We were up early for breakfast at our Coca hotel to being our Amazon Adventure. The motorised canoe was loaded when the other nine guests arrive d from Coca Airport. Together with our guide we cruised the 40 kilometres up Rio Napo to our cruise vessel, MV Manatee, passing the locals who were going about their everyday chores. After checking into our cabins it was time for lunch and a preview of the next four days.
In the evening we went for an interesting walk into the jungle where we spotted tarantulas, mating mantis, snakes, frogs and other insects. The female mantis eats her mate after mating (see photo below). That doesn’t sound like gender equality.
After an early morning breakfast we were out on the river to the Sani river to take a smaller canoe to Chacluacocha Lake for some bird watching. There is much to see as we cruised Rio Napo to our destination, the ever changing flora, different birds and the fleeting colours of butterflies. The peacefulness and being with nature as we slowly paddled around the lake was an experience that one will never forget.
After lunch aboard the MV Manatee we visited a local Sani village and learned about their lifestyle and we were offered some traditional Sani cusine. Two of us were given a “Sani” facial, with a local fruit. No Revlon rouge in the Napo.
We arrived back at the boat to enjoy drinks on the upper deck and watch the sun set over Rio Napo.
The next morning we were up at 5:30am to visit the Parrot clay lick. Apparently the parrots diet contains some toxins and the clay clears the toxin from their bodies. However, the parrots’ predators also know that the parrots have to visit the clay lick regularly so the parrots have to be cautious when visiting the lick. This means that the we were not guaranteed a sighting of this phenomenal natural gathering. After waiting one hour at the first clay lick, where we could only see a few parrots high above the lick we moved to another lick. Once again we didn’t encounter the natural gathering. However on our way back to the Manatee we could see a gathering beginning at the first lick we had stopped. After 15 minutes the parrots slowly descended on the cliff face to have their dose of clay.
We had another jungle walk after lunch and then it was back to the Manatee for our final dinner.
I would highly recommend the Amazon Cruise aboard the MV Manatee. We did the 4-day cruise and we wished we had taken the 7-day cruise as there is so much to see and do, remembering that Mother Nature will always be the boss so it’s good to allow for a rainy day or two. The guides are very knowledgeable and will willingly answer any questions you may have. There are illustrated briefings every evening and the quality of the meals was excellent Ecuadorian cuisine.
Advantage Travel also have a bigger and newer vessel, MV Anaconda, that offers similar cruises along the Rio Napo.