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    FAQs About South America River Cruise Trips

FAQs About South America River Cruise Trips

Helpful answers to frequently asked questions about our River Cruise Trips including: lodging, meals, itineraries and activities, support and more.

Lodging

We sail on Anakonda Amazon Ship, which has been honored with the 2016 World Travel Award as South America’s Leading Boutique Cruise and is consistent with the level of comfort and service expected on a Backroads trip. The ship and staterooms are some of the most luxurious and comfortable in the Amazon region, but they're not nearly as spacious as traditional hotels. The Anakonda features air conditioning, spacious common areas and a rooftop whirlpool. Depending on availability, you can choose among standard or deluxe suites, which vary in price based on size. Please refer to the Lodging tab on your trip's Backroads webpage or contact your Trip Consultant for details.

Each stateroom features a hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner and spacious bathroom. All staterooms have air conditioning and a French balcony, while the deluxe suites feature an outside balcony. The ship includes spacious common areas and a rooftop whirlpool. Limited Wi-Fi is available—see below for details.

When selecting a stateroom you may wonder whether you should pick port or starboard for better views. During cruising time, both sides have equal appeal. The ship will travel in both directions on the river, and the views of the forest are similar on both sides of the river.

We've limited our Backroads group size to 20 on Walking & Hiking Trips, but just like any hotel, we'll be sharing the ship with other guests. The Anakonda can accommodate up to 40 passengers. Backroads takes you away from the group as much as possible but while on the ship, we are among the other Anakonda guests. While this is similar to many hotels we use, at times there will be public announcements, other group talks and activities that may not pertain to us.

Stateroom bedding options are either one large bed or two twin beds.

The staterooms are not set up to provide a third or rollaway bed.

We offer Classic Galápagos, Andes & Amazon River Trips and Family - Older Teens & 20s Trips for families with kids ages 17+. On our Classic Trips, we are unable to accept reservations for children under the age of 14 and we allow only one family per departure traveling with a child or children 14-17 years old.

Wireless internet is available on the ship, but access is extremely limited. The connection is available only when the ship is docked, between about 8 or 9 pm – 6 am. The connection, when available, can be extremely slow and unreliable. More reliable wireless internet is available at the other properties during the trip. Please note that there is extremely limited or non-existent cell service in the Amazon Basin while on the ship.

Electricity throughout Ecuador is between 110 and 120 volts AC and electrical sockets are very similar to those found in the United States and Canada. If you are plugging in a US or Canadian 120-volt appliance without the third grounding pin, you will not need an adapter. If your appliance has a North American grounded (three-pronged) plug, you may need a two-pronged non-grounded adapter.


Meals

While on board the Anakonda, all breakfasts and dinners will be on the ship. For lunch, the on-ship dining experience will be complemented by some off-ship lunches and picnics that more fully immerse you in the local culture and cuisine.

Alcohol is not included in the trip price. A full bar is available on the Anakonda. Cocktails, beer and wine are available for purchase and can be charged to your room, payable by credit card when you check out.

Yes, the leaders will dine with Backroads guests most nights, but you can also choose to have a meal at your own private table if you prefer.


Backroads itineraries and activities

Our experience since launching our River Cruise Trips has shown that the itineraries remain relatively consistent, allowing us to show you the highlights of the region even when schedules vary a bit. However, each river has its own unique temperament and for centuries water levels have shifted due to rain, temperature and agriculture. High water levels may mean the ship cannot pass under a bridge and low water levels result in slower sailing. Should any unforeseen change happen during your river cruise, we will work closely with the Anakonda captain and staff, who are very experienced in going with the flow, enabling your leaders to adjust the itinerary as necessary to ensure the best experience based on the day’s conditions.

Our daily itinerary is based on scheduled sailing and port arrival times and, as a result, some days have more opportunities for exploring on land while other days have more sailing time. The majority of sailing on the Anakonda happens in the late afternoon or early morning hours so you'll already be at the next destination in the morning ready for the day’s activities.

While we offer multiple route options, please note that all hikes in the Amazon are subject to change based on current conditions. Heavy rains or dry conditions can quickly and dramatically change trail conditions, so we work closely with our local guides to choose route options that provide the best opportunities to see wildlife each week. Backroads also works hard to provide choices for guests looking for a more active day and those who prefer a less active day.


Support

This trip typically has one Backroads leader in combination with a local team of naturalist guides and assistants to maintain a high level of support. On board the Anakonda ship, there will always be at least one Backroads leader in addition to a large local Ecuadorian team including a naturalist guide, the boat crew and dining room staff.

Yes. One, or sometimes two, Backroads trip leaders will stay on the ship.


Emergencies

The Napo River is nearly always calm and seasickness is very unlikely. (Seasickness is actually much more likely in seas of the Galápagos during day trips. Consider bringing Dramamine or an equivalent if you are prone to seasickness.) Additionally, you have the opportunity to put your feet on land at least once a day. At night, the ship does not navigate and will be moored to the river. If you do get seasick or have a medical emergency, the boat captain and staff will act swiftly to transport you to the nearest medical facility in Coca using motorized canoes.

A late arrival is possible but strongly discouraged. It would mean losing a day in the Galápagos Islands and requiring a special flight from mainland Quito. A flight to the Galápagos Islands would need special approval and a minimum of 75 days’ notice to coordinate. An early departure is not possible because the Anakonda ship will be in a remote region of the Napo River and cannot get you to port for an earlier flight (unless there is an extenuating circumstance or medical emergency).


Booking a River Cruise Trip

Each trip departure has the option of selecting a standard suite or an upgraded deluxe suite. Availability of deluxe suites is limited so we suggest booking early if that is important to you.

If you must cancel your reservation, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the policy outlined in our Reservations FAQs. Note that River Cruise Trips are considered Special Departures with terms that differ from hotel-based trips.

Backroads covers all gratuities for staff and local guides on the ground in the Galápagos, Andes and the Amazon on the Anakonda ship. Suggested gratuity for the Backroads Trip Leader is listed in the Travel Planner.

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