About this trip, I had been dreaming to do it before I came to Peru. I discover Iquitos when I was doing a jungle tour in Ecuador and I looked it up online. It is the largest city in the world that only be able to accessed by boat or plane, which sounds amazing, adventure!
And then I found out that we could do a cargo ship into this jungle city, how cool is that!?
We were in Cusco before the trip started. You can also fly to Iquitos, and you need to connect flights in Lima. But we wanted to do the adventure for a long time so, Let’s start it!
About the boats
There are different boats and we decided to take the big one which is a big sized cargo ship. It had 4 floors and it would leave on Sunday night at 6 pm based on the guy told us, and it is also more expensive than other boats.
We read some blogs before, therefore, we did have some ideas about the prices. Cost for the boat: We paid 350 Soles for 2 people, for 2 beds in a cabana but we also got to hung our hammocks for free in the hammocks’ area. And here are some things you might want to see.
They told us it was gonna be a 3 days ride but ended up 2 days and a half (we were waiting on the boat for a half day before the boat departed).
It included 3 meals a day, but trust me, you definitely will need snacks for this trip. The foods were horrible and no veggies, and they were all small potions.
The ride was pretty chill actually, off internet for few days, was a bit hard but sometimes we stopped to drop off goods and also picked up new orders, very interesting. We were the only foreigners on the boat. And right, did I tell you we were riding on the boat with a lot of animals: chickens (mainly chickens, they occupied ⅔ of the boat), some dogs from the passengers, a horse and bunnies. How fun!
The view along the way did not change much, therefore, when I got bored of the view I checked out the animals. Ok, especially the chickens because they were right next to us.
We had been through sunny, rainy and cloudy weather in these days. We experienced all of it. I don't like rainy days that much, generally, but on the boat it was nice to stay in my cabana for rainy days but not in the hammock area, they closed the curtains and it was really smelly from all the chicken poop…
But, I warmly recommend you do it!!!! It was a once in a life time experience and you will not regret it!!! At least me and my best friend agree with that, we don't agree on many things but this is one of the rare cases.
The things you need to prepare for the boat trip
Hammocks. We got the cheapest ones which cost 25 Soles + Straps 14 Soles for 1 hammock.
Your own bowl and cutleries for food which provided on the boat.
Some snacks you like.
And probably some books since there is no internet.
Heading to Tarapoto & more
First of all, we needed to fly to Tarapoto, which has an airport. Also, it is the city to be able to reach Yurimaguas. But please plan your trip well, because I didn’t book my flight in advance due to some reasons and ended up paying double for it.
After you reach Tarapoto you will be surprised by the transportation ---- tuk-tuk (moto-taxi), I felt like I was in southeast Asia. It was really nice that they already had a board which marked all the prices for the taxis so don't have to worry about people ripping you off.
Where to stay in Tarapoto
We were staying at Hospedaje Marbis. The location isn't very good, a bit far away from the center but you can take a 3 Soles tuk-tuk ride to the plaza the Armas. It's also cheap, close to the bus terminal to Yurimaguas and we also only planned to stay a couple days to rest before heading to Yurimaguas.
How to go to Yurimaguas
There is a public bus to it, but due to the pandemic the schedule is a bit unpredictable. There are few companies (in different locations but all are close to each other) that are running to buses and we went to one of them (15 Soles for each) where we asked the day before about the schedule. We showed up but had been told that there were not any buses going that day and so they showed us another terminal.
We went but they also didn’t have any and after checking out a few other bus companies, we found the public terminal and they did have buses going, which cost 20 Soles each. They didn't have a schedule, so it will just leave when the minivan is full. The way to Yurimaguas is very unpleasant. The road is well made but super curvy and the minivan was flying the whole way. Also, the view along the ride was gorgeous but I couldn’t enjoy it much.
Here is the location of the terminal we took the minivan.
And yes, I threw up….super glad that we had bags with us. So be aware! I talked to someone who did the same as us and also mentioned the ride, so it isn’t a coincidence.
After we arrived in Yurimaguas
We didn’t find many accommodations online, so decided that we would just walk-in, but it was a big mistake. We got sold on some hotel by our tuk-tuk driver there and he took us to a very rundown place for 30 Soles a night with an open toilet, yes, it was just right next to the bed with a small wall separating it. Imagine how awkward that you are traveling with someone and you need to take a crap. But luckily we walked around the town and found a really nice hotel for 50 Soles a night which wasn't on any platform (I will give more information on my Yurimaguas guide).
After settling, we needed a couple of days to get information about the cargo ship and get all the stuff we would need for the 3 days boat trip.
The next day we went to the port to gather information and found out that there are boats leaving every day to Iquitos but that they still need to wait for until full, so there isn’t a specific time to leave. A lot of people will come up to you to show you around the boats and give you the ’time’ (I think they probably will make some commission if they bring some on the boat).