QuickPeek: Boat Ride. Wait for boat.
Amazon Journey Day 2
We had a boat ready to take us across the border from Nuevo Rocafurte to the Peruvian border town of Pantoja. Fernando,The guy we had set up the travel with, was a friendly chap. Actually pretty much everyone in town of Nuevo Rocafurte were super friendly and though many tried to offer us rides across for a fee, they weren’t really pushy.
I was up at 6ish and we prepared to get the day going. I made some fresh coffee on my camp stove and fresh hand ground beans and waited for the immigration office to open. We were told the office would open at 8 AM and as we got closer, a big rain front showed up and started pouring. The office was a few streets down and we walked up to it in the rain. It took a bit to figure out where the office was and we had to wake up the officer in-charge to give us our exit stamps. He was a friendly feller and once we were done, we headed back and waited up for our boat guy.
The guy we had hired, Fernando, was nice and came over sharp at 9 AM. It was still raining hard and we decided to wait for it to clear before heading into the river on a small boat. I chatted with him for a while and his main job was as a guide for the Yasuni National park and this was obviously a low season and there was not much business to be had. He gave me some of his contact details so that other tourists looking for a boat crossing or a tour of Yasuni could get in touch with him. Here goes:
Fernando Sifuentes, Rocafurte, Ecuador.
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 0980519789, 062382249
We eventually got down to the jetty at 9:45 and loaded up our bikes. His family had joined for a bit of a joy ride I reckon and we got on the river in pleasant weather. The boat ride was nearly 1.5 hrs (pretty expensive considering we did a longer ride for cheaper, but then again, we were only 3 passengers). The views of the Amazon was pretty and we crossed the border of Ecuador on the way and entered Peru. The military base at the border had cannons aimed towards Ecuador and we got off after the military base on the small village of Pantoja.
I expected Pantoja to be a little bigger than it was, at least like Rocafurte. But this was a really small settlement with a single street (guess we have to explore a bit more). Once we got off, Fernando walked us up the road to the immigration office. Once the formalities of entering Peru was taken care of, we had to figure out more about boats leaving for Iquitos. Fernando asked around and it seemed like a fast boat (2 days) left the village this morning and the next one was scheduled for Sunday. So I reckon they had a twice weekly schedule of the fast boats. The price was expensive (80USD) on the fast boat and I don’t think sitting on a long boat without bathrooms for 2 days was a reasonable idea. He also found out that a slow boat (big one with hammock sleeping and potential cabins and food and toilet) was coming from Iquitos and might reach here on Sunday or Monday. At 25USD or so, it was supposedly a better option and that meant that we’d have to stay in this little village for a few days.
Luckily, there was a only available ‘Hotel’ in town and the guy was pretty nice one too. We talked about the price a bit and eventually settled for 15 Soles for the room. They were repairing the running water situation and we had to live with bucket water for the few days, ah well. He also offered to make us lunch and we managed to get a decent meal of eggs, pea soup, rice and Yucca. Ricardo joined us for lunch and it seemed like he was in the same mode as us in terms of waiting for the slow boat and hang out and ride this route out at a slower pace.
I was surprisingly knocked out in the afternoon and sleep for a couple of hours. The couple of stores in town sold water at exorbitant prices (I suppose ferrying bottled water thro the river was an expensive affair) and strange that right next to a large river, people have to drink bottled water. Makes one think. I guess we’ll settle the issue of drinking water in the morning, I do not like the idea of paying for bottled water much and might have to starting using my purification devices soon.
Overall, a good day, managed to cross the border smoothly and found a nice place to wait for the next boat.
Route: Nuevo Rocafurte (Ecuador) to Pantoja (Peru)
Expenses: SG$ 32.40
Comments: Amazon Journey Day 2