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“Amazing”

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Manatee Amazon Explorer
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
30 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Amazing”
Reviewed 27 April 2014 via mobile

Done 4 day cruise on Manatee, service was excellent, crew were amazing, booked triple cabin but as boat was not full they gave us an extra cabin free of charge. Food amazing. Will definitely recommend Manatee to friends family. First time in Amazon and will not be my last visit.

Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
2 Thank TC2711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Advantagetravel, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Manatee Amazon Explorer, responded to this review, 28 April 2014
Dear TC2711, good to hear your reviews; we are glad you enjoyed your first time in the amazon basin here in Ecuador. Hope to see you again soon for another great adventure.
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Minneapolis
Level Contributor
47 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2014

All complimentary reviews of staff, food, etc are warranted, but . . . When the boat manager told us the first night that this was his FIRST TIME running a Manatee cruise, the red flags should have gone up. We didn't even approach the Peruvian border over our 5 day trip. The Manatee basically went in a big circle after leaving Coca, requiring any exploration to be done through 60-90 min shuttles in the so-called motorized canoe. As a result, the number and diversity of birds, monkeys and other critters seen was minimal. "Meet the sacred people of the Amazon forest" = a pathetic show & tell by local ladies selling handicrafts. And, as though this company hadn't overcharged us as it was, a skimpy drink at the end of the day cost a hefty $8. I regret not pursuing another way to see the Amazon.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank KSKLindenHills
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Advantagetravel, Guest Relations Manager at Manatee Amazon Explorer, responded to this review, 11 March 2014
Dear KSKLindenHills,

We are sorry you had this inconvenience, as you know the jungle is an unpredictable territory; the river changes day to day and navigation can be altered. We understand the Peruvian border is a must but sometimes the jungle itself doesn’t let us go that way. Please contact marketing@advantagecuador.com in your next trip to Ecuador we can definitively work something out for you. Again, sorry for this inconvenience.
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Hawaii
Level Contributor
35 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2014

We had the opportunity to stay on the Manatee Amazon Explorer in late August of 2013. We were a family of three adults and stayed in a rustic, wooden paneled, triple cabin on the top floor. We had originally booked a 5-day cruise aboard the Anakonda, however due to the low river levels and extreme winds, she had sadly been pushed aground. The crew of the Manatee graciously accommodated us for three nights, and we were very happy with the service, knowledge and effort to educate, entice and enthrall each guest. Just how they were able to accommodate another sailing was amazing and we are forever grateful.

First, please understand, that the company we booked through, did a very shabby job of any type of concierge services, primarily in not notifying us of an 8-hour difference of our outbound flight to the dock, nor did they follow-up to assist in any way, other than tell us to contact the owners, which we had no contact information for. Thinking things could get no worse, once we got to the dock late in the day, with a large storm approaching, we were notified that we would not be on our intended boat, but the Manatee. I had done my research, and I knew she was not a luxury boat, but the reviews I'd read on her were very good – people had fun and they loved it. So we bucked it up and hoped for the best. What else were we to do; we were at the edge of the wild Amazon, in Coca, Ecuador, a small, soggy little town, a plane’s hop over the mighty Andes from Quito.

During the ride down river, the sunset on the Napo River was incredible. My spirit brightened despite the heavy downpour. Two and a half rainy hours later, we arrived on the Manatee, greeted with warm smiles, hot cocoa and cookies. We were shown to our rooms and advised to prepare for dinner, which would be served directly. At dinner, I realized, this was indeed a first class operation – dinner was elegant, with a regional, Ecuadorian flare and course after course; excitingly presented. I would come to look forward to each meal throughout our stay. Each evening after dinner we were educated and briefed on itinerary. Each day began early with a full breakfast, then off to an early morning excursion; returning to the boat for lunch and a rest, then an afternoon/evening excursion and dinner. Each evening we mingled with fellow guests on the star-filled upper deck, which included several families, middle-aged singles and a large group of elderly women. Chatter of the day’s activities consumed us; an ukulele was strummed, and some indulged in scotch and Cuban cigars.

The excursions aboard were planned according to water level and accessibility. Our guide team led by Juan was constantly seeking and spotting and were truly the creators of magic on this trip. We did a night hike, visited two busy clay licks, braved a downpour to explore a green algae lake and visited native villages. The night hike was amazing, where we saw many large tarantulas, frogs, lizards, stick bugs, centipedes, bats and heard much more than the eye could see could see. Birding was always abundant and we also saw many large butterflies, parrots, monkeys, some rare tree-dwelling rodents and large snakes. Again, our guides were amazing, and we always felt safe and educated on the ecosystems and sensitivity of the region, particularly with the petroleum companies penetrating deeper and deeper into the fragile Amazon basin.

On our third day evening, we got plenty of rain and the Anakonda was finally freed and able to accommodate us. Our guides transported us to our new boat and we continued our adventure together there. If you have any question about a cruise on the Manatee, I can only say good things. Plan for the need to be flexible, bring your sense of humor, adventure and appetites, for you will not be disappointed. All adventure gear is provided.

Room Tip: Upper floor was great
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank returnmetokaneohe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Advantagetravel, Guest Relations Manager at Manatee Amazon Explorer, responded to this review, 11 March 2014
Dear returnmetokaneohe,

Thank you very much for your report; we are glad you had a great time at the Manatee and sorry to hear about the Anakonda but the jungle is mighty! Glad that you actually got in the two only and best boats that cruise the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest and you had a great time. Hope to see you soon back with us.
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Limoges, France
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 March 2014

I have just read the last review and agree wholeheartedly with the comments made.
The staff could not do enough for us, the food was first class, and although the cabins are a little on the small size they were wonderfully cool .
I agree you would need to be able bodied on this tour, but we had a lady of 70 who walked with a cane and she was able to go on most of the trips with the help of the crew and the rest of the guests.

Lots of sunscreen and insect repellent,long sleeve shirts, trouser, socks and a HAT are the thing to pack.
It is very hot you need to take care in the sun

Room Tip: The top deck would be the best choice
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Tina J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Advantagetravel, Guest Relations Manager at Manatee Amazon Explorer, responded to this review, 11 March 2014
Tina J, thanks for your comments. We are glad you liked our food, our boat and our staff.
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Cuenca, Ecuador
Level Contributor
115 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2014

We didn’t expect this to be a lounge-&-lazy sort of vacation, and we were not disappointed! Our adventure began Monday at the Quito Airport, where we met our travel assistant. She handled our boarding passes, and helped check our luggage for the flight to Coca.
Upon arrival to the tiny Coca Airport, we quickly met-up with another travel assistant from the Manatee who guided us and some other couples to awaiting taxis. We were driven to the Coca dock. There, we all boarded a motorized canoe for the 2 hour ride downriver to the Manatee Amazon Explorer riverboat.
We were met with a friendly greeting, snacks, and juice as we boarded the Manatee. Our luggage was taken to our respective rooms and we were soon served lunch in the dining room.
Throughout the entire cruise, there was never any food or drink served to me that went against the dietary restrictions I had stated at the time of my booking. All food was freshly prepared using local ingredients wherever possible. Meals were hearty, and attractively presented. Our waiter went to great lengths to please everyone.
Our first shore excursion was a night hike on our first day, after dinner. We saw tarantulas, wolf spiders, walking sticks, crickets, millipedes, frogs, and bats. At times, we all turned off our flashlights and stood motionless in the dark jungle, listening to wildlife sounds. Our highly knowledgeable nature guide, Raoul, explained everything that was new to us.
Each evening, we were briefed on plans for the following day, including what time our wake-up call would come. Wake-up was anywhere from 5:30am to 7:30am, with breakfast served ½ hour later. Then we went off on our first excursion, returned for lunch, had a second excursion, and returned for dinner.
The excursions included:
* a visit to an elementary school where we got to meet the most darling children and their teacher.
* a canoe trip to the Peruvian border, and on to explore the Yasuni River and a blackwater river.
* a 3-hour hike through the jungle to meet a local family and help in harvesting cassava.
* parakeet clay licks. (Unfortunately, we didn’t see any parakeets the day we went, but we can’t always predict or control what happens in the wild.)
* motorized boat ride on a nearby lake where we saw many species of birds at dusk, plus glow worms, bats, and caimen after dark.
* Besides the excursions, we also watched three movies about Amazonia.
From the captain to the cook to the bartender, the crew of the Manatee were polite and helpful in every way, always putting the guests’ needs first. They earned our highest gratitude.
We were fortunate to cruise with 4 other couples (10 guests total, including ourselves) who were well-traveled, compatible, lovely people. There were no snivelers, whiners, or complainers amongst us. Everyone participated in every excursion. We ate all our meals together, and shared tropical fruit margaritas one night. (FYI: Alcoholic beverages are $8 - $9 each.) We helped each other through the tough parts (like when we had to descend along a narrow log to the beach), looked out for one another (one of our group lagged behind to take a pee and we were concerned when he went missing), and cheered for each other (when we pulled cassava roots from the ground.) Overall, the crew, fellow-guests, excellent food, and interesting excursions made our Amazonian cruise spectacular!
Some hints and suggestions:
* My calves were too big for the rubber boots we were given to wear on excursions. I soon discovered that they were fine if I just cuffed the top.
* We all sweated profusely in the humid jungle. In one particular instance, I sat for well over an hour watching for parakeets to come to the clay licks; although I wasn’t even moving, I could feel rivers of sweat pouring out of my body. A Kleenex tissue was soaked in one swipe. I wish I had packed cloth handkerchiefs to carry on excursions to wipe sweat from my face and neck. I also noticed that some people chose fabrics and colors that showed sweat more than others. This was a consideration for me when packing for this trip. Every inch of everyone’s shirt was soaking wet by the time we returned from excursions. It is important to drink a lot of water too, and remember that a headache is often the first sign of dehydration.
* Not one of the women wore a drop of make-up or jewelry during the entire cruise. It was just too hot, and very casual. There is no need to pack such items for this cruise.
* There were times that we needed insect repellent. Be sure to pack some.
* One excursion lasted several hours in the sun, on the water, on the equator . . . . Needless to say, you’ll need plenty of sunscreen. It will sweat off and need to be reapplied frequently. Also take sunglasses, and a hat to protect your face.
* No one needed a jacket on our cruise, as the weather was very warm. However, lightweight trousers and long-sleeved shirts offered protection from insects and briars in the jungle, and from excessive sun while in the canoe. I found I needed both a short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirt each day. The good news is that if you don’t pack enough, it’s OK because the Manatee staff will do your laundry! Various articles of clothing are $1.00 - $1.50 a piece to launder, and are returned the same day.
* If you forget your hat, sunscreen, toothpaste, etc., there is a gift shop on board. They also sell postcards and T-shirts.
* I would not recommend this cruise if you do not have full use of your arms and legs, or if you cannot walk steadily on uneven surfaces for up to 3 hours at a time, climb a ladder, or get in-and-out of a canoe easily. If you must use a walker, cane, or brace, it may not be possible to even get to your cabin.
* Expect to get a few bruises. We had no serious injuries amongst our group. No one fell, slipped, or tripped, but somehow I acquired many small bruises for which I cannot account. I also got a minor rash atop one foot and some sort of bite on my ankle that was not bothersome. None of this was a big deal, but if it is to you, this would not be an ideal adventure to undertake.
We cruised during the end of the dry season. Some of these suggestions may not apply during the rainy season, which we were told begins in March. Navigation is a zigzag pattern in the dry season to avoid sandbars, but running over them still sometimes occurs. While it added some occasional excitement to the cruise, it was never a danger.

Room Tip: Rooms are not numbered. They are designated by animals: dolphin, monkey, turtle, etc. Guests are not...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank CGGlobeTrekkers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Advantagetravel, Guest Relations Manager at Manatee Amazon Explorer, responded to this review, 11 March 2014
Dear CGGlobeTrekkers, it makes us happy to read reviews like these; looks you had a great experience; glad we provided it! Amazon Jungle river cruising is an exciting adventure, in rainy and not rainy season. People come prepared! Anyway, thanks again for the review and hope to see you soon in another Ecuadorian adventure.
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Isle of Man, UK
Level Contributor
49 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 February 2014

We had a terrific experience in January 2014 aboard the Manatee. The staff were a delight, extremely polite and courteous and nothing was too much trouble. Our guides Raul and Daniel were experienced, knowledgeable and clearly very enthusiastic to impart their extensive knowledge of the flora and fauna in this wonderful part of our planet. They are undoubtedly and justifiably very proud of this beautiful part of their country.

The food was fantastic, all fresh and cooked perfectly, plenty of variety and we didn’t go hungry.

Yes, the cabins are small but you’re there to see the rain forest and I respectfully suggest that if you’re not there for an adventure that can oftentimes be unpredictable that perhaps you book an all-inclusive resort type trip to Tenerife or wherever your local crowds flock to.

I’d also like to make reference to some other comments I’ve read on here.

1. You are not on the Amazon River, you’re on the Napo river, a tributary of the Amazon. If you read the itinerary before booking you’ll be clear where that is.

2. Another ill-informed contributor commented about there being no animals of the kind you’d expect to see in the Amazon. If you expect to step into the Jungle and the animals to come down for a photo opportunity, the Amazon isn’t for you, go to your local zoo. In fact the Yasuni National Park is right in the middle of one of the most bio-diverse hot spots on the planet. There’s plenty of life out there but you may have to look hard to see it. As for there being no manatees to be seen, well that’s because shamefully, they’ve been hunted to near extinction by our species and there are only around 30 left in the wild.

One thing I was not aware of was the extent of the exploitation of this beautiful rain forest by the oil companies. It’s clearly a working river and whilst it didn’t detract from the trip whatsoever it was certainly a sad reminder to witness how our species is exploiting even the most precious and fragile areas of our planet. Go there and educate yourself and then come back and become part of the growing tide of opinion that will eventually lead to change. Tell your kids, your friends, your family to stop wasting precious resources.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Chief_Scone_Baker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Advantagetravel, Guest Relations Manager at Manatee Amazon Explorer, responded to this review, 11 March 2014
Hi, Manxman_IoM. Thank you very much for the review. It is sad to see how foreign oil companies are destroying the jungle; but there is still much to see and do; anyhow you are in the middle of this amazing hot spot. We will be glad to see you again with your family and kids aboard the Manatee.
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Isle of Man
Level Contributor
25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 February 2014

We recently did 7 nights on the Manatee Explorer and we were both truly delighted with cruise. 7 nights flew by, in fact when we were checking out, we thought they got our days mixed up, it just went by so quickly. The staff are incredibly friendly, Ruben the manager, runs a highly effective team. The food was exquisite and plentiful, 3 meals a day, 3 courses. The tours were fantastic, albeit you started very early and got back late and had little time to shower, but it was such a full on day, that once you ate dinner, everyone was off to bed. When you arrived back from tours, you were greeted warmly by the team who serve fresh juice and snacks. The rooms were really comfortable and really serviced well by staff. I seriously would recommend this tour to anyone, its exceptional value for money, for what you get. People say that the boat is tired, it's not really, it's charming and this is reflected in the price, for those complaining, you should upgrade to the anaconda, but I doubt the service/food/tours will be any better than the manatee. You might get a more glamorous room on another vessle, but who wants to stay in a room when you are in the Rain Forest? You are there for the nature & culture and being in the Rain Forest, not necessarily a room. Thanks for an amazing tour guys! You were all just fantastic!

Room Tip: The top deck was great, close to out door sitting area and bar. It's not noisy at all. The only...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank IsleofManManxman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Advantagetravel, Guest Relations Manager at Manatee Amazon Explorer, responded to this review, 11 March 2014
Dear IsleofManManxman, thank you for being part of this experience. It is a pleasure to have guests like you on board. Glad you enjoyed it.
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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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