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, for 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 four months, and during this period I explored Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador’s Amazon Rain Forest regions.
Map of Amazon River crossing
Fully crossing the Amazon River
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
Here is the detailed information of all the boats necessary to take along the journey crossing the Brazilian Amazon River and Solimões River.
Boat CORAMAR II – Macapá to Santarém – 35 hours
» Departure from Macapá (Santana port) on 27th July – arrival to Monte Alegre on 29th July – small boat, slow, sleeping in a hammock, free food/buffet / free mineral water. 35-hour trip. Price – R$120 reais.
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).
Speedboat Tapajós – Monte Alegre to Santarém – 4 hours
» Departure from Monte Alegre on 31st July – arrival to Santarém on 31st July – fast boat, seats, TV. 4-hour trip. Price – R$40 Reais.
Boat Luiz Afonso – Santarém to Óbidos – 7 hours
» Departure from Santarém on 23rd August – arrival to Óbidos on 24th August – medium boat, slow, sleeping in a hammock, food R$10 per meal / free mineral water. 7-hour trip. Price – R$30 reais.
Speedboat Tapajós – Óbidos to Oriximiná – 1 hour
» 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
» Departure from Oriximiná on 26th August – arrival to Manaus on 28th August – big boat, sleeping in a hammock, free food/buffet / free mineral water. 36-hour trip. Price – R$100 Reais.
Boat Manoel Monteiro – Manaus to Benjamin Constant – 156 hours
» Departure from Manaus on 18th October – arrival to Benjamin Constant on 24th October – medium boat, sleeping in a hammock, free food/buffet and free mineral water. 156-hour trip. Price – R$320 Reais.
Speed Boat Selva – Benjamin Constant to Tabatinga – 30 minutes
» 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.
Tabatinga to Santa Rosa, Brazil to Peru by boat
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 harbor 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.
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 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 from knowing the exact boat schedules departing to Iquitos the next day.
Boat trips, Amazon and Napo River – Peru
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
» Departure from Santa Rosa on 26th November at 6 pm – Arrival to Iquitos on 29th November at 10 pm – big boat, sleeping in a hammock, free food. 76-hour trip. Price – 80 PEN.
Boat Arabela I – Iquitos to Cabo Pantoja – 209 hours
» Departure from Iquitos on 7th November at 11 pm – arrival to Cabo Pantoja on 16th November at 8 am – medium boat, sleeping in a hammock, free food. 209-hour trip. Price – 90 PEN.
Jungle Boat – Cabo Pantoja to Nuevo Rocafuerte – 4 hours
» 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
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
» 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?
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 fantastic trip, you should 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?
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 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 a horizontal line on the horizon. They saw nothing but water most of the time.
This is why my article is relevant for you.
Instead of traveling the Amazon River like most travelers do – going downstream, go the opposite way – upstream.
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?
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 reduce fuel consumption drastically.
On the other hand, when boats go upstream they have to go near the shore to escape the stronger water forces existing in the middle of the river itself. The Amazon River is very strong, so in no way, boats could push themselves upstream.
I talked to several captains of the ships 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.
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.
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 in making this jungle boat trip, I suggest you do the following route.
- BRAZIL: Belém -> Macapá -> Monte Alegre -> Santarém -> Óbidos -> Manaus -> Tabatinga
- PERU: Santa Rosa -> Iquitos -> Pantoja
- ECUADOR: Nuevo Rocafuerte -> El Coca
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