This post is part 4 of 6 in the series Amazon Travel in Ecuador

We spent almost two weeks exploring the Amazon Basin in Ecuador near Yasuní National Park and along the mighty Napo River, which is a major tributary to the Amazon. Is this Amazon river cruise the Amazon adventure that’s right for you?

Anakonda Amazon River cruise Napo River Ecuador

The Anakonda Amazon Cruise riverboat on the Napo River in Ecuador.

An Amazon cruise on the Napo River

Full disclosure: We did not have a great sailing on the Anakonda Amazon Cruise riverboat. The water level in the Napo River was unusually low and this made navigating this notoriously tricky river even more difficult than usual. Very early into our 5-day cruise, we hit something in the river. It could have been debris or a shifting sand bar or any number of hazards. Whatever we hit, it broke a propeller broke and crew members were not able to repair it.

Anakonda Amazon River cruise cabin

Karen taking a break in our cabin on the Anakonda Amazon Cruise riverboat.

The broken propeller meant that our itinerary had to be changed drastically. For example, we were not able to get to the Peru border, as scheduled, and daily excursions required much more time in small vessels because the main boat was stuck in one place, unable to move. Accidents happen. We understand that. But managers onboard did not handle passenger disappointment very well, which left a bad taste.

guide Napo River Anakonda cruise

Our guide, Fredy Alvarado, was enthusiastic, patient, and kind.

However, we had an excellent guide and we enjoyed the daily adventures as we explored the river in small boats, took short hikes, visited villages, and more.

parrot clay yasuni napo ecuador

Various types of parrots at a clay lick along the Napo River in the Amazon Basin in Ecuador.

We also saw a very wide range of wildlife during our Anakonda Amazon Cruise excursion. A highlight was staking out a clay lick where parrots, macaws, and parakeets gathered to nibble at the earth which contains minerals they need to counter the effects of toxins found naturally in their daily diet. Here are some other wildlife highlights of our trip on the Anakonda Amazon Cruise riverboat.

Amazon birds Napo River Ecuador

Just a few of the many species of birds we saw along the Napo River in Ecuador.

Napo River frog caiman turtle

The Napo River itself, and the oxbow lakes that wander off of it are home to a wide variety of species as well. We have no idea what that thing on the bottom is…

Anhinga Amazon Napo

An Anhinga prepares to pounce on some prey.

Pros: Basing yourself on an Amazon riverboat that travels along the Napo means passengers can more easily reach more distant areas of the Napo River Amazon Basin (unless a propeller breaks). Passengers on the Anakonda are provided with rubber boots and ponchos for daily excursions which can be muddy and rainy and this means you don’t have to worry about packing these bulky items.

Cons: Broken propellers and other unforeseen issues can complicate a boat-based Amazon adventure.

Amazon river cruise excursion

Heading for adventure on the Napo River.

Continue planning your Amazon adventure in the Napo River region of Ecuador with our post about an outstanding community tourism lodge in the Amazon, our Amazon Travel in Ecuador Know-How post (which covers how to get there, environmental issues, Amazon myths, and other important aspects of Amazon travel), our post about a full-service Amazon luxury jungle lodge in Ecuador, and our post about 9 Great Big Amazon Travel Myths.


Here’s more about travel in Ecuador

Here’s more about Amazon Travel

Here’s more about Adventure Travel


Series Navigation:<< Ecuador’s Other Amazon – Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, EcuadorJungle Luxury – Napo River Amazon Basin, Ecuador >>

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