Anakonda: Ecuador’s Amazon Adventure Cruise
Though Ecuador is famous for its Andes peaks and snowcapped volcanoes, the country’s eastern region provides visitors with a completely different travel experience. Ecuador’s Amazon region covers 40% of the country’s area yet receives only a small percentage of the visitors who venture to this appealing South American nation. The Amazon is a land of waterways, making a river cruise the perfect way to explore the river and its tributaries to see the enormous variety of plant and animal life.
Thanks to Anakonda, a vessel specifically design for luxury river cruising, visitors can enjoy Ecuador’s Amazon region in total comfort. Among Anakonda’s 18 suites are four deluxe suites which offer spacious accommodation, glass walls, private balconies, and the indulgence of a bathtub from which the passing scenery can be enjoyed while soaking in the local colour, perhaps literally if using the Amazon bath tea provided. If a bathtub is too small an experience, the outdoor Jacuzzi on the vessel’s top deck permits relaxation in the serenity of the Amazon under a night sky full of stars.
Anakonda’s staff excel in pleasing passengers. Whether requiring individual dietary needs, must-haves for special occasions, or simple requests for some of Ecuador’s exquisite chocolate, the staff are only too happy to put a smile on the guests’ faces. The housekeeping staff especially do an excellent job of keeping the accommodation immaculate.
With a maximum of 36 travellers, dining on board is an intimate affair in the Anakonda dining room. Dinner usually follows a briefing for the next day’s activities, which in turn may be followed by a night walk in the rainforest to see nocturnal creatures or a movie in the lounge. Days are usually spent exploring the small tributaries and lagoon’s off the Napo River to observe the flora and fauna in their natural habitat. The Amazon ecosystem is unlike any other in the world and the more one learns about it, the more fascinating it becomes. The guides (as well as almost all the staff on board) are from the Amazon region and grew up with a deep understanding of the plants, birds, and animals found here. They have an uncanny ability to spot wildlife virtually invisible to the untrained eyes of the visitors and add greatly to the enjoyment of seeing the birds, monkeys, and other endemic species found in this biodiverse area of the world. One of the most curious is the pink river dolphin, originating from the Pacific Ocean many thousands of years ago and caught in the Amazon’s waters when the Andes rose to separate Ecuador’s western coastal region from its eastern forest region. The pink dolphins thrive in the pristine environment and are one of the guaranteed sightings on an Anakonda cruise, so reliable are their appearances.
Voyages on Anakonda can be easily booked through Latin America Reservation Center in the US, a company with decades of experience working with Ecuadorian tour operators. The vessel can be chartered for corporate groups and special family occasions, with the entire experience personalised from the food served on board to the types of activities offered. TAME, Ecuador’s national airline, provides the domestic flights between Quito and Coca in eastern Ecuador, the starting and end point for Anakonda’s river adventures.