After a week plus breathing reduced oxygen we went down for a bit of fresh air. And who would have guessed, the sun actually came out in Lima! We sorted out our flight, which was very frustratingly denied two times, by the genius of Cal credit, their security measure of someone buying plane tickets outside of their country is to send a text to their phone... Which the sim is non functional, because the sim is out of the country... Geniuses!
Anyway we got on our flight to Iquitos, capital of the Peruvian Amazon. Iquitos is on the beginning of the Amazon River and is the largest city in the world that is not accessible by road (only by river boat or plane). The tik tuk is king in Iquitos, with scarcely a car in site. Almost has a motorbike gang feel to it.
Back seat of the tik tuk
There really wasn’t that much to do in Iquitos (they had all sorts of jungle tours, but they seemed quite similar to what we did in Bolivia the main difference was here was twice the price), so we wasted no time booking a river boat trip to Colombia. We initially booked the fast boat, only to have it booked the minute we got there. Looks like we have an adventure ahead of us.
We came on the boat a bit in shock. It was dirty, crowded, and looked like it was more meant for cargo than passengers. With the room hot and the deck filled to the brim with Hammocks we began to panic. This was going to be a long trip. Fortunately, I explored and saw that there was an upper level with much more space for our hammocks.
Once we got settled things really started to turn around. At one point I turned the ship around!
Especially after Bolivia, I expected the Amazon to be unbearably hot and humid, with huge mosquito clouds. While it was hot during the day, it was only uncomfortable when the boat was stopped. And I only got bit once! Our stops would be at fishing villages along the way. Our boat and others like it were their only contact with the outside world. The boats would mostly bring them rice and cola with the occasional goat. Sometimes the villages would pay in cash, other times they appeared to have pay in bananas.
I actually expected the river to be a bit larger, being the largest by water volume in the world. We could always see both banks. It is fairly high up the river, in Brazil it becomes much larger.
We completed just a small section of the river.
Before arriving I was thinking of going for a swim. Unfortunately, the river is regarded in these areas as a slow moving sewer/dumpster. I understand that many of these communities don’t have the means to build sewage systems, but this took away my desire to swim. Still quite scenic.
Several books later, we arrived to Santa Rosa. Sorry not that Santa Rosa.
There was some sort of parade clogging the towns only road.
A short trip across the river brought us to Letícia, Colombia. Starting to really feel the Amazon heat, luckily our Hostal had a pool. Also the town is home to millions of birds.
Friday night where to go out? We start at a neighborhood bar only to find out all of the casasha is stopped at the border. Fortunately the border was only 200 meters away! Welcome to Tabatinga, Brazil. Definitely the easiest international border that I have ever crossed. My português had gotten a bit rusty (not that it was ever any good)! Lucky for us there was an open açaí shop.
El palabra de la semana: fluvial
Word of the week: river boat travel. Every border crossing you must indicate the type of travel. Fluvial was the last on the list.
A few tips.
Always clarify on the cab (which of course you bargained the price before getting in) that this is the total price. Dishonest drivers may attempt to say that it was a per person price.
Hammocks are a must for boat travel.
Off to Bogotá for a few hours then down south to the Colombian highlands!