The Amazon rainforest has no match for scale and diversity; and Ecuador's north eastern lowland rainforests, an ancient Ice Age refugia nestled at the foot of the Andes, have been assessed as the most biologically diverse location on Earth. A few of its world records include 2,274 species of tree and bush, 83 species of reptile, 64 species of stingless bee and 100,000 species of insect per hectare. 644 species of tree have been found in a single hectare here, which is almost as many as you will find in all of USA and Canada combined. We can also find 550 species of bird, 13 species of monkey, 105 species of amphibian and 1,000 species of butterfly.
This four-day wildlife and conservation insights journey will be led by Ralph Pannell, formerly of Rainforest Concern and now a director at Aqua-Firma. The area of rainforest we will visit is the northern banks of the Rio Napo. Ralph first explored these forests more than 20 years ago, leading a primate research expedition which also became a medical project providing free health care to Kichwa and colonista communities in this area. Since then, local communities recognised the value of the natural assets which surround them, setting aside 100,000 acres purely for nature and building some lovely visitor cabins we will be staying in.
We will fly into the Amazon from Quito, hoping to catch views of the snow-capped Cayambe volcano en route. We will land at the bustling Amazon town of Coca where we will switch to a motorised longboat canoe and speed 3 hours down the Rio Napo in the direction of Peru. This is the Amazon artery from which the great river was first descended from Andes to the Atlantic Ocean, by Francisco de Orellana in 1542. We will be in one of the best places in South America to see giant Harpy Eagles.
We will eventually switch to a paddle-powered canoe heading up a small tributary leading out onto a stunning owbow lake. This is where we will base ourselves for exploration of Amazon forest on foot, from above the forest when we climb a canopy tower; and by dugout through lagoons and narrow Amazon tributaries.
Spotting wildlife and exploring the Amazon environment in detail will be a priority. So too will be learning about Kichwa history and culture; and gaining an insight into conservation challenges and solutions in this gem of a country on the Equator. August is usually one of the driest two months of the year, so our timing is good. Whilst we offer tailor made journeys to the Amazon year-round, this hosted journey will take place following Aqua-Firma's August 2019 Galapagos Wildlife & Marine Life Yacht Safari, also led by Ralph Pannell; and our Galapagos Shark Research Insights and Photography Dive Liveaboard led by marine biologist and photographer, Dr Simon Pierce.
27 - 30 Aug 2019
Can be extended to any day except a Sunday when there are no flights into / out of the Ecuadorian Amazon
Each extra day add £199 / $260 sharing
No supplement if you share, but £170 / $195 if you have your own room
£38 / $48 for each extra night if you stay longer
Airport transfers in Quito
All transportation by air, river and land
All meals on location in the Amazon
Park entry fees
£25 towards Aqua-Firma's Rainforest4Climate fund