My name is Evelyn – I’m part of the Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders Team. Recently I was lucky enough to enjoy a cruise in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. When offered the chance, I jumped at it immediately – after all, who wouldn’t want to spend a few days on a luxury Amazon rainforest cruise for work! Here I’ll fill you in on my experience on this lovely boat, including information about what you can expect to see and do, the local communities, service, food and the rooms. With the low-down you’ll be all set to decide whether this is the right trip for you.
The trip I took was a four-day, three-night Anakonda Rainforest Cruise into the depths of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Getting to the start of the trip was an adventure in itself. Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders organized a flight for me from Quito to Coca, a city in the Amazon region of Ecuador. From there a friendly guide collected me at the airport and transported me to the dock. This was when my excitement really started to kick in, as me and two other guests boarded a motorized canoe down-river to meet the Anakonda for my luxury cruise. In truth, I had expected the boat transfer to be a bit boring, but I was hit with a cacophony of birdsong and jungle noises the second I got on the boat. Along the way there was plenty to look at, and our driver pointed out and explained some of the birdlife we observed. We even saw a snake in a tree!
On that first day there was some down time to explore the luxury cruise ship, and enjoy its comfortable facilities. I was delighted to see that my room had its own private balcony from which I could relax with my book awhile, as we cruised gently along the river. My bed was gigantic, very comfortable, and I could observe out of the panoramic window as we drifted along the waterways. The air conditioning was fabulous, and helped to quickly cool me down. I decided to make the most of the luxury, and I soaked in a jacuzzi bath to refresh myself from the sweaty journey. Then I headed up to the observation deck to peruse my Amazon wildlife book. I lazed the late afternoon away on a comfy leather sofa, before heading to the El Dorado bar for a mocktail from the wait staff.
One of the great advantages of taking a luxury Amazon river cruise in the Ecuadorian jungle is that in my opinion it is possible to see and experience more of the region in this way. This began on my very first day with an exciting and slightly nerve-wracking nighttime walk to see some of the nocturnal wildlife and to truly experience the Amazon by night. I was somewhat nervous, but my guide quickly noticed this and put me at ease right away. Feeling calmer I was able to enjoy spotting some of the unusual frogs, insects and even spiders going about their nighttime activities. It was at this point that I really started to get a true sense of the depths of the ecosystem and its tremendous biodiversity – a feeling that would only grow over the days ahead.
On the second day of the trip, after a truly fabulous breakfast, we visited the Panayacu River delta. From here, we boarded a canoe to visit the Panacocha Lake. Panacocha means “piranha” in the local indigenous (Kichwa) language. Again, I started to feel slightly anxious, having seen too many movies about piranha, which turned out to be factually incorrect. My guide once again came to the rescue – the piranhas were not going to eat me, and everything I had learned was untrue. This helped me to relax and really get into the swing of the lake visit. As we traversed the black waters of the lake, our guide explained about the caiman we saw floating by, and we learned about and observed a pink river dolphin. Another water-dwelling creature that we saw was the giant arapaima fish. After the ride we disembarked the boat for an informative walk through the jungle, in rubber boots lent to us on the cruise. This was one of the highlights for me as we observed a pair of toucans in the trees overhead, and a sloth, lazing its day away in the sunshine. We enjoyed a delicious BBQ style lunch that some of the staff had been working on all morning at a local campsite, and then there was a chance for swimming and kayaking in the lake. With the hot, very humid weather, the swim came as a very refreshing relief!
The third day was fascinating in an entirely different way. In the morning we were bombarded with color and birdsong as we headed out in canoe to a parrot clay lick. The name parrot clay lick is a bit misleading. There were parrots, but we also saw parakeets too. Our guide for the day was a very knowledgeable birdwatcher with a passion for Amazon birdlife. This meant we learnt a great deal about all the birds we observed at the clay lick. The array of colors and sounds was tremendous, and will stick with me for the rest of my life. The afternoon’s activities were a big contrast to this, as we went to a Kichwa Cultural Center. Here we learned a great deal about the local way of life for villagers, including traditions, food and culture. We even tried some local food, including a type of plantain that had been fried. I bought a beautiful shawl as a gift for my mother. Before heading back to the cruise ship, we went to an observation tower with a view over the canopy that can only be described as stunning. Yet again, our bird-loving guide came into his own, as he spotted, showed us and taught us about a range of different birds that we could see as the sun was starting to set.
On the fourth day, I was sad to be going home so soon, but I felt I had enjoyed a range of amazing Amazon experiences in this short time frame. The journey back involved another motorized canoe trip back to Coca. I was delighted to discover that this was no less educational or informative than the outward journey. This time we saw squirrel monkeys in the trees overhanging the river, and I managed to take some super photographs.
What I can say about my time on the Anakonda luxury Amazon river cruise was that the service was truly wonderful, and my every need was catered for. Every time I started thinking, “I might need another drink”, a member of the wait staff would be there to take my order. The staff at mealtimes were equally attentive, and the food was out of this world! It was tasty and diverse, making the most of local produce, while giving it an international twist. The quality of the food and beverages was simply marvelous.
At Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders we can organize packages on the Anakonda luxury Amazon cruise ship. If you like the sound of Evelyn’s experience, you can try it for yourself. There are a range of options and we can customize depending on your personal preferences. Contact us now to make a booking on this fabulous Amazon cruise ship, and experience the rainforest in style.