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At a time when travelling to uncrowded areas is more desirable than ever, Kontiki Expeditions has launched two itineraries on M/Y Kontiki Wayra, scheduled in five provinces of the seldom-visited Ecuadorian coast starting this summer.

Kontiki’s small-yacht size allows visits to authentic areas where physical distancing is the norm rather than the exception in what is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.

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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.

The M/Y Kontiki Wayra yacht is a testament to luxury with a sundeck, gourmet salon, two outdoor lounges, bar, jacuzzi plus a gym and fitness area. Staterooms are well appointed and include WiFi, on-demand entertainment and sustainable local amenities.

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.

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Gastronomic Experiences
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. The visit 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- and New World wines. The result of experimentation with existing limestone soils and distinct weather conditions in the Playas area, this 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.

Toquilla Straw Hats

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

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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 over 1,500 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 plus a diversity of marsupials, reptiles, amphibians and beautiful orchids. 

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Cultural Experiences
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 sulphur 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. 

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Puyango Petrified Forest (Spondylus itinerary only)
Once covered by the ocean, Puyango Petrified Forest originated because of cataclysms and geological events from thousands of years ago. The result is the surfacing of an extensive collection of marine fossils and petrified wood which provide a privileged glimpse into the past ecology of the planet. A walk through the forest is a travel through time, exposing petrified Araucarios over 100 million years old.

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“We have the luxury of delving deeply into the areas we visit,” notes Carlos Nunez, CEO and founder of Kontiki Expeditions. “It’s what is now known as NEO Luxury. Guests, more than ever, are looking for smaller environments on board and on land, traveling with an eye to sustainability and mindfulness, with fewer people and less exposure to risk,” he added.

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This summer, via two eight-day itineraries, Kontiki Expeditions will transport guests to untouristed areas in Ecuador to explore and celebrate the indigenous cultures within a context of wellness.

Kontiki’s 10 crew members and two local experts are committed to both sustainability and conscious travel. With a nearly 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio, attention to detail is maintained at all times. Gastronomic experiences featuring local chocolate, seafood and produce will be enjoyed both onboard and on land. Nature-loving guests can expect to see the country’s blue-footed boobies along with sea lions and howler monkeys — without the crowds.

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Guest and crew health and safety are priorities; sanitization and wellness protocols are summarized on Kontiki’s website.

Pricing begins at $7,245 per person per week, based on double occupancy, and includes all activities, meals, transfers to and from ports, park entrance fees, guided expeditions and more. Private charters and solo rates are available.

For more information, visit Kontiki Expeditions online.

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