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Ecuador Holidays

The Esmeralda Tour

13 Night Itinerary from £ 2,378 1,835 $ 2,329

Private Individual Tour

Enjoy an inspiring Napo River cruise exploring the exuberant rainforest, admire Andean landscapes and discover Isla Plata on the Pacific coast teeming with wildlife. Observe humpback whales from June to September

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Explore the Amazon rainforest, Andean Mountains and Ecuador's Undiscovered Pacific Coast

Enjoy an inspiring Napo River cruise exploring the exuberant rainforest, admire Andean landscapes and discover Isla Plata on the Pacific coast teeming with wildlife. Observe humpback whales from June to September

Travel Highlights

  • A wonderful combination of wildlife experiences, from the Amazon to the Pacific Coast 
  • Explore Quito's colonial heritage
  • Barter for handicrafts at a local Andean indigenous market
  • Explore the Ecuadorean Amazon rainforest on a 4 night cruise on the Napo River
  • Discover the stunning and lesser-visited Machalilla National Park
  • Travel in June to September and observe humpback whales
  • Observe the rainforest canopy, take canoe rides in small flooded streams and meet local Amazonian communities
  • Enjoy fabulous bird-watching and snorkeling at Isla de Plata

Journey Breakdown

The Esmeralda Tour
Travel Itinerary

Quito & Otavalo Market Days 1 - 4

Day 1 - Fly to Quito

Day 2 - Guided tour of Quito

Day 3 - Visit Otavalo market

Day 4 - At leisure, choice of optional excursions

Itinerary Description

Day 1 - Fly to Quito 

Departure from the UK to Quito, arriving the same evening. You will be met by our representative and taken to your hotel. Our guide will provide you advice, explain your programme and answer any questions you may have.

Day 2 - Guided tour of Quito

Today enjoy a full day tour of Quito, with all its art and architectural treasures. The colonial quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We stroll in the independence Plaza, visit the temple of La Compania de Jesus and its awesome gilded interior, the Monastery of San Fransisco and the Inca Gold Museum. (B)

Day 3 - Visit Otavalo market

We take a trip to the Andean town of Otavalo to visit its magnificent market, where men and women with long plaited hair, dressed in their traditional clothes, sell all types of weavings, handicrafts and homegrown produce. (B)

Day 4 - At leisure, choice of optional excursions

Today is free to further explore Quito or perhaps take an optional excursion visiting Cotopaxi volcano, Mindo or Termas de Papallacta. (B)

Amazon Cruise Days 5-8

Day 5 - Fly to Coca, embark the Manatee Amazon Explorer

Day 6 - Yasuni National Park & pink river dolphins

Day 7 - Quechua family & canoeing

Day 8 - Rainforest trek and observation tower

Itinerary Description

Day 5 - Fly to Coca, embark the Manatee Amazon Explorer

Transfer to the domestic airport and fly to Coca, from where we travel by motorised canoe for 1 and 1/2 hours to embark the Manatee Amazon Explorer for your 4-night cruise on a full board basis including all excursions from knowledgeable local guides. After a welcome from the captain, safety briefing and dinner, you will plunge straight into the Amazon by going for an evening forest walk to observe the forest’s nocturnal activity. (B,L,D)

Day 6 - Yasuni National Park & pink river dolphins

Up early today to visit Yasuni National Park, a pristine and relatively undisturbed region of the Ecuadorian Amazon and home to the legendary Pink River Dolphin! In this area we can also find anacondas, river turtles and various primate species, as well as the colorful Hoatzin, a unique bird that is known locally as the “Stinky Turkey”. 

In the afternoon, enjoy canoeing in a blackwater lake, home to giant otters and the magnificent, albeit elusive manatee. We also take a pleasant hike in the Riparian/Gallery Forest, where we might spot the intricate organisation of a colony of leaf-cutter ants by the “Giant Fig Tree”, a truly majestic tree that is home to an abundance of wildlife. (B,L,D)

Day 7 - Quechua family & canoeing 

Morning visit to an authentic Quechua family located on the banks of the Napo River, where we learn directly from members of the local community. After lunch on board M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer we sail upstream on the Napo River.  Enjoy a cooking class with our chef who will share recipes and techniques for preparing exquisite traditional Ecuadorian food that you can replicate at home. (B,L,D)

Day 8 - Rainforest trek and observation tower

After a short period cruising the Napo River, we explore the nearby forest for a walk to discover a myriad of different animals and plant species that can only be found in the Amazon basin. In the afternoon, we visit a canopy tower, built against a giant Kapok tree. The perspective at the top of this observation tower is truly glorious, looming above the lush treetops and providing a view of the sheer vastness of the Amazon Basin.  After dinner, we venture on a canoe to search for black caimans with the help of flashlights - a truly memorable end to your Amazon adventure. (B,L,D)

 

Boat Specification

Cruises -

Manatee Ecuador Amazon  fact sheet

Machalilla & Ayampe Days 9-15

Days 9-10 - Machalilla National Park

Day 11 - Whale watching - or visit Isla de la Plata 

Day 12 - Los Frailes Beach

Day 13 - Ayampe River Rainforest

Day 14 - Guided tour of Guayaquil and departure

Day 15 - Arrive in the UK

Itinerary Description

Day 9 - Machalilla National Park

Disembark the Manatee Explorer after breakfast and transfer by motorised canoe to Coca airport from where we fly to Quito. On arrival, we will meet you and assist you to a nearby hotel you can rest before taking a flight to Manta from where we drive to Machalilla National Park. We drive along the stunning coastal road in the district of Manabí and arrive at Mantaraya Lodge where we stay for 4 nights on a full board basis. After dinner, enjoy a talk about Machalilla National Park and the activities for the next day. (B,D)

Day 10 - Exploring Machalilla National Park

Today we explore the wonders of Machalilla National Park, including the village of Agua Blanca with its archeological remains of the once powerful Salango Chiefdom, which was part of the Manteño culture. Here you can choose from a range of optional activities:

- Visiting the Agua Blanca archeological museum including a walk in the company of a knowledgeable native tour guide a admiring different species of flora and fauna that are part of the deciduous tropical dry forest. 

- For the more adventurous, explore the San Sebastian fog forest on a horse. This tour offers you the opportunity to observe tropical birds, plants, insects, reptiles and occasionally mammals at different altitudinal levels. This also an excellent tour for bird lovers.

A box lunch and plenty of water will be provided during the tour today. On the return to the lodge, we stop at the fishing town of Puerto Lopez and stroll through the “Malecón” along the beach with magnificent views. (B,L,D)

Day 11 - Whale watching or a visit to Isla de la Plata

Between the months of June and September the coastal region of Puerto Lopez and la Isla de la Plata become home to humpback whales. They have left the cold Antarctica and travelled thousands of miles in search of warmer waters. We take a boat trip from Puerto Lopez to see these gigantic mammals dive, play, court and compete for females attention. You can witness the close relationship between a mother and its calf that frolic and swim together - a quite unforgettable experience.

We then continue to Isla de la Plata, where we hike with our naturalist guide learning about the natural, geological and cultural history of La Plata. There is also plenty of time to go snorkelling and observe an interesting marine ecosystem around Drake’s bay. You can also swim and relax on the beach. A box lunch and water will be provided today. In the afternoon, we return to Puerto Lopez and back to Mantaraya Lodge. After dinner, your excursion leader give a briefing about the activities for the next day.

If you are interested and qualified in scuba diving, please let us know in advance. Isla de la Plata has excellent locations for divers where you may book an optional dive to see coral reefs, rays, and occasionally sharks. (B,L,D)

 

Day 12 - Los Frailes Beach

Today we visit the unspoiled white sandy beach of Los Frailes, a protected part of Machalilla National Park. Here, you will observe the nesting of of sea turtles (carey and green turtles) between January and May. You can walk through a natural trail along 3 beaches offering an exceptional coastline views and observing different species of flora and fauna that inhabit the coastal scrub. Once in Los Frailes, you can relax, swim in the warm equatorial waters and snorkel.After lunch  we visit the small fishing village of Salango with its  interesting museum included ceramics over 5,000 years old. Here, you can also try your hand at fishing. (B,L,D)    

Day 13 - Ayampe River Rainforest

We travel south today to the Ayampe River Rainforest, a quite unique experience where the Ayampe River meets the sea. Village life has changed here little, with bamboo houses with thatched roofs, few tourists, abundant wildlife and stunning coastal views. After lunch in Ayampe Village (not included) we continue Guayaquil for a 1 night stay on a bed and breakfast basis. (B)

Day 14 - Guided tour of Guayaquil and departure to UK

This morning enjoy a guided tour of Guayaquil and its historical park, centennial park, gothic Metropolitan Cathedral and new Malecon waterfront featuring historical, cultural and entertainment areas. Transfer in the afternoon to the airport for your overnight flight home to the UK. (B)

Day 15 - Arrive in the UK

Arrive in the UK in the morning. 

Travel Details
Esmeralda

Price Breakdown

Prices are per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Easter.

Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room £2,378 - - - - -
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - - - - - -
Single Traveller - Own Room - - - - - -
Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room €1,834 - - - - -
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - - - - - -
Single Traveller - Own Room - - - - - -
Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room $2,329 - - - - -
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - - - - - -
Single Traveller - Own Room - - - - - -

Booking Terms & Conditions

What's Included

  • 15 Days / 13 Nights
  • International flights (1 overnight)
  • 13 breakfasts,7 lunches and 8 dinners
  • 4-night cruise on the Manatee Amazon Explorer and 4-nights at Mantaraya Lodge 
  • Transfers to and from accommodation
  • Excursions with English-speaking guides as described
  • Transport and meals as shown
  • Prices are per person
  • 13 Nights
  • Internal flights 
  • 13 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 8 dinners
  • 4-night cruise on the Manatee Amazon Explorer and 4-nights at Mantaraya Lodge 
  • Excursions with English-speaking guides
  • Transport and meals as shown
  • Prices are per person
  • 13 Nights
  • Internal flights
  • 13 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 8 dinners
  • 4-night cruise on the Manatee Amazon Explorer and 4-nights at Mantaraya Lodge 
  • Transfers to and from accommodation
  • Excursions with English-speaking guides
  • Transport and meals as shown
  • Prices per person

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