Finally the holding pattern that I’ve been in while waiting for a Brazilian visa is over. I’m currently in Iquitos Peru, the steaming jump off point to the Peruvian Amazon Jungle lodges and the Amazon River.
Its been some time since my last entry however other than the mundane admin type task to get ‘stuff’ organised there really wasn’t much to write about.
From Copacabana I took the night bus to Cuzco where I spent two nights in the Novotel over New Years. This was for a couple of reasons. The primary one being because I didn’t get around to booking a hostel and they were all full. It didn’t harm my budget at all though since I’ve allowed for some ‘nice nights’ scattered throughout my trip.
I didn’t do much in Cuzco. I watched TV, listened to music, had some great food and interesting conversations with some people on the more regular tours.
I didn’t have much of a New Years. Let this be a lesson to all of you who may be on a long term trip, think ahead, book ahead for major festivals and holidays otherwise you’ll be cooling your heals and twiddling your thumbs waiting for said event to be over. The accommodation was lovely but because it wasn’t a backpackers not so much fun as I had for Christmas.
Before anyone gets to stressed over the fact that I went to Cuzco and didn’t ‘do’ anything there is a method in my madness. I’m coming back here to Peru with a friend in May so I really do not want to spoil anything by running around and seeing it now. I did however go in and talk to some of the operators about the Inca Trail though so I did achieve something!
After Cuzco I finally made it to Lima finding a bed in the Hitchhikers Backpackers Hostel in Miraflores. I spent about a day and a bit doing some research and finally decided on heading to Iquitos and the Amazon River.
It was in the back of my mind to travel by boat down the Amazon however I just had to settle some of the logistics of do so. With that decision finally made I went about getting my Brazilian Visa.
It’s not particularly hard, the process is fairly straight forward, however it is a little time consuming with a bit of running around. Anyhow I managed to get my passport, complete with a brand new Brazilian visa on Monday (10 Jan 2011). I promptly organized my flight to Iquitos.
If you are headed to Iquitos from Lima I’d recommend either trying Star Peru or Peruvian Airlines, they are one block down from LAN. The price LAN gave me was somewhat annoying. Well the price wasn’t they were with the comment (and I quote), ‘because you are a tourist the cheapest price you can pay is $275 USD’.
I smiled, said thank you and promptly walked down the road where the other airlines came back, one of them bluntly advertises that they will charge the same price for locals and foreigners, with a price of $92 USD with taxes bringing the price up to $115.
Can you guess which price and company I was happier with?
The flight went without a hitch, I went with Star Peru landing late yesterday afternoon in the jungle bound town of Iquitos. Just so you know it’s somewhat warmer here than anywhere I’ve been the the continent so far and it’s a little bit more humid as well. Not that I’m complaining! It’s a relief to pack away the thermals and jackets down the bottom of my pack.
I found a bed in the Flying Dog Hostel, I tried them first for no other reason that I really like the name of the hostel! Last night I spent the evening sitting down at the Dawn over the Amazon cafe. As it turned out it filled with expats and it is listed in the LP as well although I only realized it this morning when I finally looked at my guide book. It was a pleasant evening sitting down chatting with a bunch of guys working here in this part of the world.
This morning I headed to Puerto Pesquero to check out boats and current prices to get from here to Santa Rosa, the first leg of my Amazon River journey. It’s apparently going to cost between S60 – 70 ($20 to $25) for the 3 day journey which includes the food. Not that I’m expecting much from the food!
Once in Santa Rosa I apparently have to find immigration get stamped out of Peru then Cross to Tabatinga in Brazil to find a boat heeding to Manus. After Manus the third leg is to Santarem and the fourth boat is to Belem on the coast. Of course I could be really bored after the first leg then cheat and fly…. However that is the current plan.
The next boat is apparently leaving for Santa Rosa on Friday so I have tomorrow to shop for some supplies for the trip although I’ve been told one can usually hire a hammock from the boat so that will be my first option rather than buying one then having to either get rid of it or lug it around with me!
I’ll update the journal when and if I can although it could end up being a week or so since there obviously isn’t Internet on the boats! The Internet here is also appallingly slow so you may all have to wait until I get to a decent hostel in Brazil somewhere for the photo’s.
Still I’m on the banks of the Amazon!