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Amazon Rainforest Lodges vs. River Cruises

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Amazon Rainforest tours are adventures by land and on the water that seldom disappoint. The Ecuador Amazon Basin is an explorer’s playground - home to the pink river dolphin, indigenous people who have lived in remote regions for centuries, and curious monkeys that dare to approach the borders of the Amazon rainforest lodges in search of food.

Options for excursions under the canopy and down the Napo River have bloomed in the last few decades. Luxury lodges give way to classic adventures with gourmet jungle cuisine, expert naturalist guides, and visits to local communities that have built and run the establishments.

River cruises bring a sense of romance to time in the jungle, finding guests cruising down isolated stretches of river and exploring the fertile landscape on shore.  Day trips are accompanied by guides, whose sharp eyes spot the creatures of the jungle minutes before they fly and scamper away.

Keep reading for a breakdown of Amazon rainforest lodges vs. Amazon River cruise tours, and what you can expect from each during your time in the Ecuador Amazon Basin.


Amazon Rainforest Lodges

The Amazon Rainforest lodges of Ecuador’s jungle are destinations that blend into the natural surroundings-built with thatched roofs and materials native to the region.

The rustic elegance of these accommodations is matched by the warmth of the staff and the diversity of the nature found here. Add in gourmet food, open-air lounges and bars, and these are places where the lodging becomes part of the adventure.



  • Space

Jungle lodges in Ecuador offer private space for you to relax and unwind after a whirlwind of adventure during the day. Spacious cabins have outside areas where you can sit and look out over the lakes and landscapes, while birds fly overhead and fish splash in the water, besides this, anytime of the year has good weather and temperatures ideal for a visit.

  • Wildlife as Neighbors

The creatures of the jungle-including birds and monkeys are part of your company during your stay, nesting nearby and visiting the grounds daily on their rounds through the treetops.

  • More Room to Roam During Free Time

Amazon rainforest lodges, like Sani Lodge and Napo Wildlife Center, have nearby paths where you can wander early in the morning before a day trip, or late in the afternoon after you return from the day’s activities.

  • Flexibility

Activities at jungle retreats like La Selva and Sacha Amazon rainforest lodges are decided by you and your family, partner, or group. While there are suggested itineraries for four- and five-day trips, how you spend your time is up to you. Visiting clay licks and observation towers in Yasuni National park, and taking night hikes and canoe trips are a few of your options.




  • Travel Time

The remote locations of the Amazon rainforest lodges mean that travel time is a factor, especially on short, four-day trips. After two-hour journeys down the Napo River by motorized canoe, paddle canoes take you the rest of the way to peaceful lagoons where the lodges are located. Day trips on the water use the same transport. It´s a great way to explore, but eats up time while showing you the wonders of the jungle.

  • Jungle Eventualities

While the remote location of these lodges adds to the allure, and ultimately to the one-of-a-kind experience that draws people from all over the world, life here is not without its hiccups. Electricity can go out for short periods, supplies can get delayed from upstream, and WiFi isn´t the best.



Amazon Rainforest Cruises

The luxury of Amazon Rainforest cruises takes you back to a classic age. Today, passengers find first-class accommodations resplendent with well-appointed cabins, sun decks, Jacuzzis, and staff that goes out of their way to please their guests. World-class chefs and kid friendly meals are part of the perks-making spending time on-board an experience that isn´t forgotten after the journey is over.





  • Cover More Ground

Amazon rainforest cruises have the advantage of covering more ground during short trips. Cruising up and down the Napo River and embarking on day trips by motorized boats lets you get where you are going faster. Hiking remote trails, kayaking on peaceful lakes, standing high above the treetops on observation towers, and visiting clay licks in Yasuni National Park are highlights that make your Amazon river cruise tours an exotic adventure-forgoing the time it takes to get there.

  • First-Class Amenities

The services and amenities of the Anakonda Amazon River cruise, and the Manatee Amazon Explorer boats are elegant and well thought out. From the dining areas and decks, to the ample cabins-guest seldom lack for anything as provisions are on hand for the entire trip and the boats are equipped for every comfort and eventuality.


  • Set Itineraries

Each of the two boats that we offer to our clients have set itineraries for four- and five-day cruises through the Ecuador Amazon Basin. These routes pack a lot in to each day, and rely on the schedule to fit everything into a trip that gives you the best of the Ecuadorian jungle. For families and groups that want a different experience with more flexibility, this might not be your best option.

  • Tight Quarters

While both boats are luxurious and have quite an array of common areas to enjoy, your space is defined by the parameters of the boat during nights aboard and in transit. If you tire of enclosed spaces easily, consider another option that Galapagos Insiders offers for an elegant retreat to the jungle, and insider's advice on the best times to go the Ecuadorian Rainforest.



Visiting the Ecuador Amazon Basin by land or by sea is an adventure that is a world away from the ordinary. There are more plants and animals here per hectare than in most regions on the planet. Itineraries include visits to indigenous communities that have lived in harmony with nature for centuries including the Shuar who were moved from territories in neighboring countries by the Inca and the Spanish. For more information about an exotic Amazon rainforest tour that puts you in a world that often changes your outlook on society at large, contact a member of our team.

By Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders
By Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders
Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders is a leading travel company based in Ecuador and run by local tour guides and travel specialists, we are happy to provide expert and free trip planning advice, no commitment fee involved.
Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders