From Iquitos to Manaus and beyond: Down the Amazon

Discussion in 'Brazil' started by anileze, Sep 23, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    After about six months of research, I have decided to take the plunge and take two trips:

    Iquitos, Peru to Manaus, Brazil by boat. Then later, Manaus to Belem with a stop over at Santarem and few days in Alter do Chao.

    The question is, has any one done parts of this ? And, apart from the cramped reqular boats (an equivalent of flying Ryan Air :D) are there "pay for coach and upgrade" type of boats that I might have overlooked ?
     
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  2. mhnadel
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    mhnadel Silver Member

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    I'm quite interested in this myself. I have not really been able to track anything down beyond a handful of cruise ships. Looks like there used to be more of those, but most of the higher class type things seem to stick to more limited routes now.
     
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  3. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I have done that exact trip, except that I began with one of the sources of the Amazon, Apurimac, near Cuzco with Machu Picchu as well and I flew from Iquitos stop by stop to Manaus. We flew from Lima to Iquitos, which was in the throes of cholera at the time. That flying was in my own airplane so we had easy access to lots of strange airports, mostly remote strips in the jungle with a ranch beside the airstrip. From Manaus we took a small ship for a week heading upstream then returning to Manaus, followed by a few days in Ariau Towers. For Belem, Santarem, Fortaleza and Fernando de Naronha we flew our own plane. After Fortaleza the send time we flew to Macapa (I wanted to land on the equator, we did it) then returned to the US with a few fuel stops until we returned to Los Angles, from whence we began the trip.

    I now live in Brazil and have gone several more times to parts of that journey, but I have never made the entire journey by water. I'm still thinking of doing it. The boat options are mostly not remotely luxurious except for cruises taht mostly depart either Manaus or Belem.

    There is IME, no experience that can match seeing the Amazon at 60km wide or more, split between the Rio Negro full of brown organic matter and the Rio Solimões crystal clear, continuing distinctly for another thousand km and more. At the mouth seeing the permanent standing wave (Pororoca, especially at high season, is indescribable, and a spectacular surfing opportunity. You already know all about those things as well as the magnificent Amazon jungle and the gigantic rivers with amazing new discoveries every place you look. This is one of the greatest experiences that exist in the world, IMHO, not seen by more people because the infrastructure is not designed for tourism. I think that is probably a good thing.
     
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  4. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    I agree, it is a spectacular trip that one should do. However the word from the locals (both in Manaus & Belem) is that boats are essentially transport boats, which move people and goods/cargo and invariably are overloaded with both; and there is scant regulation of or enforcement of capacity and safety rules.
     
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  5. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    What are "regulation" and "safety tules"? Oddly despite negligible rules or enforcement there have been few disasters there, at least ones reported four hours or more ton the south of there. OTOH, one who ventures for that sort of trip usually is well prepared. For luxury cruise-type trips there are quite a few that leave from Manaus.
     
  6. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    Another snafu, my Yellow fever vaccination has expired. And, would not have cared if all I was doing was metros in the South; but Manaus/Santarem/Belem one needs YFV and more... scarier than a curfew in Cairo ;)
     
  7. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    This thing just won't go away - Buzzing in my head. So, Yellow Fever done, meds for malaria ordered. Step two: Looking for a place to stay close to mercado/municipal market in Manaus, my first stop. (Hoping it to be as exciting as the one in Sao Paulo)
     
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