A Schedule of Experiences Provides Deep Dive into Culture, Nature and Gastronomy of Ecuadorian Coast
(Manta, ECUADOR – March 2021)At a time when traveling to uncrowded areas is more desirable than ever, Kontiki Expeditions announces its two launch itineraries on M/Y Kontiki Wayra. Experiences are scheduled in five provinces of the seldom-visited Ecuadorian coast. Kontiki’s small-yacht size allows visits to authentic areas where social distancing is the norm rather than the exception in what is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. With only nine staterooms carrying a maximum of 18 guests, Kontiki Expeditions offers a new, exclusive way to enjoy “NEO Luxury” both above and beneath sea level. Sailings will begin Summer 2021.
THE ECUADORIAN COAST AND THE KONTIKI EXPEDITIONS EXPERIENCE
Presenting a new concept in luxury ocean vacations, Kontiki Expeditions focus on conscious travel and immersive water and land experiences accessible via a small luxury yacht. The yacht travels two routes along the Ecuadorian coast, Toquilla and Spondylus, and takes full advantage of the country’s wealth of birds, animals, flora, fauna, indigenous foods and cultural traditions while adhering to a NEO luxury philosophy of sustainability and giving back to communities. With a trend for intimate voyages on the rise, Kontiki Expeditions offers private, chartered fully crewed 7-night cruises with curated experiences to meet guests’ needs, likes and interests.
THE EXPERIENCES (highlights)
Heritage Cocoa Trees — (Toquilla itinerary only)
In Bahía de Caraquez, Kontiki visits the small community of San Miguel de Sarampión where some of the world’s finest chocolates are produced from heritage cocoa trees more than 120 years old. The native-born trees yield pure Arriba Nacional Fino de Aroma cacao, considered the finest species in the world. Cocoa is aged in wood barrels in a process similar to wine, yielding some of the most expensive chocolate in the world. The visit here includes a tasting experience with cocoa and local organic products, prepared following countryside ancestral traditions and technique.
New Latitude Wines — (Spondylus itinerary only)
Kontiki travelers will have an opportunity to try New Latitude wines, affording a rare comparison to Old World and New World wines. The result of experimentation with existing limestone soils and the distinct weather conditions in the Playas area, the wine is aged in French oak barrels and develops a unique flavor profile. The gastronomic experience includes a wine pairing and tasting using local produce.
Meeting Local Communities of Artisans
Toquilla Straw Hats — (Toquilla and Spondylus itineraries)
Incorrectly known as Panama hats, Toquilla straw hats have been made in Pile for more than four centuries by artisan weavers using indigenous Toquilla straw. Kontiki visits the weavers responsible for making the finest and most expensive Toquilla straw hats in the world, the Montecristi SuperFinos. The Toquilla Straw Hat was designated in 2012 as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of the World
Experiences Exploring Ecuador’s Nature and Biodiversity
Isla de la Plata — (Toquilla and Spondylus itineraries)
Also known as “Small Galapagos,” Isla de la Plata is a hidden treasure 17 miles off the coast of Ecuador. On its almost seven square kilometers, the uninhabited island harbors blue-footed boobies, red-footed boobies, masked boobies, Galapagos frigates, sea turtles and other singular species. This stop features trails for exploring the island’s ecosystem above sea level as well as snorkeling to view sea life below. Depending on the season, humpback whales frequent this area.
Buenaventura Reserve — (Toquilla itinerary only)
Located in the Southern region of the coast, The Buenaventura Reserve encompasses more than 1500 hectares of cloud forest and four different microclimates. A guided trail walk in the protected subtropical reserve allows viewing of the habitat’s more than 320 species of birds including 36 species of hummingbirds; 255 species of butterflies; and a diversity of marsupials, reptiles, amphibians and beautiful orchids.
Agua Blanca — (Toquilla and Spondylus itineraries)
A stronghold against colonization, Agua Blanca is a small settlement that holds the remains of one of the most ancient civilizations in South America, the Manteño culture of the pre-Columbian period. Kontiki explores the traditions of the community and its preserved archeological artifacts, temples, cottages and plazas dating from 1500 BC. Activities include a swim in a natural sulfur lagoon whose minerals and mud treatments are said to have medicinal and wellness attributes, plus a trail walk with local ceibo trees and possible viewing of howler monkeys, butterflies, hummingbirds and more flora and fauna.