observed in this place, the beach is really big and it works as a nesting zone for marine tortoises. Between January and May it is common to find the footprints of the female tortoises that have climbed to the sand dunes to deposit their eggs.
PM: Cerro Brujo, San Cristobal Island
Cerro Brujo is a beautiful beach of white coral beach where you can swim and watch birds and sea lions, plus you can snorkel. This is the first coast where Charles Darwin walked in 1835. In this marvelous lava landscape where you can see seabirds like blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, herons, frigate birds and shore birds. The protected bay is very popular to observe young tortoises and for swimming. The pools with salty water behind the sand dunes were used for the fishers as a salt mine in order to preserve food for the local population.
Among the fauna that you can observe the Chatham Mockingbird and the San Cristobal Lava Lizard, both species are endemic to the island and unique to the area as they cannot be observed nowhere else. Also you can find the island canary, the Galapagos turtles and with luck the little bird known as the Pájaro Brujo in Spanish, an endemic specie from San Cristobal Island. The vegetation covers all the route where you can find species like the candelabrum cactus and carob trees.
Located on the north coast of Isla San Cristobal it is a peaceful place with white sand and crystal water, a perfect combination for an incredible stay.
Day 11: Seaman Galapagos Cruise
AM: Gardner Bay
Located on the north-eastern coast of Hood, Gardner Bay provides an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and the opportunity to observe sea lions (Zalophus wollebaki),. Here we can also observe sharks in the crystal clear ocean waters.
Here you will find three species of Darwin Finches: Geospiza fuliginosa, Geospiza fuliginosa and Certhidea Olivacea), these are endemic subspecies. Also, here it is possible to observe resident and migratory bird species. This zone is really important for marine tortoises nesting, specially the (Chelonia mydas).
PM: Suarez Point
This area is great for spotting blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and Nazca boobies. A beautiful site on the ocean front, the large waved albatrosses use the cliff as a launching pad. The famous attraction is the magnificent blowhole, spurting water high into the air at least from 50 to 75 meters high. This site presents wonderful photograph opportunities.
Day 12: Seaman Galapagos Cruise
AM: Cormorant Point
This site offers probably the best flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos; it is also one of the largest in the islands. It’s situated between two tuff lava cones that give the area a special atmosphere. There are various species of shorebirds to observe besides flamingos; the most frequent are common stilts, white-checked pintail ducks, and other migratory birds. It is very interesting to see the two distinct beaches: “The Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour Sand Beach” which is made up of coral.
PM: Post Office Bay & Baroness Lookout
Historically, this site is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. It has been used since this time by mariners and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Apart from being the Post Office Barrel, this site was the landing area for some of the first colonists. We will continue to the north of the island and will ascent to an elevated slope to enjoy a beautiful vista at the Baroness lookout. It is said that Baroness Eloisa Von Wagner loved this place and spent several hours watching the horizon. Within walking distance (30 m) are the ruins of what is known as her house. From this lookout, the landscape covers the coastline from the Enderby islet to Post Office Bay, as well as Cerro Pajas, the pool of flamingos and wide forest of Palo Santo.
Day 13: Flight to Quito
AM: Charles Darwin Station
Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out. One of the main attractions are the National Park information center, the Van Straelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises, Lonesome George (turtle from Pinta), and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity.
Day 14: Tansfer out
Today after breakfast you will be met by your guide to be transfer to Quito Airport in time for your international flight.
- Privates transfers and transportation
- Meals detailed in the itinerary
- Galapagos Cruise
- Amazon Cruise
- English Speaker Guide
- Additional meals and drinks (soft & alcoholics)
- International flights and airport taxes
- Tips and personal expenses
- Travel and medical insurance
- Ticket to/from Galapagos
Contact a Galapagos & Ecuador Specialist