Ecuador is a deeply layered country. It holds spectacular natural diversity from snow-clad volcanoes to steamy tropical beaches and the verdant Eden of the Amazon rainforests found just east of the spectacular Andes mountain range. With this natural diversity comes extreme cultural diversity as well. Over 13 different languages are spoken in an area as large as the U.S. State of Colorado, although, like most Latin American countries, Spanish is the official language, together with Quechua, of ancient Incan descent, which is widely spoken in the rural highlands.
Three-centuries of Spanish colonial rule established an important Roman Catholic heritage, evident in a cluster of churches, cloisters and monasteries found in the major cities, especially Quito and its historic center, the largest and best preserved in South America. On the other hand, village life reveals deep-rooted ancient cultural traditions and a most fertile agricultural reality that produces fruit at both temperate and tropical climates, from apples to pineapples, from roses (the most vibrantly colored in the world) to orchids, as well as many crops that are believed to have originated here, such as maize, countless varieties of grains, potatoes, and arguably the best chocolate in the world! When you visit Ecuador be prepared to experience the unexpected, changing landscapes, and diversity in both nature and culture… all in one…
MEDICAL AND HEALTH:
Guests should be in good physical health in order to be able to make the most of their Amazon Cruise. Visiting the area involves the use of small motorized boats, and at times may possibly include some wet landings. The daily nature excursions may include walking on irregular terrain, and getting in and out of the boats occasionally requires a degree of physical effort. Walking excursions and hikes may last up to one hour. Malaria and yellow fever vaccinations are not required for travelers coming into the region, but they are recommended.
Travelers on the M/V Anakonda Amazon River Cruise are strongly advised to purchase trip cancellation insurance, which will reimburse the cost of air tickets and other non-refundable trip payments. International medical, baggage loss, and delay insurance are also recommended. Unfortunately, if you miss the vessel because of a weather-related flight cancellation, we will not reimburse the cost of the reservation, since flight cancellations are beyond our control and we have to comply with our schedules.
M/V Anakonda Amazon River Cruise reserves the right to replace the vessel if considered necessary (i.e. force majeure or mechanical failure). Should travelers not agree to this option, M/V Anakonda Amazon River Cruise reserves the right to cancel the trip upon a pro rata refund per cruise night not used or, as an alternative, will offer credit toward a future cruise on board M/V Anakonda Amazon River Cruise.
VISITS TO THE AMAZON COMMUNITIES:
Some of the visits programmed on the different itineraries are within protected areas, and visitors are required to comply with local rules and regulations. Naturalist guides will inform passengers of these rules. M/V Anakonda Amazon River Cruise, represented by its onboard guide, reserves the right to deny any passenger disembarkation for visits should any of these regulations are ignored or violated.
M/V Anakonda Amazon River Cruise requires written notification 30 days prior to the cruise with regards to any travelers’ specific dietary needs. Every effort will be made to cater to special dietary needs, and to accommodate special requests, subject to a given products’ availability in Ecuador.
The Ecuadorian Amazon Basin is a special place, unlike most visitor sites in the world, filled with teeming nature and adventure at every turn. There is no telling what you will see or experience. The unexpected is certainly one of its treasures.
Of course, there are constants as well. The Amazon is located in the lowland equatorial tropics. This is a humid environment. Excursions on land usually take place in the mornings and afternoons, as the temperature rises at midday when we will usually be taking R&R aboard the Anakonda. Weather is relatively constant throughout the year (we’re on the Equator, so there are no strongly demarcated seasons). It can certainly be hotter in New York or Paris in summer than it ever is in Ecuador’s corner of the Amazon Basin.
This is a rainforest, so rain is a normal occurrence. That’s what makes it so lush and wonderful. Often, showers are short-lived and they actually serve to cool the air, which is always welcome and refreshing.
The insects here are marvelous, colorful, bizarre and unique, just like everything else is… Like most everywhere in the world, you’ll find mosquitoes, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised that for the most part they are manageable with a little repellent from time to time. Remember, this is a very intact ecosystem and birds and other animals take care of maintaining a balanced environment, unlike other more developed parts of the world.
Forest trails can be uneven (a walking stick is helpful if you do not feel that you are sturdy on your feet), and in certain segments, can be muddy or flooded. Good traction state-of-the-art mountain hiking boots might be helpful, but are not the best answer. Usually you are better off with rubber boots (which we provide onboard, as well as waterproof plastic ponchos). By the way, clothes should be lightweight and quick-dry (check out our packing list).
When we say that things are unexpected in the Amazon, we really mean it. You can’t really know just what you’ll come across. There is always something. The environment is, in general, so different from anything most people have witnessed, that living it for the first time can be a deep life-changing experience. Sound is unbelievable. When paddling along one of the winding black-water streams, we invite you to close your eyes and try to take in the plethora of fascinating sounds that fill the air. The sheer mass and diversity of trees, their amazing height, the ground (we also invite you to take a moment and just look under the leaves… it is here where an important part of the secret of what makes the Amazon such a rich and successful ecosystem lies), just enjoy it, let go, feel the spirits of the Amazon envelope you at every turn…
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