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“Unique way to explore a remote area of the world”

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Manatee Amazon Explorer
San Rafael, California
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Unique way to explore a remote area of the world”
Reviewed 31 December 2011

We took the 5 day / 4 night trip on the Manatee. It's a unique opportunity to see a part of the world in relative comfort, that not many people get to see at all. It's a great way to extend a trip to the Galapagos, but be sure to start with the Amazon first. Otherwise, the Galapagos will spoil you for wildlife sightings, which on the Amazon are much more typical.

We were pleasantly surprised by 3 things on the Manatee: the food, the shower and the availability of WiFi. The food was typically Ecuadorian and very good. The futuristic new shower capsules are right out of the Jetson's. In the evenings after they tie up along shore, they provide WiFi access throughout the ship.

You'll want to take a lot of pictures on the walks and powered canoe rides. Be sure to bring your longest lens. I'm attaching a picture taken from the clay licks with a 300mm (6x) lens. I would recommend a mega-zoom camera with a 25x or 35x lens. To take movies at the clay lick bring a tripod.

Overall, I felt the crew and guides worked very hard to be sure we had a great experience!

Room Tip: Ask for a room with the renovated shower/bath.
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
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2 Thank LarryUSA0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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128 reviews from our community

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English first
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 December 2011

We just returned from a four day trip on the Manatee Explorer. It is an experience which we will cherish for a very very long time.

Food - excellent. You will surely gain a bit of weight as the Chef makes some delicious food. We are vegetarians, so the options for us were a bit limited. The special yellow sauce is awesome and we even took the recipe for it from the Chef.

Cabins - are a bit small. Ensure that you have only the relevant clothing with you. It can take a while before the water gets hot in the shower.

Daily activities - your typical day starts early morning at around 5.00am and by around 6.30 you are out on the canoe. These guys know how to keep your day fully packed. The trip to the Cuyabeno reserve, Yasuni National Park were excellent. We saw a lot of wildlife (pink dolphins, parakeets, tucans, snakes, all kinds of insects and birds) etc. The weather changes quite suddenly and you have to be ready for it. These guys accordingly change the plans to suit the weather.

Milton, our guide was great. He has a great eye and is a good asset for the Manatee Explorer. At the end of the trip, he made a CD of all the photographs that he clicked of us and not to mention, he had some fantastic shots as well.

Luckily for us, we were only 6 guests for the whole trip. We had the most amazing time with two couples from the UK and had some fascinating conversations.

Our regret - couldnt do the 7 day trip rather than the 4 day trip. Highly recommend that you should do the 7 day trip rather than the four day one. HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE TRIP!!!!

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Madhurrao
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warrington, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 December 2011

We have just returned from a Saga holiday on the Manatee. The cabins were small (as expected) but the shower was great and the beds comfy - which is all you really need on such a holiday. I would advise soft luggage which can be stowed under the beds as there is limited storage for clothes. Long sleeved lightweight cotton shirts and trousers and walking shoes/boots and waterproofs are a necessity (though rubber boots are supplied on board which are surprisingly comfortable, as are waterproof ponchos!) Bit of a shock to the system to have a 5 am wake up call and breakfast at 5.30 am for a 6.30 am start but well worth it! Unfortunately Amazon birds wake with the sun and therefore, if you want to see them, you need to do the same! You soon adjust to going to bed at 9 pm! The chefs on board are superb with local produce served daily and lots of fresh juices, fruits and vegetables (some of which we had never heard of - let alone tasted!) The crew are fabulous! The boat runs very smoothly and efficiently and nothing is too much trouble! The boat's propeller/engine had problems while we were on board, but we were taken on alternative trips and speedboats were laid on to get us back to Coca in time for our flight. I hope this problem is now resolved as the crew really tried hard to make sure it did not spoil our holiday. The guides are nothing less than superb - we had a temporary guide called Delphin who was absolutely amazing - together with Milton and Raoul who were both informative, helpful, amusing and could not be faulted!
I was a bit apprehensive about the 'canoes' but no need to worry - they are easy to get on and off - help is available at all times. We saw loads of birds, insects, dolphin, monkeys, sloth, snakes etc etc and one of my most enduring memories will be of the cacophany of sounds in the rainforest at 6 pm when all the tree frogs and cicadas wake up! Totally amazing!
Every day is planned out according to the weather/river conditions with a short talk the previous evening after dinner on what to wear, take and what the wake up time will be, and the length of the trip. Take a torch, plenty of 50% Deet insect repellent and high factor suncream and especially do not forget a good camera and binoculars.
If you like dressing up for dinner, looking glamorous, wearing make-up then stay at home! If you are prepared to muck in (literally!) and crawl under logs, get wet, look like no-one ownes you, then go ahead and book - I guarantee you will have a whale of a time.

Room Tip: Avoid the top deck if possible as the water pressure in the shower is low when everyone rushes back...
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Dunpubbin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dorchester, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 24 October 2011

I have just returned from a week's cruise on the Manatee. What a wonderful experience, although I was apprehensive as it was my first trip since being widowed.The itinerary was full of varied interesting places, the guides were excellent, explaining the varied flora and fauna of the rainforest.
The food was wonderful, the crew super efficient, and I was very impressed with the high standard by everyone. They really try to ensure that each passenger has a truely wonderful experience, far better than I could ever imagined

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Chris S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norwich, England, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 October 2011

We were on the same trip as ronspeer and echo everything he's said and more. It's absolutely the best way to see the Amazon basin and it's wildlife. Excellent food, excellent guides, unobtrusive crew and relaxed atmosphere. Trying to find fault is difficult. The cabins are compact, as to be expected on a boat this size, but comfortable enough and, although there is ample hot water, the top cabins do suffer from very low water pressure at peak shower times. It's also not a cruise for anyone who enjoys dressing for dinner. We booked our trip through Saga who had obviously not done their homework as they warned that our boat may be parked against other boats and we may need to walk over other boats (the Manatee is the only boat of any size on this part of the river and, with few suitable landing stages, goes in for inventive parking) and suggested taking comfortable walking shoes /boots (which proved no good at all in muddy, jungly conditions with lots of creepy crawlies). The Manatee provides wellies for all and substantial waterproof capes. It might also be nice if, when the time comes for a new roof canopy for the canoe, sides might be included!? We did get rather wet a couple of times - but this is a rain forest!

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank Linda R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Panama City, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 October 2011

I selected this river cruise solely by reviews. It met all expectations. I took the 8 day / 7 night itinerary and would suggest the same to anyone who chooses this venue. The 4 day / 3 night itinerary misses some of the most excellent sites. The days begin early and every day is filled with a morning and afternoon/evening excursion on different parts of the Nap River, a major tributary of the Amazon. The events and meals go like clockwork. I was impressed given the variables of weather and river conditions in this region. The region is an especially biodiverse area unrivaled in the entire Amazon basin. Be prepared to get wet and have some fun. I saw both species of river dolphin, several species of monkey, sloths, a multitude of birds, caimans, amphibians, reptiles, and, of course, insects. DEET 50% is not a recommendation; it is a necessity, as is sunscreen. Laundry can be done very inexpensively on board the ship, so I suggest packing modestly since the rooms are compact, especially if you are sharing. A waterproof pack is another necessity. The Manatee suppies rain ponchos and rubber boots, and you will use them. The food on board was excellent. It was European style fare with Ecuadorian highlights. Service was prompt and courteous. Guides were excellent. I was impressed both with the depth and breadth of their knowledge. They pointed out wildlife that only a lot of experience could have seen. Safety was always first, and no age or "courage level" should have any concern. There was a stop at a children's elementary school and the Napo Wildlife Center where indigenous people produce an adequate but, as always, somewhat contrived experience of local life. I would like to have had more anthropological interaction in the region personally, but I was satisfied with my experience. Birdwatchers, of which I am not one, will be enthralled. I highly recommend this experience and the value is excellent.

Room Tip: All rooms are the same, however, ask for a mid-deck room to avoid any possible water pressure issues...
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank ronspeer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
new jersey
Level 6 Contributor
116 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 August 2011

A wonderful way to tour the rainforest of the area - relaxing and comfortable, but still enough adventure for most. Reuben and our guide Raoul took care to make our experience one to remember. The cabins are quite small, but there is a large covered deck as well as an air-conditioned lounge with bar and library to spend time in. Most of the time is spent walking or canoeing through the forest, spotting wildlife and meeting local families. A night hike with flashlights was particularly enjoyed by the children in our group. The food is excellent and plentiful. Thank you to the staff of the Manatee for giving us a great experience!

Stayed August 2011, travelled with friends
Helpful?
3 Thank drfaith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Manatee Amazon Explorer

Property: Manatee Amazon Explorer
Address: Quito Office: Gaspar de Villarroel 1100 y Av. 6 de Diciembre Edificio Ritz Plaza, Yasuni National Park 17-11-6646, Ecuador
Region: Ecuador > Yasuni National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Yasuni National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Although expedition cruising by its very nature is characterized as adventurous, the safety of our staff and passengers is of paramount importance to us. The Manatee Amazon Explorer is fully equipped and maintained in order to handle the most challenging conditions and circumstances, and is manned by experienced and conscientious expedition staff and crew. The canoes used for daily shore landings are rugged and versatile and are operated responsibly by experienced personnel. Onboard you will be fully briefed on all pertinent safety issues and concerns, as well as our environmental policy; passengers also receive appropriate and detailed briefings before each landing. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Manatee Amazon Explorer Hotel Yasuni National Park
Manatee Amazon Explorer Ecuador/Yasuni National Park

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