550 hours on Amazon River: Brazil, Peru & Ecuador by boat

HomeBoat Travel550 hours on Amazon River: Brazil, Peru & Ecuador by boat
Updated August 9, 2016 / João Leitão / 12 Comments / Filed in: / Reading time 8 minutes
543 hours on Amazon Boats - Brazil, Peru & Ecuador

543 hours on Amazon River Boats – Brazil, Peru & Ecuador

Amazon River

Have you ever considered crossing the Amazon River by boat?

I made this trip, and I’ll share it with you – revealing useful tips and detailed information on how you can also do it on your own.

This page tells you about crossing the Amazon River and the Napo River by boat, during a few months.

📹 Napo River Boat Walkthrough, Peru to Ecuador:

Obviously I didn’t make this trip all at once. My Amazon trip lasted about 4 months and during this period of time I explored Brazil, Peru and Ecuador’s Amazon Rain Forest regions.

Also read Amazon River by Boat – 70 travel tips, page with useful suggestions and information to help you cross the Brazilian Amazon River by boat.

📍 Map of Amazon River crossing:

Map of Amazon River crossing - Brazil to Ecuador via Peru

Map of Amazon River crossing – Brazil to Ecuador via Peru

Fully crossing the Amazon River

543 hours on Amazon Boats, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador

543 hours on Amazon Boats – Brazil, Peru & Ecuador

Francisco de Orellana completed the first known navigation of the entire length of the Amazon River back in the 16th century. I made the trip from Macapá in Brazil (near the Atlantic Ocean) until Iquitos in Peru, and from Iquitos I took the Napo River all the way to El Coca (Ecuador), making the same itinerary as the famous “Conquistador”. It took me around 600 hours of boats and sleeping in a hammock.

Boat trips, Amazon River – Brazil

Flag of Brazil

Here is the detailed information of all the boats necessary to take along the journey crossing the Brazilian Amazon River and Solimões River.

Amazon Jungle in Brazil

Amazon Jungle in Brazil

Boat CORAMAR II – Macapá to Santarém – 35 hours

Boat CORAMAR II - Macapá to Santarém

Boat CORAMAR II – Macapá to Santarém

Departure from Macapá (Santana port) on 27th July – arrival to Monte Alegre on 29th July – small boat, slow, sleeping in hammock, free food / buffet / free mineral water. 35 hour trip. Price – R$120 reais.

Hammock deck of Coramar II boat

Hammock deck of Coramar II boat

I changed my plan on this trip. Instead of getting out all the way in Santarém, I stopped in Monte Alegre, 8 hours before the final destination – Santarém (or 4 hours on the fast boat).

Buffet dinner in Coramar II boat

Buffet dinner in Coramar II boat

Breakfast in Coramar II boat

Breakfast in Coramar II boat

Speedboat Tapajós – Monte Alegre to Santarém – 4 hours

Speedboat Tapajós

Speedboat Tapajós – Monte Alegre to Santarém

Departure from Monte Alegre on 31st July – arrival to Santarém on 31st July – fast boat, seats, TV. 4 hour trip. Price – R$40 Reais.

Fast Boat Amazon River Brazil

Fast Boat Amazon River Brazil

Boat Luiz Afonso – Santarém to Óbidos – 7 hours

Boat Luiz Afonso - Santarém to Óbidos

Boat Luiz Afonso – Santarém to Óbidos

Departure from Santarém on 23rd August – arrival to Óbidos on 24th August – medium boat, slow, sleeping in hammock, food R$10 per meal / free mineral water. 7 hour trip. Price – R$30 reais.

Hammock deck of Luiz Afonso boat

Hammock deck of Luiz Afonso boat

Lunch in Boat Luiz Afonso

Lunch in Boat Luiz Afonso

Speedboat Tapajós – Óbidos to Oriximiná – 1 hour

Speedboat Tapajós - Óbidos to Oriximiná

Speedboat Tapajós – Óbidos to Oriximiná

Departure from Óbidos on 25th August – arrival to Oriximiná on 25th August – fast boat, seats, TV. 1 hour trip. Price R$20 reais.

Boat Cidade Oriximiná II – Oriximiná to Manaus – 36 hours

Boat Cidade Oriximiná II - Oriximiná to Manaus

Boat Cidade Oriximiná II – Oriximiná to Manaus

Departure from Oriximiná on 26th August – arrival to Manaus on 28th August – big boat, sleeping in hammock, free food / buffet / free mineral water. 36 hour trip. Price – R$100 Reais.

Hammock deck of Cidade Oriximiná II boat

Hammock deck of Cidade Oriximiná II boat

Food on Boat to Manaus

Food on Boat to Manaus

Boat Manoel Monteiro – Manaus to Benjamin Constant – 156 hours

Boat Manoel Monteiro - Manaus to Benjamin Constant

Boat Manoel Monteiro – Manaus to Benjamin Constant

Departure from Manaus on 18th October – arrival to Benjamin Constant on 24th October – medium boat, sleeping in hammock, free food / buffet / free mineral water. 156 hour trip. Price – R$320 Reais.

Hammock deck of Manoel Monteiro boat

Hammock deck of Manoel Monteiro boat

Food on Boat to Tabatinga

Food on Boat to Tabatinga

Speed ​​Boat Selva – Benjamin Constant to Tabatinga – 30 minutes

Speed ​​Boat Selva - Benjamin Constant to Tabatinga

Speed ​​Boat Selva – Benjamin Constant to Tabatinga

Departure from Benjamin Constant on 24th November at 5 pm – arrival to Tabatinga on 24th November at 5:30 pm – fast boat, seats. 30 minute trip. Price – R$20 – Reais.

Boat Benjamin Constant to Tabatinga in Brazil

Boat Benjamin Constant to Tabatinga in Brazil

Tabatinga to Santa Rosa, Brazil to Peru by boat

Boat from Santa Rosa in Peru to Tabatinga in Brazil

Boat from Santa Rosa in Peru to Tabatinga in Brazil

Tabatinga is a Brazilian city in the Amazonas State.

To go from Tabatinga in Brazil to Santa Rosa in Peru is quite easy. In the Tabatinga port area there are several small boats that take passengers to the Peruvian island of Santa Rosa.

There are many boats down the stairs from the port to the river (down from the right side near the fruit vendors). Start asking for someone to take you to the other side. The boats are Peruvians, but the price is $R 2 Reais.

Santa Rosa is an island on the Peruvian side of the tri-border area between Colombia, Brazil and Peru. It’s the place where boats leave to Iquitos.

Santa Rosa in Peru

Santa Rosa in Peru

Why go to Santa Rosa?

  • Stay in a cheaper hotel than in Colombia or Brazil
  • Get to know the boat schedules to Iquitos
  • Stamp the passport in the Peruvian border control office
  • Take the boat to Iquitos

I personally stayed in a hotel in Leticia, Colombia. I  got a boat to the Peruvian side to get my entry passport stamp in Peru with a day in advance, even though sleeping in a hotel in Leticia. Also I profited to know the exact boat schedules departing to Iquitos the next day.

Boat trips, Amazon and Napo River – Peru

Flag of Peru

Sunset in the Peruvian Amazon River

Sunset in the Peruvian Amazon River

Here is the detailed information of all the required boats to take the journey crossing the Peruvian Amazon River and Napo River.

Boat Carlos Antonio – Santa Rosa to Iquitos – 76 hours

Boat Carlos Antonio - Santa Rosa to Iquitos

Boat Carlos Antonio – Santa Rosa to Iquitos

Departure from Santa Rosa on 26th November at 6 pm – arrival to Iquitos on 29th November at 10 pm – big boat, sleeping in hammock, free food. 76 hour trip. Price – 80 PEN.

Hammock deck of Carlos Antonio boat

Hammock deck of Carlos Antonio boat

Food on Boat to Iquitos

Food on Boat to Iquitos

Boat Arabela I – Iquitos to Cabo Pantoja – 209 hours

Boat Arabela I - Iquitos to Cabo Pantoja

Boat Arabela I – Iquitos to Cabo Pantoja

Departure from Iquitos on 7th November at 11 pm – arrival to Cabo Pantoja on 16th November at 8 am – medium boat, sleeping in hammock, free food. 209 hour trip. Price – 90 PEN.

Hammock deck of Arabela I boat

Hammock deck of Arabela I boat

Jungle ​​Boat – Cabo Pantoja to Nuevo Rocafuerte – 4 hours

Jungle ​​Boat - Cabo Pantoja to Nuevo Rocafuerte

Jungle ​​Boat – Cabo Pantoja to Nuevo Rocafuerte

Departure from Cabo Pantoja on 16th November at 10:30 am – arrival to Nueva Rocafuerte on 16th November at 2:30 pm – fast boat, seats. 4 hour trip. Price – 20 PEN.

Boat trips, Napo River – Ecuador

Flag of Ecuador

Napo River in Ecuador on the way to El Coca

Napo River in Ecuador on the way to El Coca

Here is the detailed information of all the required boats to take the journey crossing the Ecuadorian Napo River.

Nuevo Rocafuerte to El Coca – 15 hours

Nuevo Rocafuerte to El Coca

Nuevo Rocafuerte to El Coca

Departure from Nueva Rocafuerte on 17th November at 5 am – arrival to El Coca on 17th November at 8 pm – fast boat, seats. 15 hour trip. Price – $15 US.

Traveling up or downstream in the Amazon River?

House in the jungle near the Amazon River, Brazil

House in the jungle near the Amazon River, Brazil

There’s an interesting and important question concerning traveling the Amazon River by boat:

Should you go upstream or downstream?

Many people dream of traveling the mighty Amazon River by boat – the second biggest river in the world.

To fully profit from this amazing trip, you should definitely consider this important question.

Most people travel the Amazon going downstream. However, I’ll give you some personal insight and travel advice that will change your perception of such an unforgettable journey.

Do you want to know the secret?

Napo River in Peru

Napo River in Peru

Well, when I was getting to Brazil, still in Suriname, I met a British guy traveling with his Argentinian friend.

They were somehow disappointed with their boat trip in the Amazon River – going downstream.

Personally I got a bit frightened, because this trip was on my bucket list since ever and I really wanted to be unique.

What they told me was that they couldn’t see anything of the river shore. Sometimes the river is so wide that they just spotted an horizontal line on the horizon. They saw nothing but water most of the time.

This is where my post is important for you.

Instead of traveling the Amazon River like most travelers do – going downstream, go the opposite way – upstream.

Why?

I’ll explain that better, but for now watch this small video I made on the boat from Macapá to Monte Alegre.

📹 Boat Macapá to Monte Alegre:

Up or downstream Amazon River boat trip?

Amazon River House

Amazon River House

Well, when going downstream all boats go much faster because they take advantage of the natural river stream. They profit from this to shorten up the trip.

Captains naturally choose to go in the middle of the river, right on the place where the stream is stronger, taking the boat naturally downstream. This is ideal to shorten trips in about 1 or 2 days, as well as to drastically reduce fuel consumption.

On the other hand, when boats go upstream they have to go near the shore in order to escape the stronger water forces existing in the middle of the river itself. The Amazon River is very strong, so in no way could boats force themselves upstream.

Boat going up the Amazon River

Boat going up the Amazon River

I talked to several captains of the boats where I traveled, and they all told me the same thing: while going up the river it is necessary to be close to the shore to assure boat speed, less engine effort and fuel consumption.

So,

Up the Amazon River, I could enjoy beautiful scenery, watch the vegetation, animals, farms, houses with stakes, herds of buffaloes and cows, horses, children in canoes, fishermen in canoes, many villages lost in the jungle …

In other words, I could see life along the river much closer.

I made the whole journey on deck, in the area for hammocks, and in many parts of the trip I just spent my time lying, enjoying the scenery passing by and swinging on the hammock.

Buffaloes in the Amazon River bank

Buffaloes in the Amazon River bank

Unforgettable …

If I had come downstream, I would have just seen water and a green line deep inside, the same as in the middle of the River.

Itinerary – Going up the Amazon River:

If you are interested on making this jungle boat trip, I suggest you do the following route.

  1. BRAZIL: Belém -> Macapá -> Monte Alegre -> Santarém -> Óbidos -> Manaus -> Tabatinga
  2. PERU: Santa Rosa -> Iquitos -> Pantoja
  3. ECUADOR: Nuevo Rocafuerte -> El Coca
Visual artist shares inspiring photos and exotic travel destinations. Adventure travel blogger with ideas and narratives to motivate independent travelers and audacious backpackers. Intense journeys into more than 126 countries around Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania since 1999. Expat in Morocco - North Africa since 2007, polyglot and proud Lonely Planet Pathfinders blogger.

Leave your comment:

12 Comments. Leave new

Hi Joao! Your blog is fabulous, just what I needed! We are planning for Amazon river trip(Manaus to Coca), obviously you did it by yourself, not via tour company. Would you say it is safe and worth of the hassle finding the boats and waiting them to leave? It sounds that it will be much less than what we would pay for agency and we would definitely see much more. How was it finding the boats and also the hostels to sleep while waiting the boats to depart? How big bag did you have? Is backpack included for ticket price or do you have to pay something extra for it? For the ticket prices, did you have to negotiate or were they fixed prices? Thank you so much for your answers, we are leaving on February so there will be plenty of time to plan our trip 🙂

Reply

Hi,
after 2 1/2 years of traveling around the world,
my trip comes to an end… and I would love to have an adventure
I’ll never forget. (like your wonderful blog)
Well I’m going to Iquitos in the next days and thinking to take a boat up to Coca
as my flight back is from quito…
Do you have any details about how often these boats leave etc?
Is it safe? and do you need to speak spanish?

I would be glad to hear back from you…

Thanks a lot for uploading this fantastic blog!

Reply

hello Samuel sorry it took me long to reply man… thank you for your message. I’m glad my blog can somehow help you out on your trip. I guess you already go to Coca… the trip it’s not dangerous at all. very smooth and friendly people. Spanish is a must so that you can interact with people. also it helps to get things done of course! big hug and happy travels!!!

Reply

Hello Joao! I am travelling to Peru in the next two weeks and once I am done there I would love to head to Rio for Carnaval. The trip via plane is not so favourable cost wise or adventure wise. However..This seems like the greatest adventure ever! Do you think its safe for me as a 23 year old woman travelling alone? Also, without really lingering at stops how long does the actual journey take? About 10 days?

Reply

Hi there Jordan thank you for your message. You’re going to visit an amazing part of the world. Enjoy. SO! Yes it’s pretty safe, just take care of your belongings on the both and that’s it. Always remember that you will go down the stream (I went up), so the boats go really fast. From Iquitos to the Brazilian border takes 1 day and a half going down, and 3 days going up. From Tabatinga to Manaus should take 3 days, and from Manaus to Belem I think its 4 days or so. Where exactly in Brazil do you want to go? Manaus to fly to Rio? So I guess 10 days will be enough. Be careful because the boat departure dates are not scheduled.

Reply

Awesome! Thanks for the very speedy reply 🙂 – One last question. All together it seems to have cost you less that $150, is that about right?

Reply

hello Jordan sorry for the delay of my reply but I was traveling in Cape Verde. All the prices are on the article, I guess you have to check that out. The reason why is because Brazilian money is always changing so everyday comes up a different rate. but I guess is something around that price you suggested. Happy travels! and enjoy Amazon.

Reply

What an amazing adventure! This is right up my alley. I especially love the hammocks, that’s where I would have witnessed the Amazon from. I love the community feel of the trip, it must have been awesome interacting with all the locals on board.

Great post guys!

Reply

Hello Joao, the first sentence made me immediately like your post. Sounds really challenging to cross the Amazon by boat, and I should definitely try this in the near future. Great article, well done.

Reply

Wow!!! That’s such an amazing journey. I went rafting on the Napo River in Tena, Ecuador in January – it was beautiful! I imagine the rest of the river and on to the actual Amazon is great too!

Reply

Hello there! Great to know you also been in the Napo River. I loved it. I hope I’ll be able to do all this trip once again. What other places did you visit in Ecuador? Greetings all the way from Ouarzazate!

Reply

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