South America Blog Posts

Week 21 – Iñapari to Boca Manu

In last week’s blog post I had just been dropped off at the border between Brazil and Peru after the border was already closed. I ended up in a cheap hotel for a night before I could officially cross the border the next day.

Iñapari to Puerto Maldonado

I crossed the border and headed south to a city called Puerto Maldonado. I stayed with a couchsurfing host there who runs a tour company. He let me sleep in the office, which was actually quite nice. It even had a toilet and shower. He also let me join a couple of tours for free. So I went out fishing for Piranha and also took a boat ride looking for Caiman in the evening. I had already seen a lot of Caiman in Bolivia, on the road to Santa Rosa. But here in Puerto Maldonado they are more rare and are a different species. We only saw 2 on the trip. One adult and one baby. My host caught the baby and brought it onto the boat for us to get a closer look. Puerto Maldonado is a popular city for tourists to visit as they can take tours into the national parks. These trips are a bit expensive for me, but I’ll probably see most of the same things as them while I’m travelling anyway.

Puerto Maldonado to Boca Colorado

From Puerto Maldonando I continued south to a small town called Santa Rosa. From there I was turning off the main road to do another part of my route that I have really been looking forward to. That’s a boat ride from Boca Colorado to Boca Manu. The road from Santa rosa to Boca Colorado is a gravel track with a river to cross by ferry. It wasn’t a very long journey for the day and I arrived in the late afternoon. The next step was finding a boat to Boca Manu. There aren’t any regular boats running on this route. So I had to find someone who was going there and just ask to go with them. This is a pretty common way of travelling for the locals. I was told there would be a boat at 4am the next morning. So I asked if I could just sleep on the sofa in the express boat office. It wasn’t a great nights sleep, but it was free at least.

Taking the boat up river

It turned out there wasn’t a boat at 4am. But I was already awake, so I had a good chance to find another boat. I asked around and found someone. It was 50 soles to go up the river. This was actually a pretty good price because the trip took 9 hours. The journey was awesome. Taking the boat up river through the Peruvian Amazon. I couldn’t believe where I was. The best part was there were no other passengers, so I felt like I was getting a private tour of the forest from the river. It’s the first time I have ever taken my bike on a boat like this. The concept seemed so adventurous and extreme. But when I actually got to the time to do it, I was so scared of dropping my bike into the river while loading and unloading. Then, when we were on our way, I just relaxed and took in the views.

This was one of the best weeks of my journey so far. Definitely a week of memorable experiences. But next week had some firsts too. Some good and some bad. But I’ll tell you about that next week.

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