Day 1 London - Madrid/Amsterdam - Quito
Titan’s VIP Home Departure Service® collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow Airport and a scheduled British Airways or KLM flight to Madrid or Amsterdam and onward KLM or Iberia flight to Quito. On arrival we will be transferred to the Hilton Colon (4T). The city sits at 2,850m above sea level and is flanked by Andean peaks; on a clear day several snow-capped volcanoes are visible.
This morning we are transferred to Quito Airport for our flight to Coca, situated at the confluence of the Coca and Napo rivers. On arrival we will be transferred to Napo River port and board a motorised canoe to take us downstream whilst learning more about the region. We embark the Manatee Amazon Explorer (3T), our home for seven nights, and set sail along the Napo tributary, where possible sightings can include freshwater dolphins, monkeys, caimans, tapirs and some of the region’s 500 species of bird and 2,500 species of butterfly. After lunch we take a walk through the rainforest; and after dinner this evening, you may wish to join an optional nocturnal walk into the forest to discover this unique environment’s after-dark activity.
We continue downstream to the wildlife-rich mouth of the Pañayacu River and Pañacocha (Piranha Lake) areas. The latter is an eco-system flooded by ‘white’ or turbulent water, creating the perfect habitat for the infamous piranha and white caiman. We board a motorised canoe to explore the lake, where you might be lucky enough to spot pink river dolphins and common squirrel monkeys. Lunch will be an Amazon-style barbecue meal, after which we embark on afternoon walks before returning to the ship for dinner.
Following breakfast, we explore a white-water river in search of local fauna. After lunch we stop at the Amazonian Water Museum (Yaku Kausay) and this evening there may be a possibility to join an optional night-walk within the forest (dependent upon the river levels and weather conditions).
We enjoy a morning visit to an Ethnological Museum. Following lunch we embark on a walk through the forest and learn the animated story of its connection to the Amazon Basin. At dusk there will be another chance to discover the mysteries of this environment on an optional night-walk to see how the life emerges in the dark right before your eyes!
This morning we disembark to meet members of the Amazonian community and learn of their culture, talents and way of life. With their cherished and fragile ecosystem, they have adapted their lives to utilise and also protect their resources. This afternoon we will explore one of the most pristine blackwater systems of the Amazon Basin. These blackwater rivers are deep and slow-moving, through forested swamps or wetlands, and derive their name from the tannins that leach into the water from the surrounding trees. On our journey we may spot pink river dolphins and the enigmatic Amazonian anaconda. We may also see river turtles and an array of monkey species including the black-mantled tamarin, red howler or squirrel monkeys, as well as three-toed sloths and the primitive Hoatzin, a bizarre bird known locally as ‘Stinky Turkey’!
This morning we are able to explore a swamp forest, by walking along a high-rise boardwalk. Here, there is a good chance to see wildlife that frequents this part of the forest - the Morete palm forest (or moretales) - including myriad birds, primates and different aquatic creatures. In a local home, 17th century funerary urns have been discovered and excavated and, after a short visit here, we take lunch on board the ship and enjoy an afternoon at leisure as the ship navigates upstream, exploring the large islands en route.
After breakfast on board, we have a cultural and ethnic encounter, visiting the local communities, with the opportunity to obtain some local handicrafts. Later we visit the most accessible parrot and parakeet clay licks in Ecuador, where special hides enable you to watch hundreds or thousands of parrots at close range. After lunch we visit the Limoncocha Biological Reserve. The lagoon here is surrounded by aquatic and semi-aquatic vegetation and more than 400 species of bird have been spotted. You may also catch sight of the red howler monkey and black caiman.
Day 9 Coca - Quito
Our fascinating cruise at an end, we disembark the Manatee Amazon Explorer and transfer for a flight back to Quito. On arrival we return to the Hilton Colon (4T) for two nights.
Day 10 Quito
Today we take a tour to see the sights of this city, set beneath the dramatic peaks of the Andes and the extinct volcano of Pichincha. Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is the highest city in the world and extends to within about 1km of zero latitude. A major Inca city in the past, Sebastian de Benalcazar founded the present capital on the Inca site in 1534; and old Quito displays Spanish colonial architecture at its finest. The Plaza de la Independencía, the churches of San Francisco and La Compañia are included, before driving up Panecillo Hill for a panoramic view over the city. We enjoy a farewell dinner this evening.
Day 11 Quito - In flight
At the conclusion of our unforgettable trip, we transfer to the airport for a scheduled beria flight to Madrid via Guayaquil or KLM flight to Amsterdam and onward British Airways or KLM flight to London.
Day 12 London
Arrival at London Heathrow Airport where you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.