It’s hot in Yurimaguas.
Luckily, we’ve treated ourselves to a “business” hotel with lots of amenities, right on the Huallaga river (which joins another river to become the start of the Amazon).
We walk around the town, dripping with sweat and breathing hot, humid air into our lungs. It’s full of moto-taxis and many streets converted to open-air markets.
Zooming along the coast of the river in a moto-taxi, we arrive at La Boca: a small, chaotic port used for loading people and supplies on to varying sizes of ships that travel for days along the river, stopping frequently at the numerous villages that dot the shores. They don’t really keep a schedule, and we heard of some travelers being stranded on a big boat for three extra days just offshore, because they had too much cargo and got stuck in the mud (but wouldn’t taxi people back to the nearby shore).
After some consideration, and taking other travelers’ stories into account, it seems to be more of an adventure to explore the Amazon by way of an isolated town called Lagunas, where we’ll have to find guides to take us by canoe down smaller rivers into the protected national park of Pacaya Samiria. We’ll stop there on our way to Iquitos.
Cesar, a local “salesman” explains to us at La Boca that it’s four hours by “fast” boat from Yurimaguas to Lagunas, as opposed to twelve by big boat. We hop on at the scheduled departure time, and watch the boat slowly fill to the brim: people sat in free-floating chairs made out of rebar, and luggage piled high at the bow.
Cesar had his cousin Miguel waiting for us when we arrived in Lagunas. He snapped us up out of the crowd of eager young men, anxious to sell us a guided canoe tour through the amazon jungle. He took us to his office.
“How far down the river do you want to go, and how much money do you have?”
Organizing our trip through the Pacaya Samiria park was challenging as we were low on cash, and all Peruvian citizens would be required to vote by law on day four of our six day trip. They find two guides willing to take us and pay the fine for not voting: Javier and Silda. Outlaws. Good people.
We spend the night in Lagunas, eating a big chicken dinner at the local polleria. We’re not quite sure what it means to canoe through the Amazon. We’re excited.
Categories: Posts in English