A unique gem in the Pacific Ocean. Experience what it is like to detach from daily life and truly be at one with nature, not found anywhere else on earth....
Immerse yourself in the culture, cuisine and natural surroundings of the Ecuadorian coast on a boutique expedition yacht
“Experience how sustainability, authenticity, adventure and ultimate luxury go perfectly hand in hand.”
Aves Travels continuously seeks to amaze our guests with unique travel experiences. We are extremely proud to be the first Ecuador specialist in the Netherlands to offer a unique way of travel along the Ecuadorian coast. Aboard your intimate, 16-passenger, luxury yacht you will experience a unique variety of nature ranging from mangroves, cloud forests, pristine beaches to uninhabited islands equal to Galápagos atmosphere, vibrant fishing villages, local culture and exquisite gastronomy.
Your personal well-being is nurtured with spa treatments, amazing cuisine, the lavish comfort of the yacht facilities and your private cabin, combined with the heart-warming service from the crew and guides. The yacht Wayra is recognised for its unmatched service by being a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
This exclusive journey will take you to places that are extremely difficult to reach overland, making it truly an experience of a lifetime. Two alternating 8-day expeditions are offered; below we describe “The Spondylus Expedition”, or the southern route, which starts in Guayaquil every other Sunday. Spondylus takes its name from the spondylus shell that served as local currency till the 16th century due to its rare value. Guayaquil, Naranjito, Puyango, Isla de la Plata and Manta are some of the locations that we will explore during our sea & land adventure. Experience how sustainability, authenticity, adventure and ultimate luxury go perfectly hand in hand.
For a day to day overview, click here to see the itinerary.
During the eight-day voyage, your yacht becomes a temple of wellness and discovery that sails along the coast of Ecuador, revealing unexplored land and sea and providing superb comfort, beauty and attention to detail.
Nine exclusive staterooms are designed with a contemporary flair and the finest materials, for maximum comfort, a fitting complement to the beauty of the surroundings and the panoramic views that can be enjoyed from every corner. You will find the staterooms a welcoming space to enjoy the privileged feeling of “neo-luxury.”
In the common spaces the yacht offers a lounge area and a dining room. Several outside spaces are available to sit back and enjoy a cocktail. The top sundeck has comfortable lounge chairs and a perfect jacuzzi to relax after daily activities. The yacht also offers spa treatments and there is a gym for those that wish to do some additional exercise. A small boutique offers the comfort and amenities of a luxury voyage, designed for an exclusive number of travellers.
The programs are led by 12 experienced crew members, including 2 guides, committed to providing prime service for an unforgettable stay.
Our exploration journey along the Ecuadorian Coast begins in Guayaquil. Guayaquil is located on the west bank of the Guayas, the river that flows 60 km further into the Gulf of Guayaquil. With 2.3 million inhabitants, Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador. Its port, Puerto Maritimo, is Ecuador’s largest seaport. About 80% of the goods imported into Ecuador arrive through this harbour.
A short walk from Puerto Santa Ana to Las Peñas neighbourhood will show us a well-preserved historical site located in the heart of a modern and vibrant city. Las Peñas is one of the few old neighbourhoods that has survived pirate attacks, fires and changes related to population growth. This bohemian neighbourhood used to be home to wealthy families, but houses were later on transformed into small cafes, bars and restaurants, art galleries and handcrafts’ shops. After a walk around the neighbourhood, we will climb the 444 steps to the top of Cerro Santa Ana where we will find the Lighthouse of Guayaquil and the small Chapel of Cerro Santa Ana with amazing views of the city.
At the end of the visit, we will go to Puerto Santa Ana harbour from where we will board our luxury yacht for check-in and a welcome cocktail. The concierge will introduce you to the crewmembers, go over the yacht areas and assign the staterooms that will be your home for the next 8 days.
At the end of the day, we will enjoy a welcome dinner and an artistic show on the yacht.
We start the day with a breakfast onboard and then, we will take a bus to Naranjito. The economy of Naranjito is based on agriculture, many export products are grown in its fertile land such as bananas, coffee, pineapples and cocoa. In this territory we will visit a traditional Ecuadorian Coast hacienda.
During our visit a local guide will tell us why Ecuadorian cocoa is considered the best in the world and while we walk through the plantation we will learn about the characteristics of the different types of cocoa and the process of planting, harvesting, fermentation and drying of the seed. Near the plantation we can find one of the three beautiful rivers that run through the property, we will float on a tube and go through the calm watercourse surrounded by beautiful trees, tropical flowers and if we are lucky, we will see three-toed sloths, iguanas and many birds.
In the afternoon we will have a gastronomic experience with organic ingredients produced in the property’s garden and our lunch will be complemented by a milking activity.
In the afternoon we will relax while we elaborate our own personalized chocolate bars with the guidance of an expert chocolatier.
At the end of the day, we will return to the yacht to enjoy a dinner on board. Overnight sailing to Puerto Bolívar.
Early-bird breakfast on board, followed by disembarking in Puerto Bolivar where a bus will take us to Puyango Petrified Forest.
A walk through the forest is a travel in time. Once covered by the ocean, Puyango Petrified Forest originated as a result of cataclysms and geological events from thousands of years ago which brought an incredible collection of marine fossils and petrified wood to the surface, believed to be the largest collection of petrified wood in the world.
By contrast, petrified fossils co-exist beautifully with live vegetation and animals in a tropical forest where you can see more than 130 species of birds and animals such as deer, small leopards, squirrels, foxes, armadillos, amphibians and reptiles.
After this visit we will go to a nearby resort for a countryside style lunch and later we will go to an organic banana plantation in Hacienda Celia María, where we will learn the methods for the organic production of bananas, the most exported fruit from Ecuador.
After this visit, we will return to the yacht for dinner in the main deck. For those who want to enjoy the peacefulness of the night, our guides will be in charge of carrying out a constellation observation activity on the sundeck after dinner.
Overnight sailing to Playas.
After breakfast we will have a wet landing in the town of Playas in the province of Guayas. When we reach shore, we will observe some traditional rafts or “balsas” which are part of the tradition inherited from the Huancavilca Culture, skilled navigators who traded products such as cotton textiles, spondylus shells and gold.
In Playas, we will visit a bodega (vineyard) that 13 years ago started experimenting in limestone soils where marine fossils are still found. One of the regions where viticulture was non-existing and now are re-writing all rules about wine making, starting a revolution of New Latitude Wines.
We will have a guided tour with a local agronomist who will explain the crop production and will later visit the bodegas where wine is aged. The bodega’s premium wines will be the perfect pairing for the tasting menu that our chefs will prepare.
In the afternoon we will go by bus to El Morro Wildlife Refuge, home of bottlenose dolphins and seabirds, where we will board small boats to navigate through the mangrove canals. Sea lions arrive to this area during the coldest time of the year, which usually runs from June to late October.
At the end of the day, we will return to the yacht to enjoy a delicious dinner and sail to Isla de la Plata at night. As we are in the middle of our journey, perhaps a beautiful moment to enjoy the peaceful care in the beautiful spa.
After breakfast onboard, we will start our activities with a wet landing in Isla de la Plata which belongs to Machalilla National Park.
Also known as Small Galápagos, Isla de la Plata holds natural treasures similar to those of Galápagos. A walk through its trails will take us to nesting areas of Blue Footed Boobies, Masked Boobies and Frigates.
After our land exploration, we will go back to the yacht for a light lunch al fresco with amazing views of the island.
In the afternoon we will do a guided underwater snorkelling expedition to learn about the marine ecosystem in the island. We will be able to see a variety of marine species including giant stingrays, whale sharks, and during mating season we will be able to see humpback whales in the distance. Scuba diving is available by request at the time of booking.
Between the months of June and November, our travellers will be able to see large groups of humpback whales as we sail along the coast.
In the afternoon we will enjoy a Teppanyaki sunset party with the freshest seafood of the area.
Overnight sailing to Puerto Lopez.
The day will start in our sundeck with a breakfast. After, we will disembark in the harbour of Puerto Lopez where a bus will take us to Agua Blanca. This small community is home of archaeological pieces from one of the oldest civilizations in South America, the Manteño Culture, which dates back to the year 1500 B.C. Temples, country houses, typical ancient squares and other archaeological remains are some of the treasures in Agua Blanca.
A short walk through its forest will show us butterflies, hummingbirds and local trees such as the ceibos. At the end of the walk, we can swim in a natural sulphurous lagoon, which is believed to have wellness properties.
Then we will go to Los Frailes beach. This crescent-shaped beach is known as one of the most beautiful beaches on the Ecuadorian coast with white sand, warm waters and a great spot to snorkel, paddleboard, swim or kayak.
At the end of the visit in Los Frailes, we will return to the yacht for lunch on board.
In the afternoon we will go to Salango Island for a guided snorkelling expedition. Salango Island has a 4 km beach and a spectacular view of the native birds and typical flora. During the excursion we will be able to observe colourful fishes at the coral reef.
Once we finish these activities, we will return to the yacht to enjoy a cooking class of a traditional coastal recipe.
Dinner will be served in our main deck with fresh local products. Overnight sailing to San Mateo
After breakfast onboard, we will disembark in the harbour of San Mateo where a bus will take us to the Refuge of Coastal Marine Wildlife Pacoche. This visit is divided in two. First visit is to the tropical forest where we will hike through one of its trails to take a look at the community of howling monkeys who live in the middle of its exuberant vegetation.
The second visit takes place in the Reserve Lighthouse, where a short walk will take us through several lookout spots from which we will enjoy the amazing view of the coastal shoreline and neighbouring beaches. San Lorenzo beach, next to the lighthouse is one of the largest nesting spots for marine turtles in Ecuador, if we are lucky, we will get to see baby turtles on their way to the ocean.
Lunch will be served on site with amazing views of the beach, and once again our executive chef will host a culinary experience using fresh local products and ancestral cooking.
Your best souvenir from Ecuador? A beautiful, handmade Panama hat, or better Montecristi. The genuine Panama hat in fact originates in Ecuador. Here the hat is called Toquilla (after the straw that it is made from) or Montecristi hat, designated by UNESCO in 2012 as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the World. The confusing name Panama is due to the fact that a smart businessman from Ecuador, Manuel Alfaro, set up a Toquilla factory in Montecristi in the 1830’s with the sole objective of exportation. The hats were transported via Panama to go overseas, and hence most travellers would first discover this beautiful handcrafted straw hat In Panama.
After lunch we will take a bus that will take us to the small town of Pile, known for its community of artisan weavers who make the finest toquilla straw hats in the world. Pile is located only 30 kilometres from Montecristi. The art of weaving has been passed on through generations. We will visit the artisan’s homes which serve as shops and we will learn how their expert hands weave these beautiful handcrafts. You will admire the finest hats, and of course be able to buy this classic and genuine memorabilia of Ecuador.
After this visit we will get back to the yacht for our farewell dinner. Overnight sailing to Manta.
Our last day starts with a breakfast while we observe the Pacific Ocean. After saying goodbye to the crewmembers, we will have the last disembarking at the city of Manta but that does not mean that the trip is over, a bus will take us to Santa Marianita beach.
Santa Marianita is a small coastal town located 15 minutes from the city of Manta. The community life is related to the fishing activity, however, in recent years the town has become popular among adventure lovers since, due to the characteristics of the area, it is possible to practice extreme sports such as kitesurf or windsurf. During our excursion we will visit the beach and from there we will be able to observe Punta Cangrejo and Tarima hills, we will also be able to find birds such as pelicans, seagulls and frigates.
If you are interested in kitesurfing or paragliding, you can coordinate these activities with us prior to the trip.
The expedition ends with a land transfer to the hotel of your choice or to the airport where your luggage awaits you.
This is where the wonderful 8-day journey along the coastal region of Ecuador comes to an end, but perhaps not your holiday. Extend your stay in Ecuador with a few days in the Amazon, for example with overnight stays at the exclusive Napo Wildlife Centre or Sacha Lodge. Or consider exploring the high Andes Mountains with some of the most impressive volcanoes in the world. Contact us to discuss the endless possibilities.
This journey takes you to the soul of colourful Ecuador. You will visit colonial Quito, stay in a luxurious lodge in the most beautiful cloud forest of the country and you will go on an adventure at two grandiose haciendas in the Andes Mountains.
A journey in which you combine your passion for golf with your love for nature and culture. You play beautiful golf courses, explore tropical forests, enjoy historic haciendas in the Andes, active volcanoes and the most beautiful colonial cities in South America: Quito and Cuenca, both declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You end your trip with a 4-day expedition cruise in the Galápagos Islands.
This beautiful, adventurous journey will introduce you to all facets of Ecuador. Nature and an active holiday predominate. You will explore the Amazon, mountain bike among the volcanoes and descend along refreshing waterfalls. The chosen hotels are basic but very good and attractive.
Aves Travels is your specialist for birding holidays to Ecuador. We offer both group tours as well as bespoke, individual programs, in which you can explore all the stunning natural areas of this country. This example tour is very suitable for novice birders on a first visit to Ecuador, but also interesting for the more experienced. In addition to trips aimed at spotting unique bird species, we also offer holidays where you combine bird watching with photography. Read about this in our blog “Exclusive birding and photography tours”. Learn more.
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