We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.
Travel, Activity Time & Comfort
In order to fully experience the best of three incredibly diverse regions of Ecuador, this trip involves an ample amount of travel to and from the Ecuadorian mainland, the Galápagos Islands and the Amazon (including two round-trip flights, one of which requires us to get going as early as 5 a.m.). The wildlife in the Galápagos and Amazon is at its liveliest early morning, late afternoon and evening, so our activities line up accordingly, allowing optimal animal encounters in the cooler hours while giving you plenty of time to relax midday. The main form of travel for activities in the Galápagos and Amazon is by boat. Our Amazon ship cruises on calm river waters while our Galápagos boats sail through open ocean, with the potential for occasional wet and windy conditions, so bring medication if you're prone to motion sickness.
The Galápagos Islands are a welcoming and fascinating place, yet complex and at times logistically challenging due to national park regulations. Mid-trip itinerary changes are quite common. Rest assured, if we encounter changes to our planned activities, your Trip Leaders will find alternate activities that you're sure to enjoy.
Although Galápagos is part of Ecuador, the islands can feel worlds away from the mainland, including slow or no internet connectivity and ATMs possibly running out of cash. Service at inns and restaurants can lack a sense of urgency when compared with other regions. Your best bet is to sit back, relax and soak in the island way of life.
Terrain & Trail Support
Some hikes on this trip are remote and do not intersect with roads. Vehicles or boats will get us to and from the trailheads, but the nature of these trails is such that we won't see our vehicles along the route. Ample trail support in the form of water, snacks and encouragement is provided by your Backroads leaders and local guides.
Hiking on Your Own
We provide plenty of hiking options and ample trail support so that you can hike at your chosen pace throughout the trip. However, in the Galápagos and Amazon, in accordance with the national parks' environmental protection regulations, hikers need to be accompanied by our local naturalist and hike in designated areas.
Accommodations, Group Size & Meals
The Anakonda ship is your floating luxury hotel, letting you visit many locations along the Amazon's Napo River without having to pack up your bags! We've limited our Backroads group size to 20, but just like any hotel, we'll be sharing the ship with other guests. This 40-passenger ship is custom-designed with multiple inviting common spaces so you'll have room for both relaxing and socializing with other guests.
Itinerary Flexibility: Going with the Flow
In the Amazon, 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 a little more sailing time. The Napo River has its own unique temperament and for centuries water levels have shifted due to rain, temperature and the currents. Low water levels result in slower sailing and lead to extra cruising time or possible shifts in activity timing. Should any unforeseen change happen during your river cruise, we will work closely with the Anakonda's captain and staff, who are very experienced in going with the flow, in which case your leaders will adjust the activities as necessary.