Our original plan was to catch a bus from Quito and head further inland, over the mountains and into the area known as “the Orient”. There are a few parks that are supposed to be great, Yasuni National Park among them, and since oil companies have begun to work on extracting the vast reserves found under the park, we figure there may not be much of it left after a few years. Upon reading a bit about getting into the park (quite a feat in itself), however, we found that it’s actually possible (though not always recommended) to continue along the Rio Napo all the way deep into the Peruvian jungle. We’re not exactly sure what this kind of adventure will have in store for us, but that’s part of the fun, right??
After spending the morning doing some research online, it seems the trip will be something like the following:
- 8 to 10 hour overnight bus from Quito to Coca
- One-day by boat to Nuevo Rocafuerte at the border of Ecuador and Peru.
- Two hours by boat to cross the border to a city on the Peruvian side called Pantoja.
- Four to five days by cargo boat down the river to the town of Mazán, with a handful of loading/unloading stops along the way
- Quick jaunt on a three-wheeled motorbike across a narrow strip of land (skipping out on 13 more hours on the boat), and then a one hour boat ride to Iquitos, Peru.
- From Iquitos, the world’s biggest city without road access, we will spend some time recovering and enjoying the surrounding jungle, after which we can either fly back to civilization or travel another five days by boat to the nearest town with road access and then catch a bus.