A Spectacular Journey aboard the Flotel Orellana

Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana entered Ecuador from the Pacific Ocean in 1541 and made his way along the Coca, Napo and Amazon Rivers to the Atlantic Ocean. This amazing journey earned Orellana a place in history as the first European to cross the South American continent. It is believed that he traveled this route several times in search of El Dorado, the city of gold. He was also searching in the area for a rumored nutmeg forest – a spice which was very expensive at the time. Nowadays, tourists can retrace part of the river route that Francisco de Orellana took, but in style, aboard the Flotel Orellana.

The Flotel Orellana, named in honor of the daring Spanish explorer, is a three-deck riverboat that can accommodate 48 guests. The cabins aboard the riverboat are small but nonetheless comfortable, each with bunk beds and its own bathroom. The meals are reportedly tasty and consist mainly of Ecuadorian specialties. A trip on the Flotel Orellana can be customized to suit the tour group and typically includes exploring the wide Coca and Napo Rivers and the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. Guests will have time to relax on deck while enjoying the views of the jungle shoreline, Andes Mountains and puffy white clouds against the azure blue sky. The multilingual tour leaders are well informed and ready to share their knowledge with all who show an interest. Learn all about the birds, flora, fauna and water-life of this ecologically rich area of Ecuador.

Motorized dugout canoes carry guests from the Flotel Orellana along the riverbanks and up slower moving rivers that flow into the Coca and Napo Rivers. A trip up the Jivino River winds through dense tunnels of overhanging trees, vines and ground covers, with countless colorful butterflies and birds along the way. The large green lake of Limoncocha is the destination of the Jivino River trip and bird-lovers will be astounded at the variety and abundance of birds to be found in this jungle setting.

Other excursions from the Flotel Orellana will open up wonders of nature that most people only get to see on a National Geographic special. Hike through untouched jungle, taste cinnamon taken from wild trees, fish for piranhas (if you dare) and let the guides teach you what unusual and tasty wild fruits you can eat. Listen for the wind-song of the resident howler monkeys and watch the intricate dance of fire-flies as darkness descends. Without a doubt a trip on Ecuador’s Flotel Orellana will be an unforgettable experience.