Category Archives: Amazon

In the GreenSpot Light: Ecuador

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Quito Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

No stranger to bucket lists and Pinterest boards, there’s no denying that the Galapagos Islands are a remarkable place to visit. When asked about my favorite travel experience, snorkeling with Galapagos sea lions always ranks high on my list. In addition, those islands ignited my passion for wildlife and conservation.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

snorkeling with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos may be Ecuador’s gem, yet we believe that mainland Ecuador deserves to share the spotlight with those famous islands. The mainland is so much more than a transfer point. Dig deep into the heart of the country and the incredible biodiversity, vibrant culture and potential for adventure will win you over.

As we get ready to launch our new Ecuador itineraries, we will be sharing an in-depth look at some of mainland Ecuador’s most notable attributes. Here is an overview of what’s to come and a look at some of the beauty of the country.


Unsurpassed Biodiversity

Ecuador is one of 17 megadiverse countries in the world and has the most biodiversity per square kilometer of any nation (whoa!). Essentially, that means that this small country contains a massive amount of the earth’s species. In part, this is due to the variety of ecosystems found in such close proximity to each other. In other words, you can be riding in a canoe in the humid, tropical rainforest in the morning and sitting next to a crackling fire, in the highlands of the Andes that evening.

Ecuador Hummingbird

Ecuador Hummingbird

Amazon rainforest canoe

Canoe in the Amazon

A Country with a Spirit for Adventure

Everyone’s idea of adventure is different. Have you ever experienced peddling a bike over a cloud forest? Well, Ecuador makes it possible. Whether you are climbing one of the country’s highest peaks, rafting class 5 rapids, horseback riding in the mountains or experiencing a gentle hike through the foothills of an ecological reserve, the options are endless.

Hiking Ecuador

Hiking in Ecuador

Mountain biking - Cotopaxi National Park

Mountain biking – Cotopaxi National Park

Culture and Tradition

Ancient traditions are alive and well in Ecuador. Stumbling upon natural cultural encounters is as easy as strolling through a bustling market. Strike up a conversation with weavers who are making Panama hats (which are actually Ecuadorian…but more about that later). Furthermore, the food in Ecuador is something to write home about.

Chicha, Ecuador

Ingredients for traditional chicha

Banos, Ecuador

Banos, Ecuador

People make the Place

As you delve into the culture and tradition of the country, it doesn’t take long to see the adoration that Ecuadorians have for their homeland. They are happy and proud to share the beauty of their country with travelers. Locals are hospitable and courteous and native guides will deliver an abundance of information that will enhance your travel experience.

people, Ecuador

Ecuadorian hospitality

village children, Ecuador

We are looking forward to sharing more of this beautiful country with you. Stay tuned for more of Ecuador – or contact us to find out how we can help you get there.

To See a Jungle, Walk This Way

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By Bob Linde and Shirley Linde:

It pays to walk a trail with a naturalist guide. A good guide will help keep you out of danger, help you spot wildlife and tell wonderful stories about what you see.

We have hiked through rainforests of Costa Rica and Belize and through jungles along the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers with naturalist/guides.The four of the naturalists we have travelled were Marcel Lichtenstein, Carla Weston, Conrad Weston, and Dr. Charles Leavell. They share their tips on the ways to walk a trail like an expert and have satisfying sightings of wildlife in even the most remote areas:

1. Go with only a few other people. Big groups don’t work.

2. Go at sunrise and sunset if you can. As sunlight arrives, monkeys are screaming and birds are chirping; at sunset they are giving their goodnight calls.

3. Know where you’re going. Is it a loop trail or must you return the same way you came? Watch for landmarks on the way to make returning easier.

4. Stay on the trail. Watch where you walk. When you’re looking up at the trees, don’t move your feet. When you’re moving your feet, look down. If you’re going to touch something, take a close look before doing it…

To see the rest of their 14 tips on jungle walking visit:

Cruising the Amazon

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MV TucanoIt was a pitch black night as we sat there in our canoes in the inky dark river waters. The guides shined search lights onto the shoreline and the trees, and eyes reflected back at us from the darkness with a cayman cooling off in the water. Cayman are a crocodile-like creature that can grow to 18 ft. in length! As we sat silently in the canoes we could hear the sounds of the night forest — crickets, frogs croaking, birds calling.  As our eyes became accustomed to the night, we saw a few tree frogs and birds, and the area seemed bright in the light of the almost full moon. There were lightning flashes in the distance. Awesome.

CaimanWe were on a seven-day expedition trip in the Amazon with Amazon Nature Tours on the Motor Yacht Tucano. We were cruising the Rio Negro, a tributary of the Amazon River. It is the second largest river in the world with the Amazon being the largest. The color of the water is that of strong tea, giving it its name Rio Negro or black river.  It is much more remote and pristine than the Amazon River. An added benefit — the chemistry of the waters is such that the Rio Negro has no mosquitoes. The entire river system is part of the Amazonas Region, the largest state in Brazil.

The Tucano is a classically constructed wooden river boat. It is 84 ft. long and has 3 decks. There are 9 cabins accommodating 18 passengers. The top deck includes a large shaded observation area. There is a crew of 8, including our 2 naturalist guides.

Follow this Amazon cruising adventure and see more photos on:

Wildlife Cruising on the Amazon

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By Shirley Linde,

We were 16 days on the cruise and 10 of them were on jungle rivers or exploring wildlife in some way. The wake-up calls on exploration days sometimes came at 5:30 a.m., with passengers having a quick breakfast of fruit, melon and pastries, then boarding zodiacs and heading for the shores or tributaries of the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers. Many days there were two scheduled zodiac trips, one in the morning and one in late afternoon, to check out wildlife or to visit local villages.

This is not a casino/cabaret/dancing-till-dawn kind of  cruise. It’s an ecotourism-style voyage on the Clipper Adventurer, the expedition ship of Clipper Cruise Line that was a former Russian research and passenger ship. Renovated and refurbished, carrying naturalists and culturists as guides and lecturers, the ship now takes 122 passengers (max) on adventure cruises into off-the-beaten-path places where big ships don’t go.  Read about the rest of the adventure here.




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