Speed boat to Iquitos

Iquitos Travel Blog

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We took the speed boat from Tabatinga/Leticia/Santa Rosa to Iquitos because we really didn't feel like another three or four days on a boat.

Saturday was quite interesting we had arrived and slept in Tabatinga which is part of Brazil. Then we went to Leticia, Colombia for lunch and changed some money there and since the boat was leaving from Santa Rosa, Peru at 4am on Sunday morning we decided to sleep in Santa Rosa. It is amazing how different the three towns are. Driving from Tabatinga to Leticia you cross a line on the ground and suddenly you are in Colombia, no border formalities and nothing and it really appears to be one continuous town.  However I would say that if you blindfolded me and dropped me on either side I would be able to tell you which town I'm in. Of course there is the language difference with everthing switching from Portuguese to Spanish but I'm not talking about that. Leticia seemed to me to be a lot more organised and cleaner in a way. There are more pastry shops and panaderias there like I had seen in Bogota and I felt some nostalgia at seeing the yellow / blue bottles of Aguila beer again. In the afternoon we crossed to Santa Rosa and it is the most different of the three. It is hardly a town, more like a little village. There are no cars and they only have electricity from 18h00 to 21h00 every day! We stayed in the Hostal Las brisas del Amazonas which isn't much more than a wooden hut and the mattrass was stuffed with straw! It was good value though, only 10 Reals compared to the 30 Reals we paid in Tabatinga the night before and 50 Reals for our double room in Manaus. The owner was very friendly though and even cooked our pasta for us when we asked for some hot water to prepare our 2 minute noodles.

I had sore throat that evening and woke up in the middle of the night with shivers and a feever so I tried to find some warm clothes in my backpack - no easy task when there is no light/electricity and your pants happen to be near the bottom of your backpack and you try to get at them without making a mess or disheveling your backpack because you have to get on the boat at 4am when there won't be any light yet either. Luckily I did have a small torch and got the job done.

I had been dreading the speed boat because I had been on one before crossing from mainland Mexico to Baja California and had felt nauseaus for that whole trip. However the nice thing about traveling on the Amazon is that the water is completely smooth, nothing like taking boats at sea, so you don't have to worry about seasickness. The staff were also very friendly and the only downside was that it was a bit stuffy and my fever seemed to be getting worse. They had also told us that it would take 10 hours so I expected to get there by 14h00. The Lonely Planet said it takes 12 hours and was actually closer to the mark because although we got on at 4am, we only left at 5am and arrived in Iquitos at 5pm.

After the boat ride, which seemed to carry on forever, I just wanted to get off the boat and get some fresh air but as soon as we stepped off the boat we were hounded by people trying to sell us taxi rides and hostels. I hadn't seen anything like this since Cuba. Most annoying indeed I tell you when you got up at 3:30am and spent 13 hours on a boat. We eventually managed to fight our way through the crowds and took a taxi although I really would have wanted to boycott them to prove a point but with m fever I didn't feel up to walking.  The moto taxi was actually very cheap and we checked into our hostel and I hit the bed for some rest.
QofL says:
Great trip stories. I appreciate it since I will be doing the reverse trip on a few weeks. What do you think about the bugs and mosquitos?
Posted on: Apr 10, 2008
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photo by: Ileamel