In March, I wrote about traveling up the Amazon River and at the time, I had no real knowledge on how I was going to do it. I'm happy to report I've come closer to some solutions for the "planning stage" that are viable, practical, and a most-likely scenario.
So I'll start this South America venture, early September in Colombia, flying into Cartagena, playing around there and up north, before coming back through Medellin and Bogota. The plan is to be there for about a month. Now my previous problem was figuring out where I'd begin the Amazon trip and here is what I have figured out.
1. I'm not going to do ALL of the Amazon River. Just half of it.
2. I'm starting in the heart of the Amazon Rain Forest in Manaus.
3. I'm going UP the Amazon instead of DOWN.
4. October is a good time to do it, just before the heavy rains hit.
So here's the theory on all that. Once you get past Manaus, the Amazon really opens up when it merges with the Rio Negro. You're talking 5 miles or more across and when you're going downstream, the boats tend to stay in the center to save fuel. Its hard to tell the difference from being out at sea when you've got a couple miles between you and the shoreline. Conversely, going upstream, they stay closer to the banks to avoid the faster moving opposing currents in the center. Starting in Manaus and going upstream is still a 1500 mile trip over close to 10 days depending on the boat. Manaus is a million population strong city in the heart of the rainforest. I think it'll be a good decision to explore it for a week and find my boat there.
My initial plan was to fly there from Cartagena, but that's an $800 one way ticket that can take up to 30 hours. I've found another route that splits that cost to less than half that, by flying out of Bogota to either Rio de Janeiro or Sau Paulo first. I can stay a few days there and then fly from either of those cities to Manaus. Flight time is greatly reduced to maybe 5 hours total direct flight time. I like this option way better. Point goes to "Research"!
From Manaus, is where it gets a bit tricky. The boat ride itself does not seem very fun. I think you have to MAKE it fun. Hopefully, I'll have a model with me to shoot to help with that. Don't ask me who or how, cuz I have no clue at this point. On top of that, the plan was to boat to Iquitos, Peru and stay in a that treehouse resort they have for a few nights and proceed on upriver into Ecuador. However, I just realized, that price for $700 double occupancy for 3 days/2 nights is PER PERSON, which is ridiculous. $900 for that same deal if you are by yourself. I can't see it. Not as I presently understand it, anyways. I have to check into that a little more. Interestingly enough, at that point, I will have traversed borders via plane, bus, walking, and then by boat. Nope...nope...I've done boat before. Forgot about Belize to Guatemala. So now I have yet to cross a border by...um, subway? No, HORSE!