Mooring in sleepy harbors along the Pacific coast of Ecuador, Kontiki Expeditions' Wayra – the only ship in the fleet (so far) – is part history lesson, part ecoadventure and part glam-ride, adding up to a winning trifecta of anthropology, natural science and luxury indulgence.
Guests have full run of four decks from the gym and spa area on Deck 1 to the rooftop lounge on Deck 4, with just nine easily accessed, exterior staterooms interspersed through Decks 1 to 3. The dining room is cozy and comfortable, within easy reach of lounge seating and staffed by hospitality pros (and it shows). Spacious rooms sport a clever beach-themed décor, ample storage and larger bathrooms than you would expect. The top deck is home to the main bar and plush lounge, anchored by a hot tub at one end and an FunAir water slide at the other that shoots you into the ocean like a bullet. More water toys hang off the stern when the ship is stationary, including kayaks, paddleboards and Seabob personal watercraft.
Wayra appeals to adventurous, luxury-leaning, small-ship cruise fans who love nature, cultural enrichment and watersports fun. The experience is akin to having wealthy friends invite you on their cool yacht for a week on Pacific Ocean waters.
Wayra is neatly arranged from top to bottom, as nimble and compact as the vessel itself. The Sundeck (Deck 4) holds the main bar, with sheltered and sunny seating throughout, a hot tub at one end and an outdoor shower at one side. The Veranda Deck (Deck 3) is home to Staterooms 1 to 5. The Panoramic Main Deck (Deck 2) is the hub of activity, sporting the gangways and marine platform, two lounge areas separated by gallery shelving, a coffee bar, two dining areas, a washroom, and Staterooms 6 to 8. And the Interior Deck (Deck 1) houses Stateroom 9, the wine cellar, a fitness/spa treatment room and staff quarters.
Wayra’s nine staterooms are all relatively the same size, with a slight jig in the configuration, each exhibiting a comfortable beach-house, resort-style vibe. This is supported by natural colors, textured wall coverings, slatted wood overlay on the walls and ceiling, tropical-patterned pillows and padded headboards, plus gold trim throughout. Remote-controlled drapery and soft lighting further augment the luxury hotel-room feel, as do the bigger-than-you’d-expect bathrooms.
Colorful straw mats and coasters sustain the beach theme across the three large communal tables in the dining area, which is relegated to one end of the Main Deck. All meals have at least one local dish or side dish, with the staff eager to explain the origin of them or give you little tastes if you’re unsure.
Breakfast is a complete smorgasbord, going beyond mere variety and edging toward indulgence, with numerous cold-table selections supported by a hot buffet, plus an à la carte menu of other breakfast plates prepared specially if so desired. Lunches are hearty and varied, with at least two main course choices. Dinner menus are passed around in advance, at luncheon or during the afternoon, so the chefs (there are only two) have precise orders come the 7:30 supper hour.
For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard Wayra, pleas refer to the Kontiki Expeditions health and safety protocols.
Adventurers, explorers, learners – Wayra attracts Americans, Canadians and Europeans eager for both a soothing break and an active voyage into the natural and cultural wonders of the Ecuadorian coast. This crowd is interested in the flora and fauna of the region – the biology, zoology, ornithology, botany and more – and in need of connecting to the natural world for a nature bath.
Ideal guests are also those for whom anthropological discovery and thorough discussions on cultural heritage aren’t a chore. They are also sailors, having perhaps climbed in and out of a Zodiac boat before, and foodies, who know their way around a wine list.