A wee trip down the Amazon! Our plan was to travel from Coca, Ecuador down the Rio Napo then the Amazon until the point where Peru, Colombia and Brasil meet. There were varying opinions about whether this was possible. But armed with our little map (found in the link below), we decided with more time than money, our best bet was to give it a go!
Initially, things fell into place pretty easily for us. When we were wondering where on earth to buy hammocks and rope for the boat, the hammock vendor walked by. When we wandered into the information centre, a couple were booking an Amazon tour and said we could head to our first stop on the river, Nuevo Rocafuerte, with them. On the boat, we met a fellow traveller, Oli with who we were to share many good times and chats with. When we left Nuevo Rocafuerte to cross the border into Pantoja on a peke peke, our passports were stamped by a Samuel L Jackson lookalike!
In Pantoja, we met four other travelers who looked a little down cast as they were having very little luck in finding a boat from Pantoja down the river to the next major town or Iquitos. We got our passports stamped (not after drawing elaborate maps of New Zealand and the world) at the local restaurant and enjoyed a nice cool beer as the sun set over the river while Oli got chatting with the whole village. By the time we had finished our beer, he had found an oil boat that was willing to take us to the next town, loaded with deliveries for people in the village we set off for Santa Clotilde at 5am the next morning.
A boat was leaving Santa Clotilde about three days later, which was the perfect amount of time for us to deliver the parcels, explore the town and relax. The boat to Iquitos was ominously named Titanic VI. We did this in May when the rivers were high which meant that the trip was faster, but it still took two very looooooong days. Sometimes looking back I wonder how we remained so calm with the crowded conditions, animals on board, and surviving on bread and oranges. But we made it in time for Easter in Iquitos and it was plain sailing (well almost) from Iquitos to Leticia.
Note: If you are planning on doing this trip, get in touch and we will give you what advice we can!