Iquitos to Rio

South America
March 8th 2004
Published: May 19th 2010
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There were very few cars and tuk-tuk taxis

Iquitos to Rio - 2 Months

On New Years day I flew back to peru and a couple of days later flew to the city of Iquitos, a jungle city with no road access, and it was from here that I set off down the amazon. It took 2 boats and 4 days to arrive at the tri-border with Colombia, Peru and Brazil, the first boat was a large boat which held way to many passengers and too much cargo, meaning it stopped every 10 minutes to unload something but it was great sleeping in my hammock. The second boat ride was unexpected as I thought the first would go to the border but instead it stopped in Cabalocoche, a tiny jungle village where the locals surrounded me and some other travellers from Chile. After a day waiting in Cabalocoche we eventually managed to catch an overnight boat to the border

From the tri-border it was another 3 days on the ferry to Manaus, a city in the middle of the jungle. The city was basic and I found nothing touristic, but the place was fascinating, I stayed in a place paying $1

My first view of the Amazon
for a bed, and while entering the city area saw the point where the black and yellow waters from the two rivers join.

From Manaus I joined another boat and sailed down Madeira River towards Bolivia. The boat stopped in Porto Velho, as did my river traveling, I greatly enjoyed sitting on different boats in my hammock watching the Amazon jungle, and many jungle towns, float passed. In Porto Velho I saw a wild anteater and spent a couple of days in the bed with a pretty serious fever.

After the fever passed and I recovered, I crossed into Bolivia where I spent 2 and a half weeks just slowly passing through the country, spending a lot of time on buses looking out the window at the jungle and mainly the rain.

The Bolivian roads were only 5% tarmac'd and in the rainy season that can be a problem. I had the most eventful and lengthy journey i've had so far. Riberlta to Trinidad is supposed to take 20-22 hours, the bus left in the afternoon and I soon fell asleep still not feeling 100%. That night I woke up as the bus

A shanty town built at the waters edge
was trying to drive through a huge mud puddle that had formed in the road, the technique which they used was brilliant. They back up away from the puddle to get a run up and then drive as fast as they can into the puddle until it gets stuck usually involving the back end of the bus sticking out into the air. Then a bulldozer or tractor comes and pulls it through to the other side, I didnt understand why they didn't just pull it from one side to the other but hey I'm just a Gringo. Four times this happened in the night so I didnt sleep all that much. After 21 hours we were in thick jungle and arrived in a town, which I was hoping was Trinidad but I was very disappointed to discover is was only Rurrenabaque, just a bit more than half way. I was even more delighted when after about 27 hours the bus broke down, luckily for the passengers some pickup trucks with planks of wood across the back for seats picked us up and 12 hours later we arrived in Trinidad. A 42 hour bus journey and the last 12 was so
Sailing Down the AmazonSailing Down the AmazonSailing Down the Amazon

There were loads of us sleeping in hammocks, I was the only gringo
uncomfortable, it took me 3 days of chilling in Trinidad to get over that.

From Trinidad I visited the Unesco world heritage area, the Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos, on The Jesuit Missions Circuit and spent some days in San Javier, the church thingy was nice but the area set in beautiful countryside, the town was really pretty and relaxing.

From San Javier I went to Santa Cruz and then entered Brasil. First stop was Corumba so I could visit the nearby swamp area known as the Pantanal. I took a tour, which was brilliant, we camped sleeping in hammocks, rode horses through the swamp and met plenty of wildlife including underground spiders, Capibara, the world´s largest rodent, caiman, meat-eating birds, tree-eating trees, and billions of mossies.

Two friends from england met me in Rio and we hired an apartment for 2 weeks. We went to the Maracana stadium, went to the carnival, an after carnival party for the winning school, visited the flavelas and did some hang gliding over the south of the city.

Additional photos below
Photos: 41, Displayed: 25


Sailing Down the Amazon Sailing Down the Amazon
Sailing Down the Amazon

The boat stopped short of the border at Cabalocoche

A tiny town in the jungle, the locals were fascinated by us
Sailing Down the AmazonSailing Down the Amazon
Sailing Down the Amazon

Lots of hammock time watching the jungle float passed
Sailing Down the AmazonSailing Down the Amazon
Sailing Down the Amazon

The approach to Manaus

An unexciting jungle city

The port
Sailing Down the AmazonSailing Down the Amazon
Sailing Down the Amazon

After Manaus I traveled down Madeira River to Porto Velho
Madeira-Mamoré Railway MuseumMadeira-Mamoré Railway Museum
Madeira-Mamoré Railway Museum

This famous railway line was created to ship rubber but thousands dies making it
To BoliviaTo Bolivia
To Bolivia

A taxi ride to the border at Guajara-mirim
To BoliviaTo Bolivia
To Bolivia

So much deforested land made me feel sick
To BoliviaTo Bolivia
To Bolivia

Empty fields and fields full of cows

Across the border on the Bolivian side
Waiting to Cross a RiverWaiting to Cross a River
Waiting to Cross a River

On the way to Riberalta

Cute and quiet but not very exciting
42 Hour Journey42 Hour Journey
42 Hour Journey

This is the bus that broke down, taking a break in Rurrenabaque

The main plaza in the town where I recovered from the journey

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