September 4 – 6, 2019
Day 330 – 332

El coca

I arrive at Puerto Francisco de Orellana (mainly called El Coca), the main harbour where the boat leave. From there, you can take cars boat or slower canoa to go down the river in the direction of Peru and the city of Iquitos.

Even though I didn’t found any information on internet about hitchhiking a boat there, it has never been so easy !

When I arrive at the harbour (at around 18:00), I see people loading a cargo Canoa. I ask there where is this boat going: To Rocafuerte, exactly my destination about a day away.

I just simply ask if I can go with them, in exchange of helping them loading. And that was it !

I helped them for 4 hours loading the Canoa with all kind of stuff. What I will remember is especially the 50kg bags of cement, the pack of beers or Coca-Cola and the water bottles. Not to help, we work under a tropical rain.

We finish loading the boat. I am exhausted, my back is killing but hey… I got my ride on the Napo River !

To Rocafuerte

The way there its quiet. Slowly but surely. I can look at the Amazon from both sides and sometimes some passing boats. We make a few stops on the way and I help them unloading every time.

At night, we arrive at Tiputini, a small village just before Rocafuerte. We unload a big part of the Canoa and then we go to sleep. I sleep on the Canoa in my hammock.

The next day at dawn, we leave the place to go to Rocafuerte. Here I am!

Arriving in Rocafuerte

Rocafuerte

I knew that from Rocafuerte, you can book tours in the Yasuni national park (a big national park in the Amazon of Ecuador), and it is much cheaper due to the fact that you are already there.

I met other french tourists that are about to go on a tour . I speak with the guide and he makes me a very interesting offer since I am just joining in. So just like this, I “hitchhiked” a tour guide.

Yasuni national Park

With our tour guide Fernando and us, the four french tourists, we go to the Yasuni national Park. The only way to go there is by Canoa and we are luckily the only tourists in the places we go (because yes, this park is quite touristy even though it is quite isolated).

We go to the lagoon of Jatuncocha to establish a camp where we will spend the night.

Our guide is the expert to spot wildlife and he knows where to go to find them. We take two different hikes in the jungle and we encounter four types of monkey and tarentulas.

By going on the river, we also see the pink river dolphins. We return to the lagoon to enjoy a beautiful sunset.

At night, we go spotting the caimans and spear fishing.

We can really feel that we are in the middle of the Amazon. The vegetation doesn’t change that much with the secondary forest, but you can see much more wildlife.

Pantoja

After returning to Rocafuerte, I easily find another boat to continue my trip. I hitchhike an ambulance boat going to Pantoja, just an hour away, but accross the border in Peru.

I am leaving Ecuador after around 40 days already.

Pantoja looks much more like an Amazon village. When Rocafuerte has internet, electricity and cars, here Pantoja doesn’t have internet, electricity only works from 6pm to 11pm and no cars.

It is a nice and lovely village that makes you want to stay longer.

Over there, I learn that the slow boat going to Iquitos (about 3-4 days away) is leaving… The next morning ! This kind of boat is only leaving every 20 days. That’s what I call the traveler’s luck !

This boat is not hitchhikable. It will be the first time I am not hitchhiking a vehicle for a long distance (not within a city). But I do it for two reasons. First, this boat is going anyway, and it is mostly a cargo boat, with some passengers. And secondly, this is such an experience that I want to try !

Paying the equivalent of 30€ for 4 days, food included, and I am on board. Direction: Iquitos.

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