This is just a quick informational post for anybody looking to make the trip by boat from Coca, Ecuador, into the Peruvian Amazon through Iquitos and eventually to Yurimaguas where you can continue by road. This post only covers logistics. Specifics from our trip can be found in posts about Coca to Pantoja and Pantoja to Iquitos.
We did this trip with our bikes, which added an extra layer of difficulty and cost. It is worth noting that we were warned about theft in these parts and did have our headlights and some tools stolen during this portion of our trip. On the slower boats we’ve heard some stories of people trying to steal phones off of others while they were asleep in a hammock, so I cannot caution enough that one should keep a close eye on their gear here, this includes with the boat employees. That being said, if proper precautions are taken, it is well worth the journey. It is also worth noting that the prices are likely higher for the boats in Ecuador now as there was a 30% rise in fuel costs just after we left.
Coca is about 300 kilometers east of Quito. It took us three and half days to ride there. There are likely busses from Quito that will have you there in a day.
There was an immigration office in Nuevo Rocafuerte until September, 2019. Most people in Coca still seem to think it was open and will tell you that you can get your stamp there, but this is not true. The office in Coca is only open during the week from 9-5.
Tickets can be purchased at the Puerto Maritimo de Francisoco de Orellana. There are two companies:
Phone (062) 382 153
Cooperativa de Transporte Fluvial
phone: (062)882 582
Slow boat - Thursdays (maybe other days as well). 7:30am. 8-10 hours. $18. Stops for lunch.
Fast boat – SMWFS, 7:30am, 4 – 5 hours, $35. 4-5 hours
Everything is more expensive along the river and the selection is worse than one of those inner city liquor stores that everyone knows is just a front to sell crack. Ecuador has an amazing selection of canned tuna with pull tab lids. I recommend the Mexican style with beens and peppers as well as some crackers or fresh bread and maybe a few bags of Oreos. You can always find dinner on land and the longer boats stop for lunch, but it is good to have a few days of snacks and breakfasts to get you to Iquitos.
This is your last place to take cash out until Iquitos. $200 per person should be plenty. Once you cross the border, the little towns along the river will accept US dollars, but will give a terrible exchange rate. So change over as little money as possible until you get to Iquitos. It is probably worth looking to buy some Peruvian Soles in Coca, we didn’t think of this though.
There are plenty of places to stay. Plan on paying $15 to $25 per night. Best to get one near the port as boats leave early.
You will arrive early to late afternoon depending on which boat you take. There are a few small and basic hotels and plenty of people at the docks to direct you to one. Plan on paying $25. If you want to spend and extra day or two here you can hire a boat to take you into Yasuni National Park. Tours are $40-$70 per person and prices are negotiable.
Somebody will probably approach you at the docks and offer you a ride. We went with a guy named Raul. He can be reached on Whatsapp at +593-96-809-5176. The captains that take you through the park can also drop you in Pantoja and you can combine the two trips into one larger day.
Pantoja is great if you’re into that whole jungle village of 300 people with three hours electricity, no wifi or cell service, and two restaurants where you are basically eating in somebody’s home sort of place.
Left from the docks and up the hill is immigration.
There are a few. $10-$20 for a room.
Information is not great on these. We took the fast boat (2 days) as we had heard horror stories about the slow boat (4 days on a cargo boat full of livestock, crowded, theft, overflowing toilets next to the kitchen, everyone getting sick and vomiting, get stuck often, etc). Could be an adventure though….
Here is what we know about the fast boat:
Mon, Thurs, Fri. 5am.
Transporte Fluvial Vichu.
(065) 500 367
Transporte Rapido Llorlli
(+51 947 527 193
968 299 850
I have no idea which boat we took. We walked down to the docks, knocked on the door of one, and gave 210 soles to the teenager that claimed to be the captain. These boats also stop for lunch.
The fast boat stops here for one night. Your ticket should include a hotel room here that they will direct you to once on shore. It is slightly bigger than Pantoja, but still only has electricity for a few hours in the evening. Plenty of places to eat on the main street in town. Get to bed early as the boat leaves at 3am the next morning.
You will arrive here late morning. Get a motokar (3 wheeled motorcycle taxi) to take you to Indiana. It should only cost a few soles. If you’re on a bicycle you have to move quickly. It is 7km and you have about an hour to unload your bikes and get to the port in Indiana
Here you catch the boat to Iquitos. It costs $4.50 with a bike(~17 Soles) and takes an hour or so.
This is your mecca in the Amazon. Take a some time off, do a jungle tour, visit a butterfly sanctuary, take a shower, or maybe find a shaman and sit in a tent on ayahuasca for a few days.
Nauta is about 100km from Iquitos. We rode it in two days with a stop to explore the jungle. Not sure what the busses cost, but I’m sure they go daily. The boats to Yurimaguas, the end of your journey, leave from here. You can actually book these tickets online at www.eduexpress.pe. There are also offices in Iquitos and Nauta.
Fast boat. Mon thru Sat. 5am. 12-15 hours. 160 Soles. Includes breakfast and lunch on board.
|Coca||Nuevo Rocafuerte||Boat||$35||7:30 AM||4-5||x||x||x||x||x|
|Nuevo Rocafuerte||Pantoja||Boat||$30||any||2||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||Minimum of two people|
|Pantoja||Santa Clotilde||Boat||$70||5:00 AM||12||x||?|
|Santa Clotilde||Mazan||Boat||$0||3:00 AM||6||x||cost included in boat from Pantoja|
|Nauta||Yurimaguas||Boat||$48||5:00 AM||12-14||x||x||x||x||x||x||25 kilos of luggage for free. Per kilo fee after that.|
|Coca||Nuevo Rocafuerte||Boat||$18||7:30 AM||10-12||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||Stops for lunch|
|Nuevo Rocafuerte||Pantoja||Boat||?||X||Slow boat|
|Pantoja||Iquitos||Boat||35||?||4 days||?||Only leaves every other week or so|
|Nauta||Yurimaguas||Boat||?||?||4 days||We did not take this, but info should be available at edu|
|Santa Clotilde (included in boat ticket)||$0|
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